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“That’s Incredible” Broadcasts History’s First Video Game World Championship (1983)
07.27.2009
09:47 pm
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Speaking of “Look Around You”, here’s a nifty nostalgic peek at 1983’s “That’s Incredible Video Game Invitational.”  Twin Galaxies says:

Twin Galaxies first Coronation Day Tournament is recognized as history’s first video game “World Championship”—held January 8-9, 1983 at the the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard in Ottumwa, Iowa, USA.

Co-sponsored by Twin Galaxies and ABC-TV’s That’s Incredible, the event featured nineteen of North America’s top players competing on five current titles: Frogger, Millipede, Joust, Super Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong, Jr.

The top three finalists won complimentary subscriptions to Joystik, RePlay and Playmeter Magazine and were invited to compete on the “That’s Incredible” finals in Los Angeles.

The show was aired to an international TV audience on February 21, 1983.

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Twin Galaxies & That’s Incredible

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.27.2009
09:47 pm
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Louis Wain: The Man Who Drew Cats
07.26.2009
10:57 am
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Often held up as THE classic example of a schizophrenic artist, in recent decades there has come to be greater respect for the talents of Victorian-era illustrator of anthropomorphic cats, Louis Wain.

Wain’s famous felines were born of his efforts to amuse his wife as she was dying of breast cancer. Wain would draw their cat, Peter, with eyeglasses, pretending to read. This style was developed over the years and eventually Wain’s cats began to walk upright and wear contemporary clothes. They engaged in activities like smoking, fishing, playing musical instruments and having tea parties. It’s important to remember that at this time, cats were not widely kept as household pets, mostly they were kept around to eradicate vermin.

Wildly popular in Victorian England, for several years Wain’s drawings and postcards were all the rage, but eventually his popularity began to… well, wane.  After being taken advantage of in several investment “opportunities,” Wain’s mental health deteriorated and he was interred at a mental hospital in the poverty ward. News of his circumstances were publicized by H.G. Wells, who organized the funds to move Wain into a nicer hospital with a colony of cats, along with Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald who personally intervened on Wain’s behalf.

In the final years of his life, Wain’s cats became more abstract and less whimsical. His once playful cats began to resemble fearsome, almost kaleidoscopic, Hindu deities. Many psychological textbooks feature drawings from various stages in the artist’s career to show the progression of Wain’s schizophrenia.

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Beginning in the late 60s, Wain’s work came into fashion again and has become sought after by collectors. In 2009 Nick Cave, a Wain enthusiast since the late 70s, organized the first showing of Wain’s work outside of England when he exhibited his work as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties concert series in Australia. Artist Tracy Emin and musician David Tibet are also prominent collectors of Wain’s work.

The Chris Beetle Gallery is a good source for buying an original Wain.

Catland: The Art of Louis Wain

Louis Wain bio

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.26.2009
10:57 am
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London’s magical history uncorked from ‘witch bottle’
07.25.2009
04:20 pm
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Proof that use of bodily fluids common in ancient folk spells. From New Scientist

A rare insight into the folk beliefs of 17th-century Britons has been gleaned from the analysis of a sealed “witch bottle” unearthed in Greenwich, London, in 2004.

Witch bottles were commonly buried to ward off spells during the late 16th and 17th centuries, but it is very rare to find one still sealed.

“So many have been dug up and their contents washed away down the sink,” says Alan Massey, a retired chemist formerly at the University of Loughborough, UK, who has examined so-called “magical” artifacts and was asked to analyse the contents of the bottle. “This is the first one that has been opened scientifically.”

During the 17th century, British people often blamed witches for any ill health or misfortune they suffered, says Massey. “The idea of the witch bottle was to throw the spell back on the witch,” he says. “The urine and the bulb of the bottle represented the waterworks of the witch, and the theory was that the nails and the bent pins would aggravate the witch when she passed water and torment her so badly that she would take the spell back off you.”

London’s magical history uncorked from ‘witch bottle’

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.25.2009
04:20 pm
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When Schoolchildren Fought the System
07.24.2009
04:18 pm
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Quite amazing account of a series of political demonstrations organized by British teenagers in 1972:

The pupil power demonstration was called by the rebel Schools?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.24.2009
04:18 pm
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Charles Bukowski Los Angeles Tour (Hollywood and Western)
07.23.2009
06:53 pm
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I love Los Angeles, I am an Angeleano by choice and forever shall it be. I’ve lived in New York, London and Amsterdam but Los Angeles is my favorite city by far. It’s great here!

I am also a big fan of the writings of Charles Bukowski. The city of Los Angeles is practically a character itself in all his books. As unique as Bukowski was, of course, he was very much an “LA character.” It’s hard to imagine him existing anywhere else. This video, one of 52 shorts made by Barbet Schroeder in 1985 as part of “The Bukowski Tapes” sees Buk taking the camera on a tour of his favorite dive haunts in the section of town near Hollywood and Western.

Approximately ten years after this was shot, I myself lived on this particular corner for a period of about two months (don’t ask!) and although it had been cleaned up quite a bit since 1985, it was still pretty horrific. The first night I spent in the hotel where I was staying, a man was shot and killed outside my window. On another occasion I had to sleep in the bathtub because a shot had been fired right outside my room. I figured I’d be safe from stray bullets in the iron tub. The corner had an all night hot dog stand (seen in video) beside a porn store that was also open 24/7. Tranny hookers that were over six feet tall and didn’t pass strolled the area.

