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Short animated film depicts the agony of alcoholism


 
Twelve-step programs have long achieved remarkable things using the simple technique of a single voice speaking with honesty and humility, and it is precisely this device that works so smashingly well in this animated short crafted by the production company Buck for Alcoholics Anonymous.

In “Doors,” the simple aural method of a multitude of voices detailing (necessarily incompletely) the abjectness of their situations is singularly effective, singularly moving, singularly powerful. The iconic and yet entirely fluid visuals in the short reminds me a great deal of the work of Eric Drooker, whose wordless novel Flood of some years ago evinced similar feelings of helplessness, dread, isolation, and desperation.
 

 
“I’m Justin H., I’m an alcoholic.” “I had no friends, I burned every single bridge, my family had cut ties from me, I was unemployable. ... All of those things because, you know, drinking was more important than anything else.” The snippets start out bleak but, inevitably, turn more hopeful as the narrative edges towards probably the planet’s most effective counter to dipsomania—Alcoholics Anonymous.

Just as AA meeting structurally resemble Moth storytelling gatherings, so too do these recorded clips remind one of This American Life—but so many right-thinking NPR addicts have become trained in empathizing with just such voices.

By the time the short had ended I was almost disappointed to see that it was, no matter how well executed, yes, a commercial for AA. But on second thought, that’s the best use for such a fine piece of work.
 

 
via BOOOOOOOM!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Kenneth, what is the frequency?’ The weird connection between AC/DC and the 1986 Dan Rather assault
07.08.2015
08:51 am

Topics:
Media
Music
Television

Tags:
ACDC
Ken Schaffer
Dan Rather


 
Dan Rather’s career as a network news anchor was full of memorable moments, but perhaps the single most surreal incident was the time he had to report a crime in which he was the victim. He was walking to his NYC home on October 4th, 1986, when he was accosted and beaten on the sidewalk by men who pummeled and kicked him while repeating the question “Kenneth, what is the frequency?”

It was freakin’ weird, so weird that there were some who thought Rather had lost his marbles and made it up. Most doubts were squashed when a doorman who witnessed the incident and helped thwart the attack corroborated Rather’s version of events, and remaining doubts were put to rest 11 years later, when one of the assailants was at last identified, as an apparently unwell man who thought the news media was transmitting messages to him, and who furthermore was serving time for the 1994 murder of a Today show stagehand. By then, the phrase “Kenneth, what is the frequency” (interchangeably with the misquote “What’s the frequency, Kenneth”) had long since entered pop culture, becoming the title of a cool piece of music by Game Theory in 1987, and a very popular REM song in 1994.

As it turns out, there really WAS a Kenneth, and the incident may have been a monumental case of mistaken identity. Ken Schaffer was a music publicist turned inventor who, during what would turn out to be the tail end of the Cold War, found a way to use TVRO dishes to receive Russian television broadcasts from Molniya satellites, a system he installed at the Harriman Institute for Advanced Studies of the Soviet Union at Columbia University. He even enabled the broadcast of a full week’s worth of Soviet television on the then-embryonic Discovery Channel. An amazing and weird article I found on the SETI League web site illuminates Schaffer’s connection to the Rather assault:
 

 

Because Soviet TV broadcasts were generally unavailable in the U.S., the receiver Kenny set up at the Harriman institute drew a number of visitors. Some, such as English rock musician Gordon Sumner (better known as Sting), were there to learn about the arts scene behind the Iron Curtain. (One of the first adopters of a wireless guitar amplifier developed by Schaffer two decades earlier,  Sting was moved by the Molniya viewing experience to compose his popular song “Russians,” sung to a theme from the Lieutennant Kijé Suite by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.) Some of the visitors were American diplomats, hoping to use the knowledge gained from the screen to ease international tensions. Others, including TV news anchorman Dan Rather, came to do what journalists generally do—learn about upcoming trends so they could later report on them.

Then there were the visitors from the shadow world, all wanting to know how Schaffer was pulling these elusive signals out of the ether. Kenny generally refrained from telling them, likely hoping to capitalize on his technology by keeping the details to himself. When asked about frequencies and modulation modes, he usually changed the subject.

On the October 1986 night Rather was attacked, he and Schaffer had just left the Columbia campus, where they had been watching Molniya video downlinks. “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” Rather was asked repeatedly while being pummeled by unknown assailants. Kenny Schaffer believes this was a simple (although painful) case of mistaken identity. The muggers followed the wrong man.

