Since Bernie Sanders announced his run for President of the United States of America, his lack of polish has been far more endearing to the public than his detractors ever imagined. He’s not a slick baby-kisser; the man talks serious social democratic policy and stays on message with a self-possessed intensity. However, if Bernie’s impersonal style has given the impression he’s completely devoid of sentimentality, “Brothers and Sisters,” let me assure you otherwise! In 1987, Bernie Sanders released a spoken word album of lefty folk standards, and it is bad—positively Shatneresque, if you will.
According to Vermont blog Seven Days, Burlington-based musician Todd Lockwood got in touch with Sanders out of the blue to pitch the idea—they had never met before. At this point Bernie was the Mayor of Burlington, so Lockwood just called the Mayor’s office and left a message with a secretary describing the project. To his surprise, Bernie set up a meeting, later telling Lockwood, “I have to admit to you this appeals to my ego.” Originally, Bernie was supposed to actually sing the songs, but they quickly realized he can’t carry a tune in a bucket, so they went with spoken word. You can hear samples of the results below; all I can say is that it’s good that he’s never run on anything but the issues, because he is not winning any votes with his musical talent.
If you’re just dying to hear the whole thing (for who doesn’t require a recording of an old Brooklyn Jew sternly intoning the words to “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”), you can actually purchase the entire album, We Shall Overcome, on Amazon.
Valencia, Spain-based artist Marie-Lou Desmeules is a self taught sculptor whose art consists of creating “live sculptures” using real human models as her “base.” That’s right, underneath every one of these creations is a living, breathing human being who had to endure an arduous makeup lasting probably hours.
Former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi as Ronald McDonald
Desmeules has described her art as a form of “surgery” that does not require invasive scalpels or lasers, just massive layers of acrylic paint, plastic, paper and hair. Upon viewing Desmeules’ finished product, one might be inclined to assume it was created at an LSD-induced papier-mâché party.
Desmeules’ intention was to have people consider what really constitutes “beauty” in our current perfection-obsessed society; she is also interested in the expansion of recognized gender roles. More images from Desmeules eye-popping work follows, as well as a time-lapse video of her creating a “living sculpture” of Andy Warhol.
Lots more amazing “living sculptures” after the jump…...
“There are no coincidences, but sometimes the pattern is more obvious.”—Neil Innes
Attention, smart people! There is a MAJOR POLITICAL EVENT that’s happening—TODAY July 29th, 2015—across this nation that you might not have heard about for Bernie Sanders. Tonight Sanders will be speaking via the Internet to over 100,000 heavily-motivated people meeting for the first time at 3,520 Bernie-related house parties and get-togethers in bars and restaurants and union halls and church basements, etcetera, etcetera, all across the United States.
Yes, over 100,000 people have found other like-minded people in their area via this map and RSVP’d to get informed and to volunteer for Sanders’ increasingly astonishing campaign. I live in Los Angeles where there are well over 100 such gatherings. I’m married, but I would assume that a lot of smart, good-looking people would attend such events. Aren’t you even curious? Of course you are. Why not search for your zip code and see what happens?
Has there ever been a larger, more dynamic and more INSTANTANEOUS grassroots movement in American history? If there has been one, they must’ve kept it a secret. Even the Tea party movement didn’t grow nearly as fast as this. And after today’s event, what happens next?
I can’t wait to find out.
The sky’s the limit, but the goal is the White House. This can happen, people.
The 2016 election is going to be the most epiclyAmerican election in our country’s history, with all that this implies. You don’t have to be a psychic to predict that this one will be a barnstormer of high weirdness, goofy drama and unexpected twists and turns. It’ll blow 2008 out of the water and I think it’s already far surpassed 2012, which to be fair had its moments, too, but no Donald Trump or Sarah Palin.
And as if to conveniently illustrate my point of how volatile things have already gotten, here is some new polling courtesy of CNN (by way of AlterNet) that shows self-described Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders out-polling all three of the Republican Party’s major candidates (although he’s more or less tied with Jeb Bush).
If you limit the poll sample to just registered voters, Bush defeats Sanders by a single point.
This is nothing short of extraordinary news. This is one political story that isn’t about Donald Trump being at the top of the GOP field, it’s about the grumpy Socialist Senator from Vermont WHO CAN BEAT HIM IN A HEAD TO HEAD MATCH-UP.
I look at it this way: If, when all is said and done, it’s Hillary Clinton who is running against the eventual Republican nominee, hey, I will have no problem pulling the lever for her, because I would never vote for a Republican in a million years. But I am sure as shit going to be voting for Bernie Sanders in the primary, which is the vote—in Hillary Clinton’s case—that will count the most.
