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Babies covered with corporate logos
08.26.2014
07:27 am

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Advertising
Art

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Dietrich Wegner


Cumulous Brand
 
Australian artist Dietrich Wegner’s preverbal infants festooned with corporate logos, known collectively as “Cumulous Brand,” come in two forms, 2D Photoshopped images of real children and 3D sculptures made of silicone and foam. These artworks may be more thoughtful than they first appear to be—the logos are not selected randomly but rather emerge as the brands that are most relevant to the parent or guardian of the child depicted. According to Wegner, he “put(s) opposites together in works that feed on the friction between two things that should not make sense together. ... In Cumulous Brand, babies are covered in multicolored tattoos. The tattoos are selected through an interview process with an adult prominent in the child’s life, usually the parents. Each work is a portrait through the logos of the products used, the activities participated in and organizations belonged to throughout this adult’s life.”

It’s estimated that a child sees 40,000 television commercials in a typical year. Corporations have an intense interest in insinuating themselves into a newborn’s life, in ways that might not apply to civic groups, governmental agencies, educational organizations, etc. “Reading” these infants, I see an awful lot of brands I use. In turning these children into billboards, it’s a healthy reminder of the forces that act upon all of us.
 

Cumulous Brand, Sabine Sitting Up
 

Cumulous Brand, Bill
 

Cumulous Brand, Sabine & Sebastian
 

Cumulous Brand, Sebastian As Grandma Susan
 

Cumulous Brand, Beatrice
 

Cumulous Brand, Sebastian as Auntie Gretchen
 
Thank you Brian Boucher!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Johnny Cash’s musical ad for the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 1971
08.20.2014
07:48 am

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Advertising

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Johnny Cash
Richard Nixon


You are in no position to give health advice, Mr. Johnny Cash!
 
Johnny Cash certainly lived his paradoxes—a champion of the rebel, yet oddly reverent of the powerful. He sympathized publicly with the margins of society while simultaneously invoking a kind of nostalgic, rural wholesomeness. That in mind, it makes total sense that he’d do a public service announcement on physical fitness for Richard Nixon.

It’s not totally without its charms, either! The tune is catchy. “The man I used to be” is a pretty clever euphemism for “I got fat,” and the whole thing lends itself to that wistful reminiscing you want from a Johnny Cash. This was recorded only one year in of a seven-year period of sobriety. Before 1970 he was still doing insane amounts of pills, and engaging in super-wholesome activities like driving out to the wilderness all cranked up and accidentally setting fire to 508 acres of California National Forest.

I guess Nixon thought America needed a fitness spokesman who wouldn’t make us all feel bad about ourselves?
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Koyaanisqatsi’ director’s dystopian PSA for The New Mexico Civil Liberties Union, 1974


 
Godfrey Reggio is best known for the first installment of his avant-garde “Qatsi” trilogy, Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance. The 1982 film was a Philip Glass-scored non-linear experiment in slow motion and timelapse footage, depicting urban and natural scenes throughout the US. Koyaanisqatsi contains no dialogue at all, and its follow-ups, Powaqqatsi: Life in transformation (1988) and Naqoyqatsi: Life as war (2002), contain very little—all three films are named for words in Hopi, as Reggio believed “language is in a state of vast humiliation,” saying, “It no longer describes the world in which we live.”

Before all of this however, Reggio was a community activist working on issues of health care and gang violence in New Mexico, eventually forming a sort of media activist non-profit, the Institute for Regional Education. The IRE was commissioned by the The New Mexico Civil Liberties Union to create a public service announcement warning of the growing surveillance culture, resulting in the trippy, insidious short you see below. In addition to cinematographer Ron Fricke‘s trademark visual style, the PSA parallels Reggio’s later work pretty clearly in terms of theme. There is a palpable fear of an unfeeling, authoritarian modernity, a historical period of technology and industrialization, rather than humanity.

