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‘Reagan’s Raiders’: INSANE ‘80s ultra-patriot superhero comics
10.18.2016
09:45 am

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Art
Books
Politics
U.S.A.!!!

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People who claim that Barack Obama is the most divisive president ever may lack either any sense of historical perspective or any idea that beliefs other than their own have existed before the 21st Century [see also: racism]. Ronald Reagan divided 80s USA into two bitterly opposing camps—a significant minority saw him as a reckless destroyer of the Social Contract between government and populace, who trafficked in simplistic homilies and racist dog-whistles, and who exploited the decoupling of left politics from the labor movement, securing near-fatal hits on both entities in the name of a lite-fascist union of the state with the corporate sector. But a majority of Americans at the time believed him a messianic redeemer of the Goldwater ethos in American conservatism, arisen to rescue us all from the brink of New-Left disaster and to renew American optimism after years of economic turbulence, post-Vietnam malaise, and the troubled Carter era. He remains something like a Christ figure to American Movement Conservatives who’ve moved so far to the right that Reagan himself wouldn’t recognize them as conservative—or even sane.

And in re-reading my old Reagan’s Raiders comic books, I’m finding it pretty funny how extremely difficult it is to tell whether the writer thought Reagan was America’s salvation or whether he thought the man was fucking preposterous. Poe’s Law has some mighty long arms.

Reagan’s Raiders was a 1986 ultra-patriotic superhero parody comic book that cast Ronnie and his cabinet as a red, white, and blue spandex clad machine-gun totin’ team of superheroic globo-cops—imagine Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, but all dressed like Captain America. In fact, the origin story is 100% derived from Captain America, with a silly twist. A super-strength process has been developed, and it works perfectly, but only on old dudes. Reagan and several cabinet officials, for the good of the country, of course, submit to the procedure, becoming buffed-out supersoldiers with the strength of 20 men. Each. Also they seem to be bulletproof. Take THAT, John Hinckley, Jr.!
 

 

 
More Reagan’s Raiders after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The man who painted trolls, monsters, sea serpents, witches and the Black Death
10.13.2016
09:57 am

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Amusing
Art
Books

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‘Skogstroll,’ 1890.
 
Theodor Kittelsen was the man who painted trolls. He spent his life drawing and painting pictures of these beastly supernatural giants.

According to Scandinavian folklore trolls live in caves, woods or mountains far from the plague of humankind. Trolls eat humans. They especially like young humans whose flesh is juicy, sweet and soft.

Understandably, humans don’t like trolls—that’s why they steer clear of these slow-witted beasts—or if need be hunt them down in packs.

Kittelsen was born in Kragerø, Norway in 1857. He was one of eight children. When his father died, Kittelsen was apprenticed to a watchmaker. He was just eleven years old. He wanted to be an artist but the family’s desperate need for money meant he had to work. In his spare time, he sketched and painted. His drawings brought him to the attention of a patron who paid for Kittelsen, now aged seventeen, to attend art school in Oslo and later one in Germany. When his patron’s money ran out in 1879, Kittelsen eventually returned home to work as a draftsman for newspapers.

But fortune was still on his side and Kittelsen won a scholarship to study painting in Paris in 1882. Five years later, he returned once again to Norway where he started his career as an artist. Originally he was painted landscapes and romantic rustic scenes. But through time and by commission, Kittelsen was hired to illustrate Norwegian folktales. So began his career painting and drawing trolls, monsters, witches and supernatural creatures.

Sadly, Kittelsen never made much money out of his troll artwork during his lifetime. Today, he is a star in Norway. Everywhere else—not so much. There is a museum dedicated to his life and work and his paintings and drawings of trolls and the Black Death have featured on numerous album covers by Death Metal and Heavy Metal bands—all of which can be seen here.
 
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‘Skogtroll’ (‘Forest Troll’) 1906.
 
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‘Trolløye,’ 1891.
 
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‘The Water Troll Who Eats Only Young Girls,’ 1881.
 
