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Tactics for Evolution: Industrial socialist pioneers Test Dept, live in Berlin, 1997
02.16.2016
12:03 pm

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Activism
Music
Politics

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00testdep00.jpg
 
When Test Dept were at the end of their first incarnation, performing at the Island Open Air Festival in Berlin, during August of 1997, the group had progressed from their hard industrial sound (hammers hitting metal) to a more experimental electronica much related (a second cousin twice removed, perhaps) to rave culture.

Some artists and musicians need pricks to kick against in order to produce great art—otherwise they would all end up being as anodyne as Justin Bieber or as deluded as Kanye West. Test Dept had the extreme machinations of the British Conservative government to kick against when they formed in south London’s docklands in 1981. Test Dept described themselves as “an urgent reaction to the materialistic drift and reactionary conservatism of the prevailing musical and political culture.” They were the antithesis of the moronic inferno of commercial music and the perniciousness of right-wing politics. Their motto was:

EXTREME CONDITIONS DEMAND EXTREME RESPONSES.

Test Dept were in opposition to the extreme conditions being created by the ruling Conservative party under the prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher. Mrs. T. had been elected in May 1979 on a campaign that claimed the previous Labor government had created high unemployment. By 1981 the irony fairy had been working overtime and Thatcher’s policies doubled the number of unemployed. It eventually reached a massive high of over 3 million people by the mid-1980s.

Across the country, industries and businesses were closed. Essential social services were devastated by the Tory’s cuts, which will sound familiar to younger generations. Thatcher operated on the belief that the previous Labor government had made the British far too dependent on state hand-outs (welfare) and this was why she hacked away at the benefits system like a drunk gardener uprooting roses to kill the weeds.
 

 
Test Dept were a response to the obscenity of a new political order and the decay and poverty left in its wake. TD scavenged for the tools to make their industrial sonic attack—discarded sheet metal, hammers, oil drums. They were aligned to political activism—seeking like-minded collaborators—filmmakers, sculptors, dancers and politically active groups—to produce site-specific works to fight back and bring change. In 1984, at the height of the miners’s strike—when Thatcher closed the mines and starved the miners out of work—TD collaborated with miners and their families to draw attention to their plight and raise money for their funds.

Anyone who saw TD during this decade felt emboldened and empowered to fight back against the Tories and bring about a fairer more equal society. They are very much needed again now.

As if responding to some psychic Bat signal, Test Dept regrouped for the release of a book to commemorate their involvement with the miners’ strike. Next month they’ll premier their soundtrack to the recently rediscovered and restored Soviet silent film masterpiece An Unprecedented Campaign by Mikhail Kaufman. Test Dept will appear at the film’s premiere in Newcastle, details here.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
EXTREME CONDITIONS DEMAND EXTREME RESPONSES: Test Dept’s industrial strength Socialism

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Deep Red: Brutally beautiful art created with blood
02.12.2016
08:50 am

Topics:
Art
Politics

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URTSBC4 by Jordan Eagles
“URTSBC3,” 2012 by Jordan Eagles

New York-based artist Jordan Eagles has been working with blood as his medium for over a decade. His large scale works,  which are not for the squeamish or hemophobic, have been exhibited in galleries all across the country.
 
FKTS 19, 2012
“FKTS 19,” 2012
 
Life Force 2, 2012
“Life Force 2,” 2012
 
Eagles uses blood he has obtained from slaughterhouses as well as human blood that was donated to him willingly from people who will live on long after they have gone, as a part of Eagles’ ambitious creations. And while most people find the sight of blood unappealing, Eagles says the process of working with blood can be both “meditative and exhilarating,” and that even after working with the unconventional medium for so long he still “gets a thrill out of the energy that comes from the material.” In order to preserve the blood he encases it in plexiglass and UV resin which allows the blood to hold on to its natural colors, structure and patterns, which according to Eagle “embodies transformation, regeneration and an allegory of death to life.”
 
Blood Mirror, 2014
“Blood Mirror,” 2014
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Just a nude drawing of Donald Trump in all his glory
02.11.2016
08:11 am

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Amusing
Art
Politics

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This seems fitting, right? The pastel drawing is by Illma Gore and appropriately titled “Make America Great Again.”

