follow us in feedly
Demented 1988 video mixtape ‘Amok Assault Video’
06:23 am

Pop Culture


In the ‘80s VHS era, credible weirdness could be hard to come by unless you were well-connected. If you had that one slightly tweaked pal who hoarded nth-generation dubs of Mondo films and suchlike (and of course, some DM readers surely were that guy) you were golden. But otherwise, your average hinterlands video store probably never got any deeper into video arcana than Faces of Death, if even that.

So it was mighty cool of Amok Books to compile and distribute Amok Assault Video. Amok was an LA-based outré bookstore, noteworthy in its heyday for publishing thick catalogs, the 4th and 5th editions of which were themselves more compelling reads than some of the material they purveyed, and which could serve extremely well as a neophyte mutant’s introduction to deeper levels of cultural fuckedup-ery, even surpassing the admirable Loompanics catalog in many respects.

Though it wasn’t the most extreme stuff available, some scenes in Assault Video are nonetheless very intense. It was clearly contrived to cater to the interests of Amok’s more jaded customers—it’s an insane assemblage of footage, including questionable old cartoons, assorted Third-World atavisms, cattle mutilation, behind-the-scenes footage from Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane’s attempted Hawaiian travel doc, after the production of which he was murdered (retribution for offending the island gods?), the infamous CBS Evening News video of a dog attack on an animal control officer, a bonkers occult theory about the cartoon character She-Ra, creepy scenes of an altered seeming Alice Coltrane from her religious TV show Eternity’s Pillar, other televised religious/spiritual nuts, and OF COURSE, that disturbing touchstone of ‘80s VHS-swap culture, the Budd Dwyer suicide.

If you’re at work, you’re hereby forewarned, there’s graphic nudity and violence herein. It’s appeared on and disappeared from YouTube before, so if you’re keen to watch it, don’t dawdle.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Tell me your nightmares: ‘The Asylum for Shut-Ins: Video Psychotherapy” 80s cable access insanity

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Classic album covers minus deceased band members

Over the weekend, when the sad news spread about the passing of Tommy Ramone, a really touching image circulated online, showing the Ramones debut LP, then the same cover with Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Photoshopped out, and then, at last, Tommy removed as well. Dangerous Minds even shared it on our Facebook page.

The middle image, of Tommy standing alone in front of that iconic brick wall, seems to have come from a Tumblr called “Live! (I See Dead People),” which is devoted entirely to skillfully removing deceased musicians from their LP covers—sort of like “Garfield Minus Garfield,” but with a more serious intent. The subjects range from cult figures like Nick Drake to canonical rock stars like Nirvana and The Doors, and the results are often quite poignant. The blog hasn’t been updated in almost three years, so it seems unlikely the artists behind this project, Jean-Marie Delbes and Hatim El Hihi, will re-do that Ramones cover. Indeed, their Morrison Hotel still features Ray Manzarek, who passed on a little over a year ago.

New York Dolls, s/t

Ol Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers

Nick Drake, Bryter Layter

The Who, Odds & Sods

Johnny Thunders, So Alone

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit

Jeff Buckley, Grace

The Doors, Morrison Hotel

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy

The Clash, s/t

Elvis Presley, s/t

Hat-tip to Derf for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
There’s a Depeche Mode bar in Tallinn, Estonia
09:31 am

Pop Culture

Depeche Mode

Yesterday DM contributor Martin Schneider wrote about the incredible H.R. Giger bars. And someone in the comments—who’s perhaps a world traveler—mentioned they’ve visited a Giger bar in Switzerland and a Depeche Mode-themed bar located in Tallinn, Estonia. When I first read that I immediately had to Google this magical place—that I didn’t know existed—and find out what’s all about.

The name is actually Depeche Mode Baar and it opened its doors back in 1999 by a devoted fan of the band. Apparently, it really grew in popularity in 2001 after Depeche Mode band members partied the night away at the bar after their concert in Tallinn. Since then, the bar has been highlighted on a few news features including a segment for BBC TV.

I don’t know what else to say except to quote Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there!” I mean, a Depeche Mode bar?!





Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘Sad Brazilians’: Website dedicated to Brazilians crying
10:39 am

Pop Culture

World Cup

As the whole damned planet knows by now Germany slaughtered Brazil during their semi-final match yesterday. Lots of Brazilians were losing their shit and crying. I’ve never really understood the extreme emotional response some people have over their team losing (or winning). Perhaps I’m just not enough of a sports fanatic and I simply don’t get it?

