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Very cool documentary on the New York City/London punk scene of the 1970’s: Watch it now!
10.14.2010
11:18 pm

Topics:
History
Punk

Tags:
Punk
BBC documentary
Blank Generation

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More rock and roll goodness from The Seven Ages Of Rock.

A tale of two cities, London and New York and the birth of punk. Each city created a bastard child that marked the biggest and fundamental shift in popular music since Elvis walked into Sun Studios. ‘Blank Generation’ examines the relationship between the bankrupt New York and the class and race-riven London of the mid- 70’s and explores the music of The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones, Television, Patti Smith, The Damned and Buzzcocks

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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“Rosebud” and other famous last words uttered on the big screen: Video mashup
10.14.2010
08:12 pm

Topics:
History
Movies

Tags:
Film
Rosebud
famous last words

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An amusing compendium of some famous last words in film history.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Remember the women & children of Iraq: Fouad Hady’s heartwrenching reports

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Fouad Hady contemplates a 15-year sentence in a Saddam-era women’s prison cell
 
Whether under Saddam Hussein’s abysmal regime or in this post-“liberation” era, we tend to think of Iraq in terms of power and its players—mostly leaders and soldiers and mostly men.

Nine years after he fled Baghdad for Australia, Melbourne-based reporter Fouad Hady has helped change that by travelling back to his home country to file long-form reports from the ground for the Dateline program on Australia’s public SBS One channel.

In 2009’s “City of Widows,” Hady first surveys the miserable poverty of Baghdad’s outlying Al-Rashad district before being told of the Saddam-era womens’ prison, some of the cells of which are now occupied by refugees from other areas. Downtown in the city—which is home to 80,000 of Iraq’s 750,000 widows—he finds a burgeoning movement of women in loss.

“Deadly Legacy”—filed last month—finds Hady reporting from Fallujah, which was the site of massive anti-insurgent operations during which American troopes used munitions made with depleted uranium. Hady’s reporting on the city’s astronomical rates of cancer, infant mortality and leukemia speaks for itself.

These two reports are staggering in their eye-level view of some of Iraq’s afflictions before and after Saddam. No matter your position on that war, these should also prove instructive to those clamoring for action against a far more formidable foe like Iran. War against that country would make this look like a game of croquet. 
 
Click to see City of Widows on YouTube
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After the jump: see Deadly Legacy on YouTube…
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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From the world’s queerest record label: ‘Homer The Happy Little Homo’

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A strange little ditty from an even stranger record company. Homer The Happy Little Homo was released on Camp Records sometime in the early 1960’s. Here’s a brief history of this obscure novelty label:

Almost nothing is known about the mysterious 60’s record label Camp Records. They released an album and 10 45 rpm records of gay parody songs, most done with effeminate voices. I believe they were issued in the early 60’s, as they all appeared in an ad in the gay magazine Vagabond, dated 1965. The address on the album record jacket was PO Box 3213, Hollywood, California, and it credited all selections to Different Music Co, Hollywood.
   The artists singing most of the songs were uncredited, or with names obviously made up, like Byrd E. Bath and B. Bubba, but one name stands out, Rodney Dangerfield. That name credited on one of the songs, and possibly another. This would have been very early in Dangerfield’s career, as his website bio says he decided to devote his career to comedy at age 40, which would have been in 1961. But I don’t think it was the comedian we know; just a prop name used for the release. Dangerfield disclaims any knowledge of it.
   A second album released on the label was called “Mad About the Boy.” It was filled with mostly well-known Broadway and cabaret songs that were originally sung by women. This album kept the pronouns intact, making them very gay. They were done in lounge style, without a campy approach…in other words, done “straight.” The liner notes state: ‘The primary reason for doing this album was to prove that good songs could and should be sung by everyone. Gender should not be the determining factor as to who should sing what.’ The notes later say that the male soloist and other artists on the album are well-known ‘Hollywood, TV, and screen personalities’ but ‘we are not at liberty to reveal true names.’ I have no idea if all this is true, or simply hype. The album probably came out in 1964 or 1965, as it pictures on the back all the previous releases of the label. And it is also advertised in the 1965 issue of Vagabond (see more, below), so I believe it was the last record they released.
JD Doyle

The video features some record sleeves from Camp.
 

