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M. Campbell’s Top Ten Albums of 2010: The National’s ‘High Violet’ #9
12.02.2010
02:36 pm

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The National dug themselves out of their downtown apartments and sauntered onto the streets of New York City and wandered across the midlands to Europe and beyond with 2010’s High Violet .

The claustrophobia and paranoia of previous National albums gives way to an expansive melancholia and world weary beauty in High Violet that recalls a woozy marriage between the romanticism of Leonard Cohen and the gloomy gorgeousness of Joy Division and The Stranglers circa ‘Golden Brown’ and ‘Always The Sun’. Lead singer/lyricist Matt Berninger constantly teeters on the edge of exhaustion and exhilaration, observing the world thru a mesh of dream and grim reality - love among the ruins. When the heaviness starts to get too heavy, The National lighten the load with melodies that can make even the dourest of drunks swoon.

As gothic and sumptous as a Patrick McGrath novel, High Violet is my choice for one of the best albums of 2010 at number 9.

You said it was night inside my heart, it was
You said it should tear a kid apart, it does

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Scientology ‘Dark Ops’ program exposed
12.01.2010
09:58 pm

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In the current issue of The Village Voice, Tony Ortega, who has been writing about Scientology since 1995, reports on former high-level Scientologist Marty Rathbun’s recent expose of a Scientology ‘dark ops’ program.

Former high-level Scientologist Marty Rathbun revealed fascinating material yesterday on his blog: he claims that it’s evidence of a detailed “dark ops” program launched in 2006 by Scientology to destroy a woman named Tory Christman, who had left the organization several years earlier.

I know Christman well. In 2001, I wrote a lengthy story about her defection, which had gained notoriety because she announced it in an online forum, where for months she had been doing battle with Scientology’s critics. Her sudden about-face, followed by a frantic flight from agents of the church who pursued her across the country, was dramatic enough. But leaving Scientology was not Christman’s only goal. She almost immediately became one of Scientology’s most tireless critics.

That apparently didn’t sit well with L. Ron Hubbard’s wacky cabal.

Read the article here.

Christman has uploaded a response to Rathbun’s revelations on Youtube.
 

 
Thanks Mark Ebner

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Wikileaks Explained
12.01.2010
10:54 am

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Wikileaks explained. ‘Nuff said?
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kenny Scharf psychedelizes downtown Manhattan
12.01.2010
03:04 am

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Video of Kenny Scharf working on the latest mural to occupy the ever changing wall on Bowery and Houston in Manhattan.

The wall is legendary for its long standing Keith Haring tribute. It’s fitting that Scharf, one of Haring’s compadres, has created a new work on that historic space.

The mural was completed today.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Members of Russian Performance Art Group ‘Voina’ Arrested and Charged
11.25.2010
07:30 pm

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Two leading members of Russia’s radical art group Voina (“War”), Oleg Vorotnikov, 32, and Leonid Nikolaev, 27, have been charged with “criminal mischief”, after turning over police cars in St. Petersburg as a protest against police corruption, last September.

Nikolayev and Vorotnikov were arrested at a Moscow apartment on 15 November, and brought to St. Petersburg the next day, where they have since been held in custody at a pretrial detention center.

According to witnesses, the pair were handcuffed and had bags put over their heads when arrested. The police searched the apartment and confiscated computers, hard drives, USB flash drives, cell phones and various papers.

The police said that the damage inflicted on the police cars totaled 98,000 rubles ($3,146).

If convicted, the two artists could face up to five years in prison. The charges have surprised members of Voina, as the arrests come two months after the car-flipping incident and the police targeted only two of the seven individuals involved. The St. Petersburg Times reports:

Nikolayev and Vorotnikov’s lawyers appealed the artists’ pretrial detention Tuesday, according to the web site Free Voina, which is campaigning for the release of the artists.

Both have refused to speak to investigators, referring to the Constitution, which guarantees the right of accused people not to give evidence against themselves, the site reported.

According to the web site, investigators have expressed their intention to re-arrest another Voina artist, Natalya Sokol, who was briefly detained on 15 November but was released because she has a young son.

In emailed comments to The St. Petersburg Times, Voina’s spokesman Alexei Plutser-Sarno described the charges as “illegal.”

“The criminal case was filed for the artistic stunt ‘Palace Revolution,’ when the artists demanded, metaphorically, the reform of the Interior Ministry and an end to police arbitrariness,” he wrote.

“In response to this demand, the Interior Minister is insisting that prosecutors demand [five] years in prison. Effectively, the artists are charged with ideological hatred against the social group ‘corrupt authorities.’

