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Eat a bag of fun with this ‘gold at the end of the rainbow’ cookie cutter!
06:50 am



It’s not often that we at Dangerous Minds stoop to flaccid shilling for online products, but when we saw this “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Pot O’ Gold St. Patricks Day Cookie Cutter,” we thought, “That really looks like something we’d like to get our hands on.”

This cookie cutter is, ostensibly, used to make cookies that look like a rainbow bursting forth from a cloud and landing in a pot o’ gold. We guess.

If you were thinking “it looks more like a huge limp cock,” you weren’t the only one. 

The folks at went to the trouble of emailing the manufacturer of the cookie-cutter, TheFussyPup, to ask if anyone had ever suggested the cutter might resemble anything other than a cloud, rainbow, and pot o’ gold—had anyone ever suggested it bared a passing resemblance to a huge dangling dick and furry balls?

A spokesperson for the company responded that she didn’t realize the cutter resembled anything else when her sister designed it—until they showed it to some friends.

According to Kimberly Wolfe, one of the proprietors of TheFussyPup:

One pointed out its resemblance to the male organ. We had a little giggle and dismissed the thought. While making adult theme cookie cutters isn’t our main goal, we are happy to provide cookie cutters for any occasion—and we love to see the creativity of our customers! Now if only someone would send me a picture of the results!

That sounds like a challenge.

Some may already be up to that challenge, as one five-star review on Amazon suggests: “I used this to bake a whole bunch of cookies, put them in a bag, gave them to somebody, and said, ‘Eat a bag of these!’”


Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Minor Threat’s iconic ‘Out of Step’ LP cover
08:55 am



“I can’t keep up! I can’t keep up! Out of step with the world!”
Minor Threat’s 1983 LP Out of Step is arguably one of the ten most important American hardcore albums, both in terms of its musical power and overall lasting influence. For ‘80s punk kids it was one of those “gateway” records, much like Black Flag’s Damaged or Dead Kennedys’ Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables—ubiquitous, readily available at any mall in any podunk town, anywhere across the USA. Camelot Records might only have had twenty titles in their “punk” section, but Out of Step was one of ‘em.

The producers of the excellent documentary on the DC hardcore scene, Salad Days: A Decade Of Punk In Washington, DC (which is currently available for pre-order)  maintain a Facebook page which routinely shares articles and factoids about Minor Threat and their contemporaries. This page recently reported that the band’s original intention was to have the Out of Step cover art illustrated by famed punk artist Brian “Pushead” Schroeder, but at the last minute the band decided to go in a different direction, enlisting the help of friend and art school student Cynthia Connolly

Connolly’s iconic design of the crude black sheep leaping away from a pack of finely watercolor-rendered white sheep, besides being a spot-on symbol for youthful rebellion, is as masterful a work of “branding” as the instantly recognizable DK logo or Black Flag bars. The meaning instantly connects, while being tonally subtle—in stark contrast to the majority of early ‘80s “brutal” punk sleeve art. The child-like rendering of that libertine lamb says more than a thousand radioactive skulls ever could.

DC artist and photographer, Cynthia Connolly—taken from her book, Banned in DC.
Connolly, who also faithfully documented the ‘80s DC scene, is responsible for the essential book Banned in DC, which is available through Dischord Records. Dangerous Minds had the opportunity to speak with Connolly about the sheep, “Mr. Sheepy” as she calls him, and what it symbolizes.

Dangerous Minds: What can you tell us about the design of the Out of Step cover?

Cynthia Connolly: Minor Threat had asked me to make a drawing for the Out of Step cover. Ian Mackaye and I discussed something to do with a black sheep. The obvious idea was a black sheep that was leaping away from all the white sheep. The black sheep symbolized all of us, the kids that were doing something different, going against the grain of what was going on at the time.  I thought of us as young and energetic. I was just 19 when I drew the sheep, I think. I was young and energetic! It was 1983. 

Anyway, the white sheep were illustrated in water color with fine lines. They were elegant and sophisticated, but looked like they were bored, and perhaps even happy about being bored. The black sheep, on the other hand, had his eyes open—an important detail some people miss when getting it as a tattoo!—and is leaping from the drab sophisticated crowd. He’s making a choice on being different and is happy about it. The crayon, of course, is a symbol of youth and innocence. One thing I didn’t do is that I colored the sheep in like an adult… not as like a child (in circles… adults would fill in the shape from left to right).