While the campaign ran on billboards, radio and in print ads, it was the television commercial that really caught on—viewers actually called stations to see when the ad would air again. Despite the success of the campaign, the ACLU stopped funding the IRE, and after an unsuccessful Washington fundraiser, Fricke suggested the remaining money be used to fund a full-length film—Koyaanisqatsi.
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Marina Abramović makes an Adidas commercial for the World Cup
07.09.2014
05:57 am

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Art

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Marina Abramović


 
There’s work from Marina Abramović I like—like Balkan Baroque from 1997, where she sat in a pile of 1,500 cow bones for four days, scrubbing them with water and a wire brush in six-hour shifts. The piece was intended as an explicitly political commentary on the war in Yugoslavia. She initially planned to embody a representation of the Serbian state, but the Serbian government was none too keen. Then she planned on being Montenegro, but the Montenegrin government was similarly averse.

Eventually, Abramović ended up staging Balkan Baroque for Italian art exhibition, The Venice Biennale. She actually performed in the basement, and while the setting might have insulted another artist, Abramović found it ideal, partially since it contained the stench of rotting meat.

There is also Marina Abramović work I do not particularly care for, like watching Lady Gaga practice the Abramovic Method—“a series of exercises designed to heighten participants’ awareness of their physical and mental experience in the present moment.” I’m generally left cold by mysticism, and a naked Lady Gaga stumbling through lush upstate New York in a blindfold before eventually straddling a giant crystal set off all my New Age alarm bells.
 

 
Regardless, Abramović has produced some brilliant, affecting, and very interpersonal art, so I’m a little surprised to see her repeat one of her more famous pieces, “Work/Relation,” for a World Cup-themed Adidas commercial. “Work/Relation” is by no means my favorite of her performances—it’s a little too much of a TED Talk parable for my tastes, but it is a meditation on teamwork and the strength of solidarity. There’s an irony to seeing “Work/Relation” presented by a company famous for its sweatshop labor. That irony is only compounded when you remember the performance is in honor of a sporting event that was sanitized with shantytown demolitions.

I guess “solidarity” only counts when somebody’s watching?
 

 
Via Hyperallergic

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Lamps everywhere’: Utterly psychotic New Orleans furniture commercials
07.08.2014
02:00 pm

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Advertising
Idiocracy
Race
U.S.A.!!!

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Sparkle Johnson


 
I have no words—these commercials for New Orleans’ Hotel Furniture Liquidators star the Maryland performer Kevin Scott’s staggeringly offensive blackface-and-drag character “Sparkle Johnson.” (ZERO relation to the baffling-for-different-reasons HGTV dandy Josh “Sparkle” Johnson.) Why they thought racism, misogyny and classism would be a good way to sell used hotel furniture is anyone’s guess (my guess: because the South), but beyond the brashly anti-PC nature of the character, this stuff is just phenomenally fucked up.
 

 

 
If you’d like to see some more of Scott’s, er… act, I’d suggest you look up his “Aunt Grace” character and don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Here’s an older ad for the same company, which shows that the unfathomably bizarre had been a tool in their tactical sales arsenal for a good while before they employed Mr. Scott.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Debbie Harry hawking Sara Lee French bread in 1980s TV commercial
07.03.2014
06:20 am

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Punk

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Debbie Harry
commercial


 
I’ve been waiting forever to find high quality video of this commercial! I set a Google alert for it, because it is my absolute favorite punk rock non sequitur, and it’s just too absurd to be viewed with inferior video. It was just uploaded by what appears to be a Harvard square gay bar called Videodrome Discothèque—perhaps a nod to Debbie’s performance in Cronenberg’s Videodrome? Not for the last time am I thanking a gay bar for its contribution to the world!

