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At long last, Paul Stanley’s ridiculous Folgers coffee commercial surfaces
12:39 pm


Paul Stanley

In 2000 Paul Stanley taped a commercial for Folgers coffee that never made it to air—it’s been hotly sought after for video scavengers ever since. Audio of the commercial has been on YouTube since 2008, but not the video. Yesterday, a YouTube user named John DiMaggio uploaded it for all to see. It’s a bizarre commercial set in a big top circus tent that doesn’t play to Stanley’s delirious, voluble strengths—in other words, why is Paul Stanley in this commercial and not Paul Williams? No reason that I can see.

The same year that he shot the commercial, Stanley discussed the commercial in an interview: “Life is strange. I got a call asking if I was interested in singing a Folgers commercial. And, like many other things, I thought, ‘Why not?’ I wasn’t at all concerned with who thinks it is okay or not okay, cool, not cool, rock ‘n’ roll or not. I had a blast doing it, and, like I said, isn’t that what this is all about?”

The word (as related by John DiMaggio) is that “focus groups asked ‘who is the old, creepy guy?’ and the agency pulled it.” Seems plausible enough. The soft-focus business with the trapeze artists reminds me of nothing so much as a Cialis commercial.

via Ultimate Classic Rock
Thank you Annie Zaleski!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘The Junky’s Christmas’: The William S. Burroughs short film presented by Francis Ford Coppola

If you have even the most passing knowledge of the life and work of William S. Burroughs, nothing should seem more out of the ordinary than finding the author of surreal heroin tomes nodding pensively at the beginning of this 1993 Francis Ford Coppola-produced short film directed by Nick Donkin and Melodie McDaniel. I couldn’t help but chuckle watching Burroughs appear in a cozy, holiday-themed room complete with a roaring fireplace, tinsel and an amply lit Christmas tree. The film’s opening sequence reeks of an inappropriate wholesomeness, and the former bug powder purveyor looks as innocent as a kind old granddad ready to tell a bunch of rug rats to grab some hot cocoa and gather around for a tale of Christmas cheer. What, exactly, is going on here?

Then, Burroughs pulls a copy of his 1989 collection of short stories, Interzone off of a bookshelf and opens it to the piece called “The Junky’s Christmas.” As the black and white film cuts away to claymation, Burroughs begins to narrate the sad story of Danny, a heroin addicted hustler who finds himself being let out of New York City jail cell on Christmas morning with no cash and no immediate source for his much needed fix. Now we’re in familiar Burroughs territory. 

Well, sort of. If you’ve read it, you know the story, but now try to imagine the bleak, back-alley Christmas narrative read by Burroughs while classic holiday tunes and beats from the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy mingle with his monotone. If you haven’t read it, I won’t spoil it for you entirely, but suffice it to say that Danny the fiending anti-hero shares a holiday gift with an ailing fellow tenant in a shitty rented room after spending the day being kicked around New York City looking to score. Helping the guy out proves to be an act of kindness for which Danny is supernaturally rewarded. 

Burroughs’ story itself is gritty, odd, sad, touching and revelatory in its way. But we’re talking about the short film as a whole here, and the ending, I think, is meant to add something. We cut back to the holiday scene from the beginning, the claymation goes away, Burroughs closes the book and walks into a previously unseen dining room filled with smiling partygoers surrounding a classic holiday dinner spread. In the closing sequence that follows, Burroughs joins the other Christmas revelers in raising a toast. He also helps carve the turkey. The whole thing comes off as kind of silly, but the juxtaposition is perhaps meant a reminder to think about how lucky some of us are. Or, on second thought, maybe it’s just supposed to add a layer of weirdness. Either way, check it out below.

Notably, James Grauerholz, bibliographer and literary executor of Burroughs’ estate, is listed in the credits as one of the Christmas guests.

A different version of this story appeared in Burroughs’ Exterminator! originally published in 1973 as “The “Priest” They Called Him” which itself was read by Burroughs over Kurt Cobain guitar noise and released in 1993.

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Hey Vegans: ‘Mushroom is Murder’!
09:06 am



Dangerous Minds pal Michael Backes is one of the world’s foremost experts on marijuana. He writes with this fascinating scientific tidbit you might want to ponder before tucking in to that meatless mushroom loaf for dinner tonight:

All animals, including humans, possess endocannabinoid systems responsible for feeding, energy expenditure, memory, and pain regulation. The production of endocannabinoids is one characteristic that distinguishes animals from plants. When someone smokes weed, phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis actually mimic the body’s endocannabinoids. 

