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Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’ sung by Cookie Monster
01.20.2015
05:30 am

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Amusing
Media
Television

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Catman Cohen is an obscure but tenacious vocalist with an improbable, gravelly bass voice and a catalog of four self released CDs that feature absurdly portentious song titles like “If I Could Divide the Smell of Flowers,” “How I Want to Die,” “Metaphorical Dreams of a Broken Soul”... you get the picture. He’s very much a destitute man’s Leonard Cohen attempting to sing like Albert Kuvezhin, and on his 2009 opus How I Want to Dream: The Catman Chronicles 3 he covered Mazzy Star’s unforgettable 1993 single “Fade Into You.” Terribly. He also made a terrible video for it. Watch it here if you like, but I much prefer the version below, mashed-up by an internet smartass with footage of Sesame Street‘s Cookie Monster.
 

 
Many thanks to Valerie Johnson for this find.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
J Mascis singing Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’
Cookie Monster sings Tom Waits’ ‘Hell Broke Luce’
Tuvan throat singer takes on Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk, Beefheart, Joy Division & more

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Can mice throw up?’: Before there was Google, there was the New York Public Library
12.30.2014
09:06 am

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Books
Media

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A few days ago, the New York Public Library uploaded an intriguing picture to its Instagram account. The picture was of a torn and tattered index card with a plaintive and yet hopeful message typed on it: “Is this the place where I ask questions I can’t get answers to?” It turns out that before the Internet significantly improved the process of resolving heretofore elusive questions of whether it was Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman who was the star of Spaceballs (answer: Pullman), a significant chunk of the job description of librarians, at least at the New York Public Library (NYPL), was slaking the well-nigh random curiosity of the public at large. They fielded questions in person but also over the telephone, and some of the questions that came up were recorded on index cards.

The purpose of NYPL’s Instagram post was to announce the inauguration of a new series of photos, to be posted every Monday, using the hashtag #letmelibrarianthatforyou:
 

We found an old recipe box while cleaning out a desk, and it was labeled “Interesting Reference Questions,” the contents of which ranged from total stumpers to funny mispronunciations. People came to the library for reference, but also for info on buying and selling, looking for inspiration, crafty project ideas, and even to find photos. In a world pre-Google, librarians weren’t just Wikipedia, they were people’s Craiglist, Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram all rolled into one.


 
The series’ second installment was yesterday, and the card they chose was incredibly beguiling, so much so that I am forced to entertain the notion that someone was pranking the NYPL, way back in 1967:
 

Telephone call mid-afternoon New Year’s Day, 1967: Somewhat uncertain female voice: “I have two questions. The first is sort of an etiquette one. I went to a New Year’s Eve party and unexpectedly stayed over. I don’t really know the hosts. Ought I to send a thank-you note? Second. When you meet a fellow and you know he’s worth twenty-seven million dollars—because that’s what they told me, twenty-seven million, and you know his nationality, how do you find out his name?” CS 1/2/67

 

 
Shrewdly, the NYPL released a couple dozen questions to Gothamist—not the cards, just the questions—and they’re well worth a look. We’ve included the few pics of the index cards that have been released so far. Gothamist reports that “People still use an updated version of this, called Ask NYPL, and the library says they receive about 1,700 reference questions a month via chat, email, and phone.” (I have used “Ask NYPL” myself via chat, but to resolve a thorny research question about the NYPL’s holdings, not to find out about the cast of Spaceballs.) Reading the questions is a little like seeing what the Autocomplete function spits out when you type in “why is there a” on Google, only a bit more refined:
 

Are black widow spiders more harmful dead or alive?

Are Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates the same person?

Can NYPL recommend a good forger?

Can you tell me the thickness of a US Postage stamp with the glue on it? Answer: We cannot get this answer quickly. Perhaps try the Postal Service. Response: This is the Postal Service.

Does the Bible have a copyright?

What percentage of all bathtubs in the world are in the US?

What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant?

What’s the difference between pig and pork?

Can mice throw up?

