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Steven Spielberg predicts the psycho-delic future of today in 1971’s ‘Los Angeles: A.D. 2017’!

I had heard about this impossible-to-see episode of The Name of the Game—a cutting edge television show that ran for seventy-six 90-minute episodes from 1968 to 1971 on NBC—but until recently, I’d never seen it. The Name of the Game had the biggest budget of any show of its time and a very interesting concept. First of all each episode was, in effect, it’s own semi-standalone 90-minute movie. The series was one of the first of what was then known as a “wheel series.” A wheel series was mostly known as a time slot on TV that two or three different shows shared, alternating each week. With The Name of the Game‘s high concept though, this wheel was alternating between three different stars who were featured in their own episodes/movies. And what a high concept it was!

From Wikipedia:

The series was based on the 1966 television movie Fame Is the Name of the Game, which was directed by Stuart Rosenberg and stars Tony Franciosa. The Name of the Game rotated among three characters working at Howard Publications, a large magazine publishing company. Jeffrey “Jeff” Dillon (Franciosa), a crusading reporter with People magazine (before there was a real-life People magazine); Glenn Howard (Gene Barry, taking over for George Macready, who had originated the role in the earlier film), the sophisticated, well-connected publisher; and Daniel “Dan” Farrell (Robert Stack), the editor of Crime magazine. Serving as a common connection was then-newcomer Susan Saint James as Peggy Maxwell, the editorial assistant for each.

Which brings us to one of the last episodes of the series, LA 2017 aka Los Angeles: AD 2017. This episode was the first long form directing assignment for 24-year-old Steven Spielberg. Written by well-known offbeat author Phillip Wylie (who wrote Gene Barry’s wild episode Love-In At Ground Zero in the first season). Wylie’s work is known to have inspired the characters of Superman, Doc Savage and even Flash Gordon (from his story that was later made into the film When Worlds Collide). In this episode, Glenn Howard is hunted down in a lethally polluted, frightening and sometimes hilarious Los Angeles of the future, where the fascist government is ruled by psychiatrists and the populace has been driven to live in underground bunkers to survive the pollution. Sounds about right, right? This was the sixteenth episode of the third season, and the cast included Barry Sullivan, Edmond O’Brien, and (in a brief cameo) Spielberg’s friend Joan Crawford.
It starts out with a car crash while character Howard (Gene Barry) is seen driving through the mountains recording a memo to the President to do with an important pollution scandal story that will appear in his magazine, and ends up being a dream, which allowed the science-fiction plot to fit into the modern-day setting of the show, though in the final moments he is still contemplating what happened while driving back in his car (cue close-up shot of his tail pipes chugging out 1971 style car exhaust fumes). In the end, we see a stiff bird hanging in a tree… a close encounter of the (dead) bird kind indeed!
Watching this 1971 pop culture prophecy in the actual Los Angeles of 2017 is a total mindblower. Some of it is insanely far-fetched and yet there are a few humdingers that really freak you out and make you think, the most well known being my favorite scene where we are taken into a truly “underground” club with a demented octogenarian acid rock band totally freaking out (or at least trying to):

More after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Small World: Artist’s miniature models have BIG political message

Sometimes cliches are true. Strong medicine does often come in small bottles. We need only to look at the work of artist Isaac Cordal to apprecaite the truth of this adage. Cordal produces handcrafted minature cement scupltures which he then places in urban landscapes and photographs to make big and important statements.

His miniature sculptures—half-submerged in puddles, imprisoned in filing cabinets, or choking in dirt and rubble—critique modern life. Isaac describes his work as making “small interventions in the big city.” His figures depict the ruinous greed of corporations and politicians who devastate the world through their thoughtless actions. Cordal’s subject matter is climate change, the plight of refugees, and the destructive nature of capitalism.

Cordal’s artwork is powerful and eye-catching. He has exhibited these incredible tiny sculptures on sidewalks and public locations all across Europe. He’s like a movie director creating highly iconic and dramatic scenes which shock the passerby into questioning what it is they have just seen and thinking about how it reflects the world in which we all live. More of Isaac’s work can be seen here.

From such small acorns do mighty oaks grow.
See more of Isaac Cordal’s minature marvels, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Animal Planet: The beautiful, disturbing and surreal paintings of Martin Wittfooth

“The Sacrifice” (2011).
New York artist Martin Wittfooth produces stunningly beautiful and detailed allegorical paintings featuring animals wandering through a post-apocalyptic world. Humans are absent—perhaps dead. The world humans have bequeathed these animals is choked with plastic, devastated by pollution, and illuminated by all-consuming fire. The one hope is a progression to a better more fruitful world through personal sacrifice and death. Animals snared in manmade tangles of telephone cords sprout flowers from their eyes; a dead wolf bursts with colorful blooms that nourish a hummingbird; a white horse is set on fire by deranged monkeys.