Unfuckingreal, right? We not only have Schaffer to thank (or curse, depending on your alternarock tolerance levels) for that astonishingly durable REM song, he was possibly the intended victim of the Rather beating, AND he’s complicit in that monstrous piece of crap Sting song. That last demerit, though large, is more than mitigated by the fact that Schaffer is also responsible for the monstrously awesome guitar sound on AC/DC’s early ‘80s albums. Did you note the mention in the quotation above of Schaffer’s wireless guitar amplifier? That’s a misnomer—Schaffer’s system was not an amp, but a transmitter/receiver.
 

 
The Schaffer-Vega Diversity System was an early wireless transmitter for guitarists. Its popularity blew up exponentially after its adoption by Ace Frehley of KISS, who’d been electrocuted during a performance in Florida, when his hand touching a metal guardrail completed an AC circuit with his ungrounded amp. Soon, many, many people began using Schaffer-Vegas (Frehley could easily have died, the incident was no joke), including Van Halen, the Stones, Bootsy Collins, and Frank Zappa. But the device’s moment in the sun came not from any live performance, but its use in-studio, really the last place anyone needs wireless anything.

A bit of oversimplified tech here: the Schaffer-Vega compressed a guitar’s signal before transmission, and expanded it at the receiver end, before feeding the transmitted signal to the amp. While it expanded the signal, it boosted certain frequencies that could tend to be lost to compression. So not only did the device wirelessly transmit a signal, it colored the guitar’s tone in distinctive ways, creating harmonic distortions, but they happened to be pleasing distortions.
 

 

Angus Young with Ken Schaffer. Photo: SoloDallas

And so it was that Angus Young of AC/DC began using wireless in the recording studio. Unable to satisfactorily record his ridiculous ball-crunching live sound, he soon resorted to the obvious move, and used his live rig:

George [Young, Angus and Malcolm’s older brother and first AC/DC producer] had suggested that I use the SVDS in the studio in 1978, then when Mutt Lange came in [producer of Highway to Hell, Back in Black, For Those About to Rock We Salute You], he asked me to use the same stuff that I was using for my stage sound, so we used the SVDS again.

The Schaffer-Vega’s unique compression/expansion/EQ scheme turns out to be THE key to AC/DC’s distinctively rich guitar sound, every bit as much as a late ‘60s Gibson SG and a late ‘70s Marshall amp. However, the units had to be abandoned in 1982, victim both to changing FCC regulations on wireless specs, and Ken Schaffer’s changing interests… changing interests which led to a Cold War satellite breakthrough, which led to a really famous reporter getting his ass beat down on Park Avenue. Nutty world, isn’t it?

There’s a happy ending for the Schaffer-Vega, though—this is the news item that got me down into this rabbit-hole to begin with, in fact: the device has been resurrected, redesigned by a company called SoloDallas from Schaffer’s original units and named the “Schaffer Replica.” An early run of the replicas is sold out, but not only is an updated version available, it’ll be featured at this week’s musical instrument industry exposition, Summer NAMM. It’s available both as a wireless transceiver and as a regular guitar pedal. To be blunt, both of the devices are spendy as hell, though either option is cheaper by far than a late ‘60s Gibson SG or a late ‘70s Marshall amp. Angus Young used the newly recreated gizmo on AC/DC’s likely farewell album, the well-received Rock or Bust, making it the first AC/DC album to feature one since 1983. (And I don’t want to goddamn hear about it if you don’t like AC/DC—you’re just wrong. I love them abidingly for the same reasons I love the Ramones and Lungfish: if you keep making more or less the same album over and over again for decades and I love that album almost every time, you’re on to something worthy.)

Here’s some killer footage of AC/DC live on The Midnight Special in 1978. Angus Young is SURELY using a Schaffer-Vega wireless setup here:
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The entire print run of classic punk Slash magazine is now online
07.06.2015
06:13 am

Topics:
Media
Music
Punk

Tags:
Punks
Slash
magazines


 
I have excellent news for the world. Ryan Richardson, one of the United States’ foremost collectors, archivists, and dealers of punk rock records and ephemera has given us a most welcomed gift.

Richardson has uploaded the entire print run of the classic L.A. punk magazine, Slash, to his website Circulationzero.com.

