Diane Coffee is the nom de rock of voice actor Shaun Fleming, known for roles in Kim Possible and Lilo & Stitch: The Series. He later became the drummer for indie-psych weirdos Foxygen before recording his own music as Diane Coffee. His first album, My Friend Fish, is noteworthy for having been self-recorded in two weeks, partly with makeshift instruments on the voice memo app of Coffee’s iPhone. Seriously. You’d never know to hear it, the album still sounds quite polished (maybe lo-fi is dead after all), and it hearkens back to the weird psych and glam singer-songwriters of the ‘70s. Shades of Emitt Rhodes, Marc Bolan, Jobriath, and even Flo & Eddie are discernible in Coffee’s work.
Coffee’s second album, Everybody’s a Good Dog, isn’t such a low-budget affair, and I have to wonder if Coffee hasn’t been listening to any of Chris Holmes’ ‘90s work in Sabalon Glitz and Yum Yum. Good Dog was recorded in a proper studio, and it boasts horn and string sections, plus some stylistic departures: “Down With the Current” feels like a direct descendent of classic mid-‘60s Motown, and “Not That Easy” is basically acid doo-wop. There are still precious pop gems and big psych freakouts, though; a track that straddles both is “Soon To Be, Won’t To Be,” which ably blurs the line between Boettcher-esque sunshine pop and bongwater-soaked subterranean fuzz-psych.
The video for “Soon To Be…,” which Dangerous Minds is pleased to premiere below, is perfectly worthy of the song—it’s an old-school animation, hand drawn frame-by-frame by illustrator Danny Lacy, who some of our readers might know as the creator of “Crack-Duck” for Adult Swim Canada. After animating it, Lacy ran the final product through old analog videotape editors to achieve the kind of degradation only tape can manage, a familiar effect to anyone who remembers when sharing videos was a matter of swapping nth-generation VHS dubs. We think the result is pretty stunning. See if you don’t agree.
If Times Square grindhouses still existed, the films of Nicolas Winding Refn would be right at home projected on their faded and tattered screens. With films like Drive, The Pusher Trilogy and Only God Forgives, Refn has proven to be a worthy heir to the mantle worn by film makers such as Mario Bava, Tobe Hooper, Enzo G. Castellari, Seijun Suzuki and Bo Arne Vibenius. Refn’s films are beautifully shot, brutally violent and possessed of a certain dark poetry that is very easy to appreciate but hard as fuck to create.
We can now add curator of trash cinema movie posters to Refn’s ever-expanding resume. In collaboration with author Alan Jones (whose bibliography is as hip as it gets), Refn has unleashed one of the most impressive coffee table books to come out in many moons. The Act Of Seeing (Fab Press) is a hardbound collection of several hundred beautifully reproduced exploitation posters from the heyday of truly independent cinema. The Act Of Seeing is a doorway into a lost world that is gone forever. While Tarantino, Rodriguez and Refn himself may honor the grindhouse aesthetic in their own movies, the era in which these kinds of dirt cheap DIY assaults on good taste is behind us. Filmmakers may try to replicate them but irony is no substitute for genuine unselfconscious badness.
Act Of Seeing is available for purchase here. It’s a limited edition and my gut feeling is it will sell out soon. $80 is not too much to pay for a book of this scope. It weighs eight pounds so figure it’s costing you ten bucks a pound. If you’ve got an Amazon Prime account and you want to get the book fast, click here.
Here are a few of my favorites from The Act Of Seeing:
More posters, plus an interview with Nicolas Winding Refn and Alan Jones after the jump…
As much as I relish the inherent entertainment value of a potential Trump vs Sanders showdown/battle-for-the-soul-of-a-nation next year, I feel like America™ really needs a president like James Norcross. Silver-haired, square-jawed, dapper, and resolute, his clear-sighted judiciousness could unite this fractured nation, while his ability to alter his body’s molecular structure could protect us from a perilous world full of appalling ethnic stereotype supervillains.