Wittfooth’s animals represent the human experience. We are all part of his paintings. His work has examined the folly of religion in The Passions (2011), which included paintings like “The Coronation” that depicted a saintly baboon haloed by fire feeding pigeons with the pages of a burning book. Or the redemptive nature of sacrifice in “Fall/Advent” (2012) or again with the series Gardens from 2010.

Thirty-something Wittfooth is a highly accomplished artist, he has an incredible technical skill, and an uncompromising vision that thrills enthralls and tells us something deeply profound about our existence. See more of Martin Wittfooth’s work here and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
“The Coronation” (2011).
“The Ecstasy” (2011).
“Pieta” (2011).
See more of Martin Wittfooth’s animal magic, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Beautiful panoramic Cubist drawings of China’s urbanized landscape
08:53 am



Panorama of Tuan Jie Hu.
I spent twenty minutes looking for Waldo but was too overawed by the sheer magnificence of these panoramic drawings that I gave up looking for the stripy little fucker.

Not that I would have ever found him in these stunning, breathtaking, incredible, ___ [fill in the blank with your own adjective] architectural drawings of Beijing’s downtown districts. These massive, painstakingly created drawings are the work of artists/architects at the Drawing Architecture Studio, China. The images form part of their Urbanized Landscape Series.

Awesome, aren’t they?

Just take a look at the panorama drawing above (and its details below) of Tuan Jie Hu—“old residential area located by the East 3rd Ring Road in Beijing”—which “vividly depicts the views from the daily life in this busy local community.”

At the same time, the piece also shows some new exploration in architectural drawing techniques. Some 45-degree axis from different directions allow the viewers to constantly change their viewpoints, which is like a Cubism painting.

The Drawing Architecture Studio was founded by architect Li Han and designer Hu Yan in Beijing. Their intention is to offer a “creative platform integrating architecture, art, design, urban study, pop culture, and aiming to explore the new models for the creation of contemporary urban culture.”

Sounds good to me. They also sell a variety of products which you check out here. Click on the images below for a closer look.
Detail of Tuan Jie Hu panorama.
More gorgeous panoramic maps of downtown Beijing, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The City of Tomorrow: Presented by Ford
12:06 pm


Ford Motor Company

The story of mankind is the story of technology and innovation. From the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel to the earliest attempts at farming, humanity’s progress is indistinguishable from man’s uncanny ability to conquer nature (or at least move it around a bit easier). Harnessing and benefitting from the bounties of the material world is what “we” do best. It’s not just “how we live,” this process cannot be separated from the continuation of life itself. We must feed, shelter and transport an ever growing population, but manage and conserve our dwindling resources at the same time we seek out new ones, a tricky balancing act, both locally and globally. It’s all about mobility. And mobility is our business at the Ford Motor Company.

We’re already deep into the event horizon of a third stage of the industrial revolution where once-unthinkable levels of technology—like advanced computation, artificial intelligence and automation—will be part of everyday life, alongside more green space, more walkability, more renewable energy sources and more reliable ways to get where you need to go. If you already think things are changing fast, well just wait (but not for long!). The City of Tomorrow will be here sooner than you think.

Ask yourself: As a third industrial revolution is upon us with new modes of communication, new forms of energy and new ways to get around, what may change in the City of Tomorrow?

And what will the City of Tomorrow look like when there are flying cars, packages being delivered by airborne drones and our human habitats will require—in the words of economist Jeremy Rifkin—“a new infrastructure that fundamentally changes the way we manage, power, and move economic life”?

Driverless taxis. Wireless charging systems. Advanced transportation ecosystems with reconfigurable roads which will respond to traffic flow. Automobiles that are connected to each other and that interact with urban planning.

Have you ever thought about this stuff? It’s what we at the Ford Motor Company think about every day.



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Cthulhu’s Twitter: Deep sea fisherman discovers terrifyingly freaky Lovecraftian entities
02:25 pm


deep sea

Gizmodo hipped me to this deep sea fisherman in Russia named, Roman Fedortsov. He posts his deep sea discoveries on Twitter and they’re pure nightmare fuel. I know “nightmare fuel” is wayyyyy overused in the blogosphere world, but I couldn’t think of any other way to describe these alien-like creatures. Oh my fucking God, what are these things?!

