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Matt Taibbi on Michele Bachmann’s holy war
06.22.2011
04:00 pm
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Matt Taibbi takes on goofball far-right Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in the pages of the new Rolling Stone. It’s everything you want it to be, trust me:

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and, as you consider the career and future presidential prospects of an incredible American phenomenon named Michele Bachmann, do one more thing. Don’t laugh.

It may be the hardest thing you ever do, for Michele Bachmann is almost certainly the funniest thing that has ever happened to American presidential politics. Fans of obscure 1970s television may remember a short-lived children’s show called Far Out Space Nuts, in which a pair of dimwitted NASA repairmen, one of whom is played by Bob (Gilligan) Denver, accidentally send themselves into space by pressing “launch” instead of “lunch” inside a capsule they were fixing at Cape Canaveral. This plot device roughly approximates the political and cultural mechanism that is sending Michele Bachmann hurtling in the direction of the Oval Office.

Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government. She kicked off her unofficial presidential campaign in New Hampshire, by mistakenly declaring it the birthplace of the American Revolution. “It’s your state that fired the shot that was heard around the world!” she gushed. “You are the state of Lexington and Concord, you started the battle for liberty right here in your backyard.”

I said lunch, not launch! But don’t laugh. Don’t do it. And don’t look her in the eyes; don’t let her smile at you. Michele Bachmann, when she turns her head toward the cameras and brandishes her pearls and her ageless, unblemished neckline and her perfect suburban orthodontics in an attempt to reassure the unbeliever of her non-threateningness, is one of the scariest sights in the entire American cultural tableau. She’s trying to look like June Cleaver, but she actually looks like the T2 skeleton posing for a passport photo. You will want to laugh, but don’t, because the secret of Bachmann’s success is that every time you laugh at her, she gets stronger.

In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you’ve always got a puncher’s chance. And Bachmann is exactly the right kind of completely batshit crazy. Not medically crazy, not talking-to-herself-on-the-subway crazy, but grandiose crazy, late-stage Kim Jong-Il crazy — crazy in the sense that she’s living completely inside her own mind, frenetically pacing the hallways of a vast sand castle she’s built in there, unable to meaningfully communicate with the human beings on the other side of the moat, who are all presumed to be enemies.

Bachmann’s story, to hear her tell it, is about a suburban homemaker who is chosen by God to become a politician who will restore faith and family values to public life and do battle with secular humanism. But by the time you’ve finished reviewing her record of lies and embellishments and contradictions, you’ll have no idea if she actually believes in her own divine inspiration, or whether it’s a big con job. Or maybe both are true — in which case this hard-charging challenger for the GOP nomination is a rare breed of political psychopath, equal parts crazed Divine Wind kamikaze-for-Jesus and calculating, six-faced Machiavellian prevaricator. Whatever she is, she’s no joke.

Michele Bachmann’s Holy War (Rolling Stone)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.22.2011
04:00 pm
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Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur schools heartless Republicans on the poor


 

“There is a heartlessness for people who take everything for themselves and turn their backs on the rest of the American people.”

Heroic Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, known to many of us for her role in Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story and for speaking her mind to evil Republicans, gave this great speech on the House floor last week and told it like it T. I. is about the poor in America and cruel GOP policies.

“They hurt the Republic. They hurt our country. And they have not been held accountable…

... I don’t have enough power to hold them accountable, but I hope God does. Because what they’ve done is unforgivable. Their rugged individualism is unpatriotic, it’s un-Christian and it hurts this country.”

The whole speech is good, but she get really cooking just before the five minute mark:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.20.2011
09:19 pm
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Evil Liberal overlord Van Jones challenges Glenn Beck to debate
06.20.2011
02:17 pm
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Van Jones, the former White House green jobs adviser and activist, is the lefty Boogeyman that Glenn Beck returns to again and again and again. To hear Beck tell it, Van Jones is some Darth Vader-type evil overlord behind the dark forces of Liberalism, right up there with George Soros hisself. Jones gave a fantastic speech at the Netroots Nation convention last week, where he first called Beck out:

I issue a personal challenge to my beloved brother Glenn Beck. I will debate you anytime, anywhere, at any point. I’ll give you an hour, you give me five minutes. And I will stand up for our values. But you would have to stop talking about us and start talking to us.

You got one week left before your show goes off. My phone is ringing. Call me! Call me, Glenn Beck! And let’s have this fight. Let’s have this discussion. Let’s have this argument. Let’s have this battle of ideas. Battle of ideas. And let’s fight for liberty and justice for all.

