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Raising Lucifer: Kenneth Anger curses Bobby Beausoleil and turns him into a toad
12:33 pm



There is a legion of legends that surround legendary underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger—how he cursed Jimmy Page, for one, and that he threw a gold-painted brick through Mick Jagger’s window in London for another—but the story of how he cursed ill-fated Manson Family associate Bobby Beausoleil and “turned him into a toad” is one of the best-known.

Most Anger fans have probably already heard this story, but have you ever heard it straight from the mouths of Kenneth Anger and Bobby Beausoleil? Here’s an exclusive clip for Dangerous Minds readers that was produced by Ken’s manager, Brian Butler, featuring a rare interview with Beausoleil that was shot inside of a Federal prison in California.

The event described in the piece was advertised with the vintage Haight-Ashbury poster/handbill seen at the top of this post. You can purchase a limited edition reprint of this poster—hand-signed by Kenneth Anger—via the Mage of American Cinema’s website. There’s also a striking Kenneth Anger “signature” tee-shirt for purchase. Both are in strictly limited editions. More at Kenneth

“Raising Lucifer” from Brian Butler:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Vincent Price teaches the dark arts on his 1969 album ‘An Adventure in Demonology’
10:49 am



Black Sabbath shared a manager with an explicitly Satanic band called Black Widow, and some people had a hard time keeping the two straight, or pretended they did. Nick Tosches’ crazed review of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid mixed up Ozzy and Black Widow’s singer Kip Trevor, who does not, in fact, sound like “Keith Relf whining about the tampons stuck up his nostrils.”

I mention this because I’d never heard of Vincent Price’s nearly 90-minute-long occult crash course Witchcraft-Magic: An Adventure In Demonology before I read an interview with Black Widow’s Clive Jones in the book Black Sabbath FAQ. Talking about the popularity of horror movies in the late 60s, Jones went on a tangent about his relationship with Price:

Vincent Price gave me… because he was on CBS, whenever he released an album, he gave me an album, which I still use to this day, of him talking about black magic and the war, and how black magic was used for good causes, as well as worshiping the devil type stuff.


As soon as I read those words, I made haste to Discogs to track this sucker down. Look, I don’t know what your idea of a good time is, but when it is the witching hour, and the autumnal equinox, and everyone is making ready for the festival of Samhain, and like that, fun for me means settling down with a hot mug of tannis root tea and an hour and a half of Vincent Price talking demonology, accompanied by spooky sounds from a 1969 synthesizer. From the bewitching intro:

Do you believe in witches and magic? [Chuckles] I hope so, because it can be unwise not to. Do you believe in life after death? Do you believe in luck? Do you believe in premonitions—being somewhere where you know you’ve been before, although you know you’ve never been there? Do you believe in dreams and the unseen forces of astrology? Do you believe that there is order and genius in the hundred thousand million galaxies similar to our own? Do you believe that the life of our bodies is the beginning and end, or do you believe in reincarnation? Perhaps in heaven and in hell? Do you believe in prophecy and poltergeists? Heh? Do you?

Yes, you see, the universe is populated with spirits: unseen forces which permeate all things, both tangible and intangible, both visible and invisible. Things we see and things we don’t, things we know or think we know and things we know nothing of: the natural and the supernatural. So come with me into the magic world of the supernatural—the world of witches and demons, warlocks and sorcerers, oracles and seers, alchemists and wizards—into the unfathomable world of the unknown, the world of the spirits and unseen forces that guide our destiny. They are everywhere. Let’s turn down the lights and throw another log on the fire.

Original pressings of Witchcraft-Magic apparently included a booklet called (gulp) “The Hand of Glory,” and one wonders who put so much research and care into this set. The album’s script, which traces the history of witchcraft through the Bible, the Middle Ages, the Spanish Inquisition, and Nazi Germany before turning to practical instruction in the dark arts (see side three, track three, “How to Make a Pact with the Devil”), is the work of a mysterious figure named Terry d’Oberoff, whose only other credit appears on the 1970 debut of an LA soul group called—wait for it—Black Magic.

