follow us in feedly
‘Locust House’: Members of The Locust collaborate with folksinger Adam Gnade
09:16 am



To the extent that writer/musician Adam Gnade is known at all, it’s for a sparse and desolate talking-song folk music that sits on the raw edge of the New Weird America trip, often recorded very primitively and directly, a la John Lomax’s field recordings, or early Mountain Goats. His musical and literary output together comprise a singular and ambitious body of work—the same characters and plotlines continue through both forms, telling stories set in his hometown of San Diego.

Gnade has been prolifically releasing music and books for about eleven years, and his newest novella, Locust House, is being published by Pioneers Press in collaboration with Three One G, a record label run by Justin Pearson of the brutally spastic hardcore band The Locust (the band is referred-to in the book, the title isn’t a coincidence). Locust House is ostensibly a night-in-the-life story of a concert at a punk flophouse getting broken up by the police (and if it was based on a real-life show, it would have been a pretty fucking epic night), but the plot is only an excuse to take us deep into the inner lives of the characters, something at which Gnade excels. Among other themes, he explores scene members’ changing relationships to music and community as life advances, viscerally nailing that discrete, unrepeatable, life-altering thrill one gets when the right music hits the right young brain at the right time. It’s a feeling I’d love to have again, and reading Gnade’s words persuasively re-immersed me in that experience. (It also made me wonder if he’s read Ageing and Youth Cultures.)
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘The Kate Inside’: New book has never-seen photos of Kate Bush
01:20 pm



Filming “Rubberband Girl” on the set of “The Line, the Cross, & the Curve,” 1993
Photographer Guido Harari, who has a book of Tom Waits photographs to his credit, worked closely with Kate Bush in a strongly creative period stretching from 1982 to 1993, during which Bush released The Dreaming, Hounds of Love, and The Sensual World, among others, as well as her musical short film The Line, the Cross, and the Curve, an offshoot of her 1993 album The Red Shoes.

Harari has a new book coming out with dozens of never-before-seen pictures of the noted experimental pop singer, who is arguably England’s unparalleled Brontë interpreter.

Roughly 300 pictures are in the book, the bulk of which came out of official press photo sessions for Bush’s albums of that era. Many of the photos feature Bush hard at work with Lindsay Kemp, the choreographer who worked closely with the singer from the very start of her career.

The majority of the photos have never been published in any form, a group that includes test Polaroids, contact sheets, film outtakes, and personal notes from Bush.

The book is called The Kate Inside (obviously a reference to Bush’s 1978 debut album The Kick Inside) and is expected to become available in September. You can pre-order it from Wall of Sound. The regular edition is priced at 90 Euros (about $100) and the deluxe edition, personally signed by Harari and Kemp, will go for 390 Euros (about $430).

An exhibition in London’s Art Bermondsey Project Space will coincide with the book’s publication (September 13-30).

With Gary Hurst and Douglas McNicol, shoot for “The Dreaming,” 1982

“Hounds of Love” shoot, 1985
Many more photos after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Backpack and messenger bag that look like giant books
12:42 pm



If you really want to nerd-out for back to school accessories, might I tempt you with this backpack and messenger bag that looks like a giant leather-bound book? The bags are by ThinkGeek and are reasonably priced. The backpack is $59.99 and the messenger bag is $49.99 . Sadly, these really aren’t leather but made of 100% polyurethane with a polyester lining.

I’d like to see leather versions of these puppies. I think they’d be remarkable.


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A book to help you plan ahead: ‘13 Elegant Ways to Commit Suicide’
12:28 pm



13 Elegant Ways to Commit Suicide
It is not an uncommon experience to walk into a bookstore and leave with something you hadn’t planned on purchasing, but this one is something else entirely. My new favorite book is called 13 Elegant Ways To Commit Suicide by Harold Meyers and illustrated by Jack Davis. The book came out in 1959 and is quite thought-provoking, something that could have certainly been inspirational—a bible of sorts—for Harold of Harold and Maude-fame. And really, it’s a handy future planning book. If you end up with a second edition, not only do they give you thirteen great options for effecting your very own demise, they also instruct you on how to prepare a will, cater a wake, write an obituary and personalize headstones. And, the second printing (the one I have) has a cheery hot pink cover, perfect to draw the attention of any guests for coffee table discussions about lurid things.

Now who is the author Harold Meyers? Clearly he’s a morbid kook who enjoys a good laugh. Other books by Meyers include Belly Laughs, and Honeymoon Guide which you can only expect dispense quick wit and advice in the similar tone of 13 Elegant Ways To Commit Suicide. Paired with his satirical dialogue, the real star of the book are the illustrations by the great Jack Davis. Davis is an American cartoonist who has quite the long and illustrious illustration resume including most-famously work for MAD, EC Comics,, TV Guide and even a Johnny Cash album cover for the 1966 record, Everybody Loves a Nut. His iconic style is easily recognizable to the trained eye.