More hellish trolls, beasts and plague, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
At last, Salvador Dali’s insane sex-cookbook is getting republished
10.07.2016
11:17 am

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Art
Books
Food
Sex

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In 1973, French publisher Felicie published a singular cookbook by Salvador Dalí. The volume was pure Dalí. First off, it was hardly a cookbook, it was closer to a visual mindfuck on the subject of fine dining that had little advice as to how the reader should prepare his or her repasts. It had visual flair, ribald humor, a contempt for “accepted” manners, no shortage of libido, and a heightened feeling for the absurd. The book was called Les Diners de Gala—Dalí‘s wife was named Gala, so the title means “Gala’s dinners” but I think there’s also a pun on the idea of a “gala dinner.” A companion volume, the comparatively little-known Wines of Gala was published in 1977.

Only a few hundred copies of the cookbook were ever printed—exact numbers are difficult to come by—but it’s been bouncing around eBay for years, almost always going for hundreds of dollars. We wrote about the book in 2014. Now, however, thanks to the venerable art publishing house Taschen, you’ll be able to own a copy for yourself, and not break your bank account any. Taschen is publishing Dalí: Les Diner de Gala on November 20, 2016, and pre-orders are available.

Here’s a look at the table of contents, which I’ll leave untranslated:
 

1. Les caprices pincés princiers (Exotic Dishes)
2. Les cannibalismes de l’automne (Eggs - Seafood)
3. Les suprêmes de malaises lilliputiens (Entrées)
4. Les entre-plats sodomisés (Meats)
5. Les spoutniks astiqués d’asticots statistiques (Snails - Frogs)
6. Les panaches panachés (Fish - Shellfish)
7. Les chairs monarchiques (Game - Poultry)
8. Les montres molles 1/2 sommeil (Pork)
9. L’atavisme désoxyribonucléique (Vegetables)
10. Les “je mange GALA” (Aphrodisiacs)
11. Les pios nonoches (Sweets - Desserts)
12. Les délices petits martyrs (Hors-d’oeuvres)

 
My French isn’t up to most of that, but, as an example of Dalí‘s humor, chapter 10, dedicated to “Aphrodisiacs,” means “I eat GALA,” so he’s got a reference to oral sex right in the table of contents.

In 2011, two noted Minnesota dance troupes, Ballet of the Dolls and Zorongo Flamenco, put on a staged piece in Minneapolis called “Dali’s Cookbook: A Gastronomical Inquisition” that was inspired by the cookbook.
 

 

 
More great images from this bizarre book after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘1001 Ways to Live Without Working,’ Tuli Kupferberg’s prescient pre-hippie book of mindfuckery
10.04.2016
02:40 pm

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Books

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Several years before the Fugs formed, Tuli Kupferberg was running around Greenwich Village as a poet and pamphleteer. His most successful effort was a 1961 book published by “Birth Press” called 1001 Ways to Live Without Working, a scurrilous F-U to establishment culture that showed an uncanny ability to anticipate what young people would be thinking about five years later.

On the front cover, to announce the book’s intentions, was a striking image of a man’s face with the words “A STANDARD OF LAZINESS” written across his forehead. The back cover featured “Visualized Prayer for the American God #6,” a typographical poem by the Cleveland poet d.a. levy, which is a swastika made out of dollar signs.

True to its name, 1001 Ways to Live Without Working really is a list of a thousand items, and as such, draws material from as many rhetorical registers as it can. The book is a mixture of a long numbered list and photos of odd archival material, many of them classified ads or pertinent news reports, to add spice. Scant thought was given to layout, which lends the book a refreshing carefree style.

Here are the first 10 entries:
 

Die
Someone else die
Find a million dollar in a toilet bowl you the only one dares to fish it out
Beg & quit after $1.00 a day
Steal
Go into business
Marry a rich homosexual
Marry a rich sexuall
Marry a rich asexual
Marry rich

 
What the book reminds me of more than anything is a kind of spindly foretaste of John Hodgman’s 2005 book Areas of My Expertise, the difference being, of course, that whereas Hodgman’s book is a kind of hipster’s celebration of trivia and esoterica, Kupferberg’s work is something akin to a political weapon.

In 1967 Grove Press, sensing the currents in the air, reprinted the book, the same year that Kupferberg published the follow-up 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft.