 
Thanks to Queer Music Heritage.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Birthday boy Lenny Bruce on Playboy’s Penthouse, 1959

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Speculating on how an 85-year-old Lenny Bruce would be celebrating his birthday today is as fun as it is pointless.

But it’s pretty easy to guess that edgy comedy’s patron saint would not have been able to stretch out casually on TV for 25 minutes in conversation with a legendary publisher and lifestyle creator like the Hef.

That’s what happened in 1959 on the first episode of Playboy’s Penthouse, Hugh Hefner’s first foray into TV, which broadcast from WBKB in his Chicago hometown. This was the first mass-market exposure of the erstwhile club-bound Bruce, and its high-end hepness set the tone for the show’s two-season run, which featured a ton of figures in the jazz culture scene.

Of course, the dynamic between the eloquent snapping-and-riffing Long Islander Bruce and the perennially modest Midwestern Hefner is classic as the comedian covers topics like “sick” comedy, nose-blowing, Steve Allen, network censorship, tattoos & Jews, decency wackos, Lou Costello, integration, stereotypes, medicine and more.
 

 
Part II | Part III | Part IV

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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The first two Pere Ubu single A sides (1975-76)

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As requested by our own Tara M., here’s a quick Pere Ubu post. You really can’t go wrong with anything they released in their first incarnation (‘75-‘79 or so) but these first 2 7” A sides are total rock classics by any sane person’s standards (of rock). I personally spent many teen hours thrashing about in suburban bedrooms with my pals to these deathlessly perfect monster jams. True American masterpieces.

 
More Ubu after the jump…

Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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The Beat Generation and the Tea Party

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“I think I’m going to puke.”
 
Blowhard asshole Lee Siegel continues to thrash around in the low end of the journalistic cesspool with this utterly idiotic essay in the New York Times comparing the Beat Generation to the Tea Party movement.

The counterculture of the late 1950s and early 1960s appears to be everywhere these days. A major exhibition of Allen Ginsberg’s photography just closed at the National Gallery in Washington. A superb book, by the historian Sean Wilentz, about Ginsberg’s dear friend and sometime influence Bob Dylan recently made the best-seller list. “Howl,”  a film about Ginsberg and the Beats, opened last month. And everywhere around us, the streets and airwaves hum with attacks on government authority, celebrations of radical individualism, inflammatory rhetoric, political theatrics.
In other words, the spirit of Beat dissent is alive (though some might say not well) in the character of Tea Party protest. Like the Beats, the Tea Partiers are driven by that maddeningly contradictory principle, subject to countless interpretations, at the heart of all American protest movements: individual freedom. The shared DNA of American dissent might be one answer to the question of why the Tea Partiers, so extreme and even anachronistic in their opposition to any type of government, exert such an astounding appeal.

Comparing the sexy, druggy, life embracing, progressive culture of the beats to the fascistic, xenophobic, racist, fearful and life-negating Tea Party is absolutely absurd. It’s like comparing fucking to a case of serious blue balls.

The following comment by Siegel not only posits an idiotic argument, it’s morally disgusting:

the Tea Partiers’ unnerving habit of bringing guns to town-hall meetings would have repelled the Beats. But William S. Burroughs fetishized guns, accidentally killing his wife while trying to shoot a glass off her head. Violence, implicit or explicit, comes with the “beaten” state of mind. So does theatricality, since playing roles — and manipulating symbols — is often the first resort of people who do not feel acknowledged for being who they really are.

What the fuck does Burroughs’ wife’s death have to with “manipulating symbols” or some kind of identity crisis?