Either way, there’s a website dedicated to Brazilians with serious cases of the sads over their epic loss to Germany.






via Sad Brazilians

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
DC Comics denies use of Superman logo for statue of child murder victim
02:01 pm

Pop Culture

DC Comics

Jeffrey Baldwin
Oh, lawyers. You gotta love ‘em.

In 2002, Jeffrey Baldwin of Toronto died of starvation at the age of five after severe abuse at the hands of his grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman. The grandparents were convicted child abusers but Jeffrey and several siblings were still handed into their care by a children’s aid organization after concerns arose that the parents were abusing their children. Jeffrey and a sister were locked in a bathroom for days on end, where they were forced to live in their own filth. Court testimony revealed that Bottineay and Kidman were interested in custody of the two children for the government checks they would collect. Jeffrey died of starvation on November 30, 2002. Kidman and Bottineau, were convicted of second-degree murder in 2006.

According to Wikipedia, Jeffrey’s case led to significant changes in policy by children’s aid societies in the granting of custody of children to relatives.

In happier days, the boy was a Superman fan who was even photographed wearing the classic uniform. According to his father, Richard Baldwin, “He wanted to fly. ... He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as Superman] for Halloween one year. … He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”
Jeffrey Baldwin
A Toronto resident named Todd Boyce was so moved by this story—revealed in a long delayed inquest into the death earlier this year—that he started an indiegogo crowdfunding project to create a statue for the poor boy. The project had an initial goal of $25,000 (Canadian dollars), but raised in excess of $36,000. Noted Ontario sculptor Ruth Abernethy has completed the sculpture but it is now at a foundry waiting to be cast into bronze. The sculpture features Baldwin wearing his favorite garment—a shirt with the famous Superman logo.

The City of Toronto sought assurances that the monument would not violate any copyright laws before granting Boyce’s request to have the monument placed in Greenwood Park, near where Jeffrey grew up.

According to the Toronto Star, DC has denied the request.

DC’s senior vice-president of business and legal affairs, Amy Genkins, told Boyce in an email that “for a variety of legal reasons, we are not able to accede to the request, nor many other incredibly worthy projects that come to our attention.”

DC declined to comment.

Boyce feels that the Superman aspect was a crucial part of the bronze monument, which will include a bench: “I’m sort of empathetic to (DC’s) point of view on this, but I feel very strongly that the image of Jeffrey is so powerful. It’s the image of a vulnerable boy dressed up as the most invulnerable character in the universe. So I just feel like there’s something lost if we change it.”

Reluctantly, Boyce is going to have the “S” on the statue changed to a “J” for Jeffrey.

Via The Beat

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
The legend of ‘Legend’: How Bob Marley’s music got posthumously bleached for white people
11:51 am

Pop Culture

Bob Marley

Although for some, Legend, the best-selling anthology of Bob Marley’s music originally released in 1984, is their gateway drug into the world of reggae music, most hardcore reggae fans would have no use for the album at all. Frankly I’m one of them. Legend, to me, is (with the exception of a few tracks) the blandest of the bland, on par with Phil Collins or Billy Joel. But there is a reason for that… a pretty interesting reason that I’ll get to in a minute.

I think the matter has long been settled, though, on Legend‘s status as an all-time classic album—it’s sold well over 27 million copies worldwide and continues to sell another 250,000 copies annually in the United States alone—and the occasion for this post isn’t to bestow (inflict?) my opinion of it upon you or anything. That reason would be UMe’s new 30th anniversary edition of Legend which came out yesterday, as remastered in stereo and 5.1 surround by producer Bob Clearmountain, one of the best in the business.

I may have just stated that I’m rather lukewarm about Legend, but holy shit does this sound amazing (Thankfully UMe issued the anthology on a Blu-ray disc (along with a CD) and not just a regular DVD). If you are already fan of the collection, I’d have to say that this rates a “must buy.” Hearing Marley’s music—even the inoffensive selection on Legend—opened up into the wide sonic vistas that the multi-channel format allows for, Clearmountain’s surround sound revisioning of these songs is quite remarkable. If you already own Legend on vinyl or CD (or both) you won’t feel like a chump at all for buying it again. Like I say, it’s pretty impressive on the audiophile level, almost like hearing these songs for the very first time.

