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Angry woman: Lydia Lunch’s gun is loaded
01.19.2017
02:12 pm

Topics:
Art
Feminism
Politics

Tags:
Lydia Lunch


 
During the decade of the 1980s, I saw Lydia Lunch perform maybe fifteen+ times and I caught some pretty seminal performances of hers, including the premiere of Fingered, the gleefully violent porn film she made with Richard Kern and South of Your Border, the two-person theatrical play she did with Emilio Cubeiro that ended in a blood-covered, naked Lydia trussed up on a giant “X” onstage pissing all over him!

To truly appreciate the aggressively confrontational nature of her powerful one woman shows—just her and a mic—you had to be in, or very near, the front row. As with fellow in-your-face monologists like Eric Bogosian and Brother Theodore, it was fucking scary and rather intimidating to be anywhere near the stage for one of her rants, but I always figured why not get all of the Artaudian benefits from having someone scream in your face for an hour at close range? If anyone can deliver on the cathartic promise of Theatre of Cruelty, it’s Lydia Lunch. Audiences leave her shows limp. I mean, what do you say in the cab going home about a show that unexpectedly ends in blood-stained golden showers? (Incidentally, she drank an entire six-pack during the play’s penultimate scene. What she unleashed on Cuberio the night I saw the show was not merely a trickle, I can assure you. Good times!)
 

 
Lunch’s The Gun Is Loaded video, an angry nihilistic rant about life in Reagan’s America, long out of print, is now available to watch free online via MVDVideo (who also put it out on DVD). I actually saw this show twice when she did this material at the Performance Garage space in New York (and yes, I was in the front row both times). Here’s how the filmmakers describe the project:

THE GUN IS LOADED is a 37-minute performance video featuring former punk rocker, political satirist and sexual provocateur Lydia Lunch.

This video trails Lydia in 1988 through a series of staged sets and location shots in New York City as she fires her spoken word manifesto directly into the eye of the camera, and in haunting voice-over.  Underscoring Lydia’s onslaught is cinema verité footage of bottom-rung Americana: racecar crowds, dead-end streets and meat packing plants effectively illustrate her ruthless examination of “the American dream machine turned mean.” J.G. Thirlwell’s ominous score magnifies this brutal desolation.

Identifying herself as “the average, all-American girl-next-store gone bad,” Lydia vivisects her own sustained damage as a product of this emotionally ravaging environment.

Co-director Joe Tripician wrote to me on about the piece:

This was partially shot at the Performance Garage, but without an audience. Lydia asked me and my former partner Merrill Aldighieri to record her show, but we wanted to expand the production from its theatrical base and exhibit her in an outside environment. So, this video is also a document of the ‘80s NYC street life—from the 14th Street Meat market to Wall Street. We called it a “video super-realization” of her spoken word performance.

In the video she fires her venom directly into the camera lens, and in an intimate voice-over. J. G. Thirlwell supplied the original music score - a one-of-a-kind aural onslaught.

It was released on VHS in the late 80s, but has never aired on TV. The one response we received was from PBS, who called the video in their rejection letter “exceptionally unacceptable.”

They were probably right about that…
 
Watch ‘The Gun is Loaded’ after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Trust us, you’ve never seen ANYTHING like ‘We Are The Flesh’
01.17.2017
10:42 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs
Movies
Politics

Tags:
We Are The Flesh


 
One of the outstanding films of Fantastic Fest 2016 was also one of the most divisive. While audiences cheered the pasteurized mainstream sci-fi film Arrival and the sumptuous beauty of Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, Mexican director Emiliano Rocha Minter’s We Are The Flesh shocked audiences into stunned silence. Fest attendees inured to extreme gore and torture porn found something in We Are The Flesh that still retains the power to disturb and provoke: explicit sex. Like directors Gaspar Noé and Alejandro Jodorowsky and author George Bataille, 26-year-old Minter conjures images that take us deep into areas that were and are still taboo. He’s a pilgrim descending into darkness in search of light. If there is a God and God is everywhere then even in Hell there is rapture. And sometimes you gotta be the turd in the punchbowl to do Jesus right.

