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Everything You Know About Occupy Wall Street is Wrong

Well, perhaps not quite everything, but enough that were you to personally experience the demonstration and look around with your own eyes, you’d likely come to regard the mainstream media reports about Occupy Wall Street (especially the lamebrain stuff printed in The New York Post or heard on Fox News) more like loose gossip, bullshit or random fiction, than actual journalism or considered opinion.

I had the extreme privilege of visiting Zuccotti Park on three of the five days I recently spent in NYC and I’m here to tell you that I am much more excited about Occupy Wall Street—and prospects for real progressive change in this country—now than I ever could have been admiring it from afar. It was a life-affirming and quite moving thing to personally experience and hopefully I can get some of those good feelings across here.

On Wednesday, I was picked up at JFK by my old friend (and frequent Dangerous Minds Radio Hour DJ) Nate Cimmino. I checked into my hotel and since I hadn’t been to NYC for a few years, we decided to just walk from Houston Street to the OWS site. It was raining, not exactly a heavy downpour, but the rain had been steady for most of the day. When we arrived at Zuccotti Park around 4pm, it was starting to get dark and it was pretty much locked down with everyone trying to keep dry. Plastic covered everything and people huddled under makeshift tarps just trying to keep their shit together. It resembled a water-logged shanty town and hardly anything was going on. The lines for the brightly-lit food carts on the southern side of the park were the most noticeable thing at that time (these guys must be making bank, especially the falafel vendors). CNN had a mobile video van with a crane and a “crow’s nest” for getting aerial shots of the park. Dozens of NYPD officers in rain gear ringed the park, many of them female officers.

The medical area of Occupy Wall Street.

This wasn’t the right moment to get much of a feel for what’s been going on there, obviously, so I resolved to return on the weekend. Some initial observations though: Zuccotti Park isn’t much of a park at all. It’s more like a concrete plaza and it’s not very big. Keep in mind when you hear people scoffing at the size of the demonstration, that about a thousand people (give or take) is all this area would hold. If many more people tried to join in the demonstration, it would not be possible to move about. It’s already densely packed as it is.

It’s also right across the street from Ground Zero. In my mind, it was in a different (southeastern) part of lower Manhattan, so when we walked down Broadway, the sound of the drumming got louder and then all of a sudden there it was, that came as a surprise.

Greg Barris and me mugging for the camera on one of the OWS live video feeds.

On Saturday I returned to OWS with my friend Greg Barris, a stand-up comedian and restaurateur. Greg’s been taking pizza from his restaurant to Zuccotti Park since the demonstrations began. The festive carnival atmosphere that morning was a striking contrast to Wednesday’s wash-out. Colorful flags, costumed characters and people of all ages, races, creeds and personality types circulated around the square. You could see people who were arriving alone with a look of apprehension in their eyes, but soon afterward, that same person would be seen joining right in.

Several people distributed free copies of The Occupy Wall Street Journal and a lefty books lending library operated efficiently (there were even a few books that I had published). Everyone was smiling at one another and a feeling of fun and solidarity was palpable. I saw no overtly negative signs and I saw no placards whatsoever for either of the major political parties (I’d put the number of Republicans at Zuccotti Park at slightly north of “zero,” but still I saw not a single pro-Democrat or pro-Obama item anywhere, either). There’s a medical area where minor things can be tended to by volunteer nurses and medics and a food area manned by park residents. Greg pointed out one earnest-looking California blond skater-type and told me he’s seen that same guy dishing out plates of free food since the earliest days of the demonstration. The park was notably clean, not at all the unsanitary mess Fox News viewers have been repeatedly told about.

A woman who identified herself as “The Knitting Granny” sat knitting sweaters and scarfs to give to the occupiers. Children in face-paint or costumes carried signs marching with their parents. An elderly gentleman using a walker who must’ve been in his nineties told some of us that he’d been an engineer working with dams and waterways his entire career and what he knew about the “fracking” that’s planned for locations upstate less than ten miles away from New York’s main water supply scared him to death. He came to share his expertise, he told me, and to see OWS with his own eyes.

Several “super heroes” circulated around. A man in his early 30s, who came to OWS alone from Delaware, brought along a solar electrical generator and set it up so people could charge their cell phones. One fellow, who we later saw on the subway, was dressed in a barrel. He must’ve been cold. Another guy carried a “Ross Perot for President” sign and wore a Ross Perot t-shirt and badges.over his coat. He might’ve been the weirdest guy I saw there.

