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Depressing photos of an aging mall devoid of shoppers during the holidays
01.06.2016
12:51 pm

Topics:
Economy
Pop Culture

Tags:
1980s
Malls

The only two
The only two “shoppers” at the Century III, November 29th, 2015
 
Editor and former photographer for her high school newspaper and yearbook, Meg Stefanac took a trip back in time just before Christmas last year and paid a visit to a mall where she and her friends spent countless hours, the Century III Mall in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. As it turns out, Stefanac was one of only a scant few people traipsing around Century III on Sunday, November 29th. Luckily, she took her camera with her and captured some pretty depressing shots of the mall that hasn’t changed much since it opened back in 1979.
 
The deserted Century III mall carousel
 
The empty food court at the Century III mall
The empty food court at the Century III Mall
 
Stefanac’s photos remind me of the Sherman Oaks Galleria from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, only without Damone trying his best moves on a cardboard version of Debbie Harry and without PEOPLE. Here’s Stefanac’s recollections of Century III, which sound pretty much like my own memories of being an 80s mall-rat:

This was THE place to be for those living in the South Hills of Pittsburgh in the 80s. We pitied those who had to live their lives without such a mall nearby. It was always crowded and bustling, and it was frequently difficult to quickly work your way across as you navigated through a sea of neon clothing and big hair held firmly in place with Aqua Net.

 
The saddest arcade in America in the Century III Mall
The saddest arcade in America in the Century III Mall
 
The wide open spaces of the Century III Mall, November 29th, 2014
 
Sometimes if I close my eyes and listen to Winger, I can smell the ooze of the fabled Aqua Net Pink Can wafting a hole through the ozone. I don’t miss those days. Much.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Got $4000 Germs-burning a hole in your pocket? Buy signed (pitiful) royalty checks of Germs members!
11.23.2015
08:59 am

Topics:
Economy
Music
Punk

Tags:
Darby Crash
The Germs
Pat Smear


 
Let’s say you’re an ageing ex-punk who’s made it in the world of high finance. You’re on top of the world, but still something is missing. You’ve got the McMansion and the porsche and the cabin cruiser, but you still wear your FEAR shirt on the weekends up at the lake and there’s always that Germs-burn on your inner wrist which serves as a constant reminder of your rebellious roots. You still feel connected to those glory days, but time has built a wall between you and your lost youth. If only this great wealth could somehow help you reconnect…

Perhaps…

Allow me to direct your attention to three pieces of punk rock memorabilia currently for sale on eBay that would be considered absolutely priceless if it weren’t for the fact that they have an actual price: $3,998.00.
 

Germs’ royalty checks. Click on image for larger version.
 
These three royalty checks were made out by What? Records owner Chris Ashord to Paul Beahm (Darby Crash), Teresa Ryan (Lorna Doom), and Georg Ruthenberg Jr (Pat Smear) for sales of the first Germs’ single “Forming”, which was released in July, 1977. They are endorsed on the reverse side by the band members.
 

Endorsements. Click image for larger version.
 
What’s most remarkable about these artifacts is the fact that the royalty checks are made out for $3.00, $2.57, and $2.56. One is reminded of the Opti-Grab lawsuit scene from The Jerk in which Steve Martin’s character is reduced to writing hundreds of settlement checks for “one dollar and nine cents.” A $2.56 check seems hardly worth writing, but considering the value of that check now, there’s at least one eBay seller that’s satisfied that the payments were made in a timely manner. 

Money can’t buy you authenticity, but these checks do seem to prove the street-cred of early punk bands like The Germs. No one was in it for the money, and here’s the evidence! These items prove that, at least once-upon-a-time, there were some things more important than money—and you can have that proof to hold in your very own hands today for only $3,998.00.

After the jump, the hit What? Records single from whence the Germs got filthy rich. Listen to it and ponder, “What happened to Don Bolles’ check?”

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Pooping on the beaches in India (NSFW)
10.21.2015
12:06 pm

Topics:
Economy
Environment

Tags:
Mumbai


 
What you’re about to see is a reporter taking you into slums of Mumbai, India where a long time resident gives her an eye-opening tour of how the poor there “do their business.” There is no sewage system in the area, and few public toilets, so folks are forced to defecate on the beaches or in the water. While, yes, there’s a bit of a gross-out factor to this video, I actually found it quite fascinating.