“Previously, the Interior Ministry’s official representative was talking about 500 rubles ($16) of damage — one broken mirror and a flashing light. Now the cost of the used mirror of the police Lada has increased up to $3,000 and continues to grow. Apparently, the mirror was set with diamonds; it’s a pity that the artists didn’t notice that.”

Earlier this week, a campaign demanding the release of the imprisoned artists and raising funds for them was launched.

Voina is a highly controversial conceptual art group, of up to sixty different members, including poets, artists, journalists and students. The group was founded in 2007 by philosophy students at Lomonosov Moscow State University, under the leadership of Petr Verzilov and Oleg Vorotnikov.

Voina has achieved considerable notoriety in their homeland since their first event on 1st May 2007, when a group of activists threw dead cats inside a McDonalds restaurant in Moscow. 

In 2008, they made international news with their performance piece Fuck for the Heir Puppy Bear, in which five couples (including a heavily pregnant woman) had sex in the State Museum of Biology. The event was staged the day before the election of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, whose last name is derived from the word medved, “bear” in Russian.

More recently, Voina staged In Memory of the Decemberists - A Present to Yuri Luzhkov, which presented the hanging of two gay men and three Central Asian guest workers, as a direct attack against Moscow Mayor Luzhkov, whose policies have been denounced as racist and homophobic, and the frequent murders of guest workers in the city.

Also, as Dangerous Minds’ Marc Campbell recently reported:

Russian performance artists and political activists, Voina, demonstrate how to liberate food from the supermarket using a woman’s vagina. Perhaps inspired by Divine in Pink Flamingos, these chicken snatchers have developed a simple but effective way to provide their collective with free nourishment.

A more subdued act took place earlier this year, when the group painted a giant phallus on a drawbridge leading to the headquarters of the Federal Security Service in Saint Petersburg.

The news of the arrests has shocked certain parts of Russia’s art community, but it is yet to be seen what affect the possible loss of one of the group’s leaders will have.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Woman Liberates Chicken from Supermarket by Hiding It in Her Vagina


 
More work by Voina after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Save the 100 Club - The Fight Continues
11.19.2010
04:45 pm

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The campaign to Save the 100 Club continues apace with support from a host of rock musicians including Mick Jagger, who came out in support of the campaign earlier this month saying:

There’s a real need for these places - they have a connection with the past. And what is important is that you have places where bands can cut their teeth and places of a certain intimacy and size, that new bands can experiment in. There aren’t that many great places in London, or indeed any city, that you can say that about.

Jagger isn’t the only legend offering his support, Ray Davies of The Kinks has said:

Simon Cowell should underwrite the money needed to save the 100 Club, that would be a real payback. The amount of money he takes out of pop music he could put some back in. I’‘m very concerned about the 100 Club, The Kinks played there and it’s such an iconic venue we shouldn’t allow things like that to close down. Everything is being overrun by the chain stores and the conglomerates and it such a pity that the 100 Club has to suffer like that.

Other musicians including Mick Jones and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie have also spoken out against the possible closure, while Brian Travers from UB40 said:

It feels like live music is being pushed out of our cities to make way for car parks and duplex apartments. You are not on your own, all over the UK small live venues are being closed down. Just last November in Birmingham, the city’s premier live music venue The Rainbow was threatened with closure as well as noise abatement orders because a private property company had built downtown duplex apartments for the upwardly mobile who now don’t like the sound of downtown and wanted to turn it into a haven of peace and tranquility, live music being the first noise they wanted to mute.

This is a much bigger issue than just a noisy musicians being told to turn down the volume, this an all out attack on the UK’s finest export, music. If we are not careful our culture will be irreversibly damaged. As you have quite rightly said pretty soon there will be no where left for young bands to learn their craft.

Steve Diggle from The Buzzcocks said:

The 100 Club is as important as St Paul’s Cathedral!

While Frank Black from The Pixies has pledged £100,000 to the campaign and Liam Gallagher wrote a letter in support saying the 100 Club is “very rock n roll” and that its a shame as he “fancied playing there with the mighty Beady Eye.”

Save the 100 Club organizer, Jim Piddington tells Dangerous Minds that £150k has already been raised, but more is needed if they are to reach the target of £500k. A fund-raising gig is to be held at the venue on Thursday, 25 November, headlined by Specials guitarist Roddy Radiation and the Skabilly Rebels, and a line-up that also includes Chas Hodges, and a selection of “very special guests” who “are also expected to join the bill”.

If interested in attending the gig or in Saving the 100 Club please check details here.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
 

Save the 100 Club


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Gay Coffins’
11.17.2010
10:05 pm

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These look like they were designed by a crazed interior decorator. Well, I guess you’re going to be in there forever, right?

Funeral directors in Germany are bidding for the pink pound - by launching coffins specially designed for gay customers.

