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‘Breaking Bad’ meets ‘Star Wars’ GIFs
09.07.2012
01:01 pm

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Drugs
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Television

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Something Awful held a Breaking Bad meets Star Wars GIF mash-up contest. Most of the submissions were, well…awful. However, I do like the above GIF submitted by The NPR Store.

See the rest over at Something Awful.

Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Machine gun glass pipes
09.06.2012
04:28 pm

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Art
Drugs

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Thomson’s Sub-Machine Gun
 
Artist and flameworker Robert Mickelsen makes these rather intricate, fully-functional machine gun glass pipes. Mickelsen’s been working in the torchworking trenches for four decades.

See more machine gun pipes and other glass works by Mickelsen here.
 

Heckler-Koch MP5K 
 

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
What if Obama had called a real marijuana user?
09.05.2012
02:53 pm

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Drugs
Politics

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I have to laugh at people who think the Obama/Kumar video is a “secret message” dog-whistle to potheads that he’s going to make reform of marijuana laws a priority during a second term. Based on what readily available evidence? A “hunch”? It can’t be about looking at what’s actually happened during his administration thus far, that’s for fucking sure.

Stick with it. The footage of the raids is breathtaking.
 

 
Thank you Michael Backes!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Godmother: Queen of cocaine Griselda Blanco, shot dead at age 69
09.04.2012
09:47 pm

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Books
Crime
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Griselda Blanco
 
One of the most influential drug lords of all time, Griselda Blanco has been shot dead. Credited as the “innovator” of drive-by shooting on motorcycle, Blanco was eventually felled by her own technique. She was known as much for her ruthlessness as the massive amounts of cocaine she smuggled; her body count included multiple late husbands, and her ex-lover said she killed a 10-year-old after his parents refused to pay his ransom.

Outliving Pablo Escobar and serving her time, Griselda Blanco had some of the bloodiest hands in Colombia. Her life was chronicled in 1990’s gloriously pulpy (and-now-out-of-print-so-be-jealous-I-have-one) The Godmother, as well as the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ With The Godmother, the sequel to the more comprehensive, Cocaine Cowboys.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
A must-see documentary on England’s Hells Angels, from 1973
09.03.2012
07:43 pm

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Crime
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Unorthodox

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hells_angels_london_engalnd_1973
 
As they motor off into the neon-lit night, their leader, Mad John can be heard shouting, ‘Hey, if the LSD don’t get us, then the cannabis will.’ It’s part joke, part bravado, a youthful two-fingers up to the world.

Made in 1973, this is a fascinating documentary, if at times funny through its overly sensationalist tone, on the Hells Angels Motor Cycle Club of England - ‘900ccs or over’. It follows the dozen-or-so members of the London Chapter, established in 1969, by a transatlantic decree from the Californian Hells Angels. The London Chapter is run by Mad John (who first appeared in court aged 12, and had 5 other convictions at the time this film was made), and his Sergeant-at-Arms, Karl (who considers himself a psychopath, and was once so violently assaulted his eyes were popped out from their sockets, and were replaced in cross-eyed).

We follow Mad John and Karl as they prepare to take a ride down to the coast. The film tellingly reveals John’s visit to his ex-partner who is unimpressed by the Angels and their juvenile antics. Unable or unwilling to talk to his wife or children, Mad John spends the visit collecting mail and playing with his Alsatian dog Hitler. John has an naive and unhealthy interest in Nazi’s, and towards the end of the film makes an odd analogy between Hitler’s vision for an Aryan Germany with his vision for a Universal Chapter of Hells Angels.

Inadvertent comedy comes from a Python-like interview with one of the Angels’ moms (‘He’s a nice boy, really’), and the Chapter’s failure to make it all the way down to the coast. Instead, they end up on a disused canal barge Katrina, where the Angels spend the night drinking, smoking and er…watching Doctor Who.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Marxist Minstrels: The Beatles want to sexually hypnotize you into Communism!

Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles
 
If you’re like me, you can’t resist a good piece of moral panic red-baiting propaganda, especially when it’s directed at a social phenomenon that seems so chaste by today’s standards. As luck might have it, I recently came across the 1974 opus, The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music, by the good Reverend David A. Noebel.