From the artist:

“Make America Great Again” is about the significance we place on our physical selves. One should not feel emasculated by their penis size or vagina, as it does not define who you are. Your genitals do not define your gender, your power, or your status.

Simply put you can be a massive prick, despite what is in your pants.

But Illma, tell us how you really feel about Donald Trump…

Click here to see a larger image.

via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Yep, there’s sexy Bernie Sanders underwear!
02.10.2016
10:18 am

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Amusing
Politics

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day… some super sexy lingerie-style Bernie Sanders underwear! (I refuse to use the word “panties,” btw.) Made by Bullet and Bees on Etsy—the same shop who brought you The Golden Girls underwear a few months ago—the Bernie-themed underwear sells for anywhere from $40-$60 depending on the style.

Don’t say I never gave you nothing for last minute gift ideas.


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘N for Nonsense’: William S. Burroughs endorses Mr. Peanut for mayor, 1974
02.03.2016
01:04 pm

Topics:
Literature
Politics

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On November 20, 1974, the city of Vancouver held its civic election, which included the heart-palpitating race for alderman as well as positions on the parks board and the school board. The mayoral election was part of the slate that year, and that race included an unusual candidate who never uttered a single word, preferring the universal medium of tap dance for communication.

That candidate was Mr. Peanut, and wherever he went a group of young women called the “Peanettes” would sing “Peanuts from Heaven,” based on “Pennies from Heaven,” the Depression-era song by Arthur Johnston and Johnny Burke. The “Peanettes” would hold up letters like spectators at a sporting event spelling out P-E-A-N-U-T, which apparently was a mnemonic device for the following: “P for performance, E for elegance, A for art, N for nonsense, U for uniqueness, and T for talent.”
 

 
Mr. Peanut’s platform included a couple of sensible proposals, including putting a hiring freeze on government employees until the city’s population became larger, and a couple that were a bit less serious, like a system similar to a lending library for galoshes and umbrellas, which are only needed when it rains. He had a cumbersome slogan reminiscent of some 19th-century art movement, which ran “Life was politics in the last decade; life will be art in the next decade.”
 

 
Mr. Peanut was actually a Berlin-based performance artist named Vincent Trasov, who had adopted the corporate mascot as his persona a few years earlier. He had a spokesman named John Mitchell accompany him to all public events during the campaign to do his talking for him. The author of Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs, happened to visit Vancouver while the campaign was happening, so he gave Mr. Peanut his endorsement:
 

I would like to take this opportunity to endorse the candidacy of Mr. Peanut for mayor of Vancouver. Mr. Peanut is running on the art platform, and art is the creation of illusion. Since the inexorable logic of reality has created nothing but insolvable problems, it is now time for illusion to take over. And there can only be one illogical candidate—Mr. Peanut.

 
Joining Burroughs in endorsing Mr. Peanut was the mayor of Kansas City, a Democrat named Charles B. Wheeler Jr., who sent him a letter of support. Voters wishing to express their preference Mr. Peanut were obliged to select the candidate’s actual name from a list. “Vincent Trasov” received 2,685 votes out of 78,925 votes cast, netting him a 3.4% share of the vote, higher than Ralph Nader’s percentage in the 2000 election for president in the United States. Trasov/Peanut finished fourth, but it’s easy to imagine that if the words “Mr. Peanut” had been permitted to appear on the ballot, he might have garnered a few more points.
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Bernie Sanders / Johnny Cash T-shirt mashup America has been waiting for
02.02.2016
11:14 am

Topics:
Fashion
Heroes
Politics

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Wear Dinner, the apparel purveyors who gave the world that wonderful Black Sabbath/Minor Threat mash-up we told you about last summer, have upped the I-want-one stakes with their new Bernie Cash shirt, which plops the face of encouragingly popular left-wing insurgent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders onto Jim Marshall’s indelible image of Johnny Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin prison in 1969, a juxtaposition that aptly captures a lot of the anti-establishment hostility expressed by some of the candidate’s backers.
 

 
The shirts are available only in black because duh. $5 from each shirt sold will benefit the Sanders campaign.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Cringe as Ted Cruz tries to hug his own creeped-out daughter
02.01.2016
01:13 pm

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Politics

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Who knows this asshole better than his own family?