In many respects, the song selection of Legend provides the listener with a misleading notion of what Bob Marley was all about. Where were all the songs about hunger, survival and ghetto uprising? Aside from “Get Up Stand Up,” where’s the militant Marley represented?

It turns out that the militant side of Bob Marley is how Island Records owner Chris Blackwell originally wanted to memorialize his friend, but the man he handed the job of making Legend happen to—Island’s UK manager Dave Robinson (co-founder of the Stiff Records label)—had a different vision: Robinson wanted to sell Bob Marley albums—boatloads of ‘em—to white people.

Of course Bob Marley was a worldwide superstar during his lifetime, but he wasn’t a platinum-selling artist (Exodus sold about 650,000 copies in America, 200,000 in Britain). The track selection on Legend was made very carefully and justified by focus groups along the way to appeal to just about everyone and offend no one.

In “The Whitewashing of Bob Marley,” the fascinating cover story of this week’s LA WEEKLY, writer Chris Kornelis describes how Marley’s music came to be sold to the suburbs:

It’s not that Bob Marley didn’t have white fans when he was alive. Caucasian college students in the United States - particularly those around Midwestern schools, including the University of Michigan, Prevost says - constituted a large percentage of his fan base. But for the compilation to meet Robinson’s lofty sales goals, those students’ parents had to buy the album, too.

Robinson had a hunch that suburban record buyers were uneasy with Marley’s image - that of a perpetually stoned, politically driven iconoclast associated with violence. So he commissioned London-based researcher Gary Trueman to conduct focus groups with white suburban record buyers in England. Trueman also met with traditional Marley fans to ensure that the label didn’t package the album in a way that would offend his core audience.

Less than a decade before violence and drugs became a selling point for gangsta rap, the suburban groups told Trueman precisely what Robinson suspected: They were put off by the way Marley was portrayed. They weren’t keen on the dope, the religion, the violent undertones or even reggae as a genre. But they loved Marley’s music.

“There was almost this sense of guilt that they hadn’t got a Bob Marley album,” Trueman says. “They couldn’t really understand why they hadn’t bought one.”

Legend may be a “tame” “lite FM” version of Bob Marley, but nearly 30 million albums later, who can quibble with any of it? And trust me, the new 5.1 surround mix of the album will blow your doors off and make you want more… The more militant stuff, but I’m sure that’s to come.

Below, Bob Marley accepts the UN Peace Medal at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, June 15, 1978.  You will probably want to turn on the subtitles.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Debbie Harry, Ramones, Nick Rhodes, Courtney Love and more on MTV’s ‘Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes’

In December of 2010, I visited the Andy Warhol Enterprises exhibit then being held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It was an excellent full-career retrospective, loaded with rare goodies, and generously tilted toward his early, pre-Factory commercial work, which I prefer to his more famous silkscreens (commence calling for my skull on a pike, I don’t care). But as much as I was enjoying the early books and the blotted-ink drawings of shoes, I was surprised by a trip down amnesia lane that came at the end of the exhibit, a video installation of one of Warhol’s last projects, the show he produced and co-hosted (with Debbie Harry) for MTV called Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes. The name of the show referred to Warhol’s famous quip “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Episodes of the program were actually 30 minutes in length. #themoreyouknow

Warhol with Debbie Harry, dressed by Stephen Sprouse.
I was an arty kid, so I knew perfectly well who Warhol was (some of my friends only learned of his existence from that show, believe it or not), and so I never missed it. Though it wasn’t too hard to catch them all—as the series was prematurely ended by Warhol’s 1987 death, there were only five episodes, the last of which was mainly a memorial. But while it was on, it was glorious. Although the program featured lots of marquee names, befitting Warhol’s obsession with celebrity and celebrities, it also highlighted NYC downtown fashion, art, and music phenomena. Mind-expanding stuff for a midwestern kid, and stuff which would have otherwise been entirely inaccessible, since Warhol’s previous television ventures, Fashion and Andy Warhol’s TV, were limited to NYC cable.