Evangelical tracts denouncing rock ‘n’ roll, especially as related to either homosexuality or “race mixing,” aren’t hard to find if you scour antique shops in middle America, but as something of a connoisseur of the genre, I have yet to find a piece of literature that so succinctly combines the collective fears of old, white, crazy, Christian dudes. David Noebel, ordained in 1961, started his illustrious career with the above pamphlet, Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles. He saw the rise of Beatlemania as the result of Communist indoctrination via hypnosis (yup, just like the title), a thesis he developed more thoroughly in his 1964 book, Rhythm, Riots, and Revolution: An Analysis of the Communist Use of Music, the Communist Master Music Plan. The book transitioned from The Beatles to folk artists, focusing on Bob Dylan, his colleagues, and their earlier influences. This is at least slightly more understandable, when one considers the political leanings of the folk movement, frequently with explicit anti-racist, pro-labor lyrics.

The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music however, synthesizes all of his previous work, citing children’s records, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll as being part and parcel to some elaborate integrationist, free-love, Communist conspiracy. As a rock ‘n’ roll propaganda collector, I’m used to trudging through a lot of this stuff, and the majority of it is incoherent ramblings—the sort of thing you’d read in a madman’s personal manifesto. Noebel is compelling because he’s intelligent, coherent, and well-researched, despite being absolutely paranoid and utterly mad. Aside from some inconsistent use of the Oxford Comma, he has a clear, if discursive thesis: rock ‘n’ roll is turning kids into gay, Communist, miscegenators.

Some of his “evidence” is fascinating. For example, Alan Freed’s “payola scandal”—who was paying him to play all those rock ‘n’ roll records to unsuspecting teenagers? Communist record companies invade the airwaves by bribery, infecting the youth with music that is ““un-Christian, mentally unsettling, revolutionary and a medium for promiscuity.” He cites psychological studies, sociological statistics, numerology, etc. to scientifically “prove” the moral degradation incited by popular music, causing everything from sky-rocketing “illegitimate” birth rates to sexual rioting. Lots of sexual rioting. The appendices are incredibly dense and well-cited.

What follows his strange assessment of rock ‘n’ roll is an (actually, semi-accurate) account of the American Left, including some background of the American Communist Party and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Then of course, Noebel posits that folk artists were inspiring the youth to instigate a race war. He believed acoustic musicians like Malvina Reynolds (her “Little Boxes” is the theme music to Weeds) and Pete Seeger were instructing white students to join with “radical groups of Negro racists” so that they might revolt and achieve racial dominance in America. The weirdest part of all this is that by 1974, integration was (at least, on paper) complete. The folk artists who were most explicitly leftist or Communist weren’t a particular focus of pop culture, The Beatles had already long been broken up, and he never quite explains how these two very distinct fanbases are somehow connected (except that they’re obviously both very Communist). One can only imagine the lovely psychosis that The MC5 would have brought him.

Noebel is still living today, and I recommend checking out his extensive collection of YouTube videos and blog, if you’re looking for a laugh. These days, he’s much more on the “Obama’s a Socialist” train and decrying “Warmism” (Noebel’s evocative name for climate change) than he is into denouncing rock ‘n’ roll. Hell, even Paul Ryan loves Rage Against the Machine. Still, his older words bring an odd comfort, when we read his treatise on rock ‘n’ roll, comparing it to a children’s record that supposedly contained subliminal messages only audible when the record is played in reverse; “the noise that many of our youth call music is analogous to the story tape played backwards. It is invigorating, vulgarizing, and orgiastic. It is destroying our youth’s ability to relax, reflect, study, pray, and meditate, and is in fact preparing them for riot, civil disobedience, and revolution.” Dear god, I hope so.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘DMT: The Spirit Molecule’
09.02.2012
03:02 pm

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Animation
Art
Belief
Drugs
Environment
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I highly recommend you watch Mitch Schultz’s DMT: The Spirit Molecule. It’s thoroughly engrossing, well-rounded, deeply insightful and goes directly to the folks who know the subject well for perspectives that are informed by experience, both scientific and metaphysic.

Drawing information and inspiration from Rick Strassman’s research on DMT and psychedelics and utilizing lysergic imagery created by Scott Draves, The Spirit Molecule takes us close to the edge and let’s us peer into an almost unfathomable mystery…one that ultimately must be experienced to be appreciated. Consider this film a springboard toward the infinite.

With Joe Rogan, Alex Grey, Rick Strassman, Terence McKenna and Ralph Metzner.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Drugstore cowboy, James Fogle, dead at 75
08.27.2012
03:55 pm

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Books
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Of all the great drug movies and novels, none have quite had the romance of Drugstore Cowboy. Gus Van Sant’s 1989 proto-grunge independent film endeared audiences to junkie protagonists who gang up to rob drugstores to support their habit. It was such an engaging story that Van Sant made the movie before author James Fogle even published the book- a literary gem lauded by William S. Burroughs, who appears in the film.