A film like We Are The Flesh uses cinema in the service of what movies do best: replicate dreams. In the hellish bardo that the movie plunges us into, plot and narrative take a backseat to a series of surreal images and a trance inducing soundtrack that insinuate and point to things beyond knowing. We see but we don’t completely understand what we’re seeing. Like ceremonial magic, film is a language that transcends symbol and gesture. We are often left at the celluloid door breaking holes in it with the fists of our eyes. In the case of We Are The Flesh, the plot, such as it is, is best described by the the press notes:

A young brother and sister, roaming an apocalyptic city, take refuge in the dilapidated lair of a strange hermit. He puts them to work building a bizarre cavernous structure, where he acts out his insane and depraved fantasies. Trapped in this maddening womb-like world under his malign influence, they find themselves sinking into the realms of dark and forbidden behaviour.


 

 
There was a great line in the ad campaign for George Romero’s masterpiece Dawn Of The Dead: “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Emiliano Rocha Minter was born in Mexico City, a city that until recent years had been spared the full brunt of Mexico’s drug wars. But drug-related atrocities have hit the streets of Mexico City and continue to grow rampant on the city’s outskirts. More than 100,000 Mexicans have died in the past decade in drug battles between warring gangs. How does a young artist channel what he is witnessing in his own home, when the serpentine line between waking and dreaming nightmare is constantly shifting? How does one maintain sanity in an insane world? You write. You sing. You make fucked up movies.
 

 
In the tradition of filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky, Fernando Arrabal and Juan López Moctezuma, Minter has attempted to discharge the alchemy of film to transform and inflame the dark stuff with something one might call art…or perhaps something cruder, like exorcism. We Are The Flesh rages against the complacency of the viewer. It demands you sit up and pay attention. It screams at you and seduces you. The imagery veers from blunt, violent, angry in-your-faceness to fluid, swirling, mind shattering psychedelia. Sex organs in extreme close-up pulse to the beat of the heart, labial gates form portals to the ultimate question mark in the sky. Flesh is torn, blood flows. This is the meat pit of absolute reality. Minter takes you places you’ve only dreamed of… if your dreams were that of a man in the throes of some mad fever—all of it stunningly realized by cinematographer Yollótl Alvarado. At times, I was reminded of Stan Brakhage’s The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes. Brakhage filmed autopsies so close-in that film rendered flesh into land and seascapes. Alvarado does something similar with genitals. A close-up of a penis lounging on testicles looks like a bullfrog with inflated vocal sacs. The objectified view of the camera takes the erotic right out of the picture. We Are The Flesh is ripe with sex but it’s not sexy, though it is filled with life force.

“Eroticism is assenting to life even in death”—George Bataille.

Minter has made something of a masterpiece in We Are The Flesh. It is a search for meaning in a world that has lost its center. In its thrashing chaos, there is an artist trying to work things out. Like the elaborate structure of wooden sticks and plastic tape that the characters are building within their underground world, Minter has built his own makeshift reality. But Minter’s has better bones.

The film glows with crepuscular light. There are cum shots and penetrations lit in the heightened pastels and posed comic book architecture of F.X. Pope’s porn mindbender Cafe Flesh. And Minter, whether he knows it or not, has ventured into Gerard Damiano’s “dark night of the hole” melancholy of The Devil And Miss Jones. When Catholics do this shit , they go all the way, propelled by centuries of sexual repression. Pasolini’s Salo took us there only to drop us into a pile of fascist-flavored shit.
 

 
We Are The Flesh features one of the truly great performances of the past few years. Noé Hernández plays the role of the Manson-like madman who abducts the brother and sister. It is one of the most committed, naked, raw feats of acting you’ll ever see. Imagine Frank Booth crossed with a troglodyte spewing wisdom like “the spirit does not reside within the flesh, the flesh is the spirit itself! So I kindly ask that all you lowlifes devour me until nothing is left. Eat every bit of my rotten flesh. Drink my blood.” Jesus the thug in a sacramental heat while dressed in Member’s Only disco attire. I do my best, but words fail me in the face of such lunacy. Just see it…  because you’ve never seen anything like it.