And unless you visit the Warhol Museum or a traveling retrospective, the program itself is now pretty well inaccessible. Few things have been more damnably hard to find streaming than episodes of 15 Minutes, and to my complete bafflement, the Warhol Museum store doesn’t offer a home video. Much of what little can be found is fuzzy VHS home recordings, but it gives an adequate taste of how deep the show could go—and remember, this was on MTV.


It gets a good bit better with this clip of Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes taking the viewer on a tour of Manhattan nightclubs The Palladium and AREA (note future Twin Peaks actor Michael J. Anderson as the garden gnome.)

KONK were an amazing dance-punk band of the era. You may recognize the drummer, Richard Edson, an original member of Sonic Youth, and co-star of the Jim Jarmusch film Stranger Than Paradise.

This Ramones interview ends with a live, not lip-synced, performance of “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg.”

The last bit footage I’ve found is a jaw-dropper—an interview segment with a 21ish, pre-fame Courtney Love!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Jim Jefferies: American Idol Smasher
08:14 pm

Pop Culture

Jim Jefferies

This is a guest post from Chicago-based writer Graham Rae

What would you call an edgy Australian comedian who viciously riffs on the humor inherent in Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy, how much women hate anal sex, ‘suicide watch’ toddler childcare, and gun lover delusions, amongst other things? If you’d said sick, you’d be right. If you’d said funny, you would also be right. If you’d said Tony Abbott, the Aussie prime minister, you would have been wrong, but your guess would have been humorous and interesting. And if you had said Jim Jefferies, who is on tour right now, you would have most definitely been right.

I’ve been following the Antipodean anarchist’s comedic career since I first caught his angry firecracker jokestorm HBO special I Swear to God in 2009. His surreal, caustic, searing, pained, yet somehow charming wit and comedic topic evisceration – the uselessness of pandas, the useless of religion, the uselessness of shoving a faulty vibrating egg up your rear end for sick G-spot kicks – made me an instant convert to his wildly warped worldview, and just plain cracked me up. I’ve written here and there about him elsewhere. Utilize the information-finding-facilitating contemporary electronic hocus-pocus magic of Google and be enlightened as to what I said, if you care to.

Following his work over a few years has been very interesting. That period of time has basically encompassed his moving from London (where he lived for a few years) to Los Angeles to further his comedy career, and the slow steady inescapable intrusion of American material into his set as he absorbs this country, its existential codes and practices, its amorphous popular culture, and just plain insanity and bizarreness. I have seen him live in Chicago a few times, and it’s been illuminating to see the way he sees the country, trying to come to terms with it, and the way he makes comedic fodder out of its demented headscratcher alien ways. A previous set I saw contained sporadically entertaining skits about his left-field search for movie stardom in Hollywood, some of which, of course, made it into his FXX series Legit which, when I think about it right now, he did not mention once when I just saw him on Friday 6/20/2014 at the Vic Theater in Chicago.

His all-new (from the last time I saw him a couple of years ago) newest set contained lighter – and heavier – subject matter than frivolous star gossip about his cult hit show, wherein he plays himself looking after a man with muscular dystrophy, Billy, and Billy’s alcoholic brother Steve. He did do some scathing Hollywood-ripping riffs, but his central topic of conversation – guns and gun control – was a far from easy topic to address, especially for a foreigner. See, that’s the central thing about America – if you’re not from the country (like me – I’m Scottish) and criticize it, some inbredneck goon will always just tell you to love it or leave it, as if life were so simple. So immigrants tend to keep our gripes quiet around the indigenous populace, but say things we would get lynched for in private, far from prying uncomprehending burning local ears. Which is why I doubly respect Jefferies taking on the difficult subject matter he does. He knows he is foreign, and thus his opinion will automatically be discounted by the unthinking redwhitenblueball xenophobes in the audience, but he still goes for broke anyway, at the risk of alienating his audience whilst making them laugh at the same time.

Telling a crowd something half of them don’t want to hear in a foreign accent, no matter how much the American ear loves it, and its owner, is always a risky move, and it’s something that, to me, Jefferies pulls off brilliantly. I mean he can, of course ultimately say that he’s just joking, but you can tell that beneath his aw-shucks-mate veneer there is a deadly-serious-upon-occasion artist with a good brain saying something important and profound, attacking the material from a different angle than the usual tired and tiresome left-right-wrong insoluble dichotomy this country has depressingly rutted itself into. Guns and gun control are a fierce-and-boring-and-pointless mass debate subject, and any right thinking country would have gotten a handle on it years ago, and never mind the terrifying, citizens-as-acceptable-collateral-damage constant massacres by maladjusted well-armed psychopaths. Sometimes it takes a different perceptive perspective – like, say, making an audience laugh at gun owner delusions about ‘self-defense’ whilst systematically destroying their usual braindead be-a-hero, stop-a-massacre tropes with logic and elegance and incontrovertible authority.