A true Internet saint, Richardson has previously blessed us with free online archives of Star magazine, Rock Scene magazine, and Fanzinefaves.com, a repository of various early punk zines. Richardson also hosts the exhaustive punk info blog Break My Face.

Unlike crucial, pioneering magazines such as Touch and Go and We Got Power!, which have recently gotten deluxe anthology treatments, Slash magazine has remained hidden from public view since its demise in 1980, save for the surviving copies in the hands of primordial punks and collectors with the scratch to afford valuable originals on eBay.

Richardson has collected the entire print run of 29 issues from 1977 to 1980.

The importance of Slash to the L.A. punk scene, and really to the worldwide punk scene in general, cannot be overstated.  The writing of Claude “Kickboy Face” Bessy, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, and Chris D. helped to define the attitude and outlook of the nascent subculture, while the imagery of illustrators Gary Panter and Mark Vallen established punk as an art movement working outside of—but in conjunction with—the music scene. Photographers like Ed Colver and Jenny Lens provided essential documentation of the era, making names for themselves producing some of the most important rock photography ever captured.
 

 
The layout design, graphics, and writing put Slash spiky-head-and-shoulders above most any other punk fanzine before or since. And in terms of being a historical record of a cultural time and place, this print run is priceless. We hope you have several hours to kill. You can download the entire archive right here or from Circulationzero.com.

The zip-file download of the complete run is free, but Richardson asks that those taking advantage make a charitable donation to Electronic Frontier Foundation, Doctors Without Borders or Austin Pets Alive. He has provided donation links on Circulationzero.com.

While you’re waiting on this large file to download, here’s a gallery of covers and pages included in the archive:
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Mel Brooks demonstrates the 12 emotions that every actor must master
06.29.2015
02:25 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Media
Movies

Tags:
Mel Brooks


 
This remarkable gallery of Mel Brooks making the most of his entirely rubbery face appeared in a 1982 issue of Best magazine, a French publication. Here’s a typical cover of Best, also from 1982:
 

 

Anyway, here was the spread as it appeared in the magazine. As you can see, Brooks is giving his impression of 12 core emotions, including fear, joy, astonishment, and sadness. In each case Brooks has supplied a little comment on what the emotion means. If you click on this image, you will be able to see a larger version.
 

 
Here are better views of the panels, with inexpert translations that were enabled in large part by Google Translate.
 

Sadness: Debussy
Hatred: I do not practice it.

 

Shyness: The very big girls
Seduction: I cannot go to the discos without locking myself in the bathroom because the women are so beautiful.

 

Joy: A girl named Sheila, against my expectation, gave me her address.
Love: A good book in the hand of a beautiful naked girl when I’m in a hotel room that she paid for.

 

Provocation: A waiter spills soup on me, I leave without paying.
Ennui: All the Jews who borrow money from me under the pretext that am one.

 

Fear: When there are many people at the table but they bring me the check.
Stupidity: Believing the promises of politicians.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Propaganda: The aesthetics of evil and why GOTH was a thing that had to happen
06.16.2015
05:44 am

Topics:
Fashion
Media
Music

Tags:
Goth
Propaganda


 
Founded in 1982 by New York photographer Fred H. Berger, Propaganda magazine was, at the time of its final issue in 2002, the longest running and most popular chronicle of gothic subculture in the United States. From its infancy as a punk fanzine, it grew in scope, covering the esoteric obsessions of its “Propaganda Minister”—post-punk, death rock, fetish fashion, body modification, BDSM, vampirism, horror literature, androgyny, and paganism were all tossed into its smoking cauldron. Over time, these disparate influences became codified into what we know today as “goth” culture. Never billing itself as a “goth” zine per-se, Propaganda had as much to do with developing the aesthetic of goth as any black-clad scare-band you’d possibly care to name.

Nancy Kilpatrick’s The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined called Propaganda “the only subculture publication known to just about every goth on the planet” for good reason. Its importance to that scene can’t be overstated. In fact, you could say that goth had to happen with Propaganda acting as a two-way mirror, both projecting and reflecting the dark music, fashion, art, and literature of its post-Cold War audience.

I didn’t discover Propaganda until the early ‘90s, when it seemed to be everywhere. I remember, at the time, being impressed that a zine so specifically targeted to a relatively small subculture was turning up in major newsstands and bookstores, even in the tiny South Carolina town where I lived. This was pre-Internet Age, when getting such significant distribution would have been a major struggle.  The striking, brooding images in those ‘90s issues, Propaganda‘s heyday, are burned into my mind. The models in Propaganda seemed to me, at the time, to be the most (depressingly) glamorous people on the planet.