Video after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Extremely ‘Childish’ Donald Trump posters


GOP Info Poster

British cult artist/musician/poet/author and anti-authoritarian legend Billy Childish has just announced publication of a trio of specially commission poster prints commemorating “the occasion of Donald Trump being crassly maligned by the world’s press.”

The posters were created at the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop. Each measure 52.5 x 35 cm and are in stamped and numbered editions of 113 for £25.00 each. All posters come folded and in a deliberately distressed condition. The first orders will be dispatched on January 19th.

Mr. Childish is represented by L-13 in London, Neugerriemschneider in Berlin and Lehmann Maupin in New York.
 

Presidential Cunt Elect
 
More extremely Childish Trump posters after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Mickey Mouse in Vietnam’
01.10.2017
04:07 pm

Topics:
Activism
Animation
Politics

Tags:
Milton Glaser
Mickey Mouse


 
Mickey Mouse in Vietnam is a (very) short animated anti-war film produced by Whitney Lee Savage and the great American graphic designer Milton Glaser, creator of the “I♥ NY logo,” the famous 1966 poster of Bob Dylan with swirling rainbow hair, the Brooklyn Lager and DC Comics logos and countless other things. Glaser, now 87, was the co-founder of New York magazine, has been the subject of museum level career surveys the world over and is the first (and so far only) graphic designer to receive the the National Medal of Arts, which was bestowed upon him by President Obama in 2009.

The plot of the Mickey Mouse in Vietnam—which is about a minute long—is simple: Soon after arriving in Vietnam, Mickey is shot dead.

The film was long assumed to be lost when it was uploaded to YouTube in 2013 and went viral. Around that time Milton Glaser was asked about the short in an interview that appeared on the Carl Solway Gallery’s blog:

Milton Glaser: It was for a thing called The Angry Arts Festival, which was a kind of protest event, inviting artists to produce something to represent their concerns about the war in Vietnam and a desire to end it.

How did you get involved with, the director, Lee Savage in making this short?
Milton Glaser: Lee Savage was a good friend of mine, and he was in the film business of one kind or another, doing small production films — and with a little experience in animation, and all the things you have to know to produce a modest film the way we did.

What was the audience’s reaction when it was screened at the festival?
Milton Glaser: It was very moving — people responded strongly to it. But within the context of many such events and many presentations, it didn’t quite have the power that you experience when you are seeing it in isolation. But it was moving.

You know, I was just talking about it this morning, because I have not seen it many, many years. It just shows you the power of symbolism, because in some ways it’s much more powerful than seeing a photograph of dead GIs in a landscape — something about the destruction about a deeply held myth that moves you in way that is unexpected.

Speaking of symbolism, is that why you picked Mickey Mouse in particular?
Milton Glaser: Well, obviously Mickey Mouse is a symbol of innocence, and of America, and of success, and of idealism — and to have him killed, as a solider is such a contradiction of your expectations. And when you’re dealing with communication, when you contradict expectations, you get a result.

 

Watch ‘Mickey Mouse in Vietnam’ after the jump

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Vanguard: Powerful photographs of the Black Panthers
01.05.2017
12:57 pm

Topics:
Activism
Art
Politics
Race

Tags:
Black Panthers


 
This week saw six people, including the president and the director of communications of the NAACP, arrested at the office of Senator Jeff Sessions in Mobile, Alabama. At issue was Sessions’ impending nomination as President Trump’s attorney general; the protests addressed Sessions’ history of opposition to the civil rights movement in its broadest incarnations. The list of problems is quite impressive: Sessions has denied any existence of voter suppression efforts directed at minority communities and once purportedly warned a black attorney to “be careful how you talk to white folks” in addition to joking that his only problem with the Ku Klux Klan was its drug use. Further, Sessions has referred to the NAACP as “un-American” in the past and has called the Voting Rights Act a “piece of intrusive legislation.”

