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Two members of Pussy Riot flee Russia
08.26.2012
07:03 pm

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Art
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Two members of the Pussy Riot feminist art collective have fled from Russia to avoid prosecution for the same protest against Vladimir Putin that landed three of their fellow band mates two-year prison sentences. This according to the AP report and the Pussy Riot Twitter feed:

Five members of the feminist group took part in a provocative performance inside Moscow’s main cathedral in February to protest the Russian leader’s rule and his cozy relationship with the Orthodox Church. The women wore their trademark garishly colored balaclavas, which made it difficult for police to identify them, and only three were arrested.

After a controversial trial that highlighted Putin’s crackdown on dissent since he began a third presidential term in May, the three band members were convicted of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison on Aug. 17. Days later, Moscow police said they were searching for the other band members, an apparent warning to the group to stop its anti-Putin protests.

Even as the judge was reading the verdict in a Moscow courtroom, one of the band members who had escaped arrest played Pussy Riot’s latest song, “Putin sets the fires of revolutions,” from the balcony of an apartment building across the street.

Pussy Riot tweeted on Sunday that the two activists had fled Russia and are “recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new protest actions.” No mention was made of where they went.

Can’t say I blame them for wanting to keep mum on that count!

An essay appeared in The Moscow Times today arguing that the political art/punk pranksters have roots to earlier counterculture movements and strains of Russian political dissent going back to the 19th Century. Peter Rutland writes:

Much more interesting than the band’s antics in the cathedral, however, were the closing statements that the three defendants delivered to the court, which New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick described as “a kind of instant classic in the anthology of dissidence.” Each woman took a different theme. Yekaterina Samutsevich dissected the unhealthy fusion of church and state. Maria Alyokhina talked about the deficiencies of the country’s education system and the suppression of the individual. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova offered a critique of the “autocratic political system” in general and the conduct of their prosecution in particular.

The statements portray a society that is passive and disoriented in the face of an all-powerful ruling bureaucracy. Their critique is spiritual rather than material, and they are not particularly interested in leveling accusations of corruption, which have been the central theme of the mainstream opposition.

Many Russian observers have been dismissive of Pussy Riot, characterizing their provocative actions, including previous performances of a sexual nature, as infantile and offensive — and unpopular with the public at large. But it is not at all clear whether Pussy Riot expects or even desires a groundswell of public support. They do not aspire to be leaders of a revolutionary movement, either Orange or Leninist.

Rather, their appeal for truth and freedom puts them squarely in the tradition of the 19th-century Russian intelligentsia. Tolokonnikova directly referred to the group’s punk antics as equivalent to the truth-telling “holy fools” of centuries past and embraced the idea that their prison sentence proves the virtue of their cause.

Pussy Riot adopted the tactics of protest from the Situationists of 1960s France, the punk rockers of 1970s Britain and the feminist Riot Grrrls in the United States in the 1990s. The idea of donning masks comes from the movie “V for Vendetta,” which was popularized by the Occupy movement.

But the strategy of Pussy Riot has a deeper foundation. Their moral critique of authority and appeal to a higher truth is rooted in pre-revolutionary Russia, a tradition that fitfully resurfaced during the Soviet years. They cite 19th-century literary critic Vissarion Belinsky and Fyodor Dostoevsky, but not Voltaire, John Stuart Mill or other representatives of the Western liberal tradition.

The assertion of an individual’s right to exist — what Alyohkhina refers to as “inner freedom” — is not a problem for young people living in the West and has not been for a century or more. Whatever the shibboleths that are evoked by today’s Western radicals — such as capitalism, neoliberalism, Empire and racism — they are phenomena quite different from the challenge posed by the authoritarian Russian state.

There are at least twelve other members of the Pussy Riot collective who still remain in Russia.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Quote of the Day: Johnny Knoxville on Paul Ryan
08.26.2012
02:48 pm

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From The New York Times:

“From a vanity standpoint, it makes you feel a bit old to have a person from your generation on the presidential ticket,” said the actor Johnny Knoxville, 41, of “Jackass” fame. “And it’s embarrassing that it’s Paul Ryan. I wonder if The Germs ever felt this way about having Belinda Carlisle as their first drummer.”

Ouch!

