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Pain is skin deep: Extreme close-up portraits of people on the edge
11:47 am


Bruce Gilden

A portrait from photographer Bruce Gilden’s 2015 book ‘Face.’

“The older I get, the closer I get.”

—Photographer Bruce Gilden on his ever-evolving creative process

In an article from 2015 on photographer Bruce Gilden’s book Face, the word “dehumanize” was used to describe the artist’s grim, unflinching portraits of people he encountered across the country who in many cases had fallen on desperate, dire times. With craggy and withered faces beat by the street or the horrific effects of drug and alcohol abuse that manifests itself by destroying skin and teeth, Gilden’s subjects are unsettling to look at for so many reasons. It is nearly impossible to not feel empathy for them—an emotion that also might give the viewer cause to reconsider Gilden’s motivation for taking the intimate images. Bruce Gilden is no amateur. He is an artist who has honed his craft on the streets of New York and elsewhere for the better part of 40 years. Gilden also doesn’t really care if you don’t like his work, an admirable personality trait when it comes to the world of art and other creative pursuits. It’s a gift to be able to do something really well while giving zero fucks about what other people think.

When discussing his own personal style of photography, Gilden is quick to mention his obsession with professional wrestling, noting that his favorite wrestlers were always the “ugly” ones and that TV wrestling typically goes in for grimacing close-ups. Growing up in Brooklyn also afforded the budding photographer much in the way of inspiration thanks to the human diversity of his surroundings in New York City. Though he is considered to be self-taught, Gilden did enroll in night courses at the School of Visual Arts in New York before dropping out of Penn State where he was pursuing a degree in Sociology. Gilden and his camera have traveled all over the world taking pictures of Russian drug dealers and criminals running amok in a small rural town; members of the highly guarded Yakuza; and what is likely his most famous series of photos taken of beachgoers and other assorted nut-jobs who flock to Coney Island to let their freak flags fly.

Gilden’s work has been featured in many books, has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and his life was the subject of the 2007 documentary film Misery Loves Company: The Life and Death of Bruce Gilden. Thankfully for all of us, the title of the doc is merely a clever play on words and Gilden is still very much with us and continues getting up close and entirely too personal with his subjects. I must be honest with you, many of the images that follow are incredibly difficult to look at. But they are no different from the faces that most of us divert our eyes away from on a daily basis. And that’s a fact.


“Angel” photographed in Florida.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘100,000 tabs of acid’: Lemmy talks records, touring with Hendrix, and sex with a trans person
08:25 am


Lemmy Kilmister

Back in 2000, Lemmy was the guest on Channel 4’s series All Back to Mine, an interview show based on Desert Island Discs. Usually, Sean Rowley, the host of the show, would visit musicians at home and listen to a few of their favorite records, but this episode was filmed at a bar table with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

Lemmy lists a few favorite records—“Good Golly, Miss Molly,” something by the Shadows he doesn’t name, “Hotel California”—in the course of this freewheeling conversation, which is not really about his favorite records and offers something for everyone. There’s material on being a Ted and hating Mods (“How can you be mean on a Vespa?”), the Hawkwind way of life (“We weren’t in a regular job, we weren’t paying our taxes regular, we weren’t like joining the Young Conservatives or whatever it is, y’know—we were just, like, gettin’ wrecked and playing music that we liked”), and megadosing with Jimi:

Lemmy: I was Jimi Hendrix’s roadie, what’d you expect? I mean, he’d come back from America with a hundred thousand tabs of acid, right?
Rowley: Who, Jimi had?
Lemmy: Yeah, and it wasn’t even illegal then. He brought it back in his suitcase. And he gave half of it ‘round the crew. I mean, that’s a lot of acid, you know.
Rowley: And you were part of the crew, at the time, then.
Lemmy: There was only two of us.

And then there’s the astonishing answer to Rowley’s question about having sex with a trans person, in which Lemmy frames gender reassignment surgery in terms of manly virtue…

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The Germs give out the telephone number of a drug dealer on KROQ radio, 1979
01:07 pm



One of the best DJs in American history was Rodney Bingenheimer, whose show Rodney on the ROQ was an important force in bringing punk acts to a wider audience in southern California in the late 1970s. Rodney once described his programming philosophy as “anti-Eagles, anti-beards.”

On November 30, 1979, the Germs joined Rodney in the studio for an hour or so of utterly sophomoric fun. The Germs’ only studio album, (GI), had come out a few weeks earlier; the guys make fun of the producer of the album, Joan Jett, saying that her contribution was “sleeping on the couch.”

The general immaturity of the Germs is fully matched by the callers. Right after a guy calls in just to say “Punk rockers have a 10-inch cock,” another dude calls in wanting to know who this band is. The answer given is “Led Zeppelin.” A few minutes later and they’re reading “satellite numbers” on the air, which was a way you could make free long-distance calls. It’s bullshit but this was just the kind of thing that could have landed KROQ in hot water.