That’s pretty dumb, isn’t it? But it was the actual premise of a short-lived 1967 TV cartoon called Super President. Produced by DePatie-Freleng, the animation studio best known for the Pink Panther film credit sequences and the cartoon series that spun off from them, Super President’s premise was a stretch, even for a cheaply produced children’s superhero show. The viewer was asked to suspend disbelief that the President of the United States could possibly have time to maintain a secret crimefighter double life, that his batcave-ish lair underneath the White House (to which the series always refers as the “Presidential Mansion” for some reason) could possibly go unnoticed, and that the nom de heroics “Super President” wasn’t kind of a huge screaming giveaway that he was, you know, THE PRESIDENT. Yet only the requisite sidekick/advisor/character who needs rescuing a lot Jerry Sayles knew Norcross’ secret.
There was no way this was going to last. Even if the show wasn’t howlingly dumb (stupider shows have lived long and vigorous lives), I can’t imagine the portrayal of a dashing, indomitable, gracefully-aging POTUS so soon after the Kennedy assassination didn’t sting at least a little—maybe Norcross was intended as a wishful-thinking alternative to the disappointing Lyndon Johnson? It probably wan’t that deep. Watching it almost 50 years after its creation, it’s hard to shake off the values dissonance inherent in its depictions of its antagonists. Offensive portrayals of non-Euro characters were mighty common back then (Hanna-Barbera holds up especially poorly on that count; Jonny Quest for one seems embarrassingly colonialist by today’s standards, but few of their titles were free of non-white representations that don’t seem deeply embarrassing today) but some of the portrayals here are around the bend even for the ‘60s.
Video game designer Robert Yang has has quite the homoerotic resume. He developed Cobra Club, the game where you try to alter a dick pic to optimum beauty, and Stick Shift, a game where you pleasure your gay car. There’s the (consensual) spanking game, Hurt Me Plenty, and Succulent, where you watch a man fellate an popsicle. Rinse and Repeat is Yang’s latest, and it’s surprisingly subtle on the homoeroticism (relatively speaking). The object? Wash a man’s back in the gym shower. That’s it. Just a super-gay locker room fantasy with a healthy dose of camp, and not half-bad graphics, either!
Was he in your Tactical Zumba class, or was it Blood Pilates? Usually you wouldn’t risk a shower right after class, they already talk enough shit about you, but the other day—a cough then a smirk and then a knowing glance, that’s all it ever takes until you start hoping against hope.
Don’t fuck it up. Show up when he’ll show up, right after class. Set multiple alarms on your phone, mark your calendar, clear your schedule. What is this terror? What is this ecstasy? What is it that fills you with this extraordinary excitement?... Boy, it’s the promise of a workout.
The whole thing is really funny and cheeky (get it?), right down to the aviator sunglasses your bathing buddy leaves on during his shower. You can download Rinse and Repeat here (for free!) and watch a preview below. All dicks are pixelated, but do I really need to tell you that it’s NSFW?
It’s much easier to write about something you really, really love—or conversely really, really hate—than something you feel lukewarm about. Passion in one direction or the other is generally speaking, a necessary component of blogging: “Here’s this thing I feel enthusiastic about” (or the flipside of that). And this is why I’ve been sitting in front of my keyboard all morning trying to think of something to write about the new Comedy Central series, Moonbeam City, which I watched last night. I wanted to like it. I expected that I would. Conceptually it’s pretty neat—a neon-hued pisstake of Miami Vice rendered very much in the style of artist Patrick Nagel with a gloriously synthed-out soundtrack partaking in every 80s musical trope—but ultimately Moonbeam City just left me pretty cold.
Moonbeam City‘s pilot episode “Mall Hath No Mercy” (which you can watch now in advance of its Wednesday night TV debut on the Comedy Central website) introduces us to “Dazzle Novak,” an idiotic cop in the “Sonny” Crockett mold. He’s an incompetent, vain, skirt-chasing, narcissistic fashion plate who can’t shoot straight, but he’s the “#1 Cop” in Moonbeam City, or at least that what his coffee mug reads. He’s an undercover cop who wrecks havoc on the pink fluorescent Art Deco metropolis he loves, with car chases and macho catch phrases like “I hope your brain is hungry—it’s having bullets for dinner.”
“Captain Pizzaz Miller” voiced by Elizabeth Banks
There’s much to recommend in Moonbeam City—the animation, done by Los Angeles studio Titmouse (Superjail!, Metalocalypse, Black Dynamite) is pure eye candy—truly the best of the best—and the music, by Night Club, is pitch perfect, too. There’s the voice-over work of Rob Lowe, Elizabeth Banks, Kara Mara and Will Forte. The problem is that it looks and sounds better than it is written.