Below, hear a needle drop of the whole double LP. If you’d like to hear more wailing of damned souls and less surface noise, Amazon has it on MP3 for $4.99.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘The Key to Immortal Consciousness’: The 82 Commandments of Alejandro Jodorowsky
04:10 pm



We’ve posted here before Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing, but this list of the eighty-two “commandments” of the great film director Alejandro Jodorowsky makes that look like a fortune cookie.

In the book The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the author describes meeting Reyna d’Assia, daughter of the influential spiritual teacher George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, who was quite prominent in the early part of the 20th century and died in 1949, when Jodorowsky was 20 years old. (It is interesting to note that Wikipedia does not list Reyna d’Assia as one of Gurdjieff’s “known natural children,” of which Wikipedia lists seven.) Among Gurdjieff’s fans were such DM faves as Robert Fripp, Kate Bush, Keith Jarrett, and Timothy Leary.

Collin Cleary’s account of this section of the book is well worth reading. He calls this chapter, “Work on the Essence,” the “highpoint” of the book, saying that it simultaneously “comes quite close in many places to being pornographic” and “is also probably the best brief account—and critique—of the ideas of Gurdjieff that I have ever come across.” Based on what I read of this chapter, Jodorowsky’s writing (and possibly Reyna d’Assia’s way of speaking) sounds a lot like the dialogue in a Jodorowsky movie.

Jodorowsky and Reyna d’Assia met in Mexico City after a screening of El Topo, at which, for some reason, Jodorowsky was wearing the outfit of the mole character he plays in the movie. They went back to her hotel, where they had sex, with Jodorowsky still wearing the black leather cowboy outfit.

Alejandro Jodorowsky and George Ivanovich Gurdjieff

According to Cleary, Reyna “never stops talking.” In one torrent of verbiage she discloses her father’s maxims of life. Here is the exchange that leads up to her list:

Jodorowsky: Reyna, you are telling me fairy tales! Such goals are 100% utopian—and even if they were true, what is the first step on this path?

Reyna d’Assia: Whoever wishes to attain the supreme goal must first change his habits, conquer laziness, and become a morally sound human being. To be strong in the great things, we must also be strong in the small ones.

Jodorowsky: How?

Reyna d’Assia: We have been badly educated. We live in a world of competition in which honesty is synonymous with naïveté. We must first develop good habits. Some of them may seem simple, but they are very difficult to realize. Believing them to be obvious, we fail to see that they are the key to immortal consciousness. Now I shall offer you a dictation of the commandments that my blessed father taught me….

Then comes her list of commandments. In the way of natural speech, it is (of course) not set up like a list—in fact, it looks like this. The whole thing takes up the better part of three pages.

In what follows we have formatted it so that it is easier to read.