It was Beck more than any other conservative mouthpiece who hounded Jones into resigning from his White House post, but now Jones is challenging Beck to a debate. MoveOn is trying to raise money to air this 30 second spot during the final days of Beck’s Fox News program.

Fantastic, this is a debate I’d LOVE to see. If you’d like to see this, too, you can donate to MoveOn here.

A debate of IDEAS? I wonder if Beck will accept the challenge?
 

 
Take a look at Jones’ inspirational Netroots Nation speech and see if he lives up to Beck’s characterization of him as an evil Commie or not.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.20.2011
02:17 pm
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Richard Morris’ ‘Tyler: The Creator, or an Old Skool Sexist?’
06.19.2011
09:34 am
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Amid the ongoing internet brouhaha surrounding Tyler The Creator’s lyrical content, this article from the website Soundblab is the best I have read on the subject so far, and pretty accurately nails the problems I have with Tyler’s approach to writing about sex and abuse. Yeah, I get that he’s still a kid so hasn’t had a great deal of real life experience in these areas, but like so many of the other excuses brought up in this debate, that’s still pretty weak. Richard Morris writes:

Now, there are three arguments being put forward to explain, excuse and otherwise justify Tyler’s lyrical concerns. These arguments are the same ones which get put forward time and time again when hip hop artists produce dubious lyrics: he’s just reflecting his background; he just repeating what’s everywhere in hip hop culture; he’s playing with a persona. A moment’s reflection is all you need to work out that that last excuse can’t exist with the first two. Either Tyler is honestly reflecting where he comes from and the culture he’s surrounded by, or he’s concocted a character as satire or narrative aid. It can’t be both.

...

However, if you still want to buy into any or all of those arguments listed above, fine, but I have a question for you: where are all the songs by female artists about attacking and raping men? If that seems a ridiculous thing to ponder, ask yourself why. Why does it make sense for a man to rap about raping a woman but not the other way round? The answer, when you pick it apart, is probably that there would be no audience for those kind of songs. Similarly, there’s not much call for songs where gay artists have a go at straight people. No one would buy into that kind of stupid prejudice. Gay activists would condemn it as counter-productive.

Tyler, the Creator has identified an audience and, with the media’s help, he’s milking that for all it’s worth. That audience is primarily made up of white young men. A couple of weeks ago, Hamish MacBain took Tyler to task in the pages of NME, pointing out that Odd Future had bypassed the traditional hip hop audience, instead crossing over quickly to the kind of alternative music fans who read Pitchfork, the Guardian and, hey, Soundblab. It’s exactly these alternative, typically liberal-leaning fans who repeatedly let hip hop artists off the hook when it comes to misogynistic and homophobic lyrics.

For me the problem is not so much that these excuses are not applicable - it’s that twenty years after the release of Death Certificate we’re still having the exact same debate. We’ve not moved on. It’s disheartening to see that popular hip-hop has devolved into a negatized musical format whose primary function is to piss off suburban parents, and where shock tactics outweigh genuine insight. Much of the blame for this can be heaped on the feet of the media, but surely the music is just as much at fault too? Because to me Tyler’s lyrics do not feel in any way transgressive. Really, they don’t, they’re the same old thing I have heard countless times before. If you do think they are transgressive, then I would say you are part of a social group that has thankfully never been subject to the threat of rape or abuse. Tyler’s lyrics simply re-enforce the status quo, and as such they’re just boring.

Read all of Richard Morris’ excellent article here. Soundblab also has another article defending Tyler’s lyrical content, by James Bray, which you can read here.

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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06.19.2011
09:34 am
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Music transcends hate: video master Kutiman does it again with ‘Thru Jerusalem’
06.14.2011
09:52 am
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Israeli musician, composer, producer and videographer Ophir Kutiel does his art as Kutiman. You may recognize his name from Thru-You, the hypnotically rhythmic collage of non-pro musician YouTube videos from across the globe that he made in 2009, and which scored 10 million views, sent him to the Guggenheim, and made it into Time magazine and landed him at the Guggenheim.

Welp, he’s got a new one, and it’s a burner. With sectarian and ethnic tensions in his Jerusalem birthplace at what seems a permanent high, Kutiman has given the city a similar and very necessary visiosonic treatment with the help of 15 of its Arab and Jewish musicians. Check it.
 

