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Derek Jarman: A Film by Steve Carr
11.01.2010
05:36 pm

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Derek Jarman died too soon, and his loss has been immeasurable to world cinema.

I first met Derek in 1989, when he was interviewed about his work, by Richard Jobson, on a BBC lunchtime magazine program. It was a coup to get him, more so as he openly discussed AIDs, and his own HIV status, at a time when large sections of the media were spouting hatred and bigotry against the gay community. At the time, Jarman was in Glasgow for an exhibition he was presenting at the Third Eye Center, the show consisted of homophobic front pages culled from tabloid newspapers, plastered on the walls around a tarred and feathered, barbed-wire cage, inside which, two young men lay naked on a bed. The effect was powerful and moving.

Steve Carr, a film-maker and on-line content editor, has made this excellent new short film about Jarman, and as he exclusively tells Dangerous Minds:

The film was part of a work related project. We were asked to produce something that has or had a huge influence in our own life/lives. Derek Jarman’s work influenced my interest in queer art in the late 80s at a time when Britain was dominated by anti-AIDS rhetoric and a Thatcherite run government. My short film is composed of clips from many of Derek’s films and documentaries, compressed into a 10 minute short about his life and the difficulties people had from finding funds to show their work. Derek, being a film maker and being HIV positive was an example of the prejudice he faced in this right-wing Britain of the time.

 

 
Bonus clip of Jarman’s Super 8 footage after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Walking Ghost of Old America: Joe Coleman at Dickinson New York
11.01.2010
11:24 am

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Art
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Dangerous Minds pal, the great painter, Joe Coleman, has a rare New York art show currently hanging at the prestigious Dickinson New York gallery on the Upper East Side. Only a fool or a philistine in the NYC-area would pass up the chance to see Joe’s work in person, including the new 7-feet tall self-portrait—which took three years to paint—described in the below article from the Wall Street Journal (Trust me, during the last big NYC Coleman exhibit in 2006, on the final day of the show, I hobbled on a train from NJ with crutches and then painfully grimaced as I took ever single step to the gallery and back home. Was it worth it? YOU BET IT WAS WORTH IT!):

The images, which occupy dozens of amorphous panels, veer from the sweetly sentimental—the cartoon bunnies and kittens that fill his wife Whitney Ward’s bedtime thoughts—to nightmarish visions grotesque enough to evoke both 1950s EC Comics and 15th-century Hieronymous Bosch. It’s a phantasmagorical kaleidoscope that grows hypnotic with its minute detail.

“You almost feel like you’re being sucked into it,” Mr. Coleman said. The work, “A Doorway to Joe,” is the centerpiece of “Joe Coleman: Auto-Portrait,” an exhibit opening Thursday at Dickinson New York gallery on the Upper East Side. “You spend too much time, you get what [Italian filmmaker] Dario Argento depicted in ‘The Stendhal Syndrome.’ You ever see that one? It’s this idea that staring at the paintings would make certain people feel like they become part of the painting.”

Mr. Coleman can appreciate that scenario. He’s lived the painting. Once notorious for his literally explosive performance-art spectacles, which occasionally made the New York City police logs in the 1970s and ‘80s, he has increasingly been lauded for his paintings. In 2007, he was feted at one-man shows in Paris and Berlin, cutting a figure Ms. Ward, an actress and photographer, described as “Part Tammany Hall, part Wild West—he’s a handsome and omniscient walking ghost of old America.”

Not long after the exhibit at Berlin’s KW Institute, Mr. Coleman had a chat with his patron, the collector Mickey Cartin, who agreed to buy “Doorway” in advance, mindful that it would take three years to complete. Mr. Coleman finished roughly one square inch of space each day, using a jeweler’s lens to magnify and discover “the spaces between the spaces I’d already painted.” It was a laborious task, one that often entailed brushes with as few as two horse hairs. “It puts the pain back in painting,” he said. “I use my pinkie to balance the whole rest of my wrist. And you have to hold your breath as well while you’re doing it.”

The concept of suffering is indivisible from Mr. Coleman’s desire to make art. His first pieces were drawings made during services at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in his native Norwalk, Conn. “My mom gave me a pad and crayons and a pencil,” he recalled, “and around the church are these scenes of Christ being crowned with thorns and crucified. I just started drawing them. The only crayon I used was the red crayon with the blood. The subject matter has not really changed that much,” he said. “I’m still struggling with these ideas of good and evil, and this idea that there’s something holy in violence. That’s the essence I was spoonfed from childhood.”