 

 

 

 
And, finally, one the Manhattanites especially will enjoy:
 

 
via Messy Nessy Chic
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Five merry & macabre Ralph Steadman Christmas cartoons from way back in 1957
12.24.2014
02:12 pm

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Media

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Ralph Steadman‘s path to the splattered and hyperbolic cartoons that went so well with the gonzo journalism of Hunter Thompson was neither short nor straightforward. Steadman’s first published comic (about Egypt) appeared in the Manchester Evening Chronicle in 1956. As he said in an interview in 1989, “It was done in sort of quasi-David Low style, because that was the sort of thing that was expected: if you did a political cartoon, it had to look like David Low. Nothing had come on the horizon yet for me. I hadn’t yet found George Grosz. I hadn’t even found Picasso. I had not really found anybody at that time.”

A year later, for Christmas, the same newspaper ran five single-paneled cartoons on the theme of Christmas by Steadman; the date was December 21, 1957. He was all of 21 years old.

The Evening Chronicle was trying to make Steadman into a local and beloved figure with a nickname to match his signature of that time—“STEAD.” The title of the Christmas gallery of cartoons is “STEAD Looks at Christmas.” It’s interesting to see signs of the scathing and acidic negativity that would come later in Steadman’s career here, when his style was relatively anonymous—“quasi-David Low,” as he said. His concept of a cute punchline was pretty negative, whether it’s a Santa in the Sahara or Santa having to buy an unfathomable number of stamps or, in the most Steadman-esque of the bunch by far, a frenzied paterfamilias exasperated with “Aunt Agatha” while he cuts the Christmas goose.
 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
High as shit journalist giggles helplessly in front of a big pile of burning drugs
12.23.2014
08:37 am

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Amusing
Drugs
Media
Television

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Here’s something they don’t teach in journalism school: How to report on the impromptu disposal of high-grade narcotics while you have the biggest contact high on the planet Zartron-9. This exact situation happened to respected BBC reporter Quentin Sommerville four years ago while taping a report in front of a burning pile of “eight and a half tons of heroin, opium, hashish, and other narcotics.” As you’ll see in the video, his conduct was as professional as one could possibly expect under the circumstances.

On Monday he tweeted the clip with the following message: “Dear tweeps, it’s been a year of bullets & bloodshed. You’ve earned a xmas laugh, at my expense.” In the video Sommerville repeatedly tries to tape a news report on the burning drugs but can’t keep a straight face. He later took the video down, probably due to copyright issues, but the video has since surfaced elsewhere.

According to a BBC spokesperson, “The video of Quentin corpsing, which has now been deleted, was posted in the spirit of a blooper. ... It was filmed four years ago—it hasn’t been seen before and was never broadcast.”
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
MAD Magazine gives America the finger (40¢, Cheap), 1974
12.22.2014
06:23 am

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Media

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As a lowbrow, take-on-all-comers venue for satire, MAD Magazine has trafficked in shock on a regular basis. Only on one occasion did MAD cross the line to the point that the publisher himself, the great William Gaines, decided to issue an apology to the magazine’s subscribers. The April 1974 issue dispensed with the usual iconic face of Alfred E. Neuman (who wasn’t on every cover in any case) in favor of a realistic painting of the unmistakable hand gesture denoting, in aviary fashion, “Wyncha go fuck yourself?” The headline read, “The Number One Ecch Magazine.” (“Disgusting” in MAD parlance, see also “blecch” and “yecch”.)

In any case, confronted with the option of placing an upraised middle finger on their shelves, many newsstands refused. Gaines decided that the newsstands and the many, many offended readers had a point and sent out “hundreds and hundreds” of apology letters. (Does anyone out there reading this have one of those letters?) For some readers it was a watershed moment, and they would never return to reading the magazine. MAD obviously survived, but it was a tough moment for the magazine.
 

MAD publisher William Gaines
 
Maybe they were looking to offend some people—just three issues earlier, in MAD 163, the cover declared, graffiti-style, “MAD Is a Four-Letter Word!” Gaines would later imply that the “usual gang of idiots” had come up with the idea of the cover and that he wasn’t that into it, but it seems like a quintessentially Gainesian move from the man who successfully defended First Amendment issues when he withstood the withering scrutiny of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 and insisted that the definition of “bad taste” for a horror comic might be a cover in which “a man with a bloody axe holding a woman’s head up” was holding the head “a little higher so that the neck could be seen dripping blood from it, and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody.” (See here for more of his testimony, including the images he discusses in detail.)

