A collection of 10 different limited edition Yellow Submarine posters (in two box sets) by artist Tom Whalen are going on sale on May 29th at the Dark Hall Mansions’ website.
The posters are officially licensed from The Beatles’ Apple company and they’re stunners. They’ll probably sell faster than Kraftwerk at MOMA tickets, but scoring a set would be sweet. I’m in.
The posters release seem to be timed to coincide with the June 5th release of the newly-restored Yellow Submarine on DVD and Blu-ray. Having recently seen the restored digital version on the big screen, I can testify to its mind-altering beauty.
British artist Gerald Scarfe’s corrosive satire of Nixon-era America Long Drawn-Out Trip: Sketches from Los Angeles is an animated assault on the culture of greed, violence, the cult of celebrity and mass media that managed to piss off a lot of people when it was shown on BBC TV once in 1973. A combination of its harsh (though not inaccurate) depiction of the USA and problems obtaining the rights to the music on the soundtrack has kept this piece of cultural dynamite out of the public eye for four decades.
The subject of Long Drawn-Out Trip is Los Angeles and America itself, the concerns being the same ones that Ralph Steadman was depicting that year in his illustrations for Hunter S. “Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72”: venality, violence, vulgarity and the omnipresent spectre of Richard Nixon, a president who had the good fortune to be drawn many times by two of Britain’s greatest living satirists although he wouldn’t have thanked them for it. In Scarfe’s film we also find Mickey Mouse being reduced to his constituent lines and colours after smoking a joint. The animated sequences for The Wall have their origin in this short film.” John Coulthart.
Scarfe recalls his first contact with members of Pink Floyd:
I did an animated film for the BBC in 1971 called Long Drawn-Out Trip. Roger and Nick (Mason) had seen it independently on BBC2 when it was aired. Roger told me that he rang Nick and said: “We’ve got to have this guy on board. He’s fucking mad.” Then Nick approached me and asked me to do an animation film and that’s how the relationship grew.
I first worked with them on their (1975) “Wish You Were Here” album then Roger came to my house and played me the first tapes of The Wall. He said he wanted to make an album, a show and a movie, all of which he accomplished.”
Scarfe on the genesis of his film:
I did a kind of stream of consciousness drawing everything I could think of about America at that time. Like, the Statue of Liberty, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Black Power, Mickey Mouse, Coca Cola, Playboy Magazine, sort of a million images all melting one into the other. I was supposed to be there for 10 days, but I stayed for about 6 or 7 weeks. Hence the title, Long Drawn-Out Trip. And it was also a kind of a trip, cause it was very much the drug era. And it was a kind of a hallucinatory trip too.
In addition to being a ferociously talented illustrator and cartoonist with an amazing past, Scarfe is married to one of the reigning queens of Sixties’ pop culture, Jane Asher.
Dirty Duck (aka Down And Dirty Duck) released in 1974 was a low-budget attempt to cash-in on the success of Fritz The Cat that manages to stake out its own turf in the X-rated cartoons featuring anthropomorphic animals genre. Directed by Charles Swenson and featuring the voices and music of Flo and Eddie, as well as Aynsley Dunbar, Don Preston and other members of The Mothers Of Invention, Dirty Duck is to Daffy what Charles Bukowski is to Ogden Nash.
Willard Eisenbaum (Voiced by Howard Kaylan) is a day-dreaming insurance worker who thinks he’s about to have the day of this life when he expresses his love to a fellow worker. When Willard’s intentions fail to materialize, he’s told by his boss to investigate an insurance claim from the elderly Martha (Lurene Tuttle). When Martha suddenly kicks the bucket during Willard’s visit, her will says that the one who causes her death (Confirmed by a Ouija board) will have to overlook her duck…Make that a grown, talking Duck! (Voiced by Mark Volman) Within seconds, both Willard and The Duck are hitting the streets, brothels, and tons of indescribable locations to get laid. By the time the film ends (Which is rather quickly) Willard will appear to be in love…But with whom? Or What?”
Within the raunchy confines of Dirty Duck’s universe lurks many pop culture references, including several that conjure up the spirit of Frank Zappa.