James Fogle wrote 11 novels, all in prison, but Drugstore Cowboy was the only one ever published. Despite the commercial success of the book, Fogle was in and out facilities for theft and drug use most of his life; he actually stole his first car when he was 12. His chances at a successful life in mainstream society always seemed frivolously tossed away in lieu of drugs or (often elaborate) thefts in order to obtain those drugs. In one of the great beautiful ironies of many a beloved junkie artist, he did not die of an overdose, instead passing in prison of a lung cancer related to asbestos. The cancer is believed to have developed as a result of his work pipe-fitting, a trade he was taught in prison so that he might have a skill upon his reform.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Be Glad For the Song Has No Ending’: Taking a trip with The Incredible String Band
08.23.2012
03:42 pm

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Drugs
Music
Pop Culture

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In September of 1969 I saw The Incredible String Band perform at the Fillmore West. I attended the concert with a theater company I was a member of called The Floating Lotus Magic Opera (yes, it’s true). The concert was sparsely attended, the Floating Lotus making up a good part of it, and there was a real sense of communal intimacy in the Fillmore that night, with the audience singing and chanting along with Mike Heron, Robin Williamson, Licorice McKechnie, Rose Simpson and various other members of the String Band’s extended family.

The air was thick with incense, pot smoke and patchouli as the audience (gathering) repeated together the mantra from “A Very Cellular Song.”

May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide you all the way on.”

In retrospect, the scene probably resembled a diorama housed in a sideshow museum called “The Weird World Of Hippie Freaks” (no one under 18 admitted). But at the time, it really was sweetness and light and the vibes were good. The Incredible String Band were not your usual rock ‘n’ roll act. They were a group of traveling minstrels that had come to town to share their music, good spirits and friendship. After their performance there was much mingling between audience and band and a genuine feeling of connectedness. I’ve never been to concert like it since.

Be Glad For the Song Has No Ending (1970) is a film that captures the hippiness of TISB and while it is at times dated and silly, there’s no denying the film is a spirited bit of whimsy that falls into the kind of strangely compeling vanity projects that many bands of the era were involved in, most notably Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains The Same and The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. No one will mistake these films as great works of art but they are trippy glimpses into what happens when musicians and Purple Owsley cross paths.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Taking Off’: One of the best movies about the Sixties, hippies and drugs
08.22.2012
02:30 pm

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Drugs
History
Movies
Music

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Milos Forman’s Taking Off is one of the very few American movies that dealt with the 1960s’ “generation gap” with a clear-eyed lack of hysteria and hype. Forman’s sympathetic direction and screenplay (co-written by John Guare) is witty, wise and passes no judgement on its characters - everyone is going through messy changes in Taking Off and ultimately everybody in the movie has something to learn from everybody else.

When it was released in 1971, I remember thinking how refreshing it was to see a movie about hippies and drugs that wasn’t moralistic or pumped up with melodrama. In Taking Off, the kids really are alright. Even though there really aren’t a lot of hippies or drugs in the film, Forman condenses the spirit of the era in just a few well-constructed set pieces that capture the changes taking place at the time. The audition scenes where we encounter dozens of young faces of women who are flowering, transitioning from repression into freedom, hints at a revolution brewing. Forman’s empathy for the spirit of rebellion was further put to good use in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest and Hair.    

Taking Off has many memorable scenes. Among my favorites is Vincent Schiavelli schooling a room full of squares on how to smoke pot. It is particularly hilarious with a really sweet vibe and I get a contact high every time I watch it. Other notable moments are Bobo (Kathy) Bates singing her song “And Even The Horses Had Wings” and an all-too-brief performance by Ike and Tina Turner tearing it up on the stage of a Catskills resort. Also, keep an eye out for Carly Simon (she’s not hard to spot) and check out how “Air” by The Incredible String Band is used to lovely effect.

Taking Off is an unpretentious little masterpiece that is inexplicably unavailable on VHS or DVD in the USA. I purchased my Blu-ray copy from France. How is it that it’s available in France (on Blu-ray!) and unavailable in the States? Makes no sense. Fortunately, I found the movie in full on Youtube in a fine quality upload. Enjoy.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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