The funny thing is, that drawing was a one shot deal. I just did one drawing. Showed it to them and was done. I did practice the black sheep a couple times on another paper, but once I got it down, just drew it on the watercolor of the white sheep and I was done! So punk! I call him “Mr. Sheepy” now, when people ask about him.

Ian MacKaye displays sheep sketches. Photo by Peter Beste.
It’s noteworthy how “gentle” the image is—in contrast to typically dark or aggressive “punk art” of the time.

Exactly. He’s NOT angry—as so much punk depicts—he’s merely making a choice to be different and has no qualms about it. He is intentionally jumping away. I love what he symbolizes and is still a guiding light in ways for myself. In the end, it’s about not having the fear of following your passion, being creative, and stepping out to support your ideas and the ideas of your friends.

Connolly, pictured here with a dress made from the same silk screen that was used to create the “Out of Step” test press covers. “We threw the dress into the mix. It’s like a punk poodle skirt!” Photo by Jim Saah.
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Let houseguests know where you’re coming from with an octopus chandelier
06:00 am



Pink Paris 2
What if, just by pointing towards the ceiling, you could remind your guests that you’re on a first-name basis with dread Cthulhu? You never know—it might come in handy the next time one of your relatives praises Bill O’Reilly, wonders when you’ll get “a real job,” or tells you to turn down the Sleaford Mods. Until you can put in that trap door that opens on an alligator pit, why not see what you can do with one of these apotropaic ceiling decorations, a shrug, and a slight roll of the eyes?

Philadelphia-based artist Adam Wallacavage started making these octopus-shaped chandeliers in 2001, “‘cause I had no money, and plaster was cheap.” Speaking as your personal stylist, don’t you think one of these might really tie the room together?

Martin Denny

Small Gold Chandelier
More after the jump, plus a tour of the artist’s home…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The Electric Kool-Aid Architects: Astounding, lysergic Iranian temple photography
06:42 am



Nasir al-mulk Mosque. All images © Mohammad Domiri
When one thinks of the home of psychedelic architecture, Iran probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind. But here it is. It’s undeniable. Northern Iranian student Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji has recently documented the existence of these intricate structures in Iran with gorgeous HDR photographs, so incredible that the Western mind can barely grasp them.

Although these buildings seem to be tailor-made for the likes of Ken Kesey
or Timothy Leary, it’s probably best to keep in mind that any Western traveler who might suddenly decide to become one with the Universe while visiting these sites on LSD, will probably be executed immediately after it’s discovered that they’re using drugs in Iran.

So, just sit back and enjoy these rich hallucinogenic mandalas from the psychedelic Summer of Jihad in the comfort of your own home—and know that they’re out there…in Iran.

It’s hard to imagine what the intricate blueprints might have looked like for these buildings, but it’s fairly clear that the architects knew what to do with the windowpane.

Aligholi agha bath—Isfahan

Ceiling of Alighapu
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Groovalicious Peter Max fashions from 1970
11:20 am



Of all the designers in the world, probably none are as exclusively associated with the late 1960s and early 1970s as Peter Max. His symmetrical, kaleidoscopic and highly colorful “Art Nouveau had a baby with Haight-Ashbury” approach was perfectly suited for the days of The Dick Cavett Show and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Alas, trendiness giveth, and trendiness taketh away—while he has never really stopped working, his work will never not be associated with that era.

I stumbled onto this fantastic spread of Peter Max clothing that appeared in Seventeen magazine in April 1970, and they kind of blew my mind. I’m assuming that fashion-conscious people are aware of these already, but I had never seen them before. I have so many questions—were these clothes actually popular? Do they pop up in thrift stores ever, or are they just too expensive for that? Does anyone wear them today? Pics please!

You can click on any of the full-page spreads in this post to get a much closer view—trust me, it’s worth it.


More Max after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Spend the night in a Cramps-themed trailer in the Mojave Desert
08:04 am



There’s a motel in Joshua Tree called Hicksville Trailer Palace, and it’s one of those Southern California attractions that makes me wish I had the late Huell Howser‘s job, if not his permanent expression of incredulity. I can almost hear Huell’s voice rising in astonishment as I review the rooms: a gypsy wagon that was used in Big Top Pee-Wee, an Airstream done up like a 70s bachelor pad, a frontier-type trailer with a wooden front porch, and a zombie-themed cabin, among others. There are amenities, too: a saltwater pool, miniature golf, a teepee, a recording studio, a film and video editing room, and something called the “Corn Hole” about which I am afraid to ask.