I strongly believe that either one of them, Sanders or Clinton, could and would, can and will, beat whoever the GOP nominates and polling backs that expectation up. But I’ve sent Bernie money twice and I just don’t think I’d ever send Hillary Clinton a single dime. I don’t actively dislike her, don’t get me wrong, but Bernie Sanders? He’s nothing less than a great American hero in my eyes.
Just sayin’... it’s going to get weird. Good weird. Deeply weird. Believe it.
The last quarter-century of political history is full of celebrity-led “get out the vote” initiatives (Rock the Vote, P. Diddy’s preposterous “VOTE OR DIE” campaign), and celebrities from outside the realm of politics recruited to goose the profiles of long-shot small parties (Howard Stern’s aborted flirtation with the Libertarian Party, Ralph Nader’s total destruction of the Green Party’s U.S. viability for probably a couple of generations), but notwithstanding satirical campaigns, non-politician notables actually attempting to launch new parties are much rarer.
This actually happened.
So I was amused to learn that founding Damned member Raymond “Captain Sensible” Burns attempted in earnest to form a political party in 2006. Calling it “The Blah! Party” (yes, the exclamation point was part of the name), Sensible endeavored to simultaneously galvanize protest votes and energize the disaffected, while taking public stances on matters like the proliferation of obesity, the imprisonment of non-violent offenders, public transport, renewable energy, and U.K. companies being bought out by international conglomerates. It was an ambitious undertaking, but Sensible had the help of a PR firm and—I’m not kidding—a potato chip company.
After all those exasperated rants from the stage during concerts over the years I have finally done the decent thing and started a political party with the aim of shaking up British politics.
My colleagues and I have named it the Blah! Party because this is what goes through your mind when you hear our great leaders spewing out the usual old garbage…. ‘45 minutes’, ‘WMD’, ‘faith schools’, ‘nhs reforms’, education education education’.... it’s enough to make to put a brick through the TV - so have put my money where my mouth is and decided to take on the vile frauds on their own turf.
The Blah! party is ridiculously easy to join via blahparty.org and once you’ve done that you can start firing off policy ideas as we are aiming to be the most representative and democratic party of ALL…... YOU will write our manifesto! Bearing in mind of course that as I am involved it will not tolerate racism, sexism or any other unpleasantness. We aim to be a NICE party, and although we are not adverse to having some fun along the way we ARE deadly serious about holding the current ghastly crop of political clones to account on your behalf for the nonsensical decisions they all too often make.
The more members we get - the harder it will be for them to ignore us…. and the possibilities really start opening up so if YOU TOO have had enough then get over to the Blah! website and let’s shake some action!
In the 1980s, the elected-to-nothing wife of then-Senator Albert Gore Jr. made quite a splash for herself when she formed the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985 with three other prominent Washington wives. The group called attention to lascivious and offensive lyrics in pop music, including those by Prince, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper alongside more familiar targets like Black Sabbath, and was instrumental in creating the single most “1980s” cover element on CD covers, the ubiquitous “PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT LYRICS” rectangle, often found on one of the bottom corners.
Gore, naturally, protested that she was never interested in censoring anyone but the desire to use rating systems or warning labels in a corporate context inevitably has a chilling effect on speech and explicit content.
Understandably, Tipper Gore rapidly became Public Enemy #1 for fans of heavy metal and punk rock. (Indeed, I’m sure you could do a decent compilation of songs calling out the PMRC in their very titles.) When Bill Clinton named Al Gore to be his running mate in 1992, in an election they would ultimately win and which would delight liberals of all stripes as representing the end of the Reagan era, the existence of Tipper as a potential Second Lady was for principled rock fans a serious obstacle to voting for Clinton—indeed, DM head honcho Richard Metzger has never cast a vote for Al Gore largely for this reason, and bravo to him! Whatever benefit she was providing “parents,” the PMRC represented a generational war between Boomers and their children, even though its goals would be recognized as an utter affront to so many Boomer heroes like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Grace Slick, etc.
The PMRC singled out a few acts that represented their view of unacceptable excess in rock and roll content. They were known as the “Filthy Fifteen”:
Prince, “Darling Nikki” (sex/masturbation)
Sheena Easton, “Sugar Walls,” (sex)
Judas Priest, “Eat Me Alive,” (sex)
Vanity, “Strap On ‘Robbie Baby’” (sex)
Mötley Crüe, “Bastard” (violence/language)
AC/DC, “Let Me Put My Love Into You” (sex)
Twisted Sister, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (violence)
Madonna, “Dress You Up” (sex)
W.A.S.P., “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” (sex/language)
Def Leppard, “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” (drug and alcohol use)
Mercyful Fate, “Into the Coven” (occult)
Black Sabbath, “Trashed” (drug and alcohol use)
Mary Jane Girls, “In My House” (sex)
Venom, “Possessed” (occult)
Cyndi Lauper, “She Bop” (sex/masturbation)
The PMRC was the best thing that ever happened to, say, W.A.S.P.—I scarcely remember any coverage about that band that wasn’t about “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast).”