I have a huge fear of deep sea creatures to begin with—I can’t watch an underwater nature documentary without heavy sedatives—so it totally didn’t help when I checked out Fedortsov’s Twitter account. It’s like I couldn’t help myself. I just clicked on it and BAM! I felt queasy in my stomach. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Terrifying, terrifying stuff.



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A bucket of replica shit
10:22 am



Well here’s something I didn’t know existed: A bucket filled with replica animal shit! Admittedly I laughed at first (because I’m juvenile) but I didn’t necessarily understand why someone would want to own a bucket filled with plastic animal shit, although several things rather unavoidably came to mind. I’m not proud of my imagination sometimes.

Truth be told, it’s actually quite useful! The “life form replica” Bucket of Scat is made by Nasco and it’s used for “nature studies and animal identification projects.” You can use it independently “or with animal tracks to better identify wildlife signs in nature.”

Each replica is a scat of a common North American animal. Includes 13 replica turds that kids can match with dookies found in the woods behind their homes. Collect ‘em all! Trade with your friends! Will not promote “pink eye.”

If you wanna a own a bucket of plastic animal scat—not judging—you can get it here for $49.53. Hand sanitizer sold separately.

via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Souls of Dead Children’ and other creepy field recordings by Cabaret Voltaire founder Chris Watson

Photo by Kate Humble, via
Chris Watson is the coolest. He’s most famous as one of the three founding members of Cabaret Voltaire. Since leaving the Cabs in ‘81, he’s continued to make experimental music (see, for instance, his wonderful 2005 collaboration with KK Null and Z’EV), but he’s best known for his field recordings. BBC Radio 4 has a whole page dedicated to programs that feature Watson and his work; if you’re not careful, you can lose yourself for hours there listening to stories like “Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson presents the crested tit.”

Richard H. Kirk is, of course, the longest-lasting (and sole remaining) member of Cabaret Voltaire, but I wonder if it’s significant that Watson’s name got top billing on the back cover of the Cabs’ first two albums. Watson’s attic was the band’s practice space from ‘74 to ‘78, and Kirk credits his distinctive guitar sound on the first records to a fuzzbox Watson, then a phone engineer, built for him. (Check out the Burroughsian news cut-up Watson contributed to a 1981 tape compilation released by Jhonn Balance.)

Photo by Mark McNulty, via McNulty Photography
When Watson quit Cabaret Voltaire in ‘81, it was to take a job with Tyne Tees Television, where, he says, his career in sound recording began. Since 1996’s Stepping into the Dark, a collection of recordings of “the atmospheres of special places” inspired by T.C. Lethbridge, Watson has released a total of six albums of his field recordings. Each is organized around an idea or story. El Tren Fantasma (“Ghost Train”) is an audio trip across Mexico on the old state-owned railroad, which no longer exists, thanks to the economic miracle that is privatization. His latest album, In St. Cuthbert’s Time, documents what Eadfrith of Lindisfarne would have heard while he was creating the Lindisfarne Gospels.

After the jump, three sinister selections from ‘Outside the Circle of Fire

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Teenage Wasteland: Texas teens getting stoned, 1973

Teenagers getting out of their tree.
The great photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson said taking a good photograph is all about luck. The luck of the moment. The luck of the chance encounter. The luck of just being in the right place at the right time.

Marc St. Gil (1924-92) was in the right place at the right time when he met a bunch of teenagers on a day-out to the Frio Canyon River near Leakey, in Texas 1973. Marc was one of seventy freelance photographers hired by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to photograph America.

The EPA had been set up by President Nixon in 1970. One of its first assignments was Documerica a six-year project (1971-77) to document environmental issues, EPA activities and rural life in America during the seventies.

The youngsters Marc met were hanging out—chilling along the riverbank and smoking weed. With their permission, Marc photographed the youths. Two teenage girls sharing a joint. One older male lighting up a pipe. Marc was supposed to be photographing the effects of pollution on the river and landscape. Instead he photographed these carefree youngsters toking up and having fun.

One can’t help but wonder—what happened next? What happened to these carefree youngsters? Where are they now?
‘Teenage Girls Wading the Frio Canyon River near Leakey Texas, While on an Outing with Friends near San Antonio 05/1973.’
More of Marc St. Gil ‘s photographs of dope-smoking teens, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
New orchid species has the face of Satan
08:48 am



Christian Nightmares hipped me to this new orchid species appropriately named Telipogon diabolicus which means “devil’s head.” The orchid—with its claw-like petals—is found in a small patch of land in Colombia. Apparently only 30 of the reddish to dark violet-maroon orchids have been discovered so far. The devilish flower is already a Critically Endangered species in the IUCN Red List.

Talk about a fleur du mal... I would love to grow some of these lil’ devils.


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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