I think two things can safely be said of this quip: First, that Paul Ryan has already, or will soon hear of it. And second, that Germs ref will sail right over Ryan’s pointed little head…

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Radical Chic: Pussy Riot tee shirts, 100% of profits go to their legal defense fund
08.21.2012
06:30 pm

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Our friends at The Voice Project charity have set up a store on Cafe Press to sell a tee-shirt based on the “NO PASARAN!” shirt seen worn by Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (and other items with the fist logo). These “Free Pussy Riot” tees and merch, it is hoped, will help to raise money and awareness of the situation these Russian refuseniks find themselves in. 100% of profits go to their legal defense fund.

(In case you are wondering, the original slogan is in Spanish and translates to “They shall not pass,” expressing determination to defend a position.)

This was all done with the blessing of the members of Pussy Riot, and in conjunction with the people behind the FreePussyRiot.org website.

Tara and I both know the people behind The Voice Project—they are friends of ours—and we can personally vouch for these do-gooders. 100% of the proceeds really will go to Pussy Riot’s legal defense fund.

Click here to see all merchandise.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Happy 60th Birthday Joe Strummer
08.21.2012
03:24 pm

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Movies
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Happy Birthday Joe Strummer, who would have been sixty-years-of-age today. Strummer was one of Rock’s figures, the link between The Beatles, The Stones, The Stooges, Bolan, Bowie and Nirvana. He was a contrarian, a free-thinking radical, who didn’t speak for a generation, but encouraged that generation to speak for itself.

To celebrate Strummer’s 60th, here is the documentary Viva Joe Stummer, which “tells the story of the man and not his myth”, which is described on Vimeo:

The Sudden Death in December 2002 of Joe Strummer, frontman of the legendary seventies punk band The Clash, robbed the world of rock and roll music of one of its unique talents.

This year marks the 60th birthday anniversary of Joe Strummer. Viva Joe Strummer is the definitive story of one of the world’s greatest rock frontmen, and includes performance footage together with revealing and exclusive interviews with fellow clash members Mick Jones and Topper Headon, Tymon Dogg of the Mescaleros, and ex Sex Pistol Glen Mattock, along with close friends, fans and those who worked with The Clash on the road.

Packed with electrifying hits like London Calling, White Riot and Capital Radio One, the programme follows Joe’s career from his early beginnings as a member of London squat band the 101ers, through the triumphant years of The Clash, and latterly with his own nineties band, The Mescaleros.

Viva Joe Strummer is an authoritative and overdue tribute to one of British rock music’s greatest performers and songwriters who earned his own unique place in the pantheon of popular music history.

Please Note: If you have problems viewing this, check this link for the whole documentary on Vimeo.

Happy 60th Joe!
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

A very fine television interview with Joe Strummer from 1988


Joe Strummer’s original lyrics for ‘London Calling’


New York’s burning: Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros at Roseland Ballroom, 1999


Joe Strummer: 2 TV interviews from 1988


 
With thanks to Tara McGinley
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Punk rocks ‘The Gong Show’ 1978
08.20.2012
08:54 pm

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Pop Culture
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Static Cling get gonged on The Gong Show some time in 1978.

Status Cling wasn’t the band’s real name. It was The Barf and they were three skateboard punks from Southern California. Apparently they recorded an album’s worth of material but I can’t find any of it anywhere.

This reminds me a bit of The Dickies and Circle Jerks in Captain Sensible drag.
 

 
Oingo Boingo on The Gong Show after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Cramps’ Lux Interior rocking out on SpongeBob SquarePants
08.20.2012
06:11 pm

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Boing Boing just directed me to a 2002 episode of SpongeBob SquarePants where Cramps’ frontman Lux Interior provides the voice for the lead singer a band called the Bird Brains. Gotta share. Awesome.
 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Pussia: Russia after Pussy Riot
08.18.2012
03:18 pm

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Activism
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Feminism
Politics
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PUSSIA_Russia_after_Pussy_Riot
 
Pussy Riot has changed how the world views Russia.

Help Free Pussy Riot here.
 
Via ART Ukraine
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Pussy Riot sentenced to 2 years in prison, new statement from Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
08.17.2012
12:53 pm

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The Illuminator projecting on the Russian Consulate in NYC last night

This came prior to Judge Marina Syrova’s court handing down a two year prison sentence today when the feminist punk band was found guilty of “hooliganism driven by religious hatred.” 

Our imprisonment has served as a clear and obvious sign that the whole country is being robbed of freedom. And this threat of annihilating the freeing, emancipatory forces in Russia – that’s what causes me to be enraged. Seeing the large in the small, the trend in the sign, the common in the individual.