The caskets feature homoerotic artwork on the outside and come with a series of tastefully luxurious plush designer interiors, say makers Mike Konigsfeld and Tom Brandl in Cologne, Germany.

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Gay coffins lift lid on new market

(via Buzzfeed)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
November 24 is National Opt-Out day
11.17.2010
03:42 pm

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It’s my most sincere wish that a citizen’s backlash (for once) against these hideous new security theater assaults upon innocent travelers can actually affect some change. I’m not holding my breath…

It’s the day ordinary citizens stand up for their rights, stand up for liberty, and protest the federal government’s desire to virtually strip us naked or submit to an “enhanced pat down” that touches people’s breasts and genitals in an aggressive manner.  You should never have to explain to your children, “Remember that no stranger can touch or see your private area, unless it’s a government employee, then it’s OK.” 

The goal of National Opt Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change.  We have a right to privacy and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we’re guilty until proven innocent.  This day is needed because many people do not understand what they consent to when choosing to fly.

Here are the details:

Who?
   You, your family and friends traveling by air on Wednesday, November 24, 2010.  Remember too, as the TSA says, “Everyday is opt-out day.”  That is, you can opt out any time you fly. 

What?
   National Opt-Out Day.  You have the right to opt-out of the naked body scanner machines (AIT, or Advance Imaging Technology, as the government calls it).  All you have to do is say “I opt out” when they tell you to go through one of the machines.  You will then be given an “enhanced” pat down.  This is a right given to you by the TSA.

Where?
   At an airport near you! 

When?
   Wednesday, November 24, 2010.  We want families to sit around the dinner table, eating turkey, talking about their experience - what constitutes an unreasonable search, how forceful of a pat down will we allow on certain areas of our body, and that of our children, and how much privacy are we will to give up for flying?  We hope the experience then propels people to write their Member of Congress and the airlines to demand change. 

Why?
   The government should not have the ability to virtually strip search anyone it wants without cause. The problem has been compounded in that if you do not want to go through the body scanner, the TSA has made the alternative perhaps even worse by instituting “enhanced” pat downs.  There are reports from travelers across the country about how the TSA now touches the genitals and private areas of men, women and children in a much more aggressive manner.  We do not believe the government has a right to see you naked or aggressively touch you just because you bought an airline ticket. 

How?
   By saying “I opt out” when told to go through the bodying imaging machines and submitting to a pat down.  Also, be sure to have your pat down by TSA in full public - do not go to the back room when asked.  Every citizen must see for themselves how the TSA treats law-abiding citizens.

Be sure to write Congress to let them know how you feel!

 
(for once I agree with a Republican !)

 
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 is NATIONAL OPT-OUT DAY!

 

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Richard Dawkins reads hate mail and answers Reddit questions
11.15.2010
03:34 pm

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(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Aung San Suu Kyi
11.13.2010
04:54 pm

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Today, we celebrate the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s pro-democracy leader and human rights activist who has spent 15 of the past 21 years under house arrest. Suu Kyi’s release has been welcomed across the world, and it is hoped that this is the first step towards democracy within Burma (aka The Republic of the Union of Myanmar).

Suu Kyi’s political career started in August 1988, after a mass uprising against Burma’s military junta left thousands dead, Suu Kyi gave a speech, in front of 500,00 supporters, calling for an end to military rule and a new democratic government.

The following month, Suu Kyi co-founded the National League for Democracy (NLD) and became the party’s general secretary. The pro-democracy movement quickly gained support across the country, which led the junta to place Suu Kyi under house arrest for the first time in July 1989.

In May 1990, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory, but the ruling junta refused to recognize the results. The following year, Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.

...Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression…

...In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.

In 1995, Suu Kyi was temporarily released from house arrest, but her movements were restricted. She was offered the opportunity to return to her family in the UK, but Suu Kyi opted to stay an continue the fight for democratic freedom.

These photographs from her family’s collection, reveal Suu Kyi’s life before she returned to Burma. Married to academic, Michael Aris in 1972, the couple had two children, Alexander and Kim, who are now grown men, one with a family of his own. Suu Kyi’s campaign for the greater good has come at great personal cost, her husband Michael died of prostate cancer in 1999, but he accepted what Suu Kyi saw as her destiny, as before they were married she told Aris:

“I only ask one thing, that should my people need me, you would help me to do my duty by them.”

When Aung San Suu Kyi was released today, she addressed thousands of well-wishers, saying:

“There is a time to be quiet and a time to talk. People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal.”

It can only be hoped that Suu Kyi’s release is the first step towards achieving the goal of democracy within Burma.
 
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More rare photographs of Aung San Suu Kyi after the jump
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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