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Death Trip: How would YOU like to be killed by Iggy Pop in Dario Argento’s new movie? Here’s how!
10.09.2014
10:34 am

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Heroes
Movies

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Iggy Pop
Dario Argento

Dario Argento The Sandman staring Iggy Pop
 
According to the master of Giallo himself, Dario Argento’s upcoming release will be a Christmas movie called The Sandman. The film is a tribute to Argento’s vast film career and will star everybody’s favorite punk, Iggy Pop. Based on a short story written in 1816 by German author E.T.A Hoffmann, Iggy is set to play a serial killer who takes pleasure in murdering his victims with a melon spoon, scoops their eyes out with with said melon spoon then, saves the unfortunate peepers as trophies.

Says Argento about the premise and inspiration for The Sandman:

On this Christmas a child witnesses his mother murdered by a serial killer. I am tired of these Christmas movies showing goodness. Beauty, snowflakes, sleds being pulled by reindeer. I’d rather have a Christmas movie where there is also violence, strength, and horror. And this is what I’m going to do. Christmas is coming and so is The Sandman!

 
Argento is using funding site Indie Go Go to raise $250,000 to make The Sandman. Below is the highly amusing teaser for the film that features Iggy who confesses that making this film with Argento would be a “dream come true” for him. A pretty tall order coming from a man who’s pretty much done it all.

And speaking of dreams that could come true, the reward for a $15,000 donation will not only get you a role in the film, it will also give you bragging rights to saying you’ve been killed killed by Iggy Pop while under the watchful direction of Dario Argento. Wow!
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Cartoonists document Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement


Art by Luis Simoes
 
The last few days have seen no small amount of drama in Hong Kong, as disenfranchised students are calling attention to their lack of political freedoms. The students have taken up umbrellas to protect themselves from the massive amounts of tear gas the riot police have used as a means of restoring order. 

On Facebook you can find two groups dedicated to recording the scenes at the the Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, and Admiralty areas of Hong Kong. Urban Sketchers Hong Kong (USHK) and Sketcher-Kee have both been in existence for about a year, and have responded to the recent unrest with vigor. Its members have been posting sketches featuring unfriendly police, tense protesters, and poetically empty or chaotically crammed urban vistas dominated by umbrellas and the color yellow. 

At the moment the protests are in a bit of a lull, as protest leaders have met with government officials and agreed to meet for talks starting on October 10. Student leader Lester Shum has said that the protests would continue until “practical measures [have] been forged between the government and the people.”

USHK cofounder Alvin Wong emphasized to Hyperallergic‘s Laura C. Mallonee the value of documenting “the biggest pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong history,” no matter the risk. As Wong Suede of Sketcher-Kee says, “We want to use our ability to make awareness for the public, to share our observations, experiences, and thoughts via the Internet to the world. ... We hope we can support and encourage the protesters who are fighting for Hong Kong … since we are also protestors, we hope it may [achieve something] for the whole movement.”
 

Art by Rob Sketcherman
 

Art by Collins Yeung ART
 

Art by Wink Au
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to high school students: ‘Pretend you’re Count Dracula!’
10.06.2014
05:33 am

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Heroes
Literature

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Kurt Vonnegut

kurtpixtypecolor.jpg
 
Years ago when I was a producer in television,  I recall that there were many discussions on how broadcasters could encourage younger viewers to have brand loyalty with a particular channel. The proposed idea was that if a broadcaster could successfully capture (strange choice of word, I know) a young audience then they were building the consumers of their future output. A rather obvious idea but one that appeared to work—well, at least for me, as I still look with particularly fondness on those shows that illuminated my childhood, and by association the broadcaster. The holy grail here was considered to be quality returnable series and quirky presenters with whom the young ‘uns could identify and grow up with.

I have been told publishers have similar discussions on inculcating brand loyalty through their authors. So you would think, therefore, that when a group of teenagers were set a project by their school teacher encouraging them to write a letter to their favorite author, that these chosen writers would leap at the chance to win over their future readers. Well apparently not, as one class of pupils at Xavier High School in New York found out in 2006, when their teacher (Ms. Lockwood) set this task, and letters were sent out to a variety of authors, with only one writer taking the time to reply.

Perhaps it will come as no surprise that it was the great pessimistic humanist Kurt Vonnegut who was the only author to write back. Who the others were, I don’t know, but I wonder if they’re still popular with readers at Xavier High? Anyway, Vonnegut took the time to read the letter, which asked requested that he make a personal appearance at Xavier. Vonnegut was then 84, “an old geezer” as he called himself, and demurred visiting the school. However, he did offer the five students and their teacher some fine advice on how best to experience life and to grow their souls. It’s a beautiful letter, giving some of the most inspiring advice any high school student could ask for.