Before you get all huffy, I post Debbie Harry selling French bread not to mock or disdain her, but to show our faithful readers what an insanely sexy person she is. She freaking unsheathes a loaf of Sara Lee bread and with a series of advantageous close-ups (she absolutely works the camera), she somehow actually convinces me I want to buy Sara Lee French bread! A product which I know to be crummy! Such is the power of Debbie Harry! 

Her foray into domestic product endorsement reminds me of my favorite Debbie Harry quote:

“I could be a housewife… I guess I’ve vacuumed a couple of times.”

A woman after my own heart.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Awesome Japanese movie posters from the go-go Sixties
06.26.2014
11:02 am

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Movies

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movie posters

The Trip
The Trip
 
Why is it that these Japanese posters of American and British classics from the 1960s seem so much more swinging than their Anglophone counterparts? Has the U.S.—or even Great Britain—ever had a period when movie posters were this cool? Whatever, I fully expect to start seeing these in living rooms everywhere, they’re just too fantastic!
 
Alfie
Alfie
 
Bedazzled
Bedazzled
 
Hud
Hud
 
Blow Up
Blow Up
 
Modesty Blaise
Modesty Blaise
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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SST Records try the K-Tel route in this crazy early-1990s TV commercial
06.26.2014
08:23 am

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Music
Punk

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SST
Cruz Records


 
This commercial must have been put together around 1990 based on the appearance of e.g. Soundgarden’s Ultramega OK, which came out in late 1988 and H.R.‘s solo album Charge, released in 1990. It’s a healthy reminder of just how remarkable Greg Ginn’s nose for talent was…. all those familiar bands, Bad Brains, Descendents, Dinosaur Jr., Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, they’re all represented here.
 

 
Appended at the end is a quick bumper for SST’s sister label Cruz Records, home of Skin Yard, Big Drill Car, and ALL. I love the quick-n-dirty late-night informercial feel of this, complete with crazy gesticulating and ridiculous camera zooms.
 

 
via Biblioklept

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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We have Pat Boone to thank for the most psychotic and deranged rockabilly record of all time!

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Marty Lott aka Jerry Lott aka “The Phantom” was born near Mobile, Alabama in 1938 and moved to Leakesville, Mississippi during infancy. He played country music on stage at school which progressed to playing country and western at Paynas Furniture Store in Lucedale, Mississippi. Jerry started entering and winning local performing contests which led him to start touring. It all changed in 1956 for Marty and so many others, when Elvis Presley came along, opened his eyes and charged his soul with rock and roll.

“Love Me” was written in ten minutes and recorded in Mobile at Gulf Coast Studio in the summer of 1958. It is one of those rare, lust-filled, psychotic explosions that, in one minute and twenty nine seconds, packs more punch than most punk records did and is considered by many to be the wildest rock and roll song ever recorded. It had to wait until the new decade to see a release.

Lott told Derek Glenister:

“I’d worked three months on the other side of the record. Somebody said, ‘what you gonna put on the flip-side’ I hadn’t even thought about it. Someone suggested I wrote something like Elvis ‘cause he was just a little on the wane and everybody was beginning to turn against rock ‘n’ roll. They said, ‘See if you spark rock ‘n’ roll a little bit’... so that’s when I put all the fire and fury I could utter into it. I was satisfied with the first take, but everybody said, ‘let’s try it one more time’. I didn’t yell on the first take, but I yelled on the second, and blew one of the controls off the wall.”

“I’m telling ya, “it was wild. The drummer lost one of his sticks, the piano player screamed and knocked his stool over, the guitar player’s glasses were hanging sideways over his eyes.

 
mkogdb
 
Lott, known at this time as The Gulf Coast Fireball left Mobile for Los Angeles to shop his master tape around. On a truly bizarre impulse he followed Pat Boone to church one Sunday morning and convinced him to give the tape a listen. It was Boone’s idea to rename Lott The Phantom, even agreeing to issue the record on his own Cooga Mooga label. Eventually Lott signed a contract with Boone’s management but the single of “Love Me” b/w “Whisper Your Love” was released on the label Boone recorded for—Dot Records in 1960, packaged in a nifty picture sleeve, normally reserved only for the really big stars here in the States.
 