Here are a few pages from the book.
 
 
 
More after the jump…...
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Evil little F*ckers: Hilarious spoof covers for ‘Bad Little Children’s Books’
09.30.2016
09:32 am

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Pop Culture

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This is something every home should have Bad Little Children’s Books—-a hilarious anthology of 120 fake kids’ book covers features such devilish titles as Polly Paints a Penis, Don’t Lick the Stripper Pole, Even Girls Fart, Rockets and Missiles of the Islamic State and Uncle Creepy. Those of a certain age may recognize the original source material for these parodies which come from more innocent times—I certainly owned a few of ‘em when I was a tot.

The covers are credited to the fictional artist Arthur C. Gackley who was supposedly born in 1923 and was “the creator of many children’s books, none of which were ever actually published.”

Mysterious and hermetic by nature, he spent his life living and working in a small New England village, but was likely washed out to sea or fell penniless into an abandoned wishing well shaft in the winter of 1978. No body was ever found, but unfortunately his book parodies were.

You can order your copy of Bad Little Children’s Books here and follow the life of evil genius Arthur C. Gackley on Facebook.
 
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More of Arthur C. Gackley’s hilarious book covers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu gets the anime treatment
09.29.2016
01:07 pm

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Animation
Books
Movies

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The year 2018 will see the release of an omnibus anime feature film based on Force of Will, a fantasy trading card game first launched in 2012 in Japan—the project sounds vaguely similar to 2003’s The Animatrix based on the Matrix universe. Excitingly, one of the six movies is called “Cthulhu” and is based on H.P. Lovecraft‘s famous monster. Other narratives in the movie are called “Pinocchio,” “Monkey King,” and “Zombie.”

In his 1926 story “The Call of Cthulhu,” Lovecraft described his most famous creation, Cthulhu, as “a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.”

See the trailer after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘A List of the Gay Houses and Ladies of Pleasure’: Vintage brothel guide to Philadelphia from 1849
09.26.2016
10:54 am

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Books
History
Sex

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A Guide to the Stranger or Pocket Companion for the Fancy was a “correct list and description of the greater portion of the Houses of Ill-Fame in Philadelphia” published in 1849. The book reviewed both the brothels and bed houses—those rooms rented by the hour. It listed the names and addresses of the landlady or madams and the quality of services on offer.

In his introduction, the anonymous author assured his readers:

With this book in his hand a man will be enabled to shun those low dens of infamy and disease with which this city abounds, as a true and authentic description of each house is here briefly given.

Among the best madams and working girls were:

Miss Josephine Somers of 4 Wood Street, near Eleventh Street, who was described as “an accomplished lady” and her brothel a “Temple of Venus.”

You can spend an evening here with great pleasure; the young ladies are all beautiful, accomplished and bewitching—they are Elizabeth Moore, Louisa Garrett, &c. Go one, go all, and you will be pleased.

Miss Sarah Turner of 2 Wood Street, above Eleventh, who is a “perfect Queen” her house situated “in one of the most respectable parts of the city.”

At this house you will hear no disgusting language to annoy your ear; everything connected with this establishment is calculated to make a man happy. The young ladies are beautiful and accomplished; they will at any time amuse you with a fine tune on the piano, or use their melodious voices to drive dull care away. Stranger, do not neglect to pay a visit to this house before you leave our quiet city of sisterly affection.

Miss Mary Blessington of 3 Wood Street, a “young and beautiful creature” who “is as snug a lump of flesh and blood as ever man pressed upon his bosom. Her bed and house and first class.

Miss Emma Jacobs of Bryan’s Court, Cherry Street:

This lady is the Queen of Trumps, tall and majestic, and noble in appearance. She is a lady in manners and conversation. She lives well and her house is comfortable and safe. One glance will satisfy a person of that fact.

The author also gave the following caveat:

To every man the author of this statistical warning says, avoid each and every place that is marked with a woeful X, as a single visit might be the cause of utter ruin and disgrace.

Examples of such places include:

X—Madam Vincent of Lombard Street, who runs “a low house”.

...be cautious when you visit this place, or you may rue it all your lifetime.

