Will robots replace Lady Gaga?

Last week Dangerous Minds’ Martin Schneider posed the question “Will pole dancing robots put human strippers out of work?” After watching the video of this batshit gyrating animatronic by artist Jordan Wolfson I’m inclined to answer “maybe.” I mean I doubt they’ll be wearing bonkers witch masks, but who knows?

According to the description on YouTube:

“The figure incorporates facial recognition technology, allowing her to focus on, and unnervingly follow visitors at the exhibition.”

The piece is currently being exhibited March 6 – April 19 at David Zwirner Gallery in New York. 

Via io9

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Diana Rigg stars in bizarre German ‘stag films for Avengers’ fetishists’
07:14 am

Pop Culture

Diana Rigg
The Avengers

Diana Rigg was already well known as Emma Peel, the iconic kick-ass star of sixties hit TV series The Avengers, when she made these two short Super-8 films The Diadem (1966) and Mini-Killers (1969).

The Avengers was one of that decade’s most successful TV series, so why Ms. Rigg should have agreed to appear in these rather bizarre home-movies, I have no idea, but perhaps as Steven Puchalski suggests over at Shock Cinema, we should:

Think of these silent shorts as stag films for AVENGERS fetishists, who love watching Rigg beating the bejesus out of burly guys, amidst secret agent-style shenanigans.

That almost sums them both up. The Diadem is mainly an Emma-Peel-style showreel, with lots of fighting and not much plot, while Mini-Killers obviously had a bigger budget, was shot in color in exotic locations, with a bigger cast, some special effects, and a more convoluted plot involving killer dolls.

Both films were made for distribution as Super-8 home movies in Germany. The question is why did Rigg make them? Mini-Killers was filmed after she had starred in The Assassination Bureau with Oliver Reed, and appeared with the George Lazenby in the James Bond classic On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, so we can scrub lack of money off the list of possible reasons why. Who cares why, it’s just some wonderful and bizarre fun from the 1960s.

‘Mini-Killers’ plus Emma Peeler photo shoot, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Alan Moore REALLY hates Grant Morrison’s guts
12:15 pm

Pop Culture

Alan Moore
Grant Morrison

Admittedly I was semi-aware that there was “some” particularly bitter distaste between comics god Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, but that’s about all I knew… until this morning. Now I know a whole lot about the matter—at least I know Alan Moore’s side of the story in minute, excoriating detail—and you will too, if you click over to Pádraig Ó Méalóid’s Slovobooks blog for the extremely long email interview—that Moore claims will be his last—in which the comics mage addresses controversies surrounding depictions of rape in his work, his appropriation of the Golliwogg character, a sort of minstrel doll once commonplace in England (and the trademark/mascot of Robertson’s Jam until 2001) as the Galley-Wag in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier and his loathing for a particular comics author who he describes as a “Scottish cover band.”

The backstory, summarized succinctly at TechnoOccult, more or less begins in the aftermath of a November 2013 appearance in London that Moore made in with biographer Lance Parkin and others, including Méalóid. One attendee, Will Brooker, took to social media and stated his displeasure with the event on Twitter:

Really wish An Evening with Alan Moore hadn’t involved four white people on stage defending the “golliwog” as a “strong black character”

Followed by a short film about a young woman stripping, dressing in “slutty clothes” and killing herself on screen

Followed by Moore insulting Gordon Brown based on mental and physical disability

I then left the venue.

You can watch the video below and form your own opion, but suffice to say, this stirred up reactions across the Internet—you’ll find several of them linked in the TechnoOccult article—and Moore, obviously pissed off by these accusations of racism and sexism, responded with rhetorical guns-a-blazing.

Moore concludes his lengthy essay—it could hardly be considered a Q&A—devoting nearly 5000 words to the subject of why he absolutely hates Grant Morrison’s guts. Stalker, tapeworm, parasite, “feverishly fixated non-entity,” “my own personal 18th century medicinal leech”—these are some of the nicer things Moore has to say about Morrison. It’s daggers out the whole way. I could just pick a random paragraph. In fact that’s what I will do. Eeny, meeny, miny… Moore:

Having removed myself as much as possible from a comic scene that seemed more the province of posturing would-be pop-stars than people with a genuine respect for themselves, their craft or the medium in which they were working, I could only marvel when the customary several months after I’d announced my own entry into occultism and the visionary episode which I believed Steve Moore and myself to have experienced in January, 1994, Grant Morrison apparently had his own mystical vision and decided that he too would become a magician. (It wasn’t until I read Lance Parkin’s biography that I learned that as a result of Morrison’s apparently unwitnessed magical epiphany he had boldly decided to pursue a visionary path of ‘materialism and hedonism’. Could I point out for the benefit of anyone who may have been taking this idiotic shit seriously that this doesn’t sound so much like a mystical vision as it does an episode of The Only Way Is Essex? How does this magical discipline and philosophy differ in any way from the rapacious Thatcherite ideologies of the decade in which Grant Morrison wriggled his way to prominence?) I’m reliably informed that he has recently made the unprecedented move of expressing his dissatisfaction with the superhero industry, if only because there isn’t as much money in it as there used to be, and I imagine that there is a very strong likelihood that he will contrive to die within four to six months of my own demise, after leaving pre-dated documents testifying to the fact that he actually predeceased me.