Much of the time Rodney is reading plugs for upcoming gigs, which are just mouthwatering. Bands include the Go-Gos, the Busboys, the Plimsouls, Sham 69, Dead Kennedys, Fear, the Bags, X, and Black Flag.

Around the 32nd minute a woman named Michelle calls the show from the Whiskey, where Madness is playing. One of the gang has some urgent information for her: “Snickers has some really good pot for sale, call 312-960-3662. It might be 714 area code.”

Back in the day, there weren’t very many area codes so it would be assumed that Snickers has a 213 area code, which covered all of downtown Los Angeles, unless otherwise specified. 714 covered Orange County and eastern L.A. County.

As a commenter usefully pointed out, Snickers’ real name was Richard W. Scott—as the singer for the Simpletones and the Klan, he was a well-known part of the L.A. punk scene. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose in 1997.

By the way, I tried calling both of the numbers. They were disconnected. Oh well.

Germs play the Whiskey on December 23, 1979:


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Ceramic pipes of Frank Zappa, Hunter S. Thompson, Cthulhu, The Dude and many more!

Frank Zappa
I’m completely smitten with these handmade ceramic and terracotta bowls by WTP Art on Etsy. I didn’t feature all the pipes they make here on Dangerous Minds, just the ones I really dig. They’ve got a lot of good ones.

The pipes are handcrafted and take about three to five days to ship. WTP Art also takes custom orders. If you don’t see your favorite character on their page, they’re totally open to making one for you.

Each pipe sells for around $35 depending on the detail. The most expensive ones are $45 + shipping.

Frank Zappa

Hunter S. Thompson

The Dude
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
AI ‘on acid’ fucks with classic Bob Ross footage; everybody wins

For many of us, Bob Ross’ PBS show The Joy of Painting was an endlessly enjoyable random staple of the TV programming of our youth. Did anyone under the age of 57 ever actually seek out Bob Ross on TV? No, for me anyway, it was always encountered accidentally, this odd hippie with a paintbrush that was unlike everything else on the idiot box. As Patton Oswalt once observed, Ross was a Quaalude version of his predecessor and mentor on PBS, the more intense German émigré William Alexander.

A man named Alexander Reben has created the ultimate psychedelic Bob Ross artifact. It’s called Deeply Artificial Trees. According to Reben, “This artwork represents what it would be like for an AI to watch Bob Ross on LSD.”

There’s more, but I didn’t continue reading. I had all the information I needed.

via The Daily Dot

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Smoker’s Delight: Vintage photographs of opium dens
10:03 am


opium dens

Opium. The word conjures up a louche exotic world of artists, writers, low-life criminals and nubile young women out looking for kicks. The word alone is intoxicating. It imbues a feeling of both fear and longing.

According to the dictionary, the word opium comes from Middle English, via Latin, via the Greek word opion, from diminutive of opos meaning sap or juice. Apparently, the word “opium” was first used in the 14th century.

Opium is cultivated from the papaver somniferum, a poppy which has white or purple flowers and a globe shaped capsule containing yellow seeds. This plant has been cultivated in India, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and China. Its principal active ingredient is the alkaloid morphine or C17 H19 N O3.

Opium gained its notoriety in the 19th-century with the advent of global trade and mass migration. Across Europe, upper-class writers and artists indulged their fancies by taking laudanum or eating opium leaves and pellets. The calming, soporific qualities of the drug were used in numerous medicines to treat babies, children, and adults. From teething problems to nervous disorders—opium was the medicine of the masses.

The word opium has a complex history that can often be misrepresented to mask racist and xenophobic fears. In the 1920s and 1930s, many writers of popular pulp thrillers (like Sax Rohmer) regularly featured villainous oriental types who intoxicated innocent blonde damsels with opium before selling them on to the horrors of “white slavery.”

It is always worth pointing out that the Chinese had grown the poppy for twelve centuries and used it medicinally for nine centuries before the middle of the seventeenth-century when “the practice of mixing opium with tobacco for smoking purposes was introduced” into the country—most likely by the Dutch or the Portuguese. Foreign opium was first introduced by the Portuguese via Goa at the start of the 18th-century. By 1729, opium’s deleterious effect led Emperor Yung Ching to issue an edict making opium smoking and the sale of all foreign opium illegal. It had little effect.

By the 1790s some 4,000 chests of opium were being imported into China. An all-out ban on the importation of foreign opium followed in 1796. Again, it had little effect. By 1820, 5,000 chests were imported. By 1830, 16,000. By 1858, 70,000. What was forced on China inevitably spread throughout the world.