1. Ground your attention on yourself. Be conscious at every moment of what you are thinking, sensing, feeling, desiring, and doing.
2. Always finish what you have begun.
3. Whatever you are doing, do it as well as possible.
4. Do not become attached to anything that can destroy you in the course of time.
5. Develop your generosity ‒ but secretly.
6. Treat everyone as if he or she was a close relative.
7. Organize what you have disorganized.
8. Learn to receive and give thanks for every gift.
9. Stop defining yourself.
10. Do not lie or steal, for you lie to yourself and steal from yourself.
11. Help your neighbor, but do not make him dependent.
12. Do not encourage others to imitate you.
13. Make work plans and accomplish them.
14. Do not take up too much space.
15. Make no useless movements or sounds.
16. If you lack faith, pretend to have it.
17. Do not allow yourself to be impressed by strong personalities.
18. Do not regard anyone or anything as your possession.
19. Share fairly.
20. Do not seduce.
21. Sleep and eat only as much as necessary.
22. Do not speak of your personal problems.
23. Do not express judgment or criticism when you are ignorant of most of the factors involved.
24. Do not establish useless friendships.
25. Do not follow fashions.
26. Do not sell yourself.
27. Respect contracts you have signed.
28. Be on time.
29. Never envy the luck or success of anyone.
30. Say no more than necessary.
31. Do not think of the profits your work will engender.
32. Never threaten anyone.
33. Keep your promises.
34. In any discussion, put yourself in the other person’s place.
35. Admit that someone else may be superior to you.
36. Do not eliminate, but transmute.
37. Conquer your fears, for each of them represents a camouflaged desire.
38. Help others to help themselves.
39. Conquer your aversions and come closer to those who inspire rejection in you.
40. Do not react to what others say about you, whether praise or blame.
41. Transform your pride into dignity.
42. Transform your anger into creativity.
43. Transform your greed into respect for beauty.
44. Transform your envy into admiration for the values of the other.
45. Transform your hate into charity.
46. Neither praise nor insult yourself.
47. Regard what does not belong to you as if it did belong to you.
48. Do not complain.
49. Develop your imagination.
50. Never give orders to gain the satisfaction of being obeyed.
51. Pay for services performed for you.
52. Do not proselytize your work or ideas.
53. Do not try to make others feel for you emotions such as pity, admiration, sympathy, or complicity.
54. Do not try to distinguish yourself by your appearance.
55. Never contradict; instead, be silent.
56. Do not contract debts; acquire and pay immediately.
57. If you offend someone, ask his or her pardon; if you have offended a person publicly, apologize publicly.
58. When you realize you have said something that is mistaken, do not persist in error through pride; instead, immediately retract it.
59. Never defend your old ideas simply because you are the one who expressed them.
60. Do not keep useless objects.
61. Do not adorn yourself with exotic ideas.
62. Do not have your photograph taken with famous people.
63. Justify yourself to no one, and keep your own counsel.
64. Never define yourself by what you possess.
65. Never speak of yourself without considering that you might change.
66. Accept that nothing belongs to you.
67. When someone asks your opinion about something or someone, speak only of his or her qualities.
68. When you become ill, regard your illness as your teacher, not as something to be hated.
69. Look directly, and do not hide yourself.
70. Do not forget your dead, but accord them a limited place and do not allow them to invade your life.
71. Wherever you live, always find a space that you devote to the sacred.
72. When you perform a service, make your effort inconspicuous.
73. If you decide to work to help others, do it with pleasure.
74. If you are hesitating between doing and not doing, take the risk of doing.
75. Do not try to be everything to your spouse; accept that there are things that you cannot give him or her but which others can.
76. When someone is speaking to an interested audience, do not contradict that person and steal his or her audience.
77. Live on money you have earned.
78. Never brag about amorous adventures.
79. Never glorify your weaknesses.
80. Never visit someone only to pass the time.
81. Obtain things in order to share them.
82. If you are meditating and a devil appears, make the devil meditate too.


via The Arcane Front

Thanks to Lawrence Daniel Caswell!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The psychedelic hairscapes of Cathy Ward
05:21 pm



This is a guest post by artist/director Nick Abrahams.

Los Angeles gets the pleasure of being the first city in America to stage a solo show by the London-based artist Cathy Ward. Her forthcoming exhibition at the Good Luck Gallery is opening on September 5th, with the artist talking about her work at the gallery on September 6th.

Cathy Ward is something of an alternative British institution, having exhibited in many medias and forms over the years with everything from large scale sculptures and installations, to tapisteries and work made from corn dollies. But the work she is best known for are the dark psychic landscapes, reminiscent of woven hair, which are both immediately familiar and unlike anything else you will have ever seen. With a technique she has been honing for seventeen years, she scrapes intricate patterns into a layer of ink to reveal fine lines of the white clay that lie underneath, these scratch works suggest many things… cosmic struggles, full of pulsations and explosions…  the dark matter or the ‘dust’ of Philip Pullman’s novels… swirling waterways or weirs, made up of feminine eddies or sprays of water… but most of all they resemble plaited and flowing swathes of hair….  ‘I can’t plan them, I can’t replicate them either,’ Ward says.