Moore continues, wishing that:

”...admirers of Grant Morrison’s work would please stop reading mine, as I don’t think it fair that my respect and affection for my own readership should be compromised in any way by people that I largely believe to be shallow and undiscriminating.

That’s really throwing down the gauntlet, you might say, when one writer would like another’s readers to fuck the fuck off.

It cannot be said that Alan Moore doesn’t know how to express himself, can it? Read the entire thing—it’s long, but I promise you it’s worth it—at Pádraig Ó Méalóid’s Slovobooks blog.

Last Alan Moore interview?

The Strange Case of Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, As Told By Grant Morrison

Below, “An Evening with Alan Moore” at the Prince Charles Cinema, November 26th, 2013:

Thank you Ben Telford!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
New ‘Twilight Zone’ action figures announced
08:57 pm

Pop Culture

Action Figures
Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone Henry Bemis 3 3/4-inch Action Figure
Wow! Boing Boing just hipped me to these marvelous Twilight Zone action figures by Bif Bang Pow! Apparently they have a new series of action figures they’re going to release this August and you can pre-order them now.

I feel a wee bit embarrassed I’ve never seen these before?! This is something I should’ve known about! Anyway, there are other amazing Twilight Zone action figures you can still get your hands on from an existing line. My choice selections are below.

Bif Bang Pow! Twilight Zone Series 6 Action Figure Nurse

Bif Bang Pow! Twilight Zone Series 6 Action Figure Alien

Bif Bang Pow! Twilight Zone Series 6 Action Figure Alicia
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Low-Cost Cosplay: For when you can’t afford elaborate costumes
12:40 pm

Pop Culture


Thai Facebook community page Low-Cost Cosplay is a neverending treasure trove of cosplayers giving it their all one toilet paper roll and hot dog at a time!

ALL of these folks deserve an A++++++ for effort!





Many more after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
A young Louis Farrakhan plays the violin and sings calypso odes to zombies and a trans woman
10:05 am

Pop Culture

Louis Farrakhan
Nation of Islam

Anecdote time! When I first started college, I went on a few dates with a guy I met at an event for the Indianapolis Urban League—the local division of a larger non-profit that focuses on under-served, traditionally black communities. At some point we went out for lunch and he made some off-hand comment about a girl wearing a short skirt—something to the effect of, “sad, when girls like that have no self-respect.” Immediately sensing some kind of underlying conservatism, I stopped returning his calls.

About a month later, I saw the same guy, passing out literature for The Nation of Islam—he had converted. And not just to Christianity, or Islam, or Buddhism, or whatever the hell else 19-years-olds tend to convert to in college—to an esoteric, hyper-masculinist religion based on black nationalism and the theory that white people are a race of “devils” created by a mad scientist.

That, ladies and gentleman, is what I do to men.

Apparently though, most people do not associate The Nation of Islam with college ex-boyfriends. Most people think of Louis Farrakhan, the movement’s infamous leader since 1978. He’s been implicated in the assassination of Malcolm X, and his absurd and offensive statements are too multitudinous to recount here. However, highlights include telling women to forgo careers in favor of homemaking—he once said, “You’re just not going to be happy unless there is happiness in the home.” He also proclaimed that Hurricane Katrina was “God’s way of punishing America for its warmongering and racism”. And of course he’s pretty prescriptively homophobic, all the while insisting he is not homophobic, once saying “I am not your enemy, I am you brother and I do love you,” but that “sin is sin according to the standard of God.”

Before all of that, however, Louis Farrakhan was a calypso singer of moderate success, known as “The Charmer.” And he was charming, singing joyful tunes like “Ugly Woman”—who doesn’t love that song? But the most fascinating recording The Charmer ever made was a bouncy little number called “Is She Is, Or Is She Ain’t?” about early trans celebrity, Christine Jorgensen. Around 1951, Jorgensen started a series of sex reassignment surgeries and became a world famous advocate for trans people.