 

“Aahh, uhh, let’s go! Uhh
Press your lips to mine
And whisper I love you
Gotta have chance that lasts
To do the things we wanna do
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me
You set my soul on fire
Every muscle in my body’s burning with desire
Baby kiss me do
Make me know you’re mine
Love me with desire
Oh honey, this is fine
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me
Aahh!
I want you to be my bride
My heart’s a runnin’ wild
Got to make you mine
If just for a little while
Don’t hesitate, I can’t wait,
Love me, love me, love me, love me…”

 
jhjilnukhjgjh
 
Sadly in 1965, Jerry’s wife took her own life, and shortly thereafter, in 1966, while still attempting to tour, The Phantom was involved in a near fatal auto accident in York, South Carolina. After his car tumbled 600 feet down a mountainside he was left paralyzed below the neck. Lott continued to write songs, but never recorded again. He passed away on September 4th,1983 at the age of 45.
 
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Ever the rock ‘n’ roll purists The Cramps chose the song to be one of the first ones they learned, going so far as to make a flyer that they put up around New York City before they ever even played their first gig proclaiming “LOVE ME” featuring the baleful gaze of Cramps guitarist Bryan Gregory.
 
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The Cramps play “Love Me” at the Napa State Mental Hospital in 1978

A new generation was introduced to the likes of The Phantom in the late 70’s/early 80’s through this and many European (i.e. bootleg) rockabilly compilation LPs. Fanzines like Kicks, which later morphed into Norton Records and Kicks Books were the first in America to dig deep and write about The Phantom.

As usual, rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form is always discovered 50 years too late by those who wish to use the music to sell stuff. I got an email requesting the cover of the “Love Me” single last week from a music supervisor working for an advertising agency. He couldn’t tell me who, but “Love Me” by The Phantom was going to be used in a huge ad campaign and they needed the artwork for the iTunes download that they will be making available in conjunction with the ad. It was just announced that the song would be used in the latest Southern Comfort campaign. More money will be earned, hopefully by a family member of Lott’s (though I highly doubt it), by the use of this song in this ad than Jerry Lott probably made in his entire music career. It just seems odd the way they used it, like I’m watching TV with the sound down and listening to a record.

I think I need a drink.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Who was that masked man? ORION: The Man Who Would Be King

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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Germs drummer Don Bolles is selling off his old punk flyers
06.11.2014
03:03 pm

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History
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Punk

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Germs
Don Bolles

Don Bolles
Butthole Surfers, Descendents, Big Boys, 1982
 
Don Bolles, drummer from the legendary LA punk band The Germs is selling off some choice ephemera over at punkflyer.com. Some of the best things have been sold, but there’s plenty left. Seventy-five bucks isn’t a terrible price for an original Black Flag flyer, right?

These lineups are enough to make my head spin: Black Flag/Bangles/Redd Kross on the same bill? Butthole Surfers/Descendents/Big Boys? Shiiiit.

Plus, Bolles says that he’ll be “adding more flyers on a daily basis,” so by all means, check the listing again and see what’s popped up since your last visit.
 
Don Bolles
Consumers, 1978
 
Don Bolles
The Fall, The Dull, Silver Chalice, Geza X, 1980
 
Don Bolles
The Feelies, Human Hands, 1981
 
Don Bolles
Circle Jerks, Stingers, Rhino 39, Runs, 1981
 
Don Bolles
Wasted Youth, 1983
 
Don Bolles
Black Flag, Redd Kross, Bangles, 1983
 
Don Bolles
45 Grave, Bad Religion, Pandoras, 1984
 
Don Bolles
“What is 45 Grave?” booklet, 1984
 
Don Bolles
Sonic Youth press kit, 1988
 
The Germs, live at the Whiskey, 1979:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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