According to TV.com, “The magazine itself was pulled and returned/destroyed from many newsstands and is now a hard-to-find collector’s item.” (True enough, it’s available for $50 on Amazon as I write this, although on eBay you can pay for less for one, it looks like. Awesomely, an uncut cover sheet for that issue sold for $40 just a couple of weeks ago.) As a user on the Collectors Society forum put it, “Many parents were P.O.‘ed and either complained or just canceled their subscriptions. William Gaines ended up sending out a letter to all subscribers in which he apologized for the breach of good taste—probably the first time Gaines has ever done such a thing.”

In an interview in the May 1983 edition of The Comics Journal, Gaines discussed the incident:
 

Dwight Decker: Do you feel you might have been isolated in New York, putting out the comic books [meaning the “Vault of Horror”-style comics in the 1950s], that you couldn’t really judge the reactions of the people in Oshkosh?
William Gaines: Definitely. And this is still true with MAD. We put out an issue, oh, maybe 89 years ago now, which is what we called “the finger issue,” which was, “MAD is number one,” [giving the finger] and holy Moses! The guys called me into a cover conference to look at the thing, and I said, “That’s okay. It’s not too funny, but it’s all right.” And we put it out and the roof fell in. And I was sitting here sending out apology letters by the hundreds and hundreds to people all over the country—from Oshkosh. ...
Decker: A friend of mine just told me the other day—he lives in Connecticut—he hasn’t read an issue of MAD since that issue.
Gaines: That issue so offended him?
Decker: Yes.
Gaines: Incredible. To me it’s incredible but there’s no question that a lot of people felt that way.

 
Here’s Gaines on Canadian TV in 1977 discussing another occasion when MAD got some flak from a very different corner of the world:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
YES. There’s a mashup of the Notorious B.I.G. and the ‘Serial’ theme song
12.19.2014
11:17 am

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Crime
Hip-hop
Media
Music

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The success of the This American Life spinoff podcast Serial, which in Season 1 has been looking at the facts surrounding the incarceration of Adnan Masud Syed for the murder of a former girlfriend named Hae-Min Lee, has been a major story in the world of podcasting. It’s been a #1 in the iTunes store for weeks, and if you’re a loyal This American Life listener, you’ve probably been gushing about the case with your friends since the podcast’s inception. As viewers of HBO and AMC have learned of late, the pleasures of the serial form of story-telling can be profound, something the consumers of The Perils of Pauline, Fantômas, and the death of Little Nell decades or centuries ago didn’t need to be told.

To honor a show obsessed with murder, New York-based producer Fafu decided that the thing to do was to mash up the tinkly Serial theme song (composed by Nicholas Thorburn, available here) with something a bit heavier—the Notorious B.I.G. track “Somebody Gotta Die.”

Face it—listening to a murder case week after week has made you feel like a gangsta—now you have a soundtrack to match.
 

 
via Huh.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Art Spiegelman: The Playboy Years
11.26.2014
03:23 pm

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Art
Media

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January 1982
 
Art Spiegelman is about as close as you can come to an eminence grise in the comix game. As the co-editor of Raw in the 1980s (his wife Françoise Mouly was the other co-editor), Spiegelman injected the U.S. underground comix scene with a healthy dose of intellectual experimentation, introducing such talents to the country as Chris Ware, Joost Swarte, Mark Newgarden, and Charles Burns. In 1991 Spiegelman completed his autobiographical years-long project Maus—if you haven’t read it you really should. Not for nothing did it become the first “graphic novel,” as the terminology had it and fitfully still has it, to win the Pulitzer Prize. Since that time Spiegelman spent several years as art director for the New Yorker and published several high-quality works like In the Shadow of No Towers, Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps, and Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! He has the credibility that only roots in the underground scene can give you, he’s blended high art and low art (he was also involved with the creation of Garbage Pail Kids, for instance), and he’s generally a walking encyclopedia of comix history and lore. In 2008 I saw Spiegelman give a presentation on “Comics 101” as part of the New Yorker Festival, and it was a delight.
 