New research from Italy now shows that truffles, the highly prized and insanely expensive fungi, also produce endocannabinoids. Truffles grow underground near oak trees and can ultimately fetch $1500 per pound. That truffles produce endocannabinoids is just the latest evidence that fungi are more closely related to animals than plants. Plants, animals and fungi all share a common ancestor, and increasingly it appears that fungi are much more akin within the evolutionary tree to humans than say, lettuce. (I certainly feel more simpatico with truffles than turnips or kale, don’t you?)

The endocannabinoid content of truffles may be one of the reasons that humans prize them, since these compounds are active at incredibly small doses and the aroma of fresh truffles feels quite intoxicating. Vegans, however, might find themselves in a bit of a quandary as fungi move more closely towards animals in the hierarchy of nature. Many vegans take the ethical stand that veganism is cruelty free because plants do not suffer when harvested or eaten. The reality is that plants possess very robust signaling systems that share characteristics with the nervous systems of animals. We may have difficulty perceiving the suffering of plants, simply because a plant’s internal signaling system and subsequent reaction is slower than an animal’s nervous system. Vegans hoping to fully eliminate any chance of suffering in their eating patterns may wish to look into inedia.

My takeaway from this is that pigs and billionaires seek out the same drug.

Michael Backes is the author of Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana (endorsed by Dr. Andrew Weil) and head of research and development for the medical marijuana company Abatin. Previously he was a co-founder of Cornerstone Collective, California’s first research-based medical cannabis collective.

Below, a recent talk by Michael Backes at Seattle Town Hall:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Cocaine comedy from 1916: The deeply weird druggy slapstick of ‘The Mystery of the Leaping Fish’

Douglas Fairbanks as “Coke Ennyday.” Note his sash of syringes.
The Mystery of the Leaping Fish is a deeply weird silent two-reeler comedy short whose hero—played by none other than the great Douglas Fairbanks—is the massively drug-addicted “scientific detective” Coke Ennyday, a parody of Sherlock Holmes. Not only did this odd little film employ the talents of Fairbanks, the story was written by Tod Browning (Freaks, Dracula) and an uncredited D.W. Griffith. The film’s intertitles were penned by novelist Anita Loos and her future husband, John Emerson directed it. It comes across more as a vanity project—Fairbanks wanting to prove he could be funny—than something they thought they could exhibit to the public. From the acting, to the onscreen giggling, to the frenzied editing—good luck reading some of those blink-and-you-miss-them title cards—the whole thing comes across itself as the product of a weekendlong coke jag.

What’s so incredibly odd about this film, seen from the vantage point of 100 years after the fact, is the cavalier attitude towards drug use. There is so much “dope” consumed offhand in The Mystery of the Leaping Fish that, well, it makes Scarface, Trainspotting or any Cheech and Chong film seem utterly tame in comparison. Has any character in cinema history ever consumed—comically or otherwise—more drugs onscreen than Coke Ennyday does in The Mystery of the Leaping Fish? If so, I can’t think of one. He’s got a tub of cocaine that he rubs all over his face. I mean, he’s even got syringes strapped to his chest!

That The Mystery of the Leaping Fish was made in 1916 by one of the most famous people in the entire world at that time is perplexing. The film is so druggy it’s hard to believe something like it—of that vintage especially—even exists. It just goes to show what the societal attitudes were like towards drugs like cocaine and opium at that time that narcotics could be played for laughs in a slapstick comedy!

With thanks to Laurent Marie!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Charles Bukowski loathed potheads: ‘I like drunkards, man’
09:17 am


Charles Bukowski

Bukowski Bottles
Despite being a famously proud drunkard of monumental proportions, author/brawler Charles Bukowski didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about other forms of mind-altering pursuits, especially marijuana. The inebriated bard shares his thoughts on drug use in the interview below and it’s anything but your typical “just say no” statement. 

In a discussion that’s more about what you choose to say yes to, Bukowski unsurprisingly embraces alcohol as a life affirming “release of the dream” after a hard day’s work at a shitty job. Then, after categorically classifying himself as being anti-drug, Bukowski does a few impressions of pot smokers as space cadets and asserts that for otherwise intelligent people and even for casual tokers, “all mind circulation and all spirit has been cut off” once Mary Jane enters the picture. 

“Be an alcoholic. If you’ve gotta be anything, be an alcoholic” he says.