Albina Incubii Albion

Hair of the recently deceased was carefully bound and arranged in Victorian hair works, an art form and custom which gradually fell out of fashion. These memento mori often took the form of a piece of jewellery (such as a locket), but sometimes in fabulously complicated and contorted “hair wreaths.” The hair that flows through these memorials also flows through the works of the Brothers Grimm, with Rapunzel’s climbable tresses, and later continued to flow through the counterculture of the 60s as a signifier of a rejection of cultural norms, whether by long-haired bikers or drug-addled hippies.

Lost Commune

The pulsating lines of Wards works have something of the drawings of Hans Bellmer about them, suggesting female curves and crevices, with the female body as a site of erotic mystery and power.

Cathy Ward

At a retrospective of the works of outsider artist Madge Gill in London, Ward was a natural choice for the position as artist in residence, with both artists driven to obsessive drawing styles, Gill with repetitive depiction of angels or ‘spirit guides’ , and Ward with her incredibly detailed abstractions reminiscent of woven hair, both describing very active ‘inner landscapes’ of womens minds, and there is a feeling that the act of line making may, for both women, act as a form of spell casting or be a sacred act.

There is a musicality to the waves in Ward’s work, and she has found a natural connections with certain musicians, such as Sunn O))) who used a triptych of her works on their Monoliths and Dimensions sleeve, and Stephen O’Malley of the band later providing a soundtrack for Ward’s animated work “Sonafeld.”

‘The Order’ is a new set of works which make specific reference to Ward’s early tuition under the Sisters of Mercy in Ashford—not the Goth band, but one of the schools run by notoriously strict nuns whose ghostly outlines people Ward’s new pictures.  Ward says that the nuns all had their hair cut close to their skulls: “As a child I was shocked, appalled, fascinated that nuns sacrificed their hair in this way. Hair in the 1960s was a symbol of liberation and this livery was being wilfully, symbolically removed.”

The Order

These works often inhabit ornate frames sourced from flea markets and junk shops, giving them the feel of found objects, rediscovered antiquities from another time and place.

These works form part of the world of Cathy Ward’s artistic vision. Her many projects in collaboration with her husband Eric Wright can be followed here’, while more information about her solo works can be found here.

This is a guest post by artist/director Nick Abrahams.

Below, Ward’s “Sonafeld” with Stephen O’Malley soundtrack:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Satanic squirrel taxidermy, anyone?
11:05 am



Satanic Squirrel Ritual taxidermy
Satanic Squirrel Ritual taxidermy
And since I’m sure that more than a few of you are nodding your heads, “yes, please” then today is your lucky day thanks to Ryan Hanley, a taxidermist based in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Satanic Ritual Squirrel taxidermy
Satanic Squirrel Ritual taxidermy
Satanic squirrel taxidermy
Satanic FTW Squirrel taxidermy (and yes, he is shooting you the bird)
Billed as “the most brilliant present ever” by its maker, Satanic FTW Squirrel (above) and his upside down cross stands about 12” tall and was the product of roadkill just like his pal Satanic Squirrel Ritual, in case these images are getting your PETA panties all in a bunch. There are loads of other images on Hanley’s Tumblr, but I don’t suggest looking at them if you don’t want to see things like lamps that used to be armadillos (which are completely amazing by the way), or roadkill raccoons that are now fashionable purses.

If you’re interested in purchasing Satan’s favorite nut job, it’ll run you $150 over at Hanley’s wife’s Etsy shop, The Wild Few. The Satanic Squirrel Ritual piece is $175. There’s also a Suicide Squirrel piece that features a taxidermied squirrel with a gun pointed at its head if that’s more your speed.


Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Peek inside Cecil B. DeMille’s bizarro 1930 master-flop, ‘Madam Satan’
11:10 am



Madam Satan movie poster, 1930
Madam Satan movie poster, 1930
Cecil B. DeMille was a peculiar, yet lovable, producer of Hollywood balderdash, and Madam Satan just might be his most bizarro film.
Kay Johnson as Madam Satan
Actress Kay Johnson as the alluring “Madam Satan”
The black and white film came out in 1930 and had originally contained Technicolor scenes that were sadly somehow lost. Despite its occult-sounding title, Madam Satan is a vintage romcom that tells the story of a married couple, Angela and Bob, who are having a relationship crisis. When Angela finds out that her husband is screwing around with a chick named Trixie, she creates an alter-ego of herself called “Madam Satan.”
Actor heodore Kosloff in Madam Satan, 1930
Actor Theodore Kosloff as “Electricity” in Madam Satan
After Madam Satan makes her debut at wild masquerade ball, the film just gets weirder and more wonderfully excessive as it goes along. There are elaborate song and dance routines, flirtations with electricity, and actors dressed in boundary-pushing and visually stunning costumery (much of which was created by the head of wardrobe for DeMille’s studio, Adrian Adolph Greenburg) that were far beyond their time. Madam Satan is truly a film that must be seen to be believed. A remastered version of Madam Satan was released on DVD in 2010 and I highly recommend tracking down a copy so you can see it for yourself. You can also take a peek at more stills from Madam Satan, as well as a clip from the movie that will likely induce a good old-fashioned case of the bed-spins. Hail Satan!
Madam Satan actress Kay Johnson strikes a pose with her masks
Madam Satan star Kay Johnson strikes a pose with her masks
A strange chorus line from Madam Satan
A strange chorus line of cats from Madam Satan
More great stills from the curious classic after the jump…...

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Iasos: The ‘70s new age hippie who launched more drone strikes than Bush and Obama combined
10:09 am



If you’re one of those people who wouldn’t be caught dead listening to new age music, I may have some bad news for you. It just so happens that, in 1989, a scientist working in the psychology department at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire conducted research on people who had undergone near-death experiences. The research seemed to conclude that the musical stylings of the pioneering new age musician Iasos (pronounced “ya’ sos”) scored the highest ratings in a survey of various types of music reported being heard by those who have undergone a near-death experience—most notably Iasos’ piece entitled “The Angels of Comfort.”

So, it might just be that new age music is the ONLY kind of music you’ll be caught dead listening to. Death metal can’t really hold a candle to actual death music, can it?

But then again, if you’ve heard “The Angels of Comfort,” you might conclude that you could very easily duplicate the same results in a survey of people who huff paint on a regular basis. I’m not necessarily suggesting that the heavenly music corporation producing these angelic choirs on high are the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain as vital organs shut down during the near-death experience, but it’s certainly a distinct possibility. For all I know, Iasos’ electronic noodlings sound the closest to an EKG machine or a ventilator. In any event, Iasos may or may not be on to something otherworldly.

Although many would credit Mike Oldfield’s 1973 masterpiece Tubular Bells as the seed that started the popularization of ambient sound, it lacked a genre in which it could be placed. Most just labeled that album as “progressive rock,” for want of a better term. The ambient music that would come to be known as “new age” certainly owed a debt to Oldfield as well as the experimental works of Edgar Froese, Tangerine Dream, Can, Klaus Schulze, and various other musical visionaries. But the phrase “new age” had yet to be coined in 1973. That would take another two years.

Iasos was a major pioneer in the creation of the musical genre of new age. He was born in Greece but moved to America at an early age, migrating to the West Coast in the late ‘60s for the sole purpose of pursuing his musical vision. In 1975 he released his first album, Inter-Dimensional Music. It’s the kind of music to play while riding astrally projected elevators through the space-time continuum.