 
After the jump: Kutiman’s mega-video-mashup from late last year Sue You...

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
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06.14.2011
09:52 am
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EFIL4ZTULS: A report from a Slut Walk
06.13.2011
07:59 pm
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My first reaction on hearing of the international “Slut Walk” movement was “brilliant.” About bloody time! What a horribly demeaning word, one loaded with judgement that denies a person the basic enjoyment of their own sexual activities and bodies. “Slut” is rife for reclaiming - because there is no term for a person who enjoys copious amount of sex that is not pejorative. Why not, as other social groups have done in the past, take an already existing term of abuse and strip it of its negative meaning? It’s hard to fathom that the word “slut” still holds so much power in this, the twenty first century. Are we still to feel shame for our sexual desires and appetites? Does Michael Sanguinetti believe that if all women were to suddenly don burkhas all rape would be wiped out? No, because a rapist will commit a rape regardless of what a person is wearing, slutty or otherwise - the risk factors lie with the rapists not the victim.  

So, my partner and I turned out for Slut Walk Manchester on last Friday evening, to show our faces and bodies and in some small way reclaim the place will live as being safe from harassment and abuse. Of course it’s only a small gesture but that in itself does not make it invalid or worthless. By all accounts Manchester is a very protest-friendly city, but the turnout of roughly a thousand was very healthy and exceeded expectations. We walked for over an hour, winding our way through the city centre streets, stopping traffic and emptying public transport. The reaction from passers by was supportive and not negative like I had assumed it would be, and even though no official license had been granted for the march by the council, the police were helpful and friendly, and guided the mass of people on their way rather than hemming them in.
 

 
The crowd was mixed, with a lot of men walking and a good range of ages (though most on the march were young). There were a handful of drag queens and queer activists as well - Manchester has a large gay population and an active male sex industry, so male rape is not uncommon. If I have one gripe it was with the placards handed out to the crowd by the Socialist Worker Party, an act that to me seemingly hijacked an apolitical march for its own ends. The placards read “No Means No” on one side, with “Clarke Must Go” on the other. Sure, Ken Clarke, the British Secretary of State for Justice made some very unwise comments on rape a few weeks ago, but I did not need the SWP to help me call for his resignation, or tell me that my body was my property. It just came across as petty point scoring. Other placards of interest held by members of the march included “Police Rapists, Not My Fucking Wardrobe”, “My Minge My Rules” and “Queer As in Fuck You (But Only If You Consent)”.

At one point during the march I was approached by a man for a cigarette an we got chatting. He seemed not to be of the typical student/protester mould, more a working class guy fond of a few pints, but I had noticed him before and though he might have been one of the organisers. As we were walking he asked me if I had been raped. I answered that thankfully I hadn’t, but I still wanted to show my support as I know people who have. Almost with a sense of confrontational pride he told me that he had been raped, and that it had happened while he was 9 years old and living in care. He asked me what the march was about and if it was specifically for women. He didn’t know what a “Slut Walk” was, he had never heard of it, he just happened to be in town and saw it passing. So I explained about the concept, the reclaiming of the word, and the comments on rape Ken Clarke had made. He kept clarifying that he was not gay - at first I thought this might have had to do the leather gear I was wearing, but soon realised it was more to do with the societal taboo of male rape and this man’s own experience of it. Eventually he turned to me, looked me in the eye and said he had never told another man about this before. I shook his hand. I understood where the confrontation was coming from - it was not with me but it with himself and the fact that he was facing up to a dark part of his own past he had buried for god knows how long. A part he probably would not have faced up to had it not been for the Slut Walk.
 

 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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06.13.2011
07:59 pm
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‘Cast and Crew’: Documentary on the making of the ‘The Long Good Friday’
06.11.2011
08:24 pm
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It started when producer Barry Hanson asked writer Barrie Keeffe, one night, what film he’d like to see? Keeffe said he wanted to see an American gangster film set in the East End of London. There was nothing like it on at the cinema, so Hanson told Keeffe to write it. The result was The Long Good Friday, a movie regularly voted the greatest British gangster film, and one of the best British films, of all time. High praise for a movie that was nearly re-cut, dubbed and pumped out onto TV by its original parent company, ITC, who hated it.

I was lucky enough to see The Long Good Friday, when it was screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1980 as the highlight to a mini-retrospective of director John MacKenzie’s work. It had an indelible effect.