November 5, 2006

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

 
kurtlettpupilsi.jpg
 
In 2014, Dogtooth Films made a short film based on Kurt Vonnegut’s letter, using pupils from Hove Park School.
 

 
Via Letters of Note

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Of Maggots and Moshers: Wendy O. Williams hosts the ‘Headbangers Ball’ in 1987
10.03.2014
05:42 am

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Heroes
Television

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Wendy O. Williams

Wendy O. Williams
 
In 1987 Williams O. Williams hosted the Headbangers Ball, a heavy metal show that ran for eight years on MTV before it was abruptly cancelled in 1995 (The series was re-born in 2003 and still runs today on MTV2 for those of you who care). If you know who Wendy O.Williams was, then you are in for a treat. If you do not know who she was you really must change that and perhaps this will help. Headbangers Ball had a reputation for giving everyone from their guests to their hosts carte blanche on the show, which usually led to metalheads running amok on set. During the four-minute bit of footage below, Williams continually refers to the Ball as the “Maggot Moshers Ball” while the green screen shows a pile of the squishy bugs crawling around, juxtaposed at times with the cover to the Plasmatics’ 1987 record Maggots: The Record. She cracks jokes, is overly dramatic and makes a few anti-establishment statements along the way that likely went WAY over the heads of the average Headbangers Ball viewer. All while looking like a gymnastics team dropout that just doesn’t give a fuck.
 
Occasionally you can find copies of the old Headbangers Ball on VHS. You can also track them down on eBay and elsewhere on DVD-R that some die-hard metal fan burned for a pretty reasonable dime. If you can track down a copy of Wendy’s show (May 27th, 1987), it will be worth the effort. The original 90+ minute episode also contains footage of her jamming with Lemmy Kilmister at London’s Camden Palace in 1985 as well as the video for the Plasmatics’ song “The Dammed” which is nothing less than an iconic snapshot of pure punk adrenaline.

Directly following the Headbangers Ball bit you can see clips Williams did for Radio 1990, a TV show that ran on the USA cable network for a few years in the early 80’s.

Lastly, if you draw the conclusion that Williams was “high” or “drunk” during her appearance on the Ball, forget it . She was straight-edge. A vegetarian and exercise junkie who dedicated much of her too-short life to protecting animals and speaking out in support of wildlife advocacy. Let there be no doubt, we lost one of the great wild untamed spirits when we lost Wendy O. Williams in 1998. 
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Plasmatics blow up shit on SCTV’s ‘The Fishin’ Musician’

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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U.S. money redesigned with contemporary icons
09.30.2014
07:36 am

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Amusing
Art
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Tags:
money


 
Ah, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Iggy Pop were on the five-dollar bill? Or if Warhol were on the ten? I used to live in Austria, and back in the pre-Euro days, when they still had the Schilling, their banknotes had Erwin Schrödinger and Sigmund Freud on them—not bad. Belgium used to have Magritte on its 500-franc note. France put Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on one of their bills. James Joyce at one time was on Ireland’s ten-pound note.

How long before Iceland puts Björk on a bill? 

It’s difficult to look at these defaced U.S. banknotes, part of James Charles’ “American Iconomics” series, and not think of J. S. G. Boggs but Charles’ satires are less totalistic in their intent—closer to Mad Magazine, say.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via Ufunk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘In the Orbit of Ra’: New Sun Ra collection curated by Arkestra saxophonist Marshall Allen
09.23.2014
08:08 am

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Music
Unorthodox

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Sun Ra
Marshall Allen


 
Sun Ra might need little introduction to many readers of this blog, I’d expect, so I’ll keep this brief: Sun Ra was once Herman Blount from Alabama except that he was always Sun Ra from the planet Saturn. He was a jazz bandleader and visionary whose career spanned the ragtime and free jazz eras, during which he dove deep into the avant garde, forming a band (“Arkestra”) that was as much a commune as a musical group. His work touched heavily on, among many other things, African/Egyptian themes, outer space, Kabbalism, and Gnosticism. Ra’s music, lifestyle, beliefs and personality were far too esoteric for anything even remotely like mainstream acceptance to find him, but he nonetheless recorded prolifically, and brought a heavy influence to bear on psychedelia and funk. Just last year, he came to somewhat wider public attention when Lady Gaga heavily quoted his “Rocket Number 9” in her single “Venus.”