It was, as one friend of mine put it, like an early Funkadelic album cover had come to life. Take a look for yourself:


Via The Rumpus

Thank you Michael Kurcfeld!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.23.2009
06:53 pm
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Pink Floyd Jammed Live While the Apollo Moon Landing was Broadcast on the BBC in 1969
07.22.2009
12:05 am
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This really happened!

“It was fantastic to be thinking that we were in there making up a piece of music, while the astronauts were standing on the moon. It doesn’t seem conceivable that that would happen on the BBC nowadays.” —David Gilmour of Pink Floyd

No shit! This is amazing!

My moon-landing jam session by David Gilmour

Thank you Chris Campion!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.22.2009
12:05 am
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Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together 1840-1918
07.19.2009
12:08 am
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This is an exhibition of photographs of men in strikingly affectionate poses. Although it includes a wide variety of photographic formats - from early studio tableaux to later casual snapshots - one thing unites all these images of unknown men: the emotional bond shared between the sitters. Confronted by such demonstrative images of men posing arm in arm or gazing into each other’s eyes, the contemporary viewer is left to wonder about the affection they shared, and about the meaning and purpose of the photographs that survive. Were these long-dead sitters friends or relatives, colleagues or lovers? In all likelihood, we will never know. And perhaps that doesn’t matter. One aspect of photographs that makes them so compelling is that they can generate so many unpredictable meanings - this despite their capacity to record their subjects in vivid detail. Thus, the physical expression of love between the men in such pictures is bound to provoke profoundly different reactions, depending on the viewer’s gender, sexual orientation, race or class.

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Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together

Posted by Tara McGinley
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07.19.2009
12:08 am
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The collapse of Soviet communism never relegated Marx’s ideas to the dustbin of history
07.18.2009
11:59 am
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The New Republic’s always brilliant John B. Judis wrote an excellent short essay in last month’s Foreign Policy that everyone should read. I could not agree more with the sentiments here:

In 1995, a magazine published by a conservative Washington think tank brought together a group of writers and scholars to debate a question that seemed to have a foregone conclusion: ?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.18.2009
11:59 am
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John Lennon on Monday Night Football with Howard Cosell (1974)
07.18.2009
11:06 am
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I like how he’s confused by the rules of American Football. I doesn’t make any sense to me, either, and I’m American… (HT Mikki Halpin)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.18.2009
11:06 am
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When Andy Warhol Died
07.16.2009
12:00 am
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image I remember vividly when this cover story from New York magazine originally appeared just three weeks after Andy Warhol died. As a New Yorker myself at the time, it truly felt like it was the end of an era and this article really brought the point home for me. I kept it for years and for all I know, it may still be sitting out in the garage.

After Warhol died, New York’s fabled nightlife took a nosedive (there were other factors, too, of course, like AIDS). It wasn’t like you’d be able to see Warhol at a party, a fashion show, a night club or a restaurant ever again and think to yourself “Oh, Andy’s here. I must be in the very best party in the world tonight.” That was what Warhol’s stamp of approval meant to New Yorkers. His presence made you feel cool. I met Warhol several times. When I’d tell people I was going to move to New York City, they’d ask me what my plans were and I’d say “Oh, you know, meet Andy Warhol, hang out at the Factory and something cool is bound to happen.” I actually believed this as an 18-year old!

And as fate would have it, on the very first night I spent in New York, at an opening party at the Area nightclub, the infamous homicidal club kid king, Michael Alig asked me if I’d like to meet Warhol. “Sure!” I replied and Michael proceeded to shove me—HARD—into the artist, nearly knocking him down. Warhol just shrugged it off and blamed Michael anyway as he’d seen the whole thing go down.  After that incident, I’d run into Warhol every few weeks and I’d see him (usually with Cornelia Guest) often at Limelight, the nightclub where I was working. But when he died so suddenly, I can’t stress this enough, it was like a pall had come over the city. It was a real turning point, for me anyway and New York would just never be quite the same ever again.

The first sign that there was something wrong with Andy Warhol, that he might be a mortal being after all, came three weeks ago. It was a Friday night, and after dinner with friends at Nippon, he was planning to see Outrageous Fortune, eat exactly three bites of a hot-fudge sundae at Serendipity, buy the newspapers, and go to bed. At dinner, though, he felt a pain. It was a sharp, bad pain, and rather than let anyone see him suffer, he excused himself. And as soon as he got home, the pain went away.

“I’m sorry I said I had to go home,” Warhol told Pat Hackett a few days later as he narrated his daily diary entry to her over the phone. “I should have gone to the movie, and no one would ever have known.”

In fact, no one remembered. And if anyone suspected trouble, it was dispelled the next week by Warhol’s ebullient spirits at the Valentine’s dinner for 30 friends that he held at Texarkana with Paige Powell, the young woman who was advertising director of Interview magazine by day and Warhol’s favorite date by night. Calvin Klein had sent him a dozen or so bottles of Obsession, and before Warhol set them out as party favors for the women, he drew hearts on them and signed his name. On one for ballerina Heather Watts he went further, inscribing the word the public never associates with Andy Warhol: “Love.”

The World of Warhol by Jesse Kornbluth, from the March 9, 1987 issue of New York Magazine.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.16.2009
12:00 am
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