Sessions’ elevation to the top law enforcement officer in the nation is far from the only signal that Donald Trump has some sketchy views on race. If ever there was a moment in which one might actively pine for a return of the Black Panthers—real Black Panthers, not the Fox News bogeymen—the the inauguration of Donald Trump as our 45th president is definitely it.

While it wasn’t a perfect organization, the three most salient facts about the Black Panthers are that (a) the resistance they advocated was richly justified, (b) they were thoroughly fucked with by the FBI, and (c) they did a huge amount of good in African-American neighborhoods, in the form of community organizing of the kind that Republicans have been known to deride. That they carried around scary machine guns, behaved like a paramilitary group and said things about armed resistance that scared the shit out of white people, well, consider what they were up against.

The 2011 documentary The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 and the 2015 documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution are both eloquent defenses of a group that constantly threatens to be lost to history in some sense. If historians are not vigilant about defending the group to white audiences, it will always risk caricature as a radical, violent organization, which the Panthers (mostly) were not.
 

 
In 1970 a book of photographs was published documenting the resistance efforts of the Black Panthers surrounding the 1968 trial of Huey Newton and its aftermath. The book was by two white photographers, a married couple named Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones. It was titled The Vanguard: A Photographic Essay on the Black Panthers. (A similar book of Baruch and Jones’ photographs was published in 2002 under the title The Black Panthers 1968.) The 1970 book includes a number of informative texts, such as “Review of Panther Growth and Harrassment”, “Rules of the Black Panther Party”, and the “Black Panther Party Platform and Program.”

The photographs were taken the same year that J. Edgar Hoover called the Black Panthers “the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States.” You don’t have to be Ta-Nehisi Coates (whose own father, Paul Coates, was a member of the Black Panthers and was internally discussed as a candidate for assassination by the selfsame FBI) to consider that judgment to be a mite premature…...... 

As they used to say of Richard Nixon, we can now say of the Black Panthers: Now, more than ever…..
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Happy Hanukkah, and SMASH THE STATE! Making gefilte fish with Abbie Hoffman
12.23.2016
10:27 am

Topics:
Food
Politics

Tags:
Abbie Hoffman
gefilte fish


 
Way, way back in 1989, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency wrote an obituary of the then-recently deceased activist/organizer/author/provocateur Abbot Howard “Abbie” Hoffman, calling him an “activist with Jewish soul.” That, he was, 100%. There was plenty to criticize about the man—he could be arrogant, and he contributed significantly to the Baby Boom’s decoupling of the left from the labor movement, a move that significantly damaged both institutions—but he brought theatricality and exuberance to the often humorless politics of the left, and he was motivated by a genuine and irrepressible desire to see the spoils of America’s prosperity and justice offered to ALL of its citizens.

Hoffman addressed the Jewish foundations of his political ethos in his autobiography Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, and those connections were discussed in his JTA obit:

“Judaism has never been so much a religion to me as a noble history and a cluster of stereotypes. Jews, especially first-born male Jews, have to make a big choice very quickly in life whether to go for the money or to go for broke.”

Hoffman never made a lot of money, preferring to eschew the life of the yuppie in order to remain loyal to his roots as a Yippie. It conformed with his self-identity as the perennial outsider, a role he viewed as an extension of his Jewishness.

“As a kid, I went to the rabbis and said, ‘What do you think of Philip Roth or Norman Mailer or Joseph Heller, you know, those kinds of writers,’ ” Hoffman told the New Jewish Times newspaper in 1980.