Sun Ra left us in 1993, but had he lived, 2014 would have been his 100th year. His still-living stalwart saxophonist Marshall Allen continues, at the age of 90, to lead the Arkestra, and he’s recently compiled a collection for Strut Records, spanning 25 years of Sun Ra Arkestra music, remastered from the original tapes, and it’s being touted as “the first internationally released compilation to provide an introduction to the music of Sun Ra.” It’s called In the Orbit of Ra, and the CD and digital are out this week. (Those of us who prefer vinyl apparently have to wait until October. Boo.) An admirable lid has been kept on its contents—only one remastered track is available for streaming, the late ‘50s composition “Plutonian Nights:”
 

 
New mini-documentary on Sun Ra after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Badass woman on motorcycle f*cks with litterbugs BIG TIME!
09.16.2014
09:09 am

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Amusing
Environment
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Tags:
littering


 
As someone points out in the comments on reddit, it’s almost as if this is some new kind of female superhero archetype. A leather clad woman (you can’t see what she’s wearing in the video. I’m using my imagination here) who rides a motorcycle and schools assholes who litter.

It’s pretty hardcore what she does. I wouldn’t recommend doing this in real life although I wish more people would.

Next we need a superhero who fucks with assholes who text and drive. Your Facebook update can wait, moron. You know who you are.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Philip K. Dick on sex between humans and androids
09.10.2014
08:22 am

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Heroes
Literature

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Philip K. Dick
Blade Runner
philosophy


 
In 1981, Philip K. Dick discussed the ideas and themes behind his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in an interview with author Paul M. Sammon. Dick’s novel about a hired assassin (Rick Deckard) paid to eliminate escaped androids formed the basis for Ridley Scott’s classic science-fiction film Blade Runner. The story had its genesis in research for his novel The Man in the High Castle. Dick studied psychological studies on the mentality of the Germans who became Nazis and read how these Germans were often highly intelligent but emotionally “so defective that the word human could not properly be applied” to them.

This led Dick to a philosophical investigation into “the problem of differentiating the authentic human being from the reflex machine I call an android.” 

For me the word ‘android’ is a metaphor for people who are physiologically human but psychologically behaving in a non-human way.

This was a subject Dick discussed in a lecture on “The Android and the Human” in 1972:

...an android means, as I said, to allow oneself to become a means, or to be pounded down, manipulated, made into a means without one’s consent—the results are the same. But you cannot turn a human into an android if that human is going to break laws every chance he gets. Androidization requires obedience. And, most of all, predictability. It is precisely when a given person’s response to any given situation can be predicted with scientific accuracy that the gates are open for the wholesale production of the android life form.

 
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Philip K. Dick.
 
In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Dick developed the idea of “androidization” further when he considered what would happen in a war between humans and androids—would humans become more android-like if they won?

This emotional interplay between humans and androids was also examined in the relationship between Deckard and the android Rachael Rosen, which Dick discussed in “Notes on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (1968):

And this brings up the whole underlying subject: sexual relations between humans and androids. What is it like? What does it mean? Is it, for instance, like going to bed with a real woman? Or is it an awful, nightmarish, bad trip, where what is dead and inert seems alive and warm and capable of the most acute intimacy known to living creatures? Isn’t this, this sexual union between Rick Deckard and Rachael Rosen—isn’t it the summa of falsity and mechanical motions carried out minus any real feeling, as we understand the word? Feeling on each of their parts. Does in fact her mental—and physical—coldness numb the male, the human man, into an echo of it?

...[Deckard’s] relationship, by having intercourse with her, has melded him to—not an individual, human or android—but to a whole type or model, of which theoretically, there could be tens of thousands. To whom, then, has he really given his erotic libido?

...Here, I think, the crucial questions of What is reality? and What is illusion? come up strongly….The more Rick strives to force her to become a woman—or, more accurately, to play the role of a woman—the more he encounters the core of the unlife within her…his attempt to make love to her as a woman for him is defeated by the tireless core of her electronic being.

Dick postulates that the failure of their lovemaking “may be vital in his determination—and success—in destroying the last of these andys.”

In this interview, Dick discusses some of these key questions about what is reality? what is human?
 

 
Thomas M. Disch once said that his friend Philip K. Dick liked to play-up the image of the hard-done-to artist, struggling in the garret, living off ground-up horse meat (which supposedly led Dick to translate his name into “Horselover Fat”—Philip Greek for horse lover, Dick German for fat), but things were never really that bad. However, he agreed America gave short-shrift to speculative science-fiction writers, and was grateful for the adulation and serious critical appraisal both received in Europe.