This is #10 of the 53 segments that comprise the cult classic The Charles Bukowski Tapes, a collection of short interviews with the writer, videotaped and assembled by Barbet Schroeder in the early 80s. The German director of Barfly shot about about 64 hours of footage during the three-year pre-production period of that film and the segments were culled from that. There are a variety of NSFW comments floating around in this one, so be warned.

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Catnipped: Watch a jaguar tripping balls after eating ayahuasca vines
09:27 am



Apparently animals dig otherworldly experiences, too. Take this jaguar for instance, who seeks out and then happily munches on the Banisteriopsis caapi vine located in rainforests of South America.

Ayahuasca AKA yajé is a tea brewed by shamas known for its psychoactive effects. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the role of Banisteriopsis caapi in the making of ayahuasca.

It contains harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine, all of which are both beta-carboline harmala alkaloids and MAOIs. The MAOIs in B. caapi allow the primary psychoactive compound, DMT (which is introduced from the other primary ingredient in ayahuasca, the Psychotria viridis plant), to be orally active. The stems contain 0.11-0.83% beta-carbolines, with harmine and tetrahydroharmine as the major components

From what I understand, a human wouldn’t get this effect from eating the yajé vine alone. It would have to be mixed with other plant matter to reach its full, trippy effect. Perhaps a jaguar’s liver processes the plant differently? I don’t know.

What is known is that many animals “self medicate”—take for instance when your dog eats grass, it’s probably trying to bring on vomiting. Pregnant elephants in Kenya have been observed eating the leaves of certain trees to induce delivery. Some species of lizards are believed to eat a certain root to counter the venom of poisonous snake bites.

And as we’re reminded every holiday season (on websites just like this one) reindeer located in the Arctic Circle are known to eat the Amanita muscaria mushroom, an especially strong “magic” mushroom. Maybe that’s how Santa’s reindeer achieve lift off…

via Ultraculture

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Bill Cosby on drugs
08:44 am


Bill Cosby

For a generation now, Cosby has played an uneasy role in the African-American community as the most unforgiving variety of scold, getting on Eddie Murphy for his foul language as well as countless other examples of same—the standup routine of Hannibal Buress that started the whole “Bill Cosby is a rapist” news story explicitly referenced this side of Cosby’s persona. (As it happens, I’ve seen Buress perform many times in person and I dig his style of standup. I also admire his bravery in bringing the, er, highly litigatable subject up.) Cosby’s forays into music, including the remarkable 1968 album Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band! (which we covered here), show a restlessness and ambition and willingness to try anything that is fairly admirable while also, perhaps, conforming more to the picture of Cosby that has emerged in the last few weeks, that of someone who takes what he wants—this might be a stretch, but the point is that Cosby didn’t necessarily listen to those around him who might have dissented with his plans. Of course, 400 million dollars later, he might have had a point. Then there’s this interesting report from seasoned sitcom writer and showrunner Ken Levine (M*A*S*H, Frasier, etc.), which asserts that working on The Cosby Show was a terrible gig because Cosby treated his writers like shit. (To be fair, a writer who worked on the show in the show’s final year opines in comments that it wasn’t all that bad—at least in Season 8.)

Chalk up to Cosby’s history of questionable decisions the putative subject of this post, his exceedingly strange 1971 album Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs, which—indeed—consists mostly of Bill Cosby talking to kids about drugs and singing some half-baked (sorry) songs. I own this album on LP, and it is a really weird album. Believe it or not, after winning a ridiculous six consecutive Grammies for “Best Comedy Performance,” this album won a Grammy as well, but for “Best Album for Children.”

Here’s the introductory track, which eventually resolves into an aural representation of how downers and uppers feel (hint: the speed is adjusted):

Introduction/Downers and Uppers by Bill Cosby on Grooveshark

More Cosby on drugs after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Blood Freak! The ultimate Thanksgiving gore film (and a true Golden Turkey!)
11:57 am


cult films

For those of you true seekers out there, here is the ultimate Thanksgiving film on so many levels. First thank the universe this was even made, wasn’t burned or left in a dumpster like so many other small weird films and is waiting for you to devour it. From my buddies Something Weird Video, here is the perfect rundown on this, the world’s only marijuana-addict-turkey-monster-anti-drug-pro-Jesus-gore film!

For those that think they’ve seen everything comes Blood Freak, a rampaging turkey monster on a marijuana high!