X—Mrs Hamilton of 152 Locust Street who has “grown bald and toothless in the service.”

Beware this house, stranger, as you would the sting of a viper.

X—Sarah Ross, Passyunk Road:

This is one of the worst conducted houses in the city. The girls, though few in number, are ugly, vulgar and drunken. We would not advise any body of common sense to stay there.

The guide’s author(s) estimates there are some 10,000 prostitutes working in Philadelphia. This figure was based on an estimate of the number of working girls in New York. These women serviced the numerous businessmen, travelers and rural workers who came to the city for business and pleasure. How our author(s) managed to find out so much about these brothels and bed houses suggests some firsthand experience. The whole A Guide to the Stranger or Pocket Companion for the Fancy can be read below.
 
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More from the guide to ‘Gay Houses” and ‘Ladies of Pleasure,’ after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Everything you always wanted to know about the Krampus but were afraid to ask
09.23.2016
09:45 am

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Books
Pop Culture

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Last year here at Dangerous Minds we declared that Krampus had hit the American mainstream, and just a couple of weeks ago we told you “fuck the elf on the shelf, here’s Krampus in the corner.” As we begin to see the department stores trot out their Christmas wares, we are reminded that Krampustime will soon be upon us.

If you’re looking for a Krampusnacht gift for someone special, we have a suggestion:

Feral House has just published the definitive work on Krampus and assorted other dark pagan Yuletide terrors. The exhaustively-researched The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour explores the origins of the Krampus myth, its recent popularization in the United States, the various celebrations and traditions associated with the creature, as well as similar European Christmas beasts.
 

Click here to order this title via Amazon. 
 
Krampus, for anyone out of the loop, is a horned, anthropomorphic, demon-like creature who, according to Alpine folklore, is a companion to Saint Nicholas. He acts as the yin to Santa’s yang—punishing the naughty children while Saint Nicholas rewards the good. Krampus provides the dark balance to Saint Nicholas’ light. Traditionally, Krampus is thought to beat naughty children with sticks. Children that have been extra bad are treated more severely: they are stuffed into bags and thrown into the river. It’s really quite a brilliant legend: if your kids are misbehaving, scare the shit out of them with the threat of being flogged and tortured by the Christmas devil!
 

 
The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil is jam-packed with information on the history and meaning of the Krampus as well as scads of photos and art prints. The dozens of photos of celebrants of myriad regional-variant Yuletide festivals in bizarre and terrifying costumes is worth the price of admission alone. Award-winning designer Sean Tejaratchi has laid everything out gorgeously, augmenting Ridenour’s thoughtful analysis. I really can’t recommend this highly enough. If you have any interest in the subject, this book is simply a must-have.
 
More Krampus after the jumpus…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The 13th-century ‘thinking machine’ of Ramón Llull
09.22.2016
09:17 am

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Books
Literature
Occult
Science/Tech

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Ramón Llull, via Alchetron. The ribbon in his mouth says Lux mea est ipse dominus, “My light is the Lord himself”
 
There’s an exhibition at Barcelona’s CCCB called “The Thinking Machine: Ramon Llull and the ars combinatoria,” up through December 11. Including work by Arnold Schönberg, Athanasius Kircher, Giordano Bruno, Leibniz, Italo Calvino, John Cage, and Salvador Dalí, the show makes its case for the influence of the Catalan philosopher Ramón Llull (1232-1316, sometimes anglicized “Raymond Lully”), who might be credited with inventing the first computer, or its primitive ancestor.
 

via inexhibit.com
 
I first became aware of Llull and his contraption in Jorge Luis Borges’ Selected Non-Fictions, which reprints “Ramón Llull’s Thinking Machine,” an article Borges wrote for El Hogar Magazine in 1937. Borges gives the most lucid description of the machine I’m aware of, starting with its simplest, two-dimensional form, a circle divided nine times:
 

 

It is a schema or diagram of the attributes of God. The letter A, at the center, signifies the Lord. Along the circumference, the letter B stands for goodness, C for greatness, D for eternity, E for power, F for wisdom, G for volition, H for virtue, I for truth, and K for glory. The nine letters are equidistant from the center, and each is joined to all the others by chords or diagonal lines. The first of these features means that all of these attributes are inherent; the second, that they are systematically interrelated in such a way as to affirm, with impeccable orthodoxy, that glory is eternal or that eternity is glorious; that power is true, glorious, good, great, eternal, powerful, wise, free and virtuous, or benevolently great, greatly eternal, eternally powerful, powerfully wise, wisely free, freely virtuous, virtuously truthful, etc., etc.