If this seems like an odd subject for a calypso song, much less one by a future conservative black religious leader, you have to see it in the context that Jorgensen, a former Army private, made huge news, and Farrakhan was probably just trying to cash in on her fame. It’s a bit of a novelty record, obviously. Regardless, it’s still a little surprising to hear the guileless lyrics, “behind that lipstick rouge and paint, I got to know, is she is, or is she ain’t?” The song certainly isn’t an anthem of solidarity or anything, but it’s a far cry from the intolerant religious condemnation Farrakhan has come to be known for.

But Calypso wasn’t even Farrakhan’s first foray into music. In his younger years, an enthusiastic Louis Wolcott studied violin pretty seriously.  Here’s a 16-year-old Louis Farrakhan from 1945, on The Ted Mack Amateur Hour.

Though his musical aspirations took a back seat to The Nation of Islam, he returned to violin in the 90s at the urging of black classical musician Sylvia Olden Lee. He even staged a few public concerts in 1993, performing Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto, Op.64,” which you can see below. Farrakhan is pretty well-known for generally dubious, if not outright anti-Semitic views, so his choice of a Jewish composer and a Jewish violin coach was considered noteworthy at the time. His playing is quite lovely, and The New York Times praised a performance thusly:

Can Louis Farrakhan play the violin? God bless us, he can. He makes a lot of mistakes, not surprising for a man who had virtally [sic] abandoned the instrument for 40 years and has only owned one since 1974. Yet Mr. Farrakhan’s sound is that of the authentic player. It is wide, deep and full of the energy that makes the violin gleam.


Who knew, right? Finally, here’s the future Minister Farrakhan singing a lil’ ditty about a zombie jamboree:

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Hello Pussy! Hello Kitty/Playboy products are now a thing
12:58 pm

Pop Culture

Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty/Playboy
Of all the Venn diagrams in the world, I suspect I can forgo the one showing Hello Kitty/Playboy demographic overlap. I’m guessing it would consist mainly of creepy guys as well as cooler women who don’t give a damn what people think of them. I’m OK with the second group…...

French retailer Colette recently announced a new line of products mashing up two of the most recognizable (if oddly matched) brands on earth.

Here’s RocketNews24’s report:

French clothing and accessories retailer Colette is introducing a line of Hello Kitty x Playboy items, including candy, mirrors, memo notes, lighters, mugs, Leica cameras, iPhone cases, socks, bowties, boxers, shirts, and more. Naturally, the items sport one of two perfect logo mashups—Kitty wearing bunny ears, and the Playboy bunny with a bow on one ear.

The collaboration was celebrated last Friday at Paris’ Crazy Horse cabaret, with Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi in attendance, who said the new design was “really sexy cool.” Also in attendance was Colette creative director and purchasing manager Sarah Andelman, who spear-headed the campaign.

Although the club typically includes a variety of topless acts, all of that night’s entertainment was PG. After all, it’s still Hello Kitty.

That the event was held at a strip club that had to be made “PG” for the evening might have been a warning sign that went unheeded.

Having said that, if you want to wear a $274 Hello Kitty/Playboy-branded bowtie, I’m not going to judge you for it. (Well, I probably will judge you for it, but here’s to hoping you have other fine qualities.) And actually, context is everything, if you’re a super cool hipster librarian lady, you really can buy and display any and all of these products, go for it!
Hello Kitty/Playboy speaker
Portable speaker, €40 ($54.94)
Hello Kitty/Playboy
iPhone case 5/5S, €25 ($34.34)
Hello Kitty/Playboy bowtie
Bowtie, €200 ($274.72)
Hello Kitty/Playboy lighter
Lighter, €5 ($6.87)
Hello Kitty/Playboy lollipops
Lollipops, €5 ($6.87)
Hello Kitty/Playboy temporary tattoo
Temporary tattoos, €6 ($8.24)
Hello Kitty/Playboy bonbons
Bonbons, €1 ($1.37)
Hello Kitty/Playboy coffee mug
Coffee mug, €12 ($16.48)
Hello Kitty/Playboy dice game
Dice game, €10 ($13.74)
Hello Kitty/Playboy multicolored ballpoint pens
Multicolored ballpoint pens, €4 ($5.49)
via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Son-O’-God Comics’: National Lampoon’s cheerfully offensive super-hero Jesus

I live in Los Angeles and believe me when I tell you that I had not heard a single peep about that new Jesus movie—Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s Son of God—because, well, they don’t really market religious films here. In a city festooned with billboards for every damned offering large or small, good or bad that the industrial entertainment complex has in store for us, I think they figured that religious films aren’t for we West Coast heathens; that it’s a waste of money even bothering trying to, er, convert us, even for a big budget picture like Son of God. I can’t imagine Fox spent too much money marketing the film in NYC, either.