From the 1850s on, the opium den spread across the world as a seedy place of refuge for commoner and lord. In Europe opium was viewed as a potentially liberating and creative touchstone. In America, it was seen as an evil and degenerate drug that led to vice, squalor, poverty, madness and death.

However, it should be noted that when the use of opium and the opium den was most prevalent or most virulent—depending on your view—that both America and Europe were at the peak of an industrial, social and cultural revolution. Opium did not appear to make people slackers. Even a fictional hero like Sherlock Holmes indulged in the occasional pipe—all in the line of duty, of course.

By the 1900s, the opium den was no longer quite so ubiquitous. There were dens still to be found in most cosmopolitan cities like New York, San Francisco, London, and Paris, but opium was now mainly a fashionable prop for the bohemian, artistic, and literary class to indulge. Those who wanted a real kick sought opium in other forms—first as morphine then as heroin.

In a rather horrific twist of fate, morphine was originally considered to be the cure for opium addiction. In the late nineteenth century, morphine pills were introduced to China to help cure opium addicts. These pills were called “Jesus opium” as they were given out by missionaries. This “cure” was also sold in America right up until the 1906 U.S. Pure Food and Drug Addict which meant drug content had to be specified and banned the sale of products with false claims.

Opium addicts and opium dens became a fixture of Hollywood movies and pulp fictions. In Hollywood, these low-rent places were often depicted as some kind of exotic harem, with scantily-clad women draped over cushions, while eunuchs looked on and a nefarious hand-rubbing villain cackled. The reality was far more disappointing and seedy. Dens were airless, usually windowless spaces with air vents and doors sealed with blankets to prevent the telltale smell of opium smoke from escaping. They were also makeshift, as they had to be easily dismantled or rearranged in case of a police raid.

The following selection of pictures show opium smokers in various locales—from seedy boarding house den to salubrious book-lined apartment.
Opium den 1920’s New York.
More opium dens, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Perpetual Pills,’ the reusable laxatives of the Middle Ages
06:10 am



Not really antimony, but silvered pills, via Marieke Hendriksen
The story of Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun is interesting enough—it’s the basis for Ken Russell’s The Devils, hardly a dull movie. Yet the book is full of entertaining digressions, such as a lengthy parenthesis on the medical uses of antimony:

Certain compounds of antimony are specific in the treatment of the tropical disease known as kala-azar. In most other conditions, the use of the metal or its compounds is hardly worth the risks involved. Medically speaking, there was no justification for such indiscriminate use as was made of the drug during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From the economic point of view, however, the justification was ample. [Loudun pharmacist] M. Adam and his fellow apothecaries sold Perpetual Pills of metallic antimony. These were swallowed, irritated the mucous membrane as they passed through the intestine, thus acting as a purgative, and could be recovered from the chamber pot, washed and used again, indefinitely. After the first capital outlay, there was no further need for spending money on cathartics. [Antimony-as-medicine opponent] Dr. Patin might fulminate and the Parlement forbid; but for the costive French bourgeois, the appeal of antimony was irresistible. Perpetual Pills were treated as heirlooms and after passing through one generation were passed on to the next.

If you coveted grandma’s Perpetual Pill, you might not have had to wait too long to get your hands into her chamber pot, because another result of taking antimony is death. Some researchers believe that Mozart died as a result of his “treatment” with antimony. Its reputation as a wonder drug coexisted uneasily with its reputation as a lethal poison. No matter how great the savings passed on to you, the consumer, in the little metal pill that lasts forever, there is such a thing as bad publicity, and one of its forms is agonizing death. Around the time of the Enlightenment, history’s real “greatest generation” stopped fishing Perpetual Pills out of their toilets.

An apothecary jar containing antimony, via Phisick
Nature reports: “A more refined alternative, generally used in the 1600s after the pellets were outlawed, was to drink wine that had been left standing in an antimony cup overnight.” But the English translation of Pierre Pomet’s Complete History of Drugs, published in 1748, contained some DIY advice for the unregenerate Perpetual Pill-seeker in the chapter “Of Regulus of Antimony with Mars or Iron” (“made of Antimony, Salt-petre, and Points of Horse-nails, or small Nails melted together”):

Whereas most People who have Occasion for the Goblets or Cups of the Regulus, find difficulty to come by them, let them apply to a Founder, and they may have what Sorts and Sizes they will, at a cheap Rate, without troubling themselves with Moulds, as several have done to their Labour and Cost, who have at last been obliged to give over the Attempt, not being able to make one Cup without a Hole, or some other Defect. You may also get these same Founders to make you the perpetual Pills, or you may easily make them yourself with a Musket-ball Mould.