Read the entire steaming pile of bullshit here.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Happy Birthday Aleister Crowley!
10.12.2010
07:20 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
Aleister Crowley

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The eccentric English mage, poet, painter and gourmet rice chef would be 135-years-old today if, um, he could like live forever or something…

I’m often asked “Where is a good place to start reading Crowley?” and this is a difficult question because you have to read, pretty much, all of it to make sense of any of it. Going down the Crowley rabbit hole is comparable, I think, to being a scholar of James Joyce (or Ezra Pound) because achieving a proper understanding of the subject takes years, decades even (and then what are you going to DO with all that knowledge, anyway?). But one source that I will point curious folk to is the late Tim Maroney’s excellent “Introduction to Crowley (in Five Voices)” which I published in my Book of Lies anthology in 2004.

Below, Kenneth Anger’s short film documenting several of Crowley’s paintings, “The Man We Want to Hang.”
 

 
Update: Today is also Kirk Cameron’s birthday. Is it a mere coincidence that the Darwin-denying, Left Behind actor shares a birthday with the Great Beast???

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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When William Burroughs met Joy Division

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When you consider all of the famous and infamous people who William Burroughs met in his lifetime, maybe the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game should be adapted for the late Beat author (I’d have a “Burroughs” of one, as I met him (briefly) in Los Angeles in 1996).  At the Reality Studio blog, there’s a fascinating tale, told in great detail, about the time Joy Division shared the same stage with Burroughs, Brion Gysin and Cabaret Voltaire in Belgium:

Joy Division was given its first opportunity to play outside the United Kingdom on 16 October 1979. That alone would have distinguished the gig for the band, but of special interest to Curtis and his mates was the fact that they would be opening for Burroughs. The avant-garde theater troupe Plan K, which had made a specialty of interpreting Burroughs’ work, were founding a performance space in a former sugar refinery in Brussels, Belgium. The opening was conceived as a multimedia spectacle. Films were to be screened — among others, Nicholas Roeg’s Performance (starring Mick Jagger) and Burroughs’ own experiments with Antony Balch. The Plan K theater troupe were to perform “23 Skidoo.” Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire were to give “rock” concerts. And Burroughs and Brion Gysin were to read from their recently published book, The Third Mind.

Before the evening’s events, Burroughs and Joy Division gave separate interviews to the culture magazine En Attendant. Graciously provided to RealityStudio by the interviewer and the organizer of the Plan K opening, Michel Duval, these have been translated from the French and are reproduced here for the first time since their publication in November 1979. You can read the French original or the English translation of Duval’s interview with Joy Division, as well as the French original or the English translation of Duval’s interview with William Burroughs.

After Burroughs’ reading brought the opening of Plan K to its climax, Curtis attempted to introduce himself to his literary idol. This meeting, like so many things about both Curtis and Burroughs, has already become legend — which is another way of saying that its factual basis may have receded into darkness. If you search around the internet, you’ll see sites describing the encounter in terms like this: “Unfortunately when Ian went up to talk to him the author told Ian to get lost.” And this: “Burroughs probably was tired and bored with the concerts and when Ian went up to talk with him the author told Ian to get lost. Ian got lost immediately, not a little hurt by the rebuff.” Chris Ott’s book Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures repeats the story, and Mark Johnson’s book An Ideal for Living asserts that Burroughs refused to speak to Curtis.

To anyone familiar with Burroughs, the thought of him telling a fan to get lost is perplexing. Burroughs tended to be unfailingly courteous, even a touch “old world” in his manners. Typically he was generous with fans and admirers, particularly with young men as handsome as Ian Curtis. What could have prompted such an exchange? Was Curtis insulting? Burroughs in a bad mood? Were there mitigating circumstances?

Find out in William S. Burroughs and Joy Division (Reality Studio)
 
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Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘An Hour With Pink Floyd’: Live TV Performance, 1970
10.09.2010
11:20 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Television

Tags:
Pink Floyd
1970
KQED

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1970 Pink Floyd performance for San Francisco public TV Station KQED.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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