What really piques my interest in Hicksville, though, is its homage to the Cramps. “The Lux” is decked out in rockabilly/tiki/horror style, and while “tasteful” definitely isn’t the word I’m looking for, it looks like the designer knew what he or she was doing. I have a feeling that if they let me spend just one night in this place, which has a diner’s booth and on-table jukebox, a black and white TV that only shows horror movies, and a few attractive Cramps posters, I might start to talk loudly about squatter’s rights down at the Corn Hole.

Below, in a clip from MTV’s Extreme Cribs (ick), the owner of Hicksville Trailer Palace gives you a tour of the Lux at 1:16.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Book designs for beautiful minds
07:53 am



My introduction to political theory and history came through Pelican Books—the non-fiction offshoot of Penguin Books. Pelicans were the high-end, academic books that brought bold, intellectual ideas to the mass public. The first Pelican imprint was George Bernard Shaw’s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, in which he the renowned author and playwright examined the theories of socialism and Marxism and the problems of capitalism. There then followed an impressive array of texts on art, architecture, psychology, economics and philosophy by writers as diverse as A. J. Ayer, E. P. Thomson and Jacob Bronowski. These paperbacks were mass-produced and sold at a price claimed to be lower than a packet of cigarettes. Allen Lane, who founded Penguin Books, believed there was “a vast reading public for intelligent books at a low price.” He staked his money and reputation on it. Thankfully he was right—the vast reading public did want to read intelligent books and Penguins and Pelicans sold in the thousands.

There was a color coding to Penguin books—orange for fiction, olive green for modern literature, black (originally white) for classics and blue for non-fiction. A reader’s taste in books was easily identified by the uniformly colored blocks filling their shelves. While Penguins had generally illustrative covers to a book’s story, Pelicans by the 1960s had a uniformity of design that made the brand instantly recognizable—ranging from abstracts inspired by Op Art to fashionably stylized photographs. The peak of popularity for Pelicans was in the 1960s and early 1970s, when there seemed to be a Pelican title for nearly every imaginable topic—many of which later became the source material for Richard Littler at Scarfolk Council.

Penguin stopped publishing Pelican Books around the mid-1980s, though last year, the imprint was revitalized with a selection of new books and some texts available online. This small collection of vintage covers has been culled from various sites chosen mainly on the basis of being Pelicans I have read in my youth (Anarchism, Drugs, The Young Offender, Self and Others) or covers well-remembered because of their style and originality.
More vintage designs for classic Pelican Books, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Can you identify these pixelated versions of famous works of art?
08:59 am



Alexis Poles’ pixelated version of René Magritte’s 1964 painting ‘The Son of Man.’ 
If you have ever fancied hanging a great work of art on your wall but thought a mass produced copy too tacky, then these pixelated prints by Alexis Poles might just be the answer.

Using famous paintings as his starting point, Alexis has produced his own pixelated masterpieces—from Leonardo’s well-kent face of “Mona Lisa” to Andy Warhol’s “Chairman Mao” and Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” I find these pixelated masterpieces rather appealing—in part because of the original source material but also because of the way in which each picture have been rendered into beautiful cubes of color.

Poles is a graphic design student at Central Saint Martins, London, and his images are all available for purchase via his site Pixology. Each image would be printed on 160gr matt inkjet thermal wax paper and is available in any size.
Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ (1893).
Unmistakeable: Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘La Gioconda or Mona Lisa’ circa 1503-06.
Another recognizable face: Andy Warhol’s ‘Chairman Mao’ (1972).
More pixel perfection, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Art of the Sleeve: Barney Bubbles’ beautiful record designs
03:00 pm



Barney Bubbles—photo-booth portrait.
Downloads don’t make it, nor do CDs—yon footery wee things that look more like drinks coasters or beer mats than containers for works of great music. CDs are too brittle—they easily crack—and can often be hell when trying to remove the inner notes without crease or tear. Only vinyl counts. Only vinyl gives the user the double pleasure of quality sound and quality design work to peruse.

When The Beatles started putting thought into the packaging of their albums—hiring artists like Klaus Voorman (Revolver), Peter Blake (Sgt. Pepper’s…) and Richard Hamilton (White Album)—the record sleeve became more than just a contents label. It allowed artists and designers to produce covers that would not only sell the music but become their own artwork. Among the designers who made a career out of record design, my own favorite (and arguably the greatest) was Barney Bubbles.