There are a few Zappa references peppered throughout the movie. For one, the duck is roughly the same character that Jeff Simmons morphed into in 200 Motels. At one point the main character and the duck are lost in the desert, and the duck is explaining how he came to be a duck. He says he used to be a TURTLE, but that wasn’t too happening, so he got some advice from his MOTHER and he just sort of FLO’d from there. If by any chance these references are too subtle for the more chemically aided members of the audience, at this point a cartoon version of Frank Zappa’s grimacing visage is looming over the entire scene, having just risen like the sun over the horizon. Hereupon Willard says: “Oh, Eddie, you have GOT to be kidding”, in reference to Zappa’s song Eddie Are You Kidding?. Later, 200 Motels is specifically namedropped. It’s almost as if this movie is a sequel to 200 Motels, sans Zappa involvement.” P. Neve
“You can’t do this to me! I was at Woodstock in ‘69. I saw “200 Motels”! I know who I am!” Dirty Duck.
Its not surprising that Dirty Duck evokes 200 Motels. Both films were produced by Murakami-Wolf Productions, who also produced the Harry Nilsson flick The Point.
Dirty Duck is a foul fowl so be prepared for some freaky, offensive and politically incorrect humor. This is one fucked-up duck.
This is one for all you fans of 60s psychedelia, and especially pastiche 60s psychedelia. Not to mention being one for fans of transgressive cartoons, and in particular one of the best cartoon shows of all time, John K’s Ren & Stimpy.
In this clip Stimpy gets invited to climb into his own stomach by his belly-button, which disturbingly enough looks like a talking foreskin. Im sure that’a a metaphor for something or other, but as I have not seen the full episode I can’t offer the context. Once inside his navel Stimpy is treated to some pretty great visuals and a very neat tune called “Climb Inside My World”, performed by Chris Goss (producer of Kyuss, Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age among many others), here channeling that groovy ‘67 spirit of the Beatles and the Small Faces.
It’s great that what was nominally a kids show could get away with something like this. Of course, this was before cartoons were taken seriously as “adult” entertainment, and we can thank Ren & Stimpy hugely for that change in perception. A bit like Stimpy’s own changing perspective.
Ignore the German intro and skip straight to 0:23 for the action. Ooh, there’s that pesky number 23, but I’m sure it’s just a co-incidence…
“Tadanori Yokoo’s works reveal all of the unbearable things which we Japanese have inside ourselves and they make people angry and frightened. He makes explosions with the frightening resemblance which lies between the vulgarity of billboards advertising variety shows during festivals at the shrine devoted to the war dead and the red containers of Coca Cola in American Pop Art, things which are in us but which we do not want to see.”
In the sixties, Yokoo made some amazing animated pop psychedelic shorts (with insane soundtracks), here’s “Kachi Kachi Yama” from 1965:
After the jump, two more great animated shorts by Tadanori Yokoo…
Jan Švankmajer’s beautiful, mesmerizing yet strangely unsettling film Historia Naturae, Suita (1967), presents a short, 8-part history of nature, presenting each phylum through a different piece of music. These are:
Švankmajer is currently working on his next full-length animated feature Pictures from the Insects’ Life is due for release in 2015. Based on Karel Čapek and Josef Čapek satirical play from 1922, Pictures from the Insects’ Life tells the story of a tramp who falls asleep in a forest and dreams of insects as a metaphor for human life.
Augustin Rebetez gives answers to questions that are as quirky and idiosyncratic as his films.
The Swiss conceptual photographic artist and film-maker describes himself as “a sad child full energy.” I don’t know whether he is sad or not, but his work is certainly full of energy and boundless imagination. I was particularly impressed with his stop animation film The Dinner of the Lonely Man, which he tells me was made “With my hands” over “Some nights.”
It is a beautifully eerie, funny, Lynchean dream, that tells the story of “The painting of Ulf, the old owner of a house in Norway who was living there alone.” Now you know.
This isn’t his only film, “The others who exist already are more epileptic that this one,” and his work has been exhibited and screened across the world.
Augustin’s only aim when making art or films is: “I try to be honest and to present good stuff.” He certainly does that, and in an amusing and highly original way.
He is currently working on “Some stuff, one new film which is called maison.” Check out more from the highly talented Mr. Rebetez here.