I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ll never take my toilet for granted again. Never. But what I can’t understand is the flip-flops. If I had to make potty in these places, I’d be wearing boots.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Sad Truth: Nauseatingly profound illustrations of what the world is turning into


 
Everything that’s bleak about the modern world is wrapped-up like a perfect, little package with these illustrations by London-based artist and animator, Steve Cutts. Rampant consumerism. Shitty jobs. Environmental devastation. Disinformation. Nonsense. Billionaire psychopaths. Overcrowded cities—all present and accounted for. We’ve featured Cutts’ work here on DM before with his dark animation about the current lives of ‘80s cartoon characters.

If a picture paints a thousand words, these pieces are Molotov cocktails for the mind.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Miniature recreations of Philadelphia’s vanishing urban artifacts
07.21.2015
11:41 am

Topics:
Art
Economy

Tags:
Philadelphia
miniatures

A miniature replica of The Forum
A miniature replica of The Forum XXX Theater in Philadelphia (RIP)
 
Long-time Philadelphia resident and artist Drew Leshko, has created incredibly detailed miniature versions of some of his city’s decaying architecture.
 
Miniature version of the Revival Temple in Philadelphia
Revival Temple
 
Inspired by subjects found in his own neighborhood, Leshko’s goal was to enlighten people to the ever-encroaching gentrification of his city by preserving structures and objects in miniature form that have been a part of his community for many decades. Especially structures that will soon be replaced by shinier, newer buildings or businesses. Using a layering technique, Leshko carves his three-dimensional relics out of paper and wood and creates 1:12 scale replicas of fading local attractions like the “Set- it-Up-Go-Go-Bar” (which is still open), XXX movie theater “The Forum” (RIP), or everyday objects like dumpsters decorated with bumper stickers, signs, long gone businesses or other reminders of the past.
 
Close up of miniature/phone and stickers (finger for scale)
 
Wherever you might be reading this, it’s likely that in the very recent past you have said goodbye to yet another part of your own town’s cultural heritage. And there seems to be no stopping this disturbing, profit-driven trend. Thanks to an artist like Leshko, a piece of that heritage will live on and be remembered by those who grew up with them, and will hopefully serve as a reminder to future residents of cities like Philadelphia that preserving our past has as much to do with ensuring our future as anything else.
 
Miniature of The World Famous Set it Off Go-Go Bar
Miniature of The World Famous Set-it-Off-Go-Go-Bar in Philadelphia
 
United Check Cashing miniature replica
United Check Cashing
 
More miniature Philly after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘In Drones We Trust,’ a grassroots protest of the U.S. military’s use of drones
12.08.2014
01:44 pm

Topics:
Activism
Art
Economy

Tags:
money
drones


 
Joseph DeLappe is not your ordinary artist. He’s a professor of art at the University of Nevada, and some have called him the first “gamer artist.” In October 18, 2002, with the TV show Friends still on the air, he and five gamer friends staged a recreation of “The One Where No One Proposes,” the premiere episode of Season 9, in the medium of a Quake III Arena game server (that is, a massively multiplayer environment where hundreds of players compete in the same arena). The project was called “Quake/Friends.” Each character in the show was given an avatar in the violent shoot-‘em-up, and the players used the in-game messaging system to render the episode’s dialogue: “Our performers functioned as passive, neutral visitors to the game—we were constantly killed and reincarnated to continue the performance. The piece was presented a second time in 2003 using six projected points of view, multiple audio channels and microphones for each performer.” The episode they were reenacting was not quite a month old at the time of the first performance. It was kind of a big deal at the time—the New York Times gave the second performance of the piece a writeup with the title “Take That, Monica! Kapow, Chandler!

More recently, DeLappe’s work has shown a more explicitly political flavor. From 2006 to 2011, DeLappe undertook the impressively subversive “Dead in Iraq” project, which involved logging on to the U.S. Army recruiting game “America’s Army” with the username dead-in-iraq and typing in the names of all 4,484 (at that time) service persons who had died to date in Iraq. In 2013 DeLappe commenced the “Cowardly Drone” project, which was essentially an elaborate effort to fuck with Google Image search results. He would take images of e.g. MQ9 Reaper Drones and Photoshop the word “COWARDLY” on the vehicle’s side in large bold letters, then re-upload the images with unprepossessing titles like “predator drone” in the hopes that some of his images would come up as hits in Google Search. The images are intended as “a subtle intervention into the media stream of US military power.”