The Pills serve for those that have the Twisting of the Guts, or Miserere mei, so called. When they are returned from out of the Body, it is but washing and cleaning them again, and they will serve as oft as you please; which gives them the name of Perpetual.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Sex, Drugs & Celebrities: Action figures paired with vintage porn, advertisements & magazine covers

From its sweatshop hidden somewhere in deepest depths of New York’s Chinatown, the evil Super Sucklord has been pumping out a range of highly collectible bootleg figurines, art works, trading cards and pop culture mashups since 2015.

The Sucklord is artist Morgan Phillips who is the boss of toy company Suckadelic—best known for its range of film & TV spin-off figurines in particular its Star Wars collectibles. Among the many other goodies available are a series of one-off artworks created by the Super Sucklord called Sucpanelz.

Sucpanlez feature Action Figures paired with vintage print magazine covers, adverts and print materials which are then mounted onto wooden panels. Currently there are two series available: Celebrity Sucpanelz—featuring the likes of G.G. Allin, Kanye, Robin Williams and Johnny Cash among others, and Sex & Drugs Sucpanelz—which is kinda more self-explanatory.
See more of Super Sucklord’s scintillating Sucpanelz, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Extreme as F**K: That time Death Squad held its audience hostage by gunpoint
09:33 am


power tools

“Power electronics” is not listener-friendly music on a good day. A cacophony of power drills, feedback, short-circuiting amplifiers, panicked screeching and walls of static, it’s fucking useless to dance to and mostly makes sense to budding serial killers, adolescents who can’t figure out how to play guitars, and lonely dudes with severe social anxieties. Whitehouse were/are the reigning kings of the form, but other notable power electronics artists include Grunt, Atrox Morgue, Brighter Death Now and Genocide Organ. Bands in the genre generally self-release, cassettes and CD-Rs, mostly, sometimes in packages that will maim you when you try opening them. There is a very good book, Fight Your Own War: Power Electronics and Noise Culture, that explains the whole sordid power electronics story far better than I can.

These tapes can give you hepatitis.
Anyway, west-coast noiseniks Death Squad already had a reputation for taking things beyond the pale. Even the description of his/their 1996 cassette release, Cutting Myself Open To See And Feel Blood, is enough to leave you whimpering in the corner:

“Contains individual photo, used razor blade and blood smeared tapes packaged in an Abbott OPD Reagant (hepatitis test kit!) box. Edition of 20 copies released at the “Blood And Self Mutilation” performance in City College Of San Francisco May 8th 1996.”

But in 1999, the one-man noise unit performed at a club called Lab in San Francisco, and it just might be the most over-the-top “musical” performance of all time, power electronics, GG Allin or otherwise. The wordy flyers for the gig did have a few red flags—they prominently featured a gun, a syringe and razor blade, and the text-dense manifesto included lines like “Small measures of terrorism are the only hope for the collapse of your perception and constantly programmed ideologies.” So, you know, it wasn’t gonna be an easy ride anyway. But the fifty or so aggro-music enthusiasts in attendance definitely got a lil’ more than they bargained for. Forget the wall of screeching, blood-curdling noise that ripped away at the speakers, that much was a given. It was the crazy shit going down onstage that really put it over the top.

Original flyer for the notorious performance
The show opened in typical 90s industrial/noise fashion, with Death Squad main man Michael Nine seated at a desk, illuminated only by a small lamp. Behind him, a film screen projected the usual edge-wizard atrocities: animal abuse, “true gore” clips, the whole life-is-horror trip. So far, another ho-hum night in 1999. And then things went over the rails.

Ximena Quiroz was in the audience that evening and posted her experience on a Yahoo Forum for fans of Einstürzende Neubauten shortly after the show:

“The desk [Nine] was sitting at had a syringe, razors, a little cup with some sort of liquid in it, a box of bullets, and a gun. The gun and the bullets were real. During the video, he proceeded to inject himself with something (heroin, maybe?). Then he took the razor and began to saw his arms with it until he was bleeding profusely. At first, I thought he wasn’t really cutting himself, but he wouldn’t stop bleeding, even when he wasn’t cutting himself.”

Okay, so far we’ve got heroin use and self-mutilation. And the dude is only getting started. At this point, it’s probably time to pack up and go home. Half the audience did, in fact.  But Ximena stuck around, and things quickly escalated.

More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Want to feel good about yourself? Want to feel like you’re on acid or ecstasy? Then watch this.
08:45 am



I noticed this video of a naked clay figure making the rounds on Facebook, but I never clicked play. Today was the day I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about and it’s… something. I’m not sure what it is exactly but it’s oddly soothing and amusing at the same time.

The only true life situation I can compare this to is tripping on acid with your nude genderless best friend (who has skin like uncooked sausage) at the end of a yoga class. Does this make any sense? If not, click play and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Maybe. I can’t explain it any better than that, it’s all I have. You just need to watch it. 

It’s called “Hi Stranger” and it was written, directed, and animated by Kirsten Lepore. 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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