1975 was a heady year for “new age” culture; it is often cited as the year that the genre was created and the phrase was coined. That was also the year that Steven Halpern released his seminal and highly influential album Spectrum Suite. Even more important to some is the fact that 1975 was the year that Brian Eno released his first fully ambient record Discreet Music, setting in motion decades of ambient recordings from the famed musician, producer, and all-around genius.

That’s right, kids. Eno’s Discreet Music is 40 years old now. And that’s how long Iasos—who should, by rights, be counted alongside those previously mentioned visionaries—has been churning out his own brand of new age and ambient sound. By my calculations, Iasos is approximately 68 years old. So, he’s still producing new age well into his old age. And he shows no signs of slowing down. His multilayered ambient droning drones as hard today as it did in 1975. 

Ambient Bandstand audiences rate Iasos: “Its got no discernible beat, and it’s easy to trance to.”
Iasos claims that he composes in collaboration with an inter-dimensional being that he calls “Vista.” According to Iasos, Vista is the true visionary and architect behind these complex soundscapes and compositions. Iasos merely serves as the conduit through which Vista operates and opens new windows on the musical world.

Thank Vista, Iasos has recently posted an incredibly trippy, short documentary to YouTube that was filmed in 1979 (four years after releasing his first album), and it shows him at the height of his creative genius. The documentary, which you can watch below, oscillates between Iasos talking about his musical approach and general philosophy and various musical performances. The documentary appears to show a truly bliss-filled musician talking about receiving the radio signals in his head from his “collaborator.”  He also speaks of a feminine counterpart to Vista that he calls “Crystal.”

According to Iasos, higher beings are interacting with humans to create a greater harmony, a paradise of music on earth. However, these higher beings practice a policy of non-interference and must be invited in. The more people who interact with these higher beings, the faster a paradise on earth will be formed. Convinced?

Pay attention to the fact that in this documentary, Iasos seems to laugh at less-than-appropriate times, like Dr. Julius Hibbert on The Simpsons. It’s also fascinating to see his home studio comprised of state-of-the-art analog equipment… for 1979. Marvel at his incredibly spiritual framing of electronic sounds: “Electrons are pure God beings and are very sensitive to God control.” He’s clearly operating on a much higher plane than the rest of us.

h/t Iasos’ website

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Hail Haploa clymene: The upside-down cross moth. The most METAL of all moths!
10:20 am



We’re all familiar with the creepy Death’s-head Hawkmoth from its appearance in the 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs, but there’s a lepidopteran out there even more foreboding. This goth moth’s appearance is downright Satanic.

The Clymene Moth (Haploa clymene), a member of the Tiger Moth family, can be found throughout eastern North America. It can be identified in the wild by its metal-as-fuck upside-down cross marking.

Of course there are Christians out there who would like to appropriate this moth, like they did with the dogwood tree, creating legends about God using natural markings as signs of his watchfulness and good works. For instance, this Christian website posted the following photo:


When God created the first Clymene moth, at least several thousand years ago did He think about the Cross? As you can clearly see the black marking on the wings looks like the silhouette of Jesus hanging on the Cross. I took this picture yesterday morning as the moth sat quietly on a tomato plant.

I think that when “God created the first Clymene moth at least several thousand years ago” he was probably aware that the head goes at the top—not the bottom. Sorry, Bible-guy. Posting upside-down photos is cheating. Here, let me fix that for you:

Make no mistake. This moth is PURE EVIL. Especially if you happen to be an Oak, Peach or Willow tree—as its larvae will be decimating you.