I was able to pin down the man behind many of those images, Fred Berger himself, to talk to him about the magazine, its history and legacy, and where the gothic subculture has gone in a post-Propaganda world.
 

Propaganda publisher, Fred H. Berger, October 1985. (Photo by Wayne Arents)
 
Propaganda magazine, from the earliest issues covered punk and post-punk music as well as alternative—what could be described as “fetish”—fashion. You witnessed and reported on what became the birth of “goth” as we know it today, back when it might have fallen under the umbrella of “post-punk” or “new romantic” or “death rock.” At what point do you think disparate forms of music, literature, art, and fashion came together to form “goth”?

Fred H. Berger: I discovered goth when I saw Bauhaus in the vampire film The Hunger in 1983. For the two years prior to that, Propaganda was a hardcore punk fanzine. Propaganda’s first gothic issue was Issue No. 3, Summer 1984. It wasn’t called “goth” then – it was just “underground” or “darkwave.” I don’t think the term “goth” came into wide usage until later in 1984, and it applied to bands like Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Although Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy said, “We are not a goth band,” and Siouxsie said, “There’s no such thing as goth.” I don’t think they wanted to be labeled, preferring to be whatever they wanted to be, which I can fully understand. In the ‘80s Propaganda covered the New York underground club scene, which featured mostly European bands – primarily British but also Dutch and German such as Clan of Xymox and Xmal Deutschland which were darkwave – not goth. And New York’s underground clubs such as Danceteria, the Cat Club and The World featured more fashion shows and performance art than bands, and much of that was of the fetish and avant-garde variety. Sure it was experimental, kinky and dark, but it wasn’t really goth in that vampiric and melodramatic sort of way. American goth grew more out of West Coast death rock with bands like Christian Death and London After Midnight. I didn’t come in contact with that until 1989, at which time the New York alternative scene was fragmenting with more people getting involved in the rave and clubkid scenes which I had absolutely no interest in. I was somewhat aware of what was happening in L.A. and headed west to see what it was all about. And that was when Propaganda became immersed in what you would call “goth” in the truest sense of the word – ankhs and rosaries, black lace and velvet, capes and corsetry – it was like a scene out of a Vampire Lestat novel. And it was all about bands, versus New York’s preoccupation with art and fashion. The biggest L.A. goth club was Helter Skelter, and in San Diego it was Soil, and in San Francisco it was House of Usher. By 1992 I’d been to all of them and saw that there was a distinctly California style of goth as opposed to New York’s more avant-garde and fetishistic variety and London’s Batcave scene which was heavily influenced by punk. Propaganda covered the West Coast scene so extensively that by the mid-‘90s the whole country adopted it as the quintessentially American version of goth.
 

Issues one through five of Propaganda, charting the transition of coverage from punk to what would become “goth.”
 
As “gothic culture” developed, how much credit would you take for creating the feedback loop that codified the tenets of that culture? Obviously you were reporting on your own personal interests. How much of that reporting became reflected back in terms of narrowing the definitions of what it meant to be a “goth?”

FHB: Propaganda reported on the punk, goth and industrial movements in a selective way according to my own personal tastes and interests, and I also introduced certain elements based on that subjective criteria. David Bowie and ‘70s glitter rock introduced me to androgyny, and that is something which I focused on throughout most of Propaganda’s 20-year existence. The ideal which I sought out, and also fabricated to some extent, was that of a gender-ambiguous, painfully thin and ghostly pale creature based on Ziggy Stardust, but of a darker, more sinister persuasion. That darkness would be rooting in certain taboos, such as vampirism, demonism, fetishism, homosexuality and Nazism – things that would shake up mainstream society. But it was more about the aesthetics of evil (“forbidden fruit” if you like) rather than the actual practice of it. I thought evil had a sensual and stylistic edge over virtue, but I’ve personally always lived by the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Propaganda never advocated Satanism, occultism, Nazism, sadomasochism or homosexuality, but that didn’t stop some people from making accusations to that effect. Being an aesthete, I see things from a stylistic standpoint, but people who aren’t often read a lot of political and philosophical meaning into the imagery. I proclaim my innocence with regard to any agenda other than art, but there were some who never accepted my “artistic license” defense. Even so, Propaganda was the biggest, most popular and most influential goth-industrial-postpunk publication in the United States throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. It was carried by all the mainstream retail chains and was reviewed in mainstream newspapers and magazines. Sure a few people were offended, and were very vocal about it, but for the most part Propaganda was seen as iconoclastic and artistic, and not directly associated with any of the maligned “isms” which it referenced for dramatic effect.
 