 
Raw existed from 1980 through 1991, and it must have been quite a challenge for Spiegelman and Mouly to pull off the publication of such an ambitious and infamously large-format book in Soho, one that surely had a host of printing issues most magazines don’t have to worry about (having their own dedicated printing press surely helped with that). Fortunately, to help pay the bills, Spiegelman was doing freelance work for Playboy from 1978 to 1982. I’ll bet those checks with the little rabbit in the corner (??) sure came in handy. 

His first cartoon for Playboy was a wordless 12-panel item called “Shaggy Dog Story” in the January 1979 issue about a woman having sex with a dog. Maybe not content-wise, but visually at least it wouldn’t look out of place in Raw, which isn’t necessarily true of his other work for Playboy—it has a jagged look that evokes ... something earlier and continental, not art nouveau but something similar. Most of Spiegelman’s cartoons for Playboy came in the form of a running series called “Edhead,” which depicted the adventures of a poor fellow who consists of a head but no body—that ran through most of 1979, then stopped until two further strips in 1981. In the January 1982 issue Spiegelman and Lou Brooks did a large panel of “Teasers” full of sophomoric jokes. My favorite thing he did for Playboy was a one-off four- (or eight-)panel strip called “Jack ‘n’ Jane/Rod ‘n’ Randy,” which is so elegantly complex that you can practically see the germ for Chris Ware’s entire future career in it. The idea is that every frame is divided into two; in the top frame a man and a woman converse, and in the bottom frame you get a parallel dialogue between the man’s penis and the woman’s vagina. OK, so maybe it isn’t exactly Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary—it’s still pretty impressive for a few square inches of real estate in the back of a nudie magazine…..

(Click on the images for a larger version.)
 

October 1979
 

December 1978
 

February 1979
 

March 1979
 

April 1979
 
Several more “Edheads” and a rejected Playboy parody for Wacky Packages, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Ouija board told me I was going to die!’: Is this ‘News’ or merely entertainment?
11.18.2014
06:12 am

Topics:
Belief
Media

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aabnhksmndouj2345.jpg
 
Angela Jackson thought she wouldn’t be seen at the back of the packed hall. She wasn’t sure why she thought this, but felt, knew something was going to happen and she didn’t want anyone (anything) to see her.  Angela wasn’t sure why she had come to this spiritualist meeting, it was just something she thought would be fun, but now she was here she felt she was meant to be here.

Angela thought about her father Charlie, how once as a child she had dreamt that her father would be dead before Christmas. A month later Charlie was diagnosed with cancer and died soon after. If dreams do come true, then maybe nightmares also come true?

The whisper of voices stopped as a woman appeared on the stage. Angela hunched in her seat. The woman looked like she was sleepwalking, but her eyes were open, scanning the audience, looking for someone (something). Angela felt the woman looking, staring at her. How can she see me at the back? She squirmed. But the woman stared at Angela and began to sing:

Welcome to my world..

The room felt cold. No one laughed, no one coughed, no one whispered. The psychic continued:

Won’t you come on in…?

It should have been funny but still no one laughed. It seemed everyone was holding their breath. Angela knew the song—Jim Reeves “Welcome to My World,” it had been one of her father’s favorite songs.

Miracles I guess, Still happen now and then….

Angela looked up at the psychic on the stage, her mouth opening closing singing the words. As soon as their eyes met the woman stopped and said:

“Your dad has a warning for you. You’re thinking about using a Ouija board, but don’t. No good will come from it.”

It was true—Angela had been thinking of using a Ouija board, she knew that it was “risky because there was no knowing who you may connect with. Demons and evil spirits could get through too.” And that he father maybe knew this and was worried about “demons and evil spirits.” Maybe. Despite his warnings, Angela couldn’t get the idea out of her head—she developed a fascination with Ouija board. An idea once sown grows.