“They would say, ‘Not good for the Jews. Too much self-ridicule, too much mockery.’ But I think this is the destiny for the Jews: to be rebels, to question society. And to be funny. We’re philosophers and comedians.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
There’s a riot going on: Posters of resistance from Paris 1968
12.21.2016
12:24 pm

Topics:
Activism
Art
Politics

Tags:
posters
Paris 1968


“Beauty is in the street”
 
As the annus horribilis of 2016 draws to a close, my mind tilts towards predecessors of resistance. It is easy to focus on what cannot be done. Much more important to consider what can be done.

In May 1968 Paris was brought to a standstill thanks to widespread protests against the unemployment and poverty under Charles de Gaulle’s conservative government. The situation got so bad that even De Gaulle had to flee the country briefly. 1968 was a year of violence and resistance in the U.S. and Europe alike—in Europe the year has taken on iconic significance for the generation that took part in a way that never quite happened on the other side of the Atlantic.

The uprisings of Paris 1968 were notable for extremely fine examples of polemical poster art. The Atelier Populaire, run by Marxist artists and art students, occupied the École des Beaux-Arts and dedicated its efforts to producing thousands of silk-screened posters using bold, iconic imagery and slogans as well as explicitly collective/anonymous authorship. Most of the posters were printed on newssheet using a single color with basic icons such as the factory to represent labor and a fist to stand for resistance.

As MessyNessy astutely observed earlier this year, the posters had something of the iconic power of Saul Bass’ notable output.
 

The Atelier Populaire
 
In 2008 the Hayward Gallery in London mounted an exhibition under the title “May 68: Street Posters from the Paris Rebellion”. Its curator, Johan Kugelberg, made the following statement in an interview:
 

There was no formal organisation behind this uprising. It was everyday people who had been pushed too far, showing a solidarity that jumped the shackles of class, age and education. The kind of revolution of everyday life leading to a societal dialogue where people truly functioned as a collective brain, pulse and heart. There seems to be evidence here of the making of an ultra-potent antidote to the extremely scary fragmented, cubicled and computer-screened hyper-individualism of today. Your blog won’t change anything. Your Facebook potentially could, but only if you add to it by meeting and communicating face-to-face with people from walks of life very different to yours.

 
Sobering words, in the era of fake news.

Many more posters after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
White Riot: Classical sculpture with a modern twist
12.16.2016
02:46 pm

Topics:
Art
Politics

Tags:
sculpture
mythology
Jam Sutton

001jamsuttonriot.jpg
 
Artist Jam Sutton produces big bold beautiful sculptures that relocate characters from Greek mythology into the modern world. King Theseus is no longer a hero but a brutal riot cop bludgeoning the Minotaur—arms raised, body slumped, defenseless against the oncoming rain of blows. David, a street kid, sits with his foot on the head of Goliath. The Kiss is no longer a portrait of lovers but presents a young woman tenderly kissing the cold and indifferent mask of a police officer—we know this is going to end badly. Each one of these sculptures is first designed by Jam then produced by 3D printer.

Jam Sutton is best known for his brand This Is Not Clothing—“a juxtaposition of contemporary culture and fine art”—via which he sells limited edition of his original artwork.

Through ‘This Is Not Clothing’ Jam creates original pieces and shares his unique vision of our society by paying homage to the great artists that have shaped and influenced the history of art.

Through his work he has collaborated with Pharrell Williams & N.E.R.D, Steve Aoki, Kid Cudi and Travis Barker. His set of classical “riot” sculptures—which were exhibited earlier this year at the Opera Gallery—are available to buy—as both sculptures and clothes—at his site.
 
002Ajamsuttonriot.jpg
 
002jamsuttonriot.jpg
 
More after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Women write President-elect Donald Trump’s actual quotes on their bodies (NSFW)
12.13.2016
09:18 am

Topics:
Art
Current Events
Politics

Tags:
Donald Trump


 
For 18-year-old photographer Aria Watson’s final project in her Introduction to Photography class at Clatsop Community College in Oregon, she chose to shoot actual quotes from President-elect Donald Trump’s mouth painted onto women’s bodies. I think the results speak for themselves. They’re even more sobering in this context.