Propaganda Issue No. 15
 
The idea of one person’s aesthetic being the launching point for what becomes a cultural uniform is fascinating to me. I’m reminded of Judas Priest’s Rob Halford, whose personal style was basically lifted from The Leatherman’s Handbook—and that style becomes copied by legions of adoring (mostly straight) fans, and eventually ends up being the “uniform” for heavy metal in the ‘80s. Is it fair to say that your personal aesthetic, which was reflected on the pages of Propaganda in your photography, became a “uniform” for kids who were attracted to the music, art, and literature covered in the magazine?

FHB: Well, “my” personal aesthetic was composed of an amalgam of different influences, which can probably be described in cinematic terms as a confluence of The Night Porter (1974), The Road Warrior (1982), and The Hunger (1983). I never intended to determine what the “uniform” should be; I was only shooting what I liked and it just caught on. Nor was I really conscious of the fact that my work was having that much of an effect on the goth-industrial look, but occasionally people would tell me “you created the goth look” or “Propaganda set the style.” But more often than not those comments fell on deaf ears because I’ve always been somewhat oblivious to accolades (and criticism), being more introspective than reactive. But when the mainstream press started to give me credit for practically founding the goth movement I decided to change direction and opted for an increasingly queer and fetishized heroin chic sensibility. That happened in the mid-‘90s and remained Propaganda’s basic aesthetic until the termination of the magazine in 2003 and the website in 2005. I continued to work in the queer and fetish publishing fields until 2012, but stopped when I finally realized that everyone is a photographer and a writer now courtesy of this 24/7 wired world of blogs and social networking and file sharing where all intellectual properties are considered public domain and no one wants to pay for anything anymore.
 

Propaganda Issue No. 11.
 
Propaganda seemed ubiquitous in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The magazine had an incredible distribution for being geared to a very specific, relatively small subculture. How were you able to achieve that sort of wide reach? And how much of your buying audience do you suspect were cultural voyeurs?

FHB: Propaganda was born into the zine revolution of the early ‘80s, when all you needed was a few hundred dollars to start a magazine. The first issue had a print-run of only 300 copies, but in the ‘90s Propaganda’s press runs averaged about 22,000 copies. That doesn’t sound like much, but the magazine had amazing distribution - it seemed to be everywhere that it needed to be - hip college towns and urban centers, affluent suburbs and even isolated rural pockets of alienated youth. And my distributors told me that Propaganda had an unusually high percentage of sales – typically 80 to 90% per issue which was about double the average for other youth-oriented music and lifestyle magazines. Propaganda had a very strong cult following, and many fans preserved their copies in plastic sleeves and still have them to this day, and they often refer to them as “holy relics.” This cult status also applied to the Propaganda videozines, 10,000 of which were sold from the early ‘90s to early 2000s. And the buzz around all of this was accentuated by numerous release parties at the country’s leading goth-industrial clubs which collectively gave the impression of Propaganda being this massive multi-media enterprise. Propaganda’s heavily trafficked website and foreign expansion enhanced its image that much more. But contrary to appearances, it was all produced on a shoe-string budget with a small part-time staff and a workaholic editor-in-chief (yours truly) operating out of a 1-bedroom apartment. As for voyeurs, I really can’t say – the only one I can identify for sure is myself.


The photos in Propaganda are, if I may apply an overused term, iconic—some of these images are forever etched into my mind. You had a very clear aesthetic and a sharp eye. What were your influences as a photographer? 