Finding himself sandwiched between Bible-thumping good-girl Angel and her bad-girl sister Ann, a muscle bound biker named Herschell (Steve Hawkes, star of two obscure Tarzan films) falls under Ann’s seductive spell when she offers him some weed. Quickly becoming a writhing, spastic addict - “I have a feeling I’m hooked!” - the big galoot then gets a job at a turkey farm where he’s fed meat treated with an experimental drug and, like any junkie who eats tainted turkey meat, turns into a man with a giant turkey head. Yes, A Man With A Giant Turkey Head. Who also gobbles like a big dumb bird.

Still hungry for a fix, Herschell-the-Turkey-Man proceeds to attack fellow drug addicts whose blood he drinks with his pointy little turkey beak. In one magical moment, he even buzz-saws the leg off a pusher who holds his stump and howls for what seems like days. All of which is punctuated by philosophical pondering by co-director Brad Grinter (Flesh Feast) before two potheads with a machete decide to go on their version of a turkey shoot…

Wow. A monster movie quite unlike any other, Blood Freak is a jaw-dropping almost legendary milestone in crackpot filmmaking, and the ultimate cinematic turkey. Gobble-gobble!

To top it off there is a narrator who reads from a page on his desk, chain smokes while babbling about the dangers of ingesting chemicals, and at one point has a coughing fit ON SCREEN! This came out on video in the 80’s and it is one of a very small handful of films that still make my head spin.

For those of you who just want a quick dabble, here’s the trailer:

And for the tried and true freaks here is the complete film (with a silly three minute intro by a non-scary horror host)! Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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‘Weed Snobs’ pretty much nails weed snobs
10:13 am


Weed Snobs

Meet pompous old Yale buddies Richard and Sebastian, who have expert knowledge on the finer things in life and who also happen to be world class “weed snobs.”

Much like wine tasting, Richard and Sebastian take you on an amusing journey through weed class snobbery.

There are too many choice quotes to pick out. I think this is my favorite by far:

Richard: First off I’m going to start off with a Philly blunt of your Super Sour Dies. Uh, now your Pre-98 Bubba Kush... that’s a Bubba Kush that’s definitely prior to 98, correct?

Waiter: Of course, Sir. We import from a boutique nursery whose Bubba clones directly descend from the original Pre-98 plant.

This video is a production of Weed Maps, an extremely useful website that reviews local dispensaries. More of these, please! Thanks.

via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The acid-inspired interactive art of 1960s psychedelic collective ‘The Company of Us’
06:34 am



Artist Richard Aldcroft, in his “Infinity Projector,” featured on a 1966 cover of LIFE. The goggles prevented binocular vision and showed kaleidoscopic images.
“The Company of Us,” or USCO, was an ambitious, groundbreaking collective of artists and engineers heavily associated with LSD, although they formed in 1962, a few years prior to the explosion in public awareness of the drug. They counted among their ranks now notable artists like Gerd Stern, Stan VanDerBeek and Jud Yalkut, but at the time their ethos was rooted in collaboration and anonymity, so they only took credit for their productions as a group. Ironically, their work was actually helped by their druggy reputation, as they were featured in a 1966 LIFE magazine cover story—LIFE had published an editorial against the prohibition of LSD six months prior to USCO’s article.

The photos you see here are from their 1966 show at New York’s Riverside Museum which featured USCO’s psychedelic work in six enormous, completely tripped-out rooms. The collective created surreal environments—like “light gardens” and painted shelters—complete with electronic sounds, projections, flashing and pulsating lights, even an area with sensory goggles that blocked out any external vision. Everything moved and nothing was silent. The work was half druggy multi-media show, half interactive architecture, and it was quite the endeavor for a small bunch of outsider artists.

Stern says of the labor involved:

Part of the real problem that we had at USCO was that everything we did was very heavy. We would travel with a Volkswagen bus and trailers and thousands of pounds of equipment. Schlepping. In fact, I once wrote a piece for one of the art magazines called “The Artist as Schlepper.”

As I’m sure you would guess from an art show comprised of psychedelic rooms, many viewers of USCO’s “Down By the Riverside” exhibit were probably chemically altered, transforming the experience into a sort of amusement park of the senses where you could sit and fiddle with AV equipment or just lay there and watch the walls move. Of course, lingering and prolonged “observation” was encouraged—the show was actually where the term “be-in” was coined.

Painting of Hindu deity, which was flashed with color lights.

Artists Rudi Stern and Jackie Cassen work on an abstract slide show

Plastic eye illuminated with shifting light
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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