I want my readers to grasp the full magnitude of this etcetera. Suffice it to say that it embraces a number of combinations far greater than this page can record. The fact that they are all entirely futile—the fact that, for us, to say that glory is eternal is as rigorously null and void as to say that eternity is glorious—is of only secondary interest. This motionless diagram, with its nine capital letters distributed among nine compartments and linked by a star and some polygons, is already a thinking machine. It was natural for its inventor—a man, we must not forget, of the thirteenth century—to feed it with a subject matter that now strikes us as unrewarding. We now know that the concepts of goodness, greatness, wisdom, power, and glory are incapable of engendering an appreciable revelation. We (who are basically no less naive than Llull) would load the machine differently, no doubt with the words Entropy, Time, Electrons, Potential Energy, Fourth Dimension, Relativity, Protons, Einstein. Or with Surplus Value, Proletariat, Capitalism, Class Struggle, Dialectical Materialism, Engels.

Then, Borges moves on to the more elaborate version of Llull’s thinking machine—the one with three revolving disks, illustrated below: 
 

 

If a mere circle subdivided into nine compartments can give rise to so many combinations, what wonders may we expect from three concentric, manually revolving disks made of wood or metal, each with fifteen or twenty compartments? This thought occurred to the remote Ramón Llull on his red and zenithal island of Mallorca, and he designed his guileless machine. The circumstances and objectives of this machine no longer interest us, but its guiding principle—the methodical application of chance to the resolution of a problem—still does.

[~snip]

Let us select a problem at random: the elucidation of the “true” color of a tiger. I give each of Llull’s letters the value of a color, I spin the disks, and I decipher that the capricious tiger is blue, yellow, black, white, green, purple, orange, and grey, or yellowishly blue, blackly blue, whitely blue, greenly blue, purplishly blue, bluely blue, etc. Adherents of [Llull’s] Ars magna remained undaunted in the face of this torrential ambiguity; they recommended the simultaneous deployment of many combinatory machines, which (according to them) would gradually orient and rectify themselves through “multiplications” and “eliminations.” For a long while, many people believed that the certain revelation of all the world’s enigmas lay in the patient manipulation of these disks.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Sleazy characters from vintage pulp novels spring to life from their covers
09.16.2016
10:13 am

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Art
Books
Sex

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A vintage pulp fiction novel comes to life with the help of artist Thomas Allen.
 
The wildly talented Thomas Allen’s ingenious idea to bring characters from pulp fiction novels to life by setting them free from their respective covers and catapulting them into their new 3-D worlds was partially inspired by a couple of items from his youth that most of our readers of a certain age will be familiar with. The good-old View-Master and classic pop-up books.
 

 
According to an interview with Allen in 2007, while he was working on a fellowship he was tasked with re-telling classic mythology using images culled from anatomy books. During this tedious project Allen came across an old pulp fiction paperback and started cutting. The result was one of those “lightbulb” moments whereupon Allen realized that by removing the characters from the cover of the book, they suddenly took on the distinct appearance of a classic “pop-up” book element.

Clearly a perfectionist, Allen prefers to use vintage pulp novels that pre-date the 1970s as the covers were painted giving his cut-out subjects a more “realistic” appearance. When it comes to where he finds his materials Allen is mum on how he tracks the books down and who could blame him as he’s truly tapped into a vein full of nearly endless fuel for his vintage paper ne’er-do-well’s second lives as (almost) living and breathing art. If you pretty much flipped your lid while looking at the images in this post like I did, a large collection of Allen’s photographic catalog is a part of a beautiful book called Thomas Allen: Uncovered. Loads of images follow.

Dig it, daddio.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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