Angela from Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Scotland, was telling her story to a reporter from the Sunday People newspaper. She sat at home, a cup of tea in her hand, thinking back to what had happened and the horrific events that followed.
 
ouijbrdsty.jpg
 
One night, two of her neighbors had invited Angela over for drinks. The evening started well, but then the conversation shifted, moved, onto Angela’s favorite subject—the afterlife, and that’s when someone (who?) suggested they try the Ouija board.

“They’d obviously done it before because they pulled out a stack of homemade cards with letters of the alphabet and numbers written on them.”

Angela described to the newspaper how the room was lit by flickering candlelight and the three of them sat cross-legged on cushions around a make-shift Ouija board—which all sounds like the opening scene to a Hammer Horror movie, but let’s continue:

“My heart thudded with excitement as we all placed our index fingers lightly on the bottom of an upturned whisky glass they’d placed on the table.

“It began to pull in every direction. ‘Who is it you want to speak too?’ Robert, my neighbour, asked.

“The glass started moving towards the letters, spelling out… A-N-G-E-L-A.

“The spirit wanted to speak to me. But then it spelt out, ‘Die bitch’. ‘That’s not funny,’ I said. But Robert said, ‘Angela, we didn’t do anything.’ He snatched his finger back from the glass and we all shrieked as the living room door slammed shut on its own.

“My voice quivering, I asked, ‘Who are you?’ With only my finger on the glass it moved faster. ‘I was murdered,’ it scrawled. ‘Just like you’re going to be.’”

Angela asked again: “Who are you?”

This time the glass moved quickly spelling out the word: “S-A-T-A-N.” (Was Satan “murdered”? I wonder…)

Angela screamed, then shouted, “I’m not scared—to hell with you!”

The tumbler flew from the Ouija board and smashed against the living room wall. (Of course, it did…)

One of the neighbors jumped up and turned on the lights. “We should never do this again,” he said. There was a sense of fear, panic, as the candles were quickly snuffed out, thin black fingers of smoke reached up.

Though Angela was terrified, she needed to know more—she couldn’t stop now, she had to find out what was going to happen—she was the one who was going to be “murdered,” or so she believed. It preyed on her mind, festered, she had to know. Eventually they (who?) did try again, but this time there was no answer, no message, nothing. But still Angela couldn’t stop thinking about it. (Cue dramatic music…)

“Then one night I woke screaming and sweating from a terrible nightmare. I’d dreamt I was being attacked by a man carrying a hammer.

“That’s when I knew things had gone too far. I was scaring myself to death. I’m not doing the Ouija board any more, I vowed.”

This was later, after the neighbors (what were their names?)  had moved away,  when Angela had no one to share her sense of foreboding, her fears. Everytime she went out she felt people staring at her, watching her, waiting.

Then one night, leaving her home to visit her 28-year-old son, Darren, who lived nearby, Angela locked the front door and walked down the cold concrete stairwell steps to the street below. As she left the building, talking to her son on a cell phone, from the corner of her eye she sensed someone move towards her.

“From behind me I heard a voice. ‘Die bitch,’ it growled. I froze at the sound of those words. Shaking with fear, I turned to see a man in a white T-shirt, emerging from the shadows wielding a claw hammer.

“I screamed as he brought the weapon down on my head with a sickening thud. He hit me again and warm blood began trickling down my face.

“I couldn’t see where my attacker was I just wanted to get away. Drenched in blood, I made it to the front door and then collapsed.

“Waking in hospital I felt confused and groggy. ‘You were attacked,’ a doctor explained. ‘You’ve suffered a fractured skull.’”

Angela told the police what she remembered, but her attacker was never found.

Over the following months, she lived in fear that this deranged man would return “and finish the job, just as the spirit had warned through the Ouija board.”

But this never happened. Six years on, Angela is still scared that “the spirit’s prediction will one day come true.”

“If I’d listened to Dad’s warnings through the psychic maybe none of this would’ve happened. But now I’m warning all of you - never mess with Ouija boards. You don’t know what evil lurks in the afterlife.”