Second-Wave Feminists said the personal is political. That’s how it is. The Pussy Riot case has shown how the individual troubles of three people facing charges of hooliganism can give life to a political movement. A single case of repression and persecution against those who had the courage to Speak in an authoritarian country has shaken the world: its activists, punks, pop stars, and government members, its comedians and ecologists, its feminists and its masculinists, its Islamic theologians, and those Christians who are praying for Pussy Riot.

The personal has become political. The Pussy Riot case has brought together as one forces so multidirectional, I still have trouble believing this isn’t a dream. The impossible is happening in contemporary Russian politics: a demanding, persistent, powerful and consistent impact of society on its government.

I am thankful to everyone who has said “Free Pussy Riot!” Right now, all of us are participating a large and important political Event that the Putin regime is having an ever more difficult time controlling. Whatever the upcoming verdict for Pussy Riot, we – and you – are already winning. Because we have learned to rage, and to speak politically.

Pussy Riot is happy that we have been able to spur a truly collective action, and that your political passion has proven to be so strong, it has cleared the barriers of language, culture, surroundings, and economic and political status. Kant would say that he sees no other reason for this Miracle besides man’s moral beginning. Thank you for this Miracle

Defense lawyers for Pussy Riot said they would appeal the verdict, although they are pessimistic about it being overturned.

“Under no circumstances will the girls ask for a pardon (from Putin),” said attorney Mark Feygin. “They will not beg and humiliate themselves before such a bastard.”

Pussy Riot—Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30—have been dubbed prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.

Hat tip to Exile on Moan Street

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Cramps’ Bryan Gregory on Memphis TV
08.16.2012
02:29 pm

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Music
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The first time I saw The Cramps they were opening for The Ramones at CBGB IN 1977. It was the original lineup which in addition to Lux and Ivy included hot rebel girl Miriam Linna laying down a deep voodoo groove on drums and the diabolically dashing Bryan Gregory strafing the audience with his deadly guitar. They were a fucking dynamite combination. But as much as I loved the band as a whole, I found myself particularly drawn to Bryan Gregory. While Lux was funny scary, Bryan was really fucking scary. And sartorially speaking, I always thought Bryan was the best-dressed Cramp (a tough call).

Bryan left The Cramps in 1980. He worked as a tattoo artist, did bit parts in horror films, managed an adult book store and re-entered the music scene with several bands, none of which really caught fire. There was a bit of buzz and excitement surrounding his collaboration with Andrella Canne in Beast (sounding a lot like Siousxie and The Banshees) and a decade later The Dials, but that phase of Bryan’s musical career got snake bit when Canne became too ill to continue performing and The Dials broke up. And bad luck followed Bryan when he suffered a heart attack at the age of 49 just as he was putting together a new band called Shiver. While most heart attacks are unexpected, Bryan’s shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise to anyone close to him. His health had been lousy for awhile and he wasn’t doing anything to make it better. His body was breaking down and whatever death spiral he was in had begun to spin out of control. The heart attack didn’t kill him, it just weakened him beyond what he could handle. Bryan died of “multiple system failures” in a hospital in Anaheim, California.

Gregory never achieved the kind of fame that his undeniable star quality warranted. He had a vibe, a style and presence, that was as magnetic and intensely mesmerizing as any guitar player I’ve ever seen. Only artists as charismatic as Lux and Ivy could share a stage with Bryan and not be overshadowed. When he left The Cramps, the band felt less dangerous without him.

There’s not a lot of video footage of Bryan out there. Here’s something that was shot for Memphis TV when The Cramps were recording their debut album, Songs the Lord Taught Us, at Sam Phillips studio with Alex Chilton producing. The quality is lousy and the bits with Bryan are brief but you take what you can get.
 

 
Bryan Gregory and The Dials after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
We Are All Pussy Riot: Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid supports Russian dissidents
08.15.2012
07:04 pm

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Activism
Art
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Politics
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In an echo of his past work, Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid razzes repressive Russian President Vladimir Putin with this great image in support of Pussy Riot. (In 1989, Reid produced a similar image with Virgin founder Richard Branson in a balaclava for a memorable cover of the legendary British punkzine Vague).

Three members of Pussy Riot—Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30—have been jailed since March when they performed their an anti-Putin “punk prayer” during a hit-n-run performance art protest inside a Moscow cathedral.

The three young women have been charged with acts of “religious hatred” and hooliganism. Russian prosecutors are asking for a three-year sentence. A verdict in their case is due on Friday, when supporters of Pussy Riot are calling for a day of worldwide protest.

Via Exile on Moan Street

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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