In November 1986 CREEM magazine published a letter from Gore responding to a column by John Mendelssohn in which she defended herself against charges that she was an “uptight prude who wants to ban rock.” Eager to present herself as a fan of rock and roll, even of “the normal sex and sensuality of rock ‘n’ roll,” Gore depicted herself as undertaking the “responsible action” of protesting “the current excess of a minority of powerful artists.” Not unreasonably, she also framed her campaign in a feminist light, in that she was fighting “a degrading attitude” towards women, although without ever explaining how restricting the reach of a song like Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” fostered that goal.
In a later issue, Jello Biafra wrote in to debate Gore, accusing Gore and the PMRC of playing a 1980s version of Joe McCarthy and HUAC. Biafra pointed out that the climate for censorship was already plenty chilly, what with Republican Attorney General Ed Meese going after Playboy and Penthouse.
Most of the arguments about the PMRC’s methods are somewhat abstract—will this or that act prevent or foster this or that reaction? But Biafra pointed out that the PMRC was having real-world effects on working bands, specifically Biafra’s band the Dead Kennedys, who were facing the prospect of “a year in jail and a $2,000 fine” because of “what the Dead Kennedys say with their records.” Opponents of bodies like the PMRC are quick to say that they only end up benefiting their targets by increasing their sales, but Biafra disputed this point, noting that “more and more stores are now afraid to carry our records out of fear of being dragged through the nearest kangaroo court.”
Read the exchange for yourself, it’s well worth a read. You can see a larger version of these images by clicking on them.
Biafra would remain one of Gore’s harshest critics for many years. He dedicated a lengthy chunk of his first spoken word album, No More Cocoons, to a reading of this letter, the one he wrote responding to Gore in CREEM. On the Dead Kennedys live album Mutiny on the Bay, during their song “M.T.V.—Get off the Air,” Biafra tells the audience to “buy a homemade [record] instead, before the PMRC closes the stores down that sell ‘em”.
I found this issue of CREEM at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives, which is located at the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts on Cuyahoga Community College’s Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland, Ohio. It is free and open to the public. Visit their website for more information.
Here’s a video from that era of Biafra and Gore on Oprah. Biafra’s mention of Willie Horton places this after the 1988 presidential election, so a good while after the above letters appeared.
Sometimes the Internet truly is the giver of great things. I say that because some AWESOME person calling themselves “Donald Purrump” has set up an Instagram page that has issued a challenge for pet owners to “Trump your Cat.”
Trump your Cat’s Instagram has just under 5,000 followers, but that’s going to change pretty quickly I suspect. Since its creation, people have uploaded images of not only cats, but dogs and a lone Guinea pig to the page all sporting versions of Trump’s ridiculous comb-over-and-up. It’s quite something. Unlike Fight Club, Trump your Cat has a few rules:
Trump your Cat Guinea Pig
1. Brush your cat.
2. Form the hair you brushed into a toupee.
3. Place toupee on cat.
Artist Fernando Sosa—a Florida-based Mexican immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 11—has designed a delightful Donald Trump bum-hole plug.
I usually make Butt plugs to insult dictators, homophobes and politicians. However, when i heard [von Clownstick’s] remarks about Mexicans and latinos from south america i was extremely angry. You see I was born and raised in Mexico and moved to United States when i was 11 years old. So i don’t approve of what [F$27.99, Ted Cruz and the republican party have to say about us hard working americans.
When [Fuckface von Clownstick] decided to announce he is running for president he decided to use Latinos as a scapegoat and blame us for everything that is ailing America. Many republican politicians have done this before but never a politician running for president.
If you recall, Sosa was responsible for the Vladimir Putin plug last year. If you really got to own a Trump AKA “Fuckface von Clownstick” plug, they’re being sold on Shapeways for $27.99 plus shipping. It’s a steal!
For the past few weeks I have been emailing friends links to YouTube editing genius Vic Berger’s “trash compactor” cuts of Republican Presidential campaign announcement speeches. I have laughed myself senseless at these things. They get funnier with repeated viewings. He really knows how to highlight the absurdity of these events (like the Jeb Bush one with the guy beating his “Jeb! sticks”—what would you call ‘em?—behind the candidate. I found this screamingly funny in a Tim & Eric kinda way).
Hard to say which is the best. They’re all different and each one is a gem. Stay with the Donald Trump clip, I thought it took a little longer to ramp up than the others did, but once it gets going, Berger takes it someplace you probably won’t expect.