13 Elegant Ways To Commit Suicide provides extremely original ways to say “farewell, cruel world.” Some of Meyers’ methods are truly out of this world (see method three below). Method one, Damp Death is simply to, um, die for if you’re a big fan of binge drinking or as Meyers says, “a good all-around souse,” you can leave your permanent mark (and body) at your favorite neighborhood bar!
Method1 Damp Death
Method two, Sweet Ending explores a great option for those who love laughing or perhaps have a particularly shameful variety of animal-assisted foot fetish.
Method 2 Sweet Ending
The Out of this world method is your way to go if you are into space exploration and generally want to “rocket n’ roll.” Also, this has my vote for the most elegant way to commit suicide. Going out with a bang.
More macabre reading material after the jump…

Posted by Izzi Krombholz | Leave a comment
Killers, crooks and vampires: Thrilling pages from Penny Dreadfuls
11:46 am



The “penny dreadful” was the name given to an incredible publishing phenomenon that flourished in Victorian Britain between the mid-1830s and the early 1900s. The penny dreadful or “penny blood” was a luridly illustrated booklet or magazine—usually of some sixteen pages in length—filled with sensationalist tales of highwaymen, murderers, cannibals, bounders, vagabonds, vampires and thieves. 

The first known penny dreadful was published on Saturday April 30th, 1836 under the title The Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads and Murderers. The cover featured a fight between a gang of ne’er-do-wells—led by Grimes Bolton, a notorious robber and cannibal—and a group of gamekeepers. The success of The Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads and Murderers led to an unprecedented range of similar publications which reached their height around the mid-1860s.

Originally penny dreadfuls focussed on thrilling tales of adventure but through time these fell out of fashion as the audience demanded increasingly lurid stories. These magazines hit pay-dirt with tales of true crime (Jack the Ripper being the best known subject) and grotesque fantasies of such creations as the murderous Sweeney Todd—the Demon Barber of Fleet Street; the bloodthirsty Varney the Vampire or the demonic urban legend of Spring-Heeled Jack—The Terror of London.

The penny dreadful ushered in a new era of publishing—launching a whole range of magazines and periodicals that benefitted from new printing technology and from the markets opened up by the penny dreadful. Political and educational serial publications similarly benefitted from the pioneering work of penny dreadfuls. But it wasn’t all money-making business. Before the Education Act of 1870 introduced free education for all, the penny dreadful can take some credit for encouraging generations of young men and women to read.

As tastes changed, the penny dreadful dropped in popularity—the now literate audience wanted more nuanced and stimulating tales. However, the genres it launched (horror, detective and true-life crime) continued and flourished under writers like Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and H. G. Wells.
More pages from penny dreadfuls, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Snake women, dragons and other esoteric imagery from the alchemical manuscript ‘Clavis Artis’
10:38 am



The renowned composer Nino Rota collected books and manuscripts on the occult. Rota was a child prodigy who went on to compose ten operas, five ballets and many, many choral and chamber pieces. He is now best known for his multi-award-winning film scores for The Godfather, Romeo and Juliet and Fellini’s and

When Rota died in 1979, a copy of a very strange occult manuscript Clavis Artis was discovered among his personal effects. Rota had purchased this illustrated text from a bookseller in Frankfurt. After his death it was donated to the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei where it can still be found today.

Rota’s copy of Clavis Artis is one of only three editions of the manuscript being currently held in Italy and Germany—only two of which are illustrated.

The Clavis Artis is an alchemical manuscript believed to have been produced in the late 17th or early 18th century—though the title page states the book was written in 1236 AD. The text is attributed to “Zoroaster (“Zarathustra”) the rabbi and Jew” who claimed to have written the book over “a dragon skin.”

R. et AC
Secret key for many covert operations
In the animal kingdom, the kingdom of metals
and minerals

the rabbi and Jew
Clavis Artis
Part one
The original was written by the author
over a dragon skin
World Year
Following text was translated
from Arabic into German
in the Year of Christ

Zoroaster’s manuscript details various rites and practices relating to alchemy. It has been suggested the text may have been lifted from an earlier work, while its author “Zoroaster” may have been Abraham Eleazar—an occultist who wrote another alchemical text L’Uraltes Chymisches Werk in 1735. However both these manuscripts contain imagery to be found in an even earlier alchemical manuscripts by Nicolas Flamel—the man who allegedly found the Philosopher’s Stone.