Mr. Cartin, in whose loft the work usually hangs—in the company of contemporary and 15th- and 16th-century art—first met Mr. Coleman 20 years ago, when the artist was driving a cab. “I simply believed in him, not only as a totally lovable and eccentric character, but as a very committed artist,” Mr. Cartin said. “He asks so much of himself, and it shows in the way his work has evolved. He is a painter-storyteller, and the stories are not easy. He loves his work, but each painting is a significant internal struggle for him. He keeps no secrets.”

That’s true in conversation, as well. Mr. Coleman, who projects a personal warmth that balances his psychic intensity, recounted the story behind one of the panels, an image of a “Jap Hand,” chopped off a Japanese soldier by an American serviceman in World War II. As a boy, Mr. Coleman became an expert at breaking into a locked cabinet in his father’s den. On one such occasion, while his father was out drinking at a bar, he found more than he bargained for lurking in a stash of pornography and military mementos. “It was this picture of a GI holding the head of a Japanese soldier, kind of proudly, and when I looked at it more closely I saw that it was my father.”

Some things, once seen, can never be unseen. And that’s exactly what Mr. Coleman wants to show. “It’s like an archeological dig,” he said, “but internally.”

The Walking Ghost of Old America: Cartoon Kittens, Serial Killers, Lovers and Literary Lions: Joe Coleman Paints a Journey Through His Labyrinthine Mind (WSJ)

Joe Coleman’s incredible portrait of Harry Houdini is on display at the Jewish Museum’s exhibit, Houdini: Art and Magic until March 27th, 2011.

Thank you, Whitney Ward!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Christian Hero: Megachurch pastor Jim Swilley comes out
10.30.2010
09:54 pm

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Current Events
Heroes
Queer
Sex

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Georgia megapastor Jim Swilley has come out as a gay man to help turn the tide against the recent spate of tragic gay teen “bullycides.” What a wonderful and incredible thing for this man to do. Via Queerty:

Swilley, who created the Church In The Now some 25 years ago, is a divorced father of four. But he’s known he’s gay since he was a boy, says the Rockdale County man of the cloth, and even his wife Debye — whom he divorced earlier this year — knew when they got married (!). The couple kept it a secret for more than two decades, but Jim says Debye recently pushed him to share his story.

The pastor made the announcement to his congregation two weeks ago (yes, it takes time for some stories to trickle), with his family in the audience and decided to come out now after witnessing the rash of gay youths killing themselves. One Internet forum poster says that unlike Atlanta’s Long (whom Swilley won’t speak about), Swilley has not used the pulpit to denigrate gays: “For those of you familiar with Church In the Now, while never discussing his own sexuality, you know that Swilley has always preached a message of inclusion, love and abundance for all God’s children. Bishop Swilley has been asked to step down as Bishop, but will remain as Pastor.” (That last part we haven’t confirmed.)

If there’s a mass exodus from his church, Swilley says he wouldn’t be able to survive it, but would certainly pick up and start again. “God has always spoken through me,” he tells his followers, saying the calling has been with him since birth. His parents tell him stories of him preaching as a toddler in diapers; he doesn’t remember that time.

“Those of you who are people of color. How do you like it when a white person says, ‘What is the deal? What are you so unhappy about? You’ve got a black president already, isn’t racism over?’ Doesn’t that make you want to say, ‘Thank you but you really have no idea what you’re talking about.’ … It’s very easy for people who have never experienced something … to have opinions about it.”

Below, video of the recent sermon where Pastor Twilley tells his congregation that he is a gay.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
10.29.2010
06:16 pm

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Heroes
Music
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Musical tastes are important when it comes to relationships, something I realized the night Alex Harvey died, in 1982. The radio was playing a loop of tracks in memory of the great man, when my then girlfriend asked why I liked The Sensational Alex Harvey Band? I explained, and she replied, ‘But he looked so dirty, like a bad workman that would come to your house and drink Dad’s booze and fuck Mom.’ She had a point, and some imagination, but that was the moment I knew we wouldn’t last.

If you lived in Glasgow in the 1970s, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were bigger than Jesus. Well, Alex was at least, for he was one of the city’s three religions - the other two being soccer and alcohol. While soccer could disappoint, and drink left you hungover, SAHB never let you down.

As Charles Shaar Murray wrote, after Alex Harvey’s death in the NME:

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band were one of the craziest, most honest, most creative and most courageous bands of their time, and also the most public and best-known phase of the career of Alex Harvey, the man who won a Tommy Steele rock-alike contest in Glasgow in the mid-fifties and thereafter dubbed himself The Last Of The Teenage Idols.