FHB: During it’s twenty years in print, Propaganda had about fifteen contributing photographers, as well as stock houses, movie studios and record labels that provided us with images, but I still managed to take about 1/3 of the photos that appeared in the magazine. About half of my photography was purely journalistic, covering musical performances, fashion shows and the club scene. The other half was a body of work which I created using models, some of whom became what people called “Propaganda super models” – John Koviak, Wayne Arents and Scott Crawford for instance became household names. Most of my top models were male androgynes – which was my aesthetic ideal, and they had thousands of male and female fans. In fact some straight guys accused me of turning them gay because they were so incredibly beautiful. Part of that was the models themselves, who were in their late teens to early 20s and were naturally very attractive; the other part was my styling and art direction. Some of my models were such chameleons that people often did not recognize them from one shoot to the next. I even had a couple of female models who posed as boys and no one detected the ruse. But only one of my female models achieved super model status – Tia Giles. She and my best male models appeared in numerous photo shoots in the magazine, and also acted in the Propaganda videozines which featured my art films as well as music videos provided by various bands. Many of my influences were literary, with the most inspiration coming from gothic horror authors Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite as well as queer counterculture authors Jean Genet and Yukio Mishima. But there were also historical figures and events that inspired my Propaganda photography and filmmaking such as Joan of Arc and Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the Holy Inquisition and the Holocaust.
 

Propaganda Issue No. 3
 
I remember watching SNL when Goth Talk was a recurring skit, and in one episode they aired a parody video featuring Rob Lowe—and I remember thinking AT THE TIME, “this is totally ripping on Propaganda‘s videos,” and wondering what the people behind the magazine thought of that. Have you seen the skit I’m talking about?

FHB: I remember Rob Lowe in Goth Talk and I thought it was painfully hilarious. Although I don’t remember thinking it resembled any footage I had shot. My films dealt with witch burnings, war crimes, lesbian vampires, and human sacrifice. You may have noticed a similarity to one of the band videos, but I did not produce those – they were submitted by the bands for inclusion in Propaganda videozine.
 

Rob Lowe as “The Beholder” alongside Azrael Abyss and Circy Nightshade on SNL’s “Goth Talk.”
 
As a lifer, what do you think of the shift in gothic culture away from the original “death rock” aesthetic to the more “techno-goth” style—musically, and fashion-wise—I’m talking the shift from black lace and corsets to synth dreads and steampunk goggles. Furthermore, how do you feel about Post-Irony Age events like “Bats Day” at Disneyland or gothic cruises?

FHB: Well, I’m not “a lifer,” in fact I never was a “goth.” My appearance, my home décor, nothing about me comes across as goth. Upon first meeting me, people from the scene often expressed surprise at how non-goth I was. I come across as a pragmatic photojournalist – very businesslike. Actually, referring to my relatively bland persona and lifestyle, one of the Propaganda staff members said, “You are the least likely and least worthy person to be in charge of the country’s #1 goth magazine.” Yes, everyone called it a “goth magazine,” but in reality over it’s 20-year run it was about 10% punk, 15% darkwave, 30% goth, 15% industrial, 5% glam, 5% metal, 10% fetish, and 10% queercore – more or less in that chronological order from 1982 to 2002, although there was considerable overlap between genres. Moreover, after terminating Propaganda I became a freelance writer and photographer for a number of gay, fetish and transgender publications for the next ten years. In November 2013 I launched the Propaganda magazine Facebook page which has thus far acquired over 21,000 followers, but I don’t plan on maintaining it past the end of this year due to the rising cost of Facebook fees which commercial and promotional pages have to pay to reach their fans and customers. As for the shift in gothic sensibilities, I’ve seen the dark rock phenomenon go from Alice Cooper to Christian Death to Marilyn Manson and Black Veil Brides, and there has been a common thread of melancholy, melodrama and men in makeup, with just a hint of irony. And from the Blade movie franchise and the Hot Topic boutique chain to Disneyland and gothic cruises, there have always been attempts to corporatize and trivialize it. I’m not a purist, and I’m certainly no one to pass judgment on anyone else, but it seems to me that the more things change the more they stay the same.

The final question is simply, what’s next for Fred Berger and Propaganda?

FHB: Well, the Propaganda magazine Facebook page has allowed me to pay the bills over the past 18 months via the sale of Propaganda’s back inventory of magazines, VHS videos, calendars, and T-shirts, as well as various publications that feature my photography and writing. But that inventory will probably be exhausted this Fall at which time it won’t pay to maintain the page. Because Facebook charges commercial and promotional pages to reach their fans and customers, they need to sell something just to pay the fees. So when I have nothing left to sell, it will no longer be feasible to maintain Propaganda’s presence on Facebook. Although recently I have been contacted by a couple of companies that want to market Propaganda T-shirts and re-release the Propaganda videos, which is a promising prospect. I’m also starting to develop a Propaganda magazine page on Tumblr which thus far doesn’t charge any of its users. The other advantage of Tumblr is it doesn’t censor erotic imagery. So we’ll see how these things develop. But in retrospect I feel as if I’ve done everything and gone everywhere I ever wanted to, and whenever people suggest that I do this or that, I simply tell them, “been there, done that.” I’m quite content to leave my legacy just the way it is.