Whatever the book’s provenance it is fair to say these illustrations from Clavis Artis are quite beautiful and strange.
More magical illustrations from the ‘Clavis Artis,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Hound of Baskerville’: German pop duo cover Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ as a Sherlock Holmes tribute
02:20 am



Jutta Gusenberger and Norbert Berger were a married couple from the western border of the BRD (West Germany) who were staples of the German pop scene in the 1970s. They went by Cindy und Bert, representing West Germany in the Eurovision Pop Contest in 1974 with “Die Sommermelodie.” In a strong year that included Olivia Newton-John and ABBA as competitors, Cindy und Bert finished 14th. Oh well.

They had a run of charting singles from 1972 to 1979 on the German Top 40 but before all that, in 1971, they turned in a delirious cover of “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath with completely different German lyrics that were all about the hellhound invented by Arthur Conan Doyle in one of his few long-form Sherlock Holmes narratives, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

More on the strange case of Cindy und Bert, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bloody Disgusting: A gruesome gallery of vintage medical illustrations from the 1800s
10:11 am



My father once bought several volumes of medical textbooks as a job lot from a secondhand bookshop. Why he did this I’m not quite sure. Perhaps he liked their fine red leather covers, their marbled pages, the beautiful yet gruesome illustrations of diseases contained therein. Perhaps he thought these fine volumes matched our home’s interior decor? Or maybe he hoped my brother or myself would one day study these antique books and become a medical practitioner? I certainly considered it. Indeed I nearly did apply for medicine at university but changed my mind at the last moment and chose a rather pointless arts course—my real intention had been to go to Art College and paint…but that’s another story.

However, I did spend many, many, probably far too many hours poring over these books and their fabulous colored plates of medical diseases, internal organs, autopsies, arterial systems, genitals, brains and what have you. I marveled as much at the complexity and wonder of the human body and its diseases as I did at the beauty of the illustrations. These were to me works of art that deserved to be hung in some gallery rather than just hidden away for the education of young minds.

Illustrations of different diseases and conditions provided an essential part in the development of medical treatment. All doctors need a good memory so they can recognize symptoms, ailments and you know body parts—and the work of illustrators in accurately depicting different forms of diseases—leprosy, syphilis or smallpox, etc—were central to a doctor making the right call in a patient’s’ diagnosis and treatment.

This is a tiny small collection of some of the vast number of disturbingly beautiful illustrations produced by artists for medical practitioners during the late 1700s to the early 1900s—and they are quite fantastic.

And the moral of my story? Well, if you ever get the choice between an arts course and studying medicine…do medicine because you can truly help people and maybe even make a shit load of money while you’re doing it.
A thirteen-year-old Girl with leprosy.
A thirteen-year-old Boy with severe untreated leprosy.
More beautifully rendered (and totally gross) diseases after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins reads Dr. Seuss
02:43 pm



Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! has become the traditional graduation gift of our generation. It’s June, and people are graduating, so Funny or Die decided to enlist everyone’s favorite hardcore hunk, Henry Rollins, to sit a spell and read from the beloved volume.

Henry’s more of a literary figure than you might realize—he’s been publishing books for years on his 2.13.61 imprint—personally, I’d like to see a Dr. Seuss treatment of Pissing in the Gene Pool.......

Nice kid. Can we get an Einstürzende Neubauten homunculus on there?
Fortunately, it turns out that this isn’t just Rollins “reading” Seuss, it’s Rollins “reading and deconstructing” Seuss, which means that the video consists less of Theodore Geisel’s winsome versifying and much more of Rollins’ fervent crabbing about the silly-ass text.

And we’re all for that! Click and enjoy.
Henry Rollins Reads Dr. Seuss


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Disorientation of the senses: William Burroughs makes a ‘sick’ and ‘disgusting’ movie, 1966
04:26 pm



WSB by Charles Burns.
William Burroughs’ work has always been controversial. When Naked Lunch was first published it was denounced by critics as “obscene,” “repugnant” and “not unlike wading through the drains of a big city.” The poet and arbiter of highbrow taste, Edith Sitwell decried the book stating she did not want “to spend the rest of my life with my nose nailed to other people’s lavatories.” Its publication led to an infamous obscenity trial where Norman Mailer was called as a witness to defend the book and its writer. Mailer famously declared Burroughs as:

....the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.

However, Burroughs was generally unfazed by his detractors—after all he wasn’t writing for them.

When Burroughs decided to make a short film The Cut-Ups with B-movie smut-peddler Antony Balch it was perhaps inevitable that their collaboration caused similar outrage.

When The Cut-Ups was first screened at the Cinephone, Oxford Street, London in 1966:

Members of the audience rushed out saying, ‘It’s disgusting,’ to which the staff would reply, ‘It’s got a U certificate, nothing disgusting about it, nothing the censor objected to.’

According to Burroughs biographer Barry Miles the Cinephone’s manager, Mr. Provisor:

...had never had so many people praise a film, or so many hate it.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 3 of 68  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›