It’s a good yarn, but is any of it true? It appears to me, we have three separate events that have been drawn together to create one personal narrative, which may (or may not) be true. Angela is a woman who has suffered various personal and private tragedies in her life (some of which have been documented in various newspapers), but my concern is not with her, but with the veracity of her tale and how it has been reported.

For example, when Angela was attacked in January 2008, she made “claims to know her attacker and that she has been involved in a financial dispute with the man.” If she knew her attacker, then why were there no arrests? If there was an arrest, then what happened next? There is no paper trail of news stories reporting what did happen next, just strange, scurrilous, rather serious and possibly libellous allegations made on certain blogs. This inability to ask pertinent questions is all part of that journalistic amnesia from which news reportage appears to suffer with growing frequency.

This is especially true in regard of the two papers reporting these stories as the Sunday People, who covered the Ouija board story, and the Daily Record, who reported the attack, are owned by the same company. Did they not carry-out any background research or delve further into the story?

Next, who were Angela’s neighbors who invited her in for a seance? What were their names? Where did they go? Was the tumbler smashed against a wall? Did the glass spell out “Satan”? Was murder threatened? Why is there no corroboration of these reported events? Surely it would not have been too difficult to ask other neighbors as to who these mysterious people are? Or, even check with the electoral register as to who lived in the house at the time?

Then of course, we are not told where this original psychic meeting held? Who organized it? When? What are other people’s memories of it? Who was the psychic who sang the Jim Reeves number? It’s all great atmospheric detail but little more than scene-setting without any corroboration.

Indeed, the story leaves so many questions unanswered that it suggests the whole tale is probably bogus. And if it is bogus then a bigger and possibly better mystery becomes visible—Why would anyone tell such a tale? And why publish it?
 
Via the Sunday People
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Martha Stewart’s idea of a ‘punk rock party’ is the least punk rock thing that ever happened
10.24.2014
10:17 am

Topics:
Food
Media
Music
Punk

Tags:


 
So look: I’m a slacker to the bone, purest Generation X, product release 1970. When I was paying the most attention to pop culture—the early 1990s—Richard Linklater and Douglas Coupland were new figures to the cultural discourse, OK Soda was available in stores, Ethan Hawke was starring in Reality Bites, and Steve Albini was writing about fucked-up record deals in an issue of the Baffler with the words “Alternative to What?” on the cover. The point in me telling you all this is that (a) I’m comfortable with the term “sellout,” and (b) I’ll never not worry, at least a little, about something crossing over too much.

With these thoughts in mind, we turn to Alexandra Churchill’s recent article on Martha Stewart Living about “throwing a punk rock-inspired party,” which, I swear to god, I think may represent a new signpost in the debate about corporate cooptation of rock music, just like, say, Bob Dylan’s Victoria Secret ad. It may be the least punk thing has ever happened, right alongside the 2013 Costume Institute Gala at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which took punk as its theme to honor the Institute’s exhibit “Punk: From Chaos to Couture” (if you haven’t seen the pictures in that link, you really need to click on it).
 

 
The pictures in the Martha Stewart Living article are utterly astonishing in their entitled, privileged cluelessness. Since punks are doomy and scary, they recommend serving “Spinach Ricotta Skulls” on a coffin-shaped platter, which obviously seems a lot more “goth” than “punk.” Their vision of “punk-inspired garlands” involve the use of safety pins—yes, MSL, you got that one right—and “plaid fabric,” which ends up evoking a Burberry’s catalog a lot more than it does the Bromley Contingent.
 

 
To be fair—which I’m doing despite myself—the text isn’t quite as bad as the imagery. Churchill at least has the wit to name-check “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and “London Calling.” Honestly, if the phrase “ransom note” had even been mentioned as a possible design motif, I’d've let them off the hook completely. Apparently that did not occur to anyone. Instead they went with coffins and fondant with sheet music on it (?).
 

 
Even the one picture on the page that is within shouting distance of punk rock—the cover of the Police’s second album, Reggatta de Blanc—has this as its photo credit: “PHOTOGRAPHY BY: COURTESY OF WALMART.” Fuck the man!
 