And what a deliciously dark legacy it is. Back issues of Propaganda are available directly from Fred Berger via the Propaganda Facebook page. Below is a selection of Berger’s work for the magazine:
 

Issue No. 13, “The Doomsday Issue.”  Model: John Koviak (Photo by Fred H. Berger)
 
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The singer of Negative Approach is a social media genius
06.05.2015
05:47 am

Topics:
Media
Music
Punk

Tags:
John Brannon
Negative Approach


@RealJohnBrannon on Instagram: “check it out happy new year”
 
I’m sure many DM readers already know that John Brannon of Negative Approach, Laughing Hyenas, and Easy Action is one of the American nation’s greatest hardcore singers. That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about his contributions to social media.
 

@RealJohnBrannon on Instagram: “check it out im not ‘happy’”
 
In his 53 years between heaven and earth, Brannon has mastered the art of the non sequitur. Part life coach, part Eastern mystic, the hardcore frontman’s every utterance shatters received ideas and emancipates fettered minds. Somehow, Brannon always seems to know just what you need to hear to move your life forwards, and you’ll find more wisdom in his oracular words than in any newspaper’s astrology or advice column. As the man himself says:
 

 
Courtney Love can keep Tony Robbins; I’ll stick with Brannon. I’ve never been quite the same since I heard his introduction to one song Easy Action played at a show about ten years ago. Though I can no longer remember which song it was, I’ll never forget how he set it up. Staring at something no one else could see—something that made him very, very angry—Brannon growled into the mike:

IT’S NOT JUST FOR BREAKFAST ANYMORE!

If you follow @RealJohnBrannon on Twitter or Instagram, you can have a revelatory, life-changing experience like mine every few minutes. Check it out:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
So get over to Twitter. What are you waiting for? Your life begins today!

Thanks to my friend Lars Panquin.

Negative Approach live on Detroit public access, 1982

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Ten-hut! X-rated ‘Beetle Bailey’ comics
05.22.2015
05:31 am

Topics:
Art
Media
Sex

Tags:
smut
Mort Walker
Beetle Bailey


 
If you’ve ever so much as glanced at any Beetle Bailey strip involving General Halftrack leering at his secretary, the buxom Miss Buxley, you won’t be all too surprised that Mort Walker, the creator of the comic, at some point dashed off a few strips that, ah, were not intended for publication in a family-oriented newspaper.

The strips are pretty harmless, but they are unmistakably about boners and fellatio. So there’s that.

These comics appeared in a Swedish book about Beetle Bailey. Apparently the Swedes dig Beetle Bailey, where he is called “Knasen.” According to Google Translate, “Fräckisarna som stannade på skiss-stadiet” refers to something that is “cheeky” that “stayed at the sketch stage,” and “Varning för Snusk” means “warning for smut,” which is hilarious.

Varning för Snusk! You have been warned.
 

 
More smutty ‘Beetle Bailey’ after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Satan’s daughter is getting baptized tomorrow?
05.22.2015
05:04 am

Topics:
Advertising
Amusing
Media
Occult

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Satan's daughter

000advsatanlucybapzfghjkihg0123.jpg
 
“Satan’s mother” placed an advert in Sweden’s daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Tuesday announcing the baptism of her daughter Lucy on Saturday 23rd May in Elmsta.

The advert read “Welcome to the world beloved LUCY,” and carried a picture of a cherubic (demonic?) child with dark piercing eyes and 666 kiss curls. The ad included an RSVP email address from “rehtom.snatas”—which as all good occultists know is “Satan’s mother” backwards.
 

 
Alas, for all those expecting the end of days, fire, brimstone and alike, the announcement is part of a “guerilla” advertising campaign promoting the Elmsta 3000 Horror Fest.

Some eagle-eyed journalists noted their paper had been duped and carried a story about the advert later that day. This was the second time something unusual had ended up in the paper’s pages recently. On Sunday an essay in the culture section of the paper contained capital letters at the start of each paragraph that spelt out the word “P E N I S.”.
 