Clearly Comedy Central have higher hopes for Moonbeam City than I do, scheduling its premiere after South Park‘s 19th season premiere. Sadly Moonbeam City seems, to me, to be a one trick pony. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gorgeous product, but once you get over the art direction and audio-visual flash, the writing is just kind of “blah” and pedestrian. Honestly, I’m kinda on the fence about watching a second episode. I don’t really see where they could take it. But don’t take my word for it, you can watch the Moonbeam City pilot here.
Cops and donuts are a cliched pairing, sure, but just when you thought the final joke had been wrung from our collective psyche, someone does something so… amazing, that you just want to stand up and applaud. This 3D animation of a raver cop titled “Antonyms for Prejudice” is from a Spanish animator only known as “ofortvna.” The sparse caption—“donut mess with a cop”—doesn’t give us much of an artist’s statement either, but it really doesn’t require that much of an explanation.
So maybe it’s not explicitly political or particularly insightful, but hey, absurdist cop-mockery is a pretty easy message to digest, and once you see our boy in blue start dancing hypnotically beneath a cascade of donuts to a very earnestly soulful cover version of “Maniac”—the song made famous in Flashdance—you just kinda sit back and enjoy.
Experimental animator Vince Collins is best known for his his psychedelic nightmare Malice in Wonderland, a 1982 reboot of Alice in Wonderland that manages to completely warp its source material in four fascinating, horrifying minutes. Collins actually acknowledged in a VICE interview that the short was intended as a pornographic send-off to the psychedelic era (for example, at one point, our grotesque nod to “Alice” recedes into her own vagina, which earned him serious backlash from a few feminists). Luckily for us, Collins continues to make us uncomfortable with depraved renditions of children’s cultural touchstones!
In 2013 Collins made “Lizard of Oz,” a 3D re-imagining of Dorothy and her friends’ journey down the Yellow Brick Road. The violent, techy aesthetic equips Dorothy with an automatic weapon and the Wicked Witch of the West with a high tech drone operation—the whole thing looks cool as hell. The cartoon was apparently so controversial that it was quickly been banned by YouTube, although it was soon restored with an age warning. So enjoy, but beware—this is not Judy Garland!
Prior to my first viewing of Eraserhead, I was warned I’d be horrified and repulsed beyond all belief. Instead, I was stricken with maternal concern for the sickly “baby,” and afflicted with sympathetic anxiety for its suffering parents; as far as I was concerned, David Lynch had created an avant-garde family melodrama, albeit in the aesthetics of a particularly affecting dark and morbid surrealism. Knowing now that Lynch had a toddler during the making of the film lends some credibility to my interpretation. Lynch’s portrayal of “children” is obviously pretty damned disturbing, but I’d argue his more horrifying use of kiddies comes from his 1968 short, “The Alphabet.”
This partially animated experimental film was inspired by the young niece of Lynch’s wife Peggy—the child had been reciting the alphabet in her sleep during a nightmare. Lynch painted Peggy white and filmed her in a room painted black for optimum eerie contrast. In a stark and ghostly bed, she is tormented by a phantasmal alphabet in a series of erratic, disorienting shots before blood spatters sheets; the results are absolutely hellish. The distorted crying you hear in “The Alphabet” is Lynch’s baby daughter, so the film truly is a family affair.
It’s difficult to know what deeper meaning could lie behind the tactic that high-end department store Harvey Nichols used this week to promote their new app—taking actual closed-circuit video footage of actual shoplifters caught in the act and presenting it with adorable little cartoon character heads placed over the lawbreakers’ faces. But you know, meaning shmeaning, the clips are curiously resonant and the kind of weird-ass experimental footage you’re going to want setting the tone at your next ‘shrooms party.
It’s even the case that a public service is contributed, as the clip decisively segues from shoplifters naughtily slipping valuables into their pockets etc. to their frantic attempts to escape security personnel and, inevitably, some glum time spent in a holding room. Crime doesn’t pay, kids! Don’t go there.
Credit goes to the ad agency adam&eveDDB for hiring Layzell Brothers to execute the cutesy robber heads. The jaunty music is Wot Do You Call It?” by Wiley.