 
I draw two lessons from all of this. The first is that the appeal of punk rock may be far stronger than anyone imagined. Punk rock—even the words “punk rock”—might be a toothless gesture in the direction of something angry and oppositional, but the root idea of it still has impressive staying power, to the point that someone at Martha Stewart Living wants to take some of it over and make it theirs, make it represent them. The second lesson is that there is still something profoundly scary about the anger and nihilism inherent in punk, to the point that Martha Stewart Living has to repress all traces of it and pretend that it’s a neutral style choice like the Pre-Raphaelites or Art Deco. Of course, it isn’t, and that very un-neutrality may mean that we’re heading for another 1977 moment in our culture sometime soon.

Here, MSL’s Erin Furey—almost an apt name, there—teaches you how to make Punk-Rock Inspired Pumpkins, or, er, “Studly Punk-ins,” at the end of which she hilariously throws down a “sign of the horns” hand gesture because it’s so punk rock!
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
T-shirt honors NYC mayor’s boneheaded ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ tabloid headline
10.21.2014
07:25 am

Topics:
Crime
Fashion
Media

Tags:


 
On Friday, June 28, 2013, Michael Bloomberg, then serving out the last few months of twelve loooong years as mayor of New York City, made one of those comments on his weekly radio show that politicians sometimes make when circumstances have forced their hand on a policy position that is neither tenable nor reversible. For some years stop-and-frisk had outraged citizens over baldly racist N.Y. Police Dept. practices of detaining minority citizens, policies that yielded superficial improvements in crime statistics as well as a great deal of busywork for police officers. Rather than own up to the inherent disgrace in treating minorities as criminals, Bloomberg reached for one of those counterintuitive defenses politicians sometimes favor when they’re about to dismiss the rights of a great number of people.

Bloomberg said, “We disproportionately stop whites too much. And minorities too little.”

The next day, in the curious “headline-ese” of the N.Y. Daily News, that sentiment ran as follows: 
 

We stop
TOO
many
WHITES

 
Democratic candidate for mayor Bill de Blasio, then still in a primary hunt, blasted that statement, and some observers have credited that specific moment of distancing himself from the excesses of the Bloomberg administration with his later electoral victories. Four months later, Bill de Blasio, famously married to an African-American woman and the father of two biracial (and highly entertaining) children, was elected mayor of New York, a choice that was widely seen as a rebuke to Bloomberg’s handling of the NYPD. The era of stop-and-frisk was over—at least so went the hope. We all know that such policies have a way of being tenacious. (De Blasio has had considerable success in reducing the policy.)
 

 
Suffice to say that while the rest of the country might find all of this rather picayune, a certain subset of liberal New Yorkers remembers those months fondly. De Blasio became the first staunchly “liberal” mayor of the city since unfortunate David Dinkins, the only African-American mayor the city has ever had, who had the misfortune to preside at the absolute pinnacle of the crack epidemic and a major recession. His perceived failures ushered in Rudy Giuliani, who, suffice to say, looked a whole lot better at the time. In any case, Bloomberg’s comment, the headline, it all is a product of one of those charged moments that maybe only New Yorkers care about (even if they do become noticed by the nation at large): Bernie Goetz, Lizzie Grubman, Sully Sullenberger, Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, Robin Byrd….

Enter Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu, of the currently defunct and oddly timely NYC alt-hip hop outfit Das Racist. He’s designed a T-shirt with the Daily News cover. You can get a T-shirt for $20 and a sweatshirt for $40. As Dapwell says on the site, “Remember this guy? Remember when he said this shitty thing? ... Commemorate New York City’s gone but (sadly) not forgotten Mayor Mike with one of these high quality, screen-printed, and 100% ultra cotton sweatshirts and t-shirts featuring the ACTUAL June 29, 2013 cover of the Daily News.”

Rush as fast as you can to get one, because there ain’t many left—indeed, it may be too late. Dapwell says that there is “VERY LIMITED QUANTITY”—no kidding, just yesterday he said on Twitter that there’s just one sweatshirt left and “a dozen” shirts.
 

 
via Animal

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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