Sometimes it just takes a foreigner to point out the nose on somebody’s face when they can’t see it themselves.

Any immigrant staying here is choosing to do so, unlike the native populace born here, which is why our/their voice deserves to be heard. I mean, they could leave, but they choose to stay and slog and fight it out, frowning and feeling for the seemingly insoluble societal hieroglyphs American presents you with at first…then getting a handle on them…then oftentimes rejecting them wholesale as the illogical, sanity-and-intelligence-insulting trash they are. Every immigrant to every country in the world does the same personal cultural x-ray and comes back with their own take on the places and faces in front of them. Jefferies is dealing with material, like gun massacres, he clearly does not want to have to deal with, and nor would any sane person, but he is having to grapple with it and draw his own conclusions because it’s unfortunately in his and our face constantly. So his mockery and conclusions are societally conscious, well-informed (this man does his fucking research, trust me), and well-thought-through. He cares enough about the country that sustains his career, and houses his child, to want to try and help, even if it is through the sometimes-too-easily-dismissed medium of adult comedy.

And all obvious immigrant-self-projection aside, that’s the hook here: this is genuine adult comedy, and never mind the increasingly redundant arsefucker jokes he does to please the unlaid whooping drunks in the audience. This is an adult man addressing serious topics of current weight and heft and import, shining an illuminating light on them…and making people laugh at the same time. He can say this stuff and get away with it paradoxically because he is a foreigner, and is appealing to the masochistic American others-hate-and-verbally-beat-us-so-we-must-be-shit side of this country’s strange mercurial psyche…and he’s also just a comedian, so hey, these are the jokes, folks! His from-a-different-career-stage sleazy sex stuff (to me, that is – of course it’s what he’s known for, and has made his name performing) satellites his serious material and draws fire away from it like aircraft flak, but in the end hopefully he has still made somebody go home from one of his shows and think. Because you do get people who are curious to know how their world looks from an alien perspective, and that view can be quite informative and shocking sometimes.

And quite hilarious too. Let’s not get too prickish and pretentious about it. What I very much enjoy about Jim’s work now, both on stage and in Legit, is him being a foreigner in America and how he deals with it. I can totally relate to all the accent hassles he undergoes, the pronunciation of words (‘garage’), being clueless about certain topics, and just dealing with the average friendly American animal in general. He says things I have genuinely thought and said myself. It’s a real tonic to hear somebody else come away with stuff you thought only you had thought or said, and you realize how universal the immigrant experience is, no matter if you’re in Los Angeles or Chicago, as I am. Jefferies ‘jokingly’ (read: completely openly and honestly) dripping contempt on American exceptionalism is something I love in him. Talking about how a lot of Americans go on about this being a ‘free’ country, he said “And what? The rest of us are just walking around in chains?” I was actually laughing as I typed that, picturing his shackled-foot shuffle he put on, because I have said the exact same thing myself. I mean, there is not one single thing that you can do here that you couldn’t do in Scotland, except get killed far easier in a gun massacre, I suppose, or pee on the White House, or commit suicide by jumping into the Grand Canyon dressed in a scuba outfit.

Just having this man to articulate inchoate immigrant fears and confusions and angers at how horribly America treats itself is just such a breath of fresh air. Talking about guns, he said of the mindset he would be inculcating in some of the audience: “I know what’s going through your head right now in a loop: ‘Go back to where you came from. Go back to where you came from.’ And my answer to that? No. I like it here, I pay my taxes.” That assertion of equality in the face of an often-alienating country and culture is a valuable thing. I had a bitch of a supervisor in a job tell me to go back where I came from, and there is no more vicious and shitty thing you can say to somebody. Then again, you could say that you killed somebody’s pets and it was fun, or you fucked their wife and she was shit in bed, and that would be worse, probably. It’s all relative, I suppose. And Jim’s clearly scared of getting shot for his gun material, which is why he had that happen in Legit. Let’s just hope life doesn’t imitate art quite that closely.