DeLappe’s newest idea, “In Drones We Trust,” is combining a critique of the U.S. military’s use of drones with the defacement of U.S. currency. He noticed that all U.S. bills in wide circulation (except for the $1 bill) feature an etching of an august edifice connected with the U.S. government on its reverse side. (The $2 has a reproduction of Joseph Trumbull’s painting The Declaration of Independence.) In each case the building comes with an entirely featureless, placid sky, so DeLappe figured, why not add a menacing image of a drone to them? “It seems appropriate,” writes DeLappe, “considering our current use of drones in foreign skies, to symbolically bring them home to fly over our most notable patriotic structures.” He has created a couple hundred rubber stamps with the drone image and you can get one for yourself for a nominal price that simple covers the price of postage ($3 for domestic orders). I ordered one, and I can’t wait to ... er, use it on non-currency bits of paper! (Actually, if I’m reading this right, it’s not illegal to draw on or add markings to U.S. paper currency.)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
No video of “In Drones We Trust” that I could find, but here’s a look at “Quake/Friends”:
 

 
via Internet Magic.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Big ol’ penis spray-painted on $2.5 million car
10.08.2014
06:09 pm

Topics:
Art
Economy

Tags:
Bugatti Veyron


 
I can’t help but laugh a little at this dick that was childishly graffitied on a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport (the world’s most expensive production car).

Apparently this all went down in Seattle as the car was parked on a city street. No one has copped to the vandalism yet, so the motivation behind the graffiti is still unclear (but I don’t think it takes a brain surgeon to figure why this happened or the message). 

I can’t imagine the owner of the Bugatti Veyron was too thrilled to see a primitively rendered spray-painted dick on his or her car, but it sort of comes with the territory when such an opulent chariot is parked among the proletariat, don’t you think?

The owner has, so far at least, not revealed his or her identity.


 
Via Metro and h/t Death and Taxes

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Karl Marxio Brothers: An 8-bit ‘Marxism for Dummies’ for the digital generation

marx8bit1.jpg
 
Dialectical materialism as explained by 8-bit philosophy, a kind of “Super Marxio” or “Marxism for Dummies” for the digital generation. Why bother with boring old Das Kapital when you can bluff your way through the exam with this four-minute video?

More low resolution gems of useful information on Plato, Nietzsche, Kant, Sartre, Zeno, Descartes and Kierkegaard can be found here, or better still, read the books.
 

 
H/T Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Boomerang Kids’: Images of college graduates with huge debts who live with their parents
07.29.2014
02:42 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Economy

Tags:
debt crisis


Annie Kasinecz, 27, Downers Grove, Ill.
Degree: B.A., Advertising and public relations, Loyola University, Chicago
Student Loans: $75,000

Los Angeles-based photographer Damon Casarez‘s series titled “Boomerang Kids” portrays the bleak reality that 1 in 5 Americans in their 20s and early 30s live at home with their parents. According to the New York Times, “60 percent of all young adults receive financial support from them.” That’s staggering, isn’t? Of course there are a plethora reasons why Millennials are still at home with mom and dad, but the main reason is… crushing student debt loans.

In effect, children move out, go through the standard rite of passage of American life—getting a highly valued “higher education”—and then end up dependent on their parents again (if there was ever a break in the first place) a day or two after graduation because there are no decent paying jobs anymore.

Saddling themselves up to their eyeballs in student loan debts—whether they attended classes or attended to their hangovers—that they will then be paying off to Wall Street capitalists for much, perhaps most, of their productive lives seems like a raw deal. Who benefits from this equation? It’s becoming more and more obvious every day what a scam colleges are.

In the case of Damon Casarez, he was in the very same situation that his subjects are in—lots of debt and living at home—and “Boomerang Kids” was a way of connecting with young people in similar financial straights, an entire generation with a “failure to launch” crisis not of their own making.

Here’s a bit more from the New York Times:

The common explanation for the shift is that people born in the late 1980s and early 1990s came of age amid several unfortunate and overlapping economic trends. Those who graduated college as the housing market and financial system were imploding faced the highest debt burden of any graduating class in history. Nearly 45 percent of 25-year-olds, for instance, have outstanding loans, with an average debt above $20,000. And more than half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, meaning they make substandard wages in jobs that don’t require a college degree.

snip~

For most of American history, it was natural for each generation to become richer than the previous one. Now that’s no longer true. These changes created a new, far less predictable dynamic — some people would do much better than their parents could have ever dreamed; others would fall permanently behind. Given the volatility of the changes, the idea of an “average” worker was becoming obsolete. And while much of the discussion about economic inequality has centered on the top 1 percent, it’s the gap between the top 20 percent and the rest that’s more salient to young people. “That is a dividing point,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. People in the top 20 percent of income — roughly $100,000 in 2013 — have taken nearly all the economic gains of the past 40 years. (Of course, the top 1 percent and, even more so, the top 0.01 percent, has taken a far more disproportionate share.)