Also, don’t say “What about Hillary or Bill Clinton quotes.” You’re deflecting if you do that. Neither one of them is about to become the most powerful man in the entire world. Donald Trump is. These are real quotes about women that came out of his mouth. Stay on topic. Thanks.

Aria Watson’s photo series is titled “#SignedByTrump.”


 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
That time David Duke and KKK patrolled the Mexican border…


A 27-year-old David Duke (the then Grand Dragon of the KKK) helping to keep the Mexican border safe, 1977.
 
On October 27th, 1977, David Duke the then 27-year-old Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan held a press conference to announce that the members of the KKK would start independently patrolling the Mexican border in Southern California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. Duke dubbed his plan the “Klan Border Watch.”

According to Duke, Klan members would be disbursed throughout the 2000 mile border with 230 assigned to monitor and detain illegal aliens attempting to cross the Mexico/California border, 150 in Texas, 75 in New Mexico and a scant few in Arizona. During the first night of the KKK’s unofficial duties as border watch dogs actual Border Patrol agents said they didn’t see a single white hood. According to others there were apparently at least ten Klan members and six vehicles with cheap signs taped to the doors that read “Klan Border Watch” (classy!) sighted along the California/Mexico border. Much like you-know-who (whose father might have been a Klan sympathizer in his youth), Duke made statements to the media saying that he had the “full support of the American people” when it came to the Klan’s efforts to block Mexican immigrants from entering the country illegally and “taking jobs away” from American citizens.

The U.S. Border Patrol refused to work with the Klan, and their independent actions were denounced by government officials and minority activists. The rejection of the Klan’s plans to patrol the border led to a large coalition of anti-Klan activists protesting the Klan’s unwanted help along the border in San Diego. The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico at the time, Patrick Lucey, also released a strong statement condemning the Klan’s actions saying that in “no way would the Klan be allowed to patrol the border.”
 

 
Despite all the push back and assurance from government officials and the Border Patrol itself, Duke continued to spin yarns about how he had met with members of the Justice Department as well as other federal agencies insinuating that he had somehow received authorization for the klansmen to add “border patrol agent” to their resumes along with cross burning and you know, good old-fashioned lynching. Of course all of this was just a way for the attention-hungry Duke to shine a spotlight on himself and the Klan in an effort to somehow convince the general public that the KKK was trying to protect them from job-stealing illegal immigrants. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

If you perhaps think that over the decades the Klan has changed their perspective on how to secure our borders, you’d be correct. In 2014 during an television interview two KKK members in North Carolina dressed in their best white sheets and hoods advocated for shooting Mexican children (or “popping” them off) as they attempted to cross the border then leaving their corpses behind to rot in order to reinforce how “serious” they were about “immigration.”

If you voted for a candidate that the “modern” version of David Duke and the KKK vividly supported and endorsed during the election, that’s your burning cross to bear. After all, you could have taken a look at who all the bigots and white nationalists were going for and in the privacy of the ballot box voted for someone else instead. But you didn’t, did you?

And sure, sure I know the president-elect eventually denounced these endorsements (after trying to lie about having no knowledge of who Duke was), however he didn’t do much of anything outside of appear straight-up annoyed at all the fuss. And he only did it under duress. He gets no points whatsoever. Perhaps Trump could have taken a queue from the GOP’s beloved St. Ronald Reagan and copied the Gipper’s response to the hate organization that endorsed him in both 1980 and again in 1984. You see, even Reagan clearly understood how vile the KKK is and even wrote a letter to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in April of 1984 about how dangerous the Klan, and organizations like them really are. It read in part:

Those of us in public life can only resent the use of our names by those who seek political recognition for the repugnant doctrines of hate they espouse. The politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry practiced by the Klan and others have no place in this country, and are destructive of the values for which America has always stood.

Trump voters, though you can try all you want to rationalize that your vote was for “change,” your IQ test at the voting actually just confirmed that you—yes you—are in fact “okay” with racism. Which actually makes you a racist, too.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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