Speaking of relatives, what is also interesting about Jim’s American experience is his newish fatherhood to his 18-month-old son Hank, which has to be the quintessential American name, a fact that tells you something in itself. It was always going to be interesting to see how somebody as angst-laden and degenerate and wasted and idiosyncratic as Jefferies was going to respond to fatherhood, and judging by the material he did about it in his set, the answer is he’s doing good and bad, just like any other new dad without an instruction manual. The girlfriend who bore him Hank, Kate Luyben, used to be a top model (“But I didn’t get the model years,” Jefferies noted bitterly), and plays the hooker in Legit whom Billy visits at the end of the first series. The comedian said he didn’t want to hear her stories about his woman “licking Madonna’s muscular vagina” in a foursome and such, so it sounds like he’s working some of his relationship out with her onstage, or just using it as a mass catharsis-inducing fuck-all-women bitching session, which is what some of his more extreme misogynistic material is for the guys in the audience, or it is for me at least, like he’s some sort of dysfunctional sexual shaman or something. You take it for what it’s worth, and how far you want to run with the joke tells you more about yourself than the comedian onstage. Suffice to say, his woozy daddy experiences will be providing some merriment for years to come (both myself and my good friend Charlie I was with could relate, both being fathers, with Charlie’s kid the same age as Jim’s), and if there is any kind of break-up between the comedian and the mother of his child the bitter misogynistic comments will peel the paint off the walls and make the audience cringe and laugh in shock even more than they already do. So much to potentially look forward to!

Or maybe not. Jefferies made clear on his 2010 DVD Alcoholocaust that he was having to give up drinking because he was literally shitting blood. He was drinking last Friday night, ordering drink after drink onstage and, by the looks of his pale, sweaty complexion after the show, he’s been up to other things as well. It’s a damned shame, because he seemed to be doing well. I suppose being away from the missus and kid must give him a great deal of freedom to just go as apeshit as he wants when he is on tour, with no fatherly duties to attend to, no chance of dropping the baby on his head if he’s drunk and changing a nappy (or ‘diaper’ to Americans) or something. I was going to just say hiya at the end of the show, but there were literally about 150 people in a line waiting to meet him, a number vastly larger than that at any previous show of his I had seen, so I didn’t bother. Legit has clearly raised his profile a lot, and he played in Chicago to a sold-out 1000-punter show. So it would be a real shame to see the man lose it and trash himself at this interesting stage of the USA-life games. After all he still has a lot of sacred American cows to get mad cow disease from, and a lot more living to be done with the wee man, whose growing pains and adventures we want related to us onstage at regular growth spurt intervals. Sober up, Jim, for fucksake. You’re too old for this stupid, played-out shit. Think of your son. Think of your blood-decorated stools. You’re not in the UK anymore. You should have left that nihilistic drinking style behind with those doggone limeys, who all drink to excess. After all, you’re an American now…

…aren’t you? 

This is a guest post from Graham Rae

Below, Jim Jefferies on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘Crazy About One Direction’: Must-see documentary about wildly obsessive boy band fans
01:52 pm

Pop Culture

One Direction
Daisy Asquith

Crazed fandom is a very weird phenomenon. For whatever complex reasons, fame—a concept which barely existed 150 years ago—is a very powerful thing and people can act mighty strange when confronted with it or in the presence of someone well-known. A few years back, I attended the premiere of the movie version of the Hairspray musical. After I’d parked the car, it became difficult to get anywhere near the theater itself as there was such a dense crush of fans, tightly packed and blocking the way in every direction. As I finally got across the street from where I needed to be, every time a celebrity would arrive, there would be a ton of flashbulbs going off and loud squeals of delight from the crowd. When Christopher Walken strolled down the red carpet, I watched as five young black girls, all preteens, went completely bonkers for him, even crying and sobbing! Christopher fucking Walken. I kid you not. Does that make any sense? Not really, but that’s just what a brush with fame does to some people…

At the Sheffield Doc/Fest a few weeks ago, Tara and I went to a panel about documentaries that examine obsessive fandom. The participants were Jeanie Finlay, who directed the upcoming documentary on Orion, the masked Elvis impersonator; Lucy Robinson, lecturer on modern British history at the University of Sussex; Nicholas Abrahams, co-director with Jeremy Deller of The Posters Came from the Walls about Depeche Mode fans behind the Iron Curtain; and Daisy Asquith, a Bafta-nominated documentarian who made Crazy About One Direction for Channel 4. During the discussion, Asquith described her experiences getting death threats after One Directioners felt they’d been portrayed poorly—“insane” might be the word I’m looking for—in her film. I made a mental note to watch the doc, which she woefully mentioned was posted all over the Internet, when we got back to Los Angeles.