We are all Ted Cruz’s daughter!
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Comic trolls Donald Trump with a tough guy Cockney gangster accent
01.29.2016
08:44 am

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Activism
Amusing
Politics

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Sometimes a small change in perspective can reveal the whole truth of a subject. While most people know Donald Trump is a dangerous idiot, there are some (god help them…) who are deluded by his bluster, bullying and ranting xenophobic hatred. These poor souls are caught like a rabbit in the headlights or you know, a mouse hypnotized by a snake or whatever it is snakes do to fool mice into standing still long enough to become lunch… promise them some tasty cheese or something…

Hopefully this may all change as actor, comedian and writer, Peter Serafinowicz has done a truly marvellous thing. He has added a cockney tough guy accent to Donald Trump making sound like a cross between a Bob Hoskins’ villain in a British gangster flick and one of the Monty Python’s Piranha Brothers (Dinsdale).
 
04trumpeter.jpg
 
Mr. Serafinowicz has not altered any of Trump’s words, but his small and powerful tweak in presentation is like having subtitles for the hard of thinking. Do spread this far and wide, please.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sarah Palin IS Yosemite Sam!
01.24.2016
09:12 am

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

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Former half term-governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was in the news twice last week—with her assertion that President Barack Obama is the reason why her son, Track, hits women, and with her endorsement of GOP presidential hopeful Donald J. “I could ‘shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” Trump. 

Her bizarre, rambling, right-wing-talking-point word salad endorsement of Trump has been cleverly used as source material for a short 26-second video featuring Looney Tunes’ popular angry cowboy, Yosemite Sam. The edit syncs quite well and leaves no question that Palin, herself, is essentially a cartoon character.
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘The Ronnie Horror Picture Show’: Amazing 1980 spoof with a Reagan impersonator as Frank N. Furter!
01.22.2016
10:37 am

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Amusing
Politics
Television

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The ‘80s actually started in November of 1980, when doddering, happy-talking lawbreaker Ronald Reagan rather brutally defeated Jimmy Carter’s bid for re-election. Culturally, that event was the final nail in the coffin of what remained of late ‘60s counterculture (they put a lot of those nails there themselves, to be fair), and politically it marked the dawn of the vulgarian/reactionary empowerment that still poses an existential threat to the country.

They were far from the only ones to see Reagan’s rise as doom for the left and the man himself as the fourth horseman of the twilight of the hippies, but ABC’s live late night sketch show Fridays did a spectacularly hilarious job of addressing it.

Fridays, it its day, was seen as a weak attempt at catching the lightning in a bottle that was Saturday Night Live—sort of an early ‘80s Mad TV, except Fridays was actually funny. In the rear-view it holds up pretty admirably, as it often went even edgier than classic SNL. In three seasons starting in the spring of 1980, Fridays kicked off the careers of Rich Hall, Larry David, and—you can’t win ‘em all—Michael Richards. And in the wake of the Reagan election, the show’s writers and cast pulled of an extraordinary stunt: an ambitious 20 minute sketch, performed live, parodying both the incoming Reagan administration AND The Rocky Horror Picture Show!

The sketch stars Richards as Brad, and Janet duties fell to the wonderful Melanie Chartoff, who’s best known now for voice acting in kid’s cartoons. It imports VP-elect George H.W. Bush into the Riff Raff role, played by Mark Blankfield, who was the show’s breakout star at the time. John Roarke handles Reagan/Frank N. Furter duties, and Larry David…well, if you don’t know, I’m not going to ruin that one for you, it’s pretty fucking great. Paralleling Dr. Furter’s creation of ultimate sexual boy-toy Rocky, Reagan here endeavors to create the perfect conservative, but it doesn’t go as planned. The sketch was well-written and pretty superbly executed for a 20-minute live extravaganza with musical numbers, and it nails all of its marks but one—it ends optimistically. But it does offer a prescient warning to posterity in this dialogue exchange between Richards and Chartoff:

Janet: Oh Brad! Don’t you see what these people are doing? These people are…

Brad: Janet, relax! This is a great chance to have an intelligent conversation with these right wingers!

Janet: Brad, please, let’s get out of here!

Janet was truly wise.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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