 
This time the mistake (cock-up?) in the Svenska Dagbladet was picked up by its rival newspaper Göteborgs-Posten RSS.
 
Via the Local

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Ape’: Fake newspaper promotes ‘Planet of the Apes,’ 1968
05.19.2015
12:36 pm

Topics:
Media
Movies

Tags:
Planet of the Apes
newspapers


 
Comedian Dana Gould, who might actually be the world’s most fervent Planet of the Apes fan, often says that the appeal of the first movie lay in the fact that it featured “Moses dressed like Tarzan running from King Kong dressed like Fonzie.”

In the run-up to the final episode of Mad Men, AMC generated these self-congratulatory videos in which prominent people gush about how awesome the show is. Gould took advantage of his segment, linked at the bottom of this post, to point out that Mad Men had included the historically accurate touch of Don Draper reading a copy of The Ape in “The Flood,” an episode from Season 6 in which Don takes his son Bobby to see the sci-fi classic (a new movie in the narrative, of course).
 

Don Draper enjoys The Ape in Season 6 of Mad Men
 
Yes, it does appear that 20th Century Fox went the extra mile and had fake newspapers called The Ape and Future News printed up. Given the headline on the Future News one, it’s likely that that one was intended to promote Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, which came out in 1972. The idea of a newspaper called Future News (and billing itself as “The Future’s Picture Newspaper”) is pretty hilarious in itself. You know how we all live in the future from the perspective of our ancestors, so we do that all the time too, right? The date on that one is “Monday, May 22, 1992,” which is consistent with the plot of Conquest, which starts out in 1991, but that day was actually a Friday, and most memorable to some people as the final night of Johnny Carson’s tenure as host of The Tonight Show.

Solving the tangled chronology of the Planet of the Apes—even just the first five movies—would take the combined brainpower of MIT, and something similar goes for trying to suss out the details of these promotional newspapers, about which there isn’t very much information online.
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Jonathan Richman fills out the N.Y. Rocker questionnaire
05.01.2015
09:03 am

Topics:
Media
Music

Tags:
Jonathan Richman
The Modern Lovers


 
The February 1978 edition of N.Y. Rocker ran a feature by Craig Zeller called “Jonathan Richman: A Roadrunner for Your Love.” The article has one of the better opening lines I can remember: “I’m straight and I used to be in love with Jonathan Richman.” Not only does it reference one of Richman’s defining tunes, “I’m Straight,” but it also puts forward the prospect of falling out of love with Jonathan Richman. (Actually, having seen Richman complain about the A/C the last two times I saw him play live and also reading Zeller’s account of Richman’s prickiness as an interviewee, I get it.)

In Zeller’s lengthy intro, he puts himself across as a die-hard Richman fan frustrated that Richman’s recent work hasn’t lived up to the initial early promise. He tells of an NYU gig of October 29, 1977, singling out the new songs “I’m a Little Airplane,” “My Love Is A Flower (Just Beginning To Bloom),” “I’m A Little Dinosaur,” and (Zeller’s favorite) “The Morning of Our Lives.” The interview that ran in N.Y. Rocker took place after that show in chilly Washington Square Park (how about finding a bar somewhere, guys?) and was by his own admission a bit awkward.

This 1998 interview with Richman includes a reference to Richman’s distaste for N.Y. Rocker because “they had misquoted” Richman and “distorted some of [Richman’s] comments” and because “they had ‘lied,’” but what I can’t figure out is if this is the feature Richman was upset about—N.Y. Rocker covered Richman more than once, after all. What’s odd is that the interview reads like a verité transcription of what happened (there were four people present, and the interview is presented in straight (lengthy) Q&A style). And yet Zeller himself goes out of his way to explain Richman’s sensitivity on this matter, saying “I promised not to misquote him or take his answers out of context, which is one reason why he is averse to doing interviews.” It seems unlikely that Richman would single out this piece of all pieces for an accusation of distortion, but anything’s possible.

Zeller’s article is still an interesting and engaging read. One of my favorite tidbits is Richman’s mention of an earlier name for the Modern Lovers, that being “Jonathan Richman’s Rockin’ Roadmasters,” a fact that could be corroborated on the Internet solely by this Spanish-language article from 2003. It appears to be not widely known that RIchman had once favored that name for his band.

Tucked in on the final page of three is a quirky questionnaire, presented entirely without explanation or caption, that clearly has Richman’s answers on it…

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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