MacKenzie was established as a major talent, having made the films Unman, Wittering and Zigo with David Hemmings in 1969, and Made with Carol White and Roy Harper in 1972. He had also achieved further success directing Peter MacDougall’s brilliant dramas Just Another Saturday, which won the Prix Italia, Just A Boys’ Game, which starred rock singer Frankie Miller, and MacDougall’s adaptation of notorious hardman, Jimmy Boyle’s biography, A Sense of Freedom. Now he had just completed a film that captured the essence of 1980’s Britain under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Written by Barrie Keeffe, a former journalist who made his name writing political drams for TV and theater, Scribes (1976), about newspaper workers during a strike, .Gimme Shelter (1975–7), a powerful trilogy that dealt with deprivation, frustration and anger of working-class youth, and the tremendous BBC drama Waterloo Sunset, starring the legendary Queenie Watts.

Keeffe wrote The Long Good Friday in three days, over an Easter weekend. Originally called The Paddy Factor, the story dealt with East End gangster Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) who plans to go into partnership with the Mafia to redevelop London, only to fall foul of the IRA. The film co-starred Helen Mirren, (who battled to make her character, Victoria, stronger), a young Pierce Brosnan, and Eddie Consantine, as the Mafia don.

The script came from all the stories Keeffe heard growing-up and working as a reporter on the Stratford Express, as he told the Arts Desk last year:

The seeds were planted then; it was a very fertile time, just before the end of the Krays’ empire, and a lot of my plays, and some of the incidents in The Long Good Friday, came from my experiences. For instance, one of the gangland punishments, if you strayed into someone else’s territory, was to crucify you to the warehouse floor. As a very innocent junior reporter, a young 18, I was sent to interview a guy in hospital. He was covered in bandages and I asked him what had happened. He said, with that wonderful East End humour, “Do you understand English, son? Well, put it down to a do-it-yourself accident.”

Filmed the same year as Thatcher’s election, The Long Good Friday predicted much of the change Conservative rule would bring to London and the British isles.

The Long Good Friday was obviously about the transformation of the East End. The Bob Hoskins character was talking about the end of the Docks and mile after mile of territory for “profitable progress” - I think that was his phrase. I saw the film again about five years ago and it has a scene showing this model of how the area would look under the developers. It underestimated it completely - it ought to have shown Canary Wharf looking like Manhattan. Looking at it, I was taken by the fact that none of us had foreseen the enormous scale of change.

The Long Good Friday was a film “raging” at what was about to happen to the country, the story of gangsterism / Thatcherism / Captialism coming face-to-face with terrorism / idealism.

Cast and Crew: The Long Good Friday brings together John MacKenzie, Barrie Keeffe, Barry Hanson, actor Derek Thompson, casting director Simone Reynolds to discuss the film, its making and its legacy. There are also interviews from Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. Watching Keeffe and MacKenzie around a table together, there is still the crackle of creative tension, as writer and director both lay claim to the film’s success.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The ‘Get Carter’ Killing


Singer Frankie Miller stars in Peter MacDougall’s legendary gang film ‘Just a Boys’ Game’


 
More from ‘Cast and Crew’ plus bonus clip, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.11.2011
08:24 pm
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Donald Trump viciously pisses on Republican party in new video
06.10.2011
01:38 pm
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Don’t pass this by because it’s an item about Donald Trump, this clip is totally worth watching. No matter what your political persuasion—or even what you think of the messenger—Donald Trump makes several good and valid points here. There is probably very little else that he and I would agree on, but his assessment of the GOP is deadly accurate, here. It’s downright vicious, too, which is why it’s so much fun to watch.

He who only recently sought the Republican nomination. Fascinating.

Furthermore, I (more or less) believe Trump’s reasons, as stated in the video, for getting himself out of the mess the Republicans have made for themselves. Sure he took some body shots when he flirted with running in the Spring, but the abject stupidity on offer this year from the Republicans has been absolutely staggering. Too much, apparently for even a prominent birther like Donald Trump. Soon even Orly Taitz will abandon the GOP!

Of course, the coda, where Trump hints bluntly tells viewers that he’s pretty much ready, willing and able (once the new season of The Apprentice is in the can, natch) to jump into the race if the GOP can’t get it act together, is the money shot here.

Since Trump’s burning his GOP bridges with such gusto—and we can be 100% certain that he’s not asking for the Democratic nod—that would leave an independent run. (A third party doesn’t seem like his style, plus who would want him?)