Nope, I only heard about this religious blockbuster after the fact, when all of the rightwing blogs like NewsMax, Breitbart and WorldNutDaily were crowing about how Jesus nearly kicked Liam Neeson’s ass in the box office boffo sweepstakes over the weekend. Go Jesus! (Is there anything, and I do mean anything, more pathetic than “rooting” for a movie, let alone pulling for the founder of Christianity to beat the crap out of a formulaic Hollywood action flick? Nothing, right?)

All this goofiness caused me to recall the cheerfully blasphemous “Son-O’-God Comics” that ran in a few 1970s issues of National Lampoon magazine.

In the Lampoon version of the New Testament’s central figure, “Benny Davis” a nerdy failure-to-launch boychick still living with his parents in Brooklyn, says the name “JESUS CHRIST!” (but not in vain) and transforms (ala Captain Marvel) into a muscular WASP super-hero version of Jesus with a six-pack, cape and halo, ready to do battle with Catholicism, Islam, the Scarlet Woman of Babylon, the Antichrist and even Bob Dylan.

The occasionally recurring strip was written by Sean Kelly (who would go on to become the founding editor of Heavy Metal magazine) and Michel Choquette, and (mostly) drawn by well-known comics artist Neal Adams, a “Silver Age” illustrator who worked on Batman for DC and a gazillion other comics.

I would be remiss in my duties writing on this topic without at least quickly mentioning how underrated National Lampoon is in terms of that magazine’s amazing and ground-breaking art-direction. If you consider that the 20th century will be looked upon as the golden era of the printed page, to my mind, the Lampoon’s Design Director, Michael Gross and Art Director David Kaestle created the most creatively free-wheeling and conversely the most detail-oriented magazine design on the planet. What they brought to America’s premiere countercultural humor magazine was an exacting eye for authenticity. If you were going to parody or satirize popular culture, it needed to actually LOOK LIKE the things you were referring to, or the joke would be lost. That was more or less a new idea at the time. In my opinion, the four years that Gross and Kaestle worked on National Lampoon is THE high point of art direction for a monthly print publication. Everyone always points to the the George Lois-era Esquire as the pinnacle of graphic design in magazines—and it’s great stuff, don’t get me wrong—but the Lampoon was even better, had more nuance and yet Gross and Kaestle’s work rarely gets the credit it deserves.

You can find out everything you always wanted to know about “Son-O’-God Comics” at Dial B for Blog.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
‘They Live’ selfie
09:00 am

Pop Culture

They Live
Ellen DeGeneres

I don’t know who’s responsible for this lil’ masterpiece that’s been floating around on the Internets this morning, but it’s a good ‘un.

Via Geeks of Doom on Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Back to her roots: See RuPaul’s New Wave band, Wee Wee Pole, 1983

RuPaul and Robert Warren, circa 1983, via Robert Warren
As RuPaul’s Drag Race enters its sixth season, hundreds of thousands of viewers are girding their loins, praying their favorite girl will be declared “America’s next drag superstar.” Yes, I am glad to live in a time when drag competitions are a televised sport, and prouder still that RuPaul has earned the mantle of America’s Sweetheart—even we NYC Lady Bunny loyalists can’t resist Ru’s gracious charisma, unflappable good humor, and glamorous demeanor. But RuPaul wasn’t always the ultimate glamazon!

Even before he had given himself much of a makeover, RuPaul was quite the event in the queer New Wave/Punk scene of Atlanta. Below you can see Wee Wee Pole featuring RuPaul and The U-Hauls making their Atlanta debut in 1983. The interviewer, James Bond, is from The American Music Show, a LOOONG running, legendary super-weird program that’s just too brilliant for anything other than cable access (ask anyone halfway cool from Atlanta about it, they will know about The American Music Show, trust me). But then, RuPaul has always held in the weird and novel in very high esteem:

While channel surfing one night, I came across a local “public access” TV show called “The American Music Show.” Obviously videotaped in someone’s living room once a week, it had a talk show/sketch comedy type format that had no format at all. Hosted by Dick Richards and James Bond and featuring a weird cast of social misfits. It was very politically irreverent, funny, sick, wrong and I loved it. In my gut I knew, I had found my tribe. I immediately wrote a letter to the show explaining how much I loved what they did and that I would love to be a part of it. Two weeks later, I got a call from Paul Burke, saying they got my letter and would love for me to be on the show after the holidays.

By the time of the Atlanta show, Ru had already played New York CIty, but was still anxious to perform for the home crowd. The band is high-energy, dancey, and a little bit nasty (in the good way). Ru himself is (obviously) warm, bubbly, and genuinely excited—a legend in the making.

Below, RuPaul and The U-Hauls introduced onstage by “perpetual write-in candidate for the Lt. Governor of Georgia,” Col. Lonnie Fain:

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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