Feast ye now upon this demonic gallery of ungodly nature photos of Haploa clymene, the most METAL of moths. Each photo is accompanied by an appropriate quote from Matt Paradise’s Book of Satanic Quotations:

“God is a sound people make when they’re too tired to think anymore.”
—Edward Abbey


“As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.”
—William Blake


“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved—the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”
—Thomas Jefferson


“If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it.”
—Thomas Carlyle


“I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.”
—Aleister Crowley


“I can find no room in my cosmos for a deity save as a waste product of human weakness, the excrement of the imagination.”
—George Norman Douglas


“An actually existent fly is more important than a possibly existent angel.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson


“Religious ideas have sprung from the same need as all the other achievements of culture: from the necessity for defending itself against the crushing supremacy of nature.”
—Sigmund Freud


“O ye generations of Christ-deluded imbeciles! Ye swarms of moonstruck meeklings! Ye burnt out cinders of men! Ye blessing lambs! One day! One day! Ye shall be flung to the lions! Behold! I spit upon your Idols—your Opinions. Now would I pour molten hell through the ventricles of your soul.”
—Ragnar Redbeard


“The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind”
—Marquis De Sade


“There is no god more divine than yourself.”
—Walt Whitman


“I deny Jesus Christ, the Deceiver and I abjure the Christian Faith, holding in contempt all of it’s Works.”
—King Diamond


Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Monsters, death and the Mona Lisa stripping: Lorenzo Alessandri, father of Italian surrealism
11:06 am



At the end of World War II, Italian artist Lorenzo Alessandri opened up his first studio, naming it “Attic Macabre,” a clear indication of his artistic direction. It wasn’t until 1964 though, that he coined the term “Surfanta” (a portmanteau of surrealism and fantasy) to describe the movement he spearheaded—a wide-ranging genre of other-worldly creatures, horror, sex, mystery, occultism, and a healthy dose of religious and historical farce. He titled a magazine Surfanta, and you can even catch the word in the signage of his paintings, like morbid little Hidden Mickeys. The sheer diversity of his work makes it impossible to do a comprehensive retrospective, but I’ll cover a few of the weirdest highlights—pictures below are relatively safe for work, embedded links are… less so.

Throughout his career, Alessandri had a fascination with grotesque sexuality. He utilized a variety of subjects for the theme, including sentient genitals, anthropomorphic animals and horrifyingly lewd monsters. Not all of his prurient material was disgusting though—there was also his campy “groovy chick” phase, which often featured regular pin-up style ladies in surreal settings. Sometimes the babes themselves were psychedelic—often a shade of electric blue, and sometimes they hung out with his occult characters or his sex-monsters (though they stop short of doing anything hardcore).

In my opinion, Alessandri’s most fascinating and sophisticated work is his series of contemporary fantasy scenarios, which deal most readily with the politics and history of the modern world. The KKK lord over a naked woman before an atom bomb and a gorilla. Mona Lisa does a striptease before an animalian bourgeoisie (he also did a version where she had a penis). There’s also a ton of occult imagery. Airplanes piloted by skeletons (he loves those) roll by estates, landmarks and villages. Shadowy figures—perhaps demonic creatures or paranormal monks—are busy, perhaps frantic. The worlds he created are complex and mysterious—an inscrutable delight.



More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Hear Debbie Harry perform a voodoo rite: ‘Invocation to Papa Legba’
08:35 am



It looks like Vodun had more devotees in the CBGB set than I would have guessed, because I would have guessed zero. Yet Talking Heads paid tribute to “Papa Legba” in their True Stories, and Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie recorded this “Invocation to Papa Legba” for a 1989 compilation on Giorno Poetry Systems. It’s just Harry’s voice with Stein’s approximation of Haitian drumming, and it sounds fantastic—maybe a distant, merrier cousin of Peter Hammill’s “A Motorbike in Afrika.”

I eagerly await learning about Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s researches into Vodun when Bight of the Twin comes out, because I am ham ignorant about this religion. Papa Legba is, I take it, the gatekeeper of the spirit world, and all attempts to communicate with the loa begin with prayers and offerings to him. Maybe, if you play this loud and often enough, he’ll pay you a visit tonight.

via Zero Equals Two

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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