I sincerely hope Donald Trump does a Ross Perot and runs. If he really wants to inflict some damage on the GOP—and from what he says here, who’d doubt that?—an independent run would be the most effective way to go about it. Plus, it would just be such an insane, surrealistic spectacle. I was sad when he got out of the race so early, weren’t you?

Run, Donald, run! And here’s hoping that Sarah Palin is your running mate!

Do it for the good of the country! Pretty please?
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.10.2011
01:38 pm
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Are the Smurfs Communist Nazis?
06.09.2011
09:02 pm
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Image by Bit Weird.

I’d heard the theory that the Smurfs were a ploy to get us used to the imminent arrival of little blue aliens, but this is news to me. A French academic has published a book claiming that the Smurfs were both Communist and anti-Semitic, claims that have met with a backlash from fans of the little blue guys. From The Guardian:

Antoine Buéno, a lecturer at Sciences Po university in Paris, makes the claims in his new book Le Petit Livre Bleu: Analyse critique et politique de la société des Schtroumpfs, in which he points out that the Smurfs live in a world where private initiative is rarely rewarded, where meals are all taken together in a communal room, where there is one leader and where the Smurfs rarely leave their small country.

“Does that not remind you of anything? A political dictatorship, for example?” asks Buéno, going on to compare the Smurfs’ world to a totalitarian utopia reminiscent of Stalinist communism (Papa wears a red outfit and resembles Stalin, while Brainy is similar to Trotsky) and nazism (the character of the Smurfs’ enemy Gargamel is an antisemitic caricature of a Jew, he proposes). A story about the Black Smurfs, meanwhile, in which the Smurfs are bitten by a fly which turns their skin black and renders them unable to speak, has colonial overtones.

Reactions to the book were immediate and hostile, with commenters on Smurf fansites calling Buéno a “dream breaker”, an imbecile and a crook with “paranoid delusions”, who is ruining childhood memories.

 
Is this strange video perhaps more proof of a connection?
 

 
Thanks to Nicola Blackmore.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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06.09.2011
09:02 pm
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Le Tigre: Who Took the Bomp?
06.09.2011
08:36 pm
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It’s been some time since we’ve last heard from iconic feminist rockers, Le Tigre. A new DVD titled Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour has just been released with a mix of footage from their 2004 world tour and conversations with band members JD Samson, Johanna Fateman and Kathleen Hanna. It was directed by Kerthy Fix.

Spinner.com interviewed Hanna about the project:

How did the documentary come about?
We were about to go on tour in 2004 and I was thinking how there was no good documentation of the projects I’ve done, and about how weird we all were in the ‘90s, like “Don’t photograph me!” We were so freaked about being sucked up by the mainstream that we didn’t even document ourselves. I didn’t want that to happen to me, as a grownup. We put some money into a camera to shoot our shows, just to have it, not really thinking that we’re making a movie. Then we started filming stuff on the bus or backstage. After, we stopped touring, revisited some of the material and slowly started putting it into the project and finally it’s done, six years later.

What’s your favorite part of the movie?
I like a lot of the stuff that Johanna says about JD in the interview part. There is some stuff that we never really say to each other because it’s too corny. Like, you don’t actually sit in a room and go, “Here’s what you brought to the band.” It was interesting to hear Jo say these sweet, sentimental things about JD. She talked about a lot of stuff that happened in terms of JD’s gender and presentation, how that did change how people perceived us as a band. I definitely got an education by seeing the way a journalist would treat her and not know how to treat her. I don’t know, I guess it just brought this issue to the fore. It felt really good to have that spoken out loud.

Was there anything that you might have forgotten about or were surprised to see?
Just how goofy we were. I don’t think people think of us as being that goofy and I don’t think of us as being that goofy, but looking back at the footage I was like, “Oh my God.” Every time the camera went on we were totally goofy and I know when the camera went off, we were equally goofy. I sort of forgot about that, that everything was kind of a joke and lighthearted and it was really in contrast to some of the other things that were going on that were really heavy. It was either really heavy, like “We’re being boycotted!” and then trying to put a Band-Aid on everything with humor, all the time.

Read more of Kathleen Hanna Looks Back on Le Tigre, Praises Lady Gaga’s Gay Pride, Dismisses ‘Boring’ Odd Future (Spinner)
 
Below, a live “Deceptacon” from Who Took the Bomp?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.09.2011
08:36 pm
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