Alex Harvey was a genuine working-class hero, born in Plantation, the harbor district of Glasgow in 1935, he grew up with a love of Billie Holliday, Big Bill Broozny, Charlie Parker, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. In 1959, he formed his first band, Alex Harvey’s Soul Band, which established his great, cigarette and alcohol voice that didn’t mimic American inflection, but delivered songs in his native Glaswegian. The band toured the U.K. and Europe, and for one gig had the embryonic Beatles as support.

But Harvey was more than just a Blues singer and he moved on to performing in the musical Hair, which inspired the theatrical style he used with his most successful group, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

SAHB were unique as they mixed genres and styles - Weimar cabaret, film, Blues, rock and torch song, with which, as Murray writes, “they achieved their impact simply because Alex Harvey had the insight to locate the central core of the song and the passion to get him to that core.”

What showed most about Alex Harvey the performer was his very real devotion to his audiences. He would go to any length to enlighten and to entertain, and - as his notion of theatrical presentation developed from a few simple costume changes and bits of business to complex arrangements of props and gadgets - his work was never bombastic and never attempted to substitute extravagance for genuine communication. Time after time, he would exhort his audiences to avoid both private and institutionalized violence - “don’t make any bullets, don’t buy any bullets and don’t shoot any fucken bullets” - and to behave responsibly towards each other and their environment - “don’t pish in the water supply.”

During the period of Alex’s greatest popularity, he did not just provide an escape from everyday existence through dem ol’ rock and roll fantasies, but he depicted and celebrated that existence and the process of that escape, and the relationship of one to the other.

Vambo still rules.
 

 
Bonus clips of SAHB plus an interview with Alex Harvey after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Grateful Dead - Dark Star live in Veneta, Oregon 8-27-72
10.27.2010
08:55 pm

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Movies
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Is it controversial to post an over half hour version of Dark Star by the Dead here on the DM? I guess I’ll find out. The Dead have grown on me over time. Hated ‘em as a kid, perhaps you have to be a decrepit old hippy to “get” them. Whatever, they sound great to me now, maaaaan. Here’s some footage of them at their exploratory best that I was never before aware of that I found whilst stumbling around the series of tubes (as you do). Some delightfully acid-fried “you are there” scenes and some Gilliam-esque animated interludes as well as the crystal clear sound coming off the stage. Evidently this is from a film that was considered even too lysergic by the band themselves to bother completing.
 

 
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Bill Hicks last interview: Austin cable TV 1993
10.27.2010
02:17 pm

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Media
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Pop Culture
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Bill Hicks on Austin cable television. The show aired on October, 1993, five months before Hicks died.

Bill knows his days are numbered and seems more intent on speaking truth to power than being funny. He’s getting his last licks in, discussing the Waco Branch Davidian masscres and censorship, including Letterman’s chickenshit decision not to air his appearance on The Late Show.
 

 
Waco is 102 miles from Austin and the Branch Davidian confrontation was taking place at the time of this interview. Hicks had visited the site of the compound during the siege. His thoughts on the matter swung wildly from being dismissive of Koresh to outrage at the government over the outcome. Here’s a couple of videos of Hicks talking about the Waco disaster.
 

 
More from Hicks on Waco after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Bon voyage Mick Farren! LA’s loss is England’s gain!
10.26.2010
11:42 am

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Literature
Punk

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When I was a bored teenager living in Wheeling. West Virginia in the early 1980s, the absolutely indisputable highlight of my month was receiving my subscription copy of The Transatlantic Trouser Press magazine, of which Mick Farren was one of the two main writers. As I also felt about CREEM’s Lester Bangs (who had a huge, huge influence on my musical tastes and indeed, my young mental growth, in general), when a new group had the Trouser Press/Mick Farren seal of approval, I had to rush right out and check it out.

In the post-punk era, there were fantastic new bands coming out every week and the Trouser Press (named for a Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah song, so I was already inclined to love it) was the indispensable guide to this era, musically speaking in the US, for extreme music heads (and it had a flexi-disc in each issue. This is how I first heard groups like REM, Human Switchboard. Japan, OMD and others). The Trouser Press was where Mick Farren came into my life, but British readers of the alternative press already knew Farren from his stints at the International Times, Oz magazine, and the NME. His famous essay “The Titanic Sails at Dawn” predicted that *something* like punk was bound to happen, and presented as inevitable (Rod Stewart, Queen and the Stones were the objects of his analysis, and ire) several months before the first spiky-haired, safety-pinned punk rocker appeared on the streets. Some recall Mick Farren from his time as a doorman at the UFO Club in 1967, where Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine played for the nascent psychedelic underground. Or as one of the hell raisers at the Isle of Wight festival. Or for his amazing proto-punk group, The Deviants, and their Fugs and Mothers of Invention-influenced “balls to the wall” rock.