The series “Boomerang Kids” was shot in “8 states and over 14 cities, the work is a revealing and compassionate story of Millennials in the United States.”


Monica Navarro, 24, Escondido, Calif.
Degree: B.A., Literature and writing, University of California, San Diego.
Career Goal: Librarian
Current Job: Library volunteer, Home Depot Worker
Student Loans: $44,000

 

Gabriel Gonzalez, 22, Suffern, N.Y.
Degree: B.F.A., Graphic design, School of Visual Arts
Career goal: Graphic designer
Current job: Graphic designer and production assistant
Student Loans: $130,000

 

Alexandria Romo, 28, Austin, Tex.
Degree: B.A., Economics, Loyola University, Chicago
Career goal: Environmentalist
Current Job: Working at a corporate-security firm
Student Loans: $90,000

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Moneyballs: A million bucks shredded for… art
06.25.2014
04:58 pm

Topics:
Art
Economy

Tags:
Argentina
money
Alberto Echegaray Guevara

Alberto Echegaray Guevara
 
What is it about seeing massive sums of money collected in a single place (and also rendered useless) that exerts such a fascination on us? On his first album The Top Part, standup comedian John Mulaney has a bit where he asserts that he’d rather pay $10 to see a pile of 100 million dollars in a room than pay $10 to see most of the movies that cost 100 million dollars. The KLF created a significant public spectacle when they burned a million pounds in public—indeed, some observers say that Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty of the KLF were never quite the same after that odd event.
 
Alberto Echegaray Guevara
 
Alberto Echegaray Guevara was “an advisor to the Argentinian economic minister who pegged the country’s currency at a 1:1 rate with the US dollar” in 1991, a move that unquestionably sapped the Argentine government of flexibility and almost certainly led to the country’s massive economic meltdown in 1998-2002. In those years Argentina suffered an economic collapse that makes the problems the U.S. suffered between 2007 and 2010 look like a joke: the economy shrank by a whopping 28 percent. Understandably, the economic shock caused significant unrest in the country and toppled the government of Fernando de la Rua in 2001.

A cataclysmic event of such magnitude is bound to discourage one a mite about the world financial regime, and stance surely made all the more pronounced by the world economic collapse in 2008. In response, Guevara created Moneyball: Power Spheres, a work of art that uniquely expresses a deep pessimism about the ubiquitous institution of money: the work consists of 12 Murano crystal orbs, 11 of them filled with a million shredded Argentinian pesos each, surrounding an orb with a million shredded U.S. dollars. (The ratio of orbs is meant to comment on the exchange rate between peso and dollar.) The work saw its debut at arteBA, Latin America’s largest contemporary art fair, in late May.
 
Alberto Echegaray Guevara
 
In an essay for the Atlantic titled “Why I Shredded $1 Million,” Guevara explains his motivations and the process of making Moneyball:
 

The central theme of my work was the idea of destruction. I wanted to break something down to give it a new meaning, or to see what new meaning it would be given. To find out, I shredded $1 million, and the black-market equivalent of that sum in Argentine pesos: 11 million. The money was then displayed in Murano crystal spheres in an installation I named Moneyball: The One Million Dollar Installation.

-snip-

No matter who saw the crystal spheres, the first question was invariably, “Whose money is this?” or “Where/how did you get the money?” All of the bills were out-of-circulation, already rendered valueless in the traditional sense. While I was probably the first person to ask, obtaining permission to take the shredded money was complex in the United States and at the European Central Bank.

Argentina’s Central Bank was the only institution to be withholding, though. It was an ironic move, given that the Argentine peso is the least valued of all the currencies, but not surprising considering how secretive the country is when it comes to its books, having reported inflation rates for years now as much lower than what independent economists assess. The Central Bank surprisingly keeps no official records of how many bills it destroys, either. For months, I followed trucks with out-of-circulation bills to wade through dumpsters with their discards until I finally accumulated enough for the installation.

 
Guevara hopes to take his art work all over the world. In this video, he waxes philosophical about the evanescent and arbitrary power that money holds over us. But for his audience, the work is mainly about seeing all that money.
 

 
via Hyperallergic

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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