Admittedly the One Direction phenomenon had already gone from the UK version of X-Factor to Madison Square Garden before I’d ever even heard of them. A few years back, an old friend of mine emailed me from MSG where she had taken her then 9-year-old daughter and I googled them. Apparently they were massive. More massive than massive. As big as the Beatles. I’ve still never heard or know any of their songs, but then again I’m not exactly in their target demographic am I?

Which is not to say that this film wasn’t of great interest, because it’s fucking fascinating.

At the beginning of Crazy About One Direction the viewer is teased with what’s to come, including a glimpse of some homoerotic 1D fan fiction featuring the group’s Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles. The subset of Directioners, as their fans are known, who obsess about Louis and Harry getting jiggy with it are called “Larryshippers,” a portmanteau of both of their names, “relationship” and “worship.”

In case you’re wondering why the teen fans of an ostensibly heterosexual boy band would fantasize about the objects of their own sexual yearnings getting off with each other, this is pretty much the norm for a predominantly female phenomenon known as “slash fiction.” Captain Kirk makes tender love to Mr. Spock. Starsky fucks Hutch, and so forth. There is just no other girl there with Harry and Louis, because THAT BITCH would spoil the fantasy. How actively the band’s management and crack public relations experts might exploit this, or if it began and remains an organic fan phenomenon is difficult to say, but there was much reporting on the (false) rumor that several dozen Larryshippers had killed themselves after watching Asquith’s television documentary (Google #RIPLarryShippers).

The film features an amusing scene of what is literally a pack of Directioners who have managed to get past hotel security and knock on a door they believe Harry Styles is sleeping behind. He’s not, as they soon find out via Twitter (each member of 1D have over ten million Twitter followers) leaving these feral middle class teenage stalkers deflated because their Harry doesn’t even know that they exist. I pondered watching that scene what would have had happened had he been there and opened the door. Probably Styles being ripped apart like a piece of chicken by these daddy-funded she-wolves.

Imagine what it’s like to be one of literally millions of girls who believe that they are going to marry Harry. I’m sure it gets quite fierce in the competitive trenches of 1D fandom. One girl says she wouldn’t want to date one of them because of Twitter bullies: “I wouldn’t like girls telling me to die and stuff.” Because they would! Now imagine what it was like to be Taylor Swift who famously dated Harry Styles and wrote “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” about him. These girls loathe her. The abuse she must have absorbed for that!

After Channel 4 aired Crazy About One Direction, much online hatred was directed also towards director Asquith via her Twitter account. Additionally some of the fans who appeared in the film, especially the Larryshippers and the more stalkery girls, were singled out for insults and death threats for misrepresenting 1D fandom. They take it quite seriously, apparently. I’d better quit while I’m still ahead…

Bonus, a disgruntled Directioner spouts off on YouTube. Hitler gets mentioned:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
What your Facebook friends’ lives are REALLY like!
01:11 pm

Pop Culture



“The problem with Facebook is we compare everyone’s highlight reel to our behind-the-scenes.”

While this is perhaps the most depressing video I’ve seen in quite some time, it kind of speaks volumes when you realize it probably has considerably more than a little truth to it. Yeah, it’s been exaggerated for entertainment purposes, but I’ve often wondered to myself if all my Facebook friends are really leading these exciting lives while I’m just some boring, unadventurous (but content) bump on a log. I mean, do they really eat at five-star restaurants every single night? Do they really have the world’s most perfect children or the “I’m so fucking in love I’m going to shove it in your face!” relationship? This video attempts to show you the hard “truth” with what your Facebook pals are really up to.

Facebook can be depressing because everyone else’s lives are better than yours… But are they really?

h/t reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Page 3 of 172  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›