Born Colin Fulcher in 1942, Bubbles graduated from the Twickenham College of Technology, in London, before learning his craft as a graphic designer working with the likes of Michael Tucker + Associates and the Conran Group, before setting up the art group A1 Good Guyz with like-minded friends David Wills and Roy Burge in 1965. The trio organized various happenings and light shows across London before Bubbles started producing design work for Oz magazine in 1968.

By 1969, Bubbles had set up his own graphic studio Teenburger Designs on Portobello Road, where he began his highly successful design career. Over the next fourteen years, Bubbles produced memorable, eye-catching and popular record designs for Hawkwind, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, The Damned, Lene Lovich and The Soft Toys. He was so talented and prolific he produced work under various different aliases—from Colin Fulcher to Big Jobs Ltd. But this was to do with modesty about his work rather than any fear over devaluing his brand name, as he explained to The Face magazine in 1981:

“...I don’t really like crediting myself on people’s albums—like you’ve got a Nick Lowe album, it’s NICK LOWE’S album not a Barney Bubbles’ album.”

After a year-long trip to Ireland—(“to recover from the end of a long term personal relationship”), Bubbles was appointed Art Director at Stiff Records by Jake Riviera (aka Andrew Jakeman) in 1977, where he supplied album, single and promotional designs for the label’s roster of artists—this was where he produced the incredible and stunning foldout sleeve for Elvis Costello’s Armed Forces LP—a work that became (quite literally) a text book for succeeding graphic designers to steal from. Working Stiff Records was liberating for Bubbles as he later said in an interview:

“It’s fun working with Jake, we’d just walk around the block—‘cause he was so busy—it would all be done in five minutes. I could actually do what I wanted to do without being told off by record companies that say ‘Fantastic but don’t you think…?’ and then they fuck it up!”

Bubbles said his approach to record design was “to wait, hear the music and meet the guys, and they tell you what they want and its up to you to deliver it.” During this time he also redesigned the N.M.E. logo and eventually branched out into a career as highly successful promo director making videos for The Specials (“Ghost Town,” “The Boiler”), Squeeze (“Is The Love?”), Elvis Costello (“Clubland”) and the Fun Boy Three (“The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)”). He also started painting pictures an designing furniture. Just when Bubbles should have been getting the praise, recognition and superstardom his genius as a designer deserved, his career faltered and his designs started being rejected by his once loyal record labels and artists. Bubbles suffered from bi-polar disorder and the rejection devastated him, which led to his tragic suicide in November 1983.

Barney Bubbles was one of those rare artists and graphic designers whose work could make you go out and buy an album or a single—by an act you had never heard of before—just by the quality of his sleeve design. Thankfully, unlike book design, you can judge a record by a Barney Bubbles’ cover.
Hawkwind ‘Search for Space’ (1971).
Hawkwind ‘Doremi Fasol Latido’ (1972).
Hawkwind ‘Space Ritual’ (1973).
More of Barney Bubbles’ work, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Wonderful chess set recreates the London skyline
07:40 am



An elegant and modern chess set has been created by London designers Ian Flood and Chris Prosser, with pieces crafted to represent the architecture of their home city.

In our London set Pawns are terraced houses, Big Ben is the Rook, with the London Eye playing the Knight. The Gherkin is cast as the Bishop, and the Shard lends its elegance and might to the role of the Queen. No other building than Canary Wharf would be better suited to play the King, and this piece stands at four and a half inches tall.


As you’ll see in the photos, the set is quite a stunner, and I wonder, where has this concept been? Given the symbolic value cities put on buildings, it seems like such a natural idea, but for the most part, niche chess sets currently seem to be marketed largely at geek culture—there are Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, LOTR, and Doctor Who sets. And Monopoly knockoffs that appeal to regional vanity by representing cities other than Atlantic City, NJ do quite well, so it’s sort of strange that the notion hasn’t been applied to chess. (That said, Monopoly is kind of way out of control with the licensed editions—Who’s buying the Seinfeld Monopoly board? WHO?)

This could be taken so far it’s ridiculous—what about sets that reflect sports rivalries? Manchester vs Liverpool? Pittsburgh vs Cleveland? (I’m envisioning a Cleveland set with crumbling, foreclosed houses for pawns, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for bishops, Dennis Kucinich for knights, so what if he’s not a building…) Per an article on If It’s Hip It’s Here, Prosser and Flood have New York and Paris sets in the works. If you like what you see here and would like a set of your city, the pair offer customization.


More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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