In 1977, Philip K. Dick was interviewed for French television where he discussed the problems of being a speculative science-fiction writer in America, as well as many of the philosophical ideas behind his works.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Red Headed Card Shark: Card Tricks with Willie Nelson
08.19.2014
09:22 am

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Amusing
Heroes
Music

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Willie Neslon


 
It doesn’t get any better than watching Willie Nelson working some fancy card wizardry on his sister, Bobbie Lee Nelson.

I’ve watched this video twice now, and I still can’t figure out how in the hell he’s able to do this.

What can’t Willie Nelson do? Amazing!

 
via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘The General Erection’: John Lennon reads from ‘A Spaniard in the Works’
08.18.2014
01:42 pm

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Books
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A Spaniard in the Works

lennonspaniardworks.jpg
 
John Lennon reads “The General Erection” from his second book of collected (nonsense) writing A Spaniard in the Works:

Azure orl gnome, Harrassed Wilsod won the General Erection with a very small marjorie over the Totchies. Thus pudding the Labouring Partly into powell after a large abcess. This he could not have done withoutspan the barking of thee Trade Onions, heady by Frenk Cunnings (who noun has a SAFE SEAT in Nuneating thank you and Fronk (only 62) Bowells hasn’t.)

This is Lennon’s version of the 1964 UK General Election, when Harold Wilson became Prime Minister with a very small…. you get the picture.

With his first book In My Own Write, Lennon had been feted as a modern Edward Lear with his nonsense tales and inventive Joycean puns. The book’s success saw Lennon invited to a Foyle’s Literary Lunch at the Dorchester Hotel, where he famously failed to deliver a speech only saying:

Er, thank you all very much, and God bless you.

Many (snobs) consider Lennon’s failure to entertain for his dinner as a dreadful snub, though of course it wasn’t—he had turned up expecting to eat, not speak.

As his then-wife Cynthia Lennon later explained in her memoir A Twist of Lennon, the happy couple had been out the night before and were very hungover when they arrived at the Dorchester:

We did our best to make ourselves presentable, but the bloodshot eyes and shaky hands were a bit of a giveaway. We told ourselves that the event would soon be over and we could go home to collapse.

What neither of us had realized was that the media would be there in force and that John was expected to make a speech. Doyens of the literary establishment rubbed shoulders with upmarket Lennon fans and everyone was waiting with bated breath to hear the words of the ‘intelligent’ Beatle.

As we were ushered through the lobby of the Dorchester, hordes of press and TV crews following us, I knew John wanted to turn and run, but we had to keep smiling. We couldn’t even see what was going on properly because neither of us was wearing our glasses.

When we walked into the enormous dining room hundreds of people stood up and applauded. We fumbled our way to our places and found we were at opposite ends of the top table, denied even the reassurance of squeezing hands. I was sitting between the Earl of Arran and pop singer Marty Wilde, who was almost as nervous as I was. I was terrified, until the earl put me at ease with a string of witty stories and friendly chat. I even began to enjoy myself - until we reached the last course and dozens of TV and press cameras were pointed in our direction. “What’s going on?” I whispered to the earl.

“I believe your husband is about to give a speech,” he whispered back, and politely averted his eyes from the horror written on my face. I looked at John and my heart went out to him. He was ashen and totally unprepared. Never lost for words in private, a public speech was beyond him - let alone to a crowd of literary top dogs, and especially with a hangover.

As John was introduced silence fell. The weight of expectation was enormous. John, more terrified than I’d ever seen him, got to his feet. He managed eight words, “Thank you very much, it’s been a pleasure,” then promptly sat down again. There was a stunned silence, followed by a few muted boos and a smattering of applause. The audience was disappointed, annoyed and indignant. Both John and I wished we were on another planet. John tried to make up for it by signing endless copies of the book afterward.

John’s Foyle’s “speech” went down in history as a typical Lennon gesture, a snub to the establishment from a pop star rebel, when it was anything but. He had panicked.

Undeterred, Lennon followed up In His Own Write with a second volume of comic nonsensical tales A Spaniard in the Works in 1965.

As Lennon explains in this seldom seen clip from the BBC’s Tonight program, he had always been a writer, long before he picked up a guitar or joined a band. His second reading is “The Wumberlog (or The Magic Dog)” which begins:

Whilst all the tow was sleepy
Crept a little boy from his bed
To fained the wondrous peoble
Wot lived when they were dead

The interviewer is Kenneth Allsop, and the interview was broadcast on June 18th, 1965.
 

 
A selection of Lennon’s drawings and poems after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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