Mick Farren’s been active for five decades now and at 67, can still outdrink you.

In 2005, Mick wrote a cover story about me and Adam Parfrey of Feral House for the now defunct City Beat alt weekly (where Farren also wrote the best TV column in history, bar none). Thirty years after I waited patiently for Mick’s monthly recommendations and reviews in the Trouser Press to arrive in the post, he was writing about little old me. If you’d have told my 14-year-old self that 25 years later, I’d be a subject of a Mick Farren profile, he’d have been quite thrilled, too, but no less thrilled than I was at 39 years of age, I can assure you.

But soon, Los Angeles is about to lose this prophet without honor: in just a couple of days Farren’s moving back to England, the seaside town of Brighton, specifically. I got a chance to say goodbye to Mick—who told me bluntly—“I don’t want to die in America”—at a bon voyage party this past weekend. Pandora Young was there, and wrote at Fishbowl LA:

After nearly three decades in the states, prolific author, punk musician, and counterculture journalist Mick Farren is returning to jolly old England. La La land yokels who don’t know their punk rock history may still recall Farren from his stints as a columnist at the now-defunct alternative rags LA Reader and LA CityBeat.

This past Saturday night the 67-year-old Brit celebrated his departure at El Chavo in Silver Lake, signing his many books, reminiscing, and drinking friends half his age under the table. At the end of the evening, as we were saying goodbye, he put his hands on my shoulders and slurred at me, “Pandora, what this town needs is a proper alternative press. You have the talent and you have the readers. Someone just needs to make it happen.”

“Why not you, Mick?” I asked, wiping the spittle from my cheek.

“It’s nothing to do with me,” he replied, stumbling towards a waiting car. “I’m going home.”

Godspeed. Mick. Respect and love.

And people of Brighton, buy the anarchist a beer, won’t you? There will be a living legend amongst you, take advantage of this fact.
 
Below, a recent interview I did will Mick Farren about his new book Speed, Speed Speedfreak (Feral House):
 

 
More Mick Farren after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Sammy Davis Jr. and the gospel of cool
10.26.2010
04:30 am

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Heroes
History
Music
Television

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Sammy Davis Jr leads Max Harris’ ‘Dee Time’ orchestra in an utterly-unrehearsed version of the then-new Bacharach/David number ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’. The band is sight-reading, Sammy’s winging it, and the result is magic.

‘Dee Time’, hosted by Simon Dee, was a British variety show that aired in the late 1960’s.

Watching this clip tonight revived my love for Sammy. I read ‘Yes I Can’ as a kid and Sammy, along with James Brown and Chuck Berry, was one of the Black cats who really shook up my cracker ass. I grew up in the South at a time when most my white friends hated “niggers”.  I didn’t. Whitebread American suburban life in the sixties deadened my soul. Rock and roll and rhythm and blues changed all that. Sammy Davis Jr. was accused by some of being an Uncle Tom, a sellout to the man. But, for kids like me, seeing Sammy on hipster TV like ‘Laugh In’ was the beginning of a process of breaking down age old racial barriers that reached its apotheosis with the powerful energy of Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Huey Newton and Martin Luther King. I didn’t give a shit what anybody said, Sammy Davis was a god.

This video is sublime.

I’m seein’ Andre 3000 in a biopic of Sammy’s life. Right?
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Grandpa Woodstock: The world’s oldest flower child lives in a box
10.26.2010
03:16 am

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Heroes
Pop Culture
Thinkers
Unorthodox

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Grandpa Woodstock hosts his show ‘The Flower Power Hour’ from wherever he might be at any given time, whether it’s a box or a cave in Arizona. I like him. This old flower child is a perennial. An American sadhu.

He has a Facebook page. You can check it out here.
 
“I will continue to spread peace and love for the rest of my life.”
Even if peace comes I still won’t stop.”

I like the way Grandpa schools that young fuckin’ punk hippie.

“Now you wanna lay on Grandpa’s bed and smoke the bowl all day.”
 

 

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Wendy O. Williams’ obscene nipples
10.24.2010
11:40 pm

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Heroes
Punk
Television

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In 1981 Wendy was arrested for obscene conduct during Plasmatics shows in Milwaukee and Cleveland. The authorities found her nipples guilty of some kind of criminal act. Here’s a brief clip of her discussing her legal hassles with New York TV newscaster Jack Cafferty . Williams was ultimately acquitted of any legal wrongdoing in both cases. She avoided any future dustups with the cops by covering her nipples with electrical tape.

Cafferty is currently a conservative talking head on CNN.

The newscast begins with a clip of Wendy driving an exploding Cadillac into the Hudson River.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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