When you hear dismissive asses braying about how it’s “all white people”—that’s a bunch of utter nonsense. You’ll encounter as diversified a group at OWS as you would if you were in a New York City DMV office and that’s really saying something, so these sorts of haters and naysayers, can go jump in the lake. All white? Maybe in the first few days, but now, that’s simply not even in the slightest bit true.

There are TONS of attractive people at OWS and the mood is so festive and jovial that making conversation with members of the opposite sex is very easy to do. I may get shit for saying this, but it’s true: If more guys knew how many super hot women were milling around OWS, there’d immediately be a massive increase in attendance and foot traffic in the area around Zuccotti Park.

Gay? Fret not, there is a “Queer Camp,” too (look for the feather boas on the northeast side of the park). We even saw someone who identified herself as a “T-girl pornstar” make herself hoarse shouting anti-capitalism things and the very wonderful Reverend Billy is a frequent visitor. The age range is all over the place, as well. In fact, it’s hard to generalize anything at all about the people you meet there except to say that they’ve got their eyes wide open about the problems of advanced capitalism and American democracy. That’s the bottom line. THAT was the commonality amongst all of us.

Greg Barris and his sign.

Most people, it would seem, sleep at their homes but come downtown whenever they can. I got the feeling that there was a small percentage of the occupiers who were the ones who were sleeping there. When you walk around in the interior of the plaza, it becomes somewhat apparent that the folks who the media are derisively describing as “hippies,” “punks” and “homeless people” are in fact, quite often hippies, punks and homeless people. They form the more hardcore inner group that performs the very important task of holding down the park. Without their presence, Mayor Bloomberg would have put fences around Zuccotti Park in two seconds flat, so remember that when you’re there and drop a few bucks in their cans. They’re not merely scruffy panhandlers, they’re there in YOUR place if you support the aims of OWS. 

Aside from the resident demonstrators and the day-trippers getting their protest on, there are also thousands of tourists milling about taking pictures. The photos they take are then uploaded to Facebook, Flickr and their blogs. The stories they bring back home and to the water-cooler at work and to their online lives will continue to spread the word about what’s going on in Zuccotti Park.

Sunday afternoon at Occupy Wall Street, I met up with Em, the “undercover banker” who sometimes writes incendiary essays for DM, Nate Cimmino, his wife Nicole and my pal, noted photographer Glen E. Friedman. It was another gorgeous, glorious day like the one before it, with intelligent and engaged people joining together for a higher purpose. (I’ve already mentioned about all of the beautiful woman down there, but I’m going to mention it once more so it really sinks in, okay?).

My favorite moment—or moments, I should say—of my three visits to Occupy Wall Street was watching the open-air Big Apple double-decker tour buses drive past, full of tourists with their fists in the air! That was an amazing thing to see. Witnessing that sight, repeatedly, I might add, was as sure a confirmation as anyone should require that a little over a month after its improbably beginnings, OWS is becoming a mainstream phenomenon. When is the last time the mainstream media took up a progressive cause? The Civil Rights movement? The Vietnam War? This is a real thing, not a flash in the pan. The fist-pumping seniors on the tour buses are but one of the signposts of the shift that’s happening in this country. Is there anyone out there stupid enough to still ask “What is their endgame?” Even someone who only watches Fox News has probably figured THAT out by now!

The only disharmonious incident I witnessed in my three visits was when a dopey-looking born again Christian crew (I’m talking total Ned Flanders-types) started telling the people assembled there, but especially the ones sleeping in Zuccotti Park, that they were possessed by demons and bound for Hell. As you might imagine that message went over like a lead zeppelin. A late 40-something gutterpunk guy and a hilariously confrontational black kid got right up in their faces with such intensity (and volume) that they quickly left. When they fucked off, deflated, everyone cheered.

Having said that, the overall scene at Occupy Wall Street does feel, in some respects, almost biblical, with one thousand iPhone carrying Joshuas shouting down the walls of a very high tech Jericho. Let there be no doubts, dear reader, I, and everyone around me there knew that we were witnessing and participating in history. It’s not going to be an overnight change, but anyone who thinks that things can or will continue on indefinitely the way they have been are going to be in for a very rude awakening.

Obama and the Democrats are going to have to move quite far to the left to satisfy their base as we move into 2012 and from what I saw, I reckon that OWS is pretty much 100% bad news for the Republicans, who are going to get the free market and tax cuts for the 1% shoved right up their goddamned asses on election day (I’m looking at you, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan). I mean, shit, once the election season kicks fully into high gear next year, I expect to see some completely hilarious stuff happen, don’t you? It’s going to be the best election ever! Or the funniest, at least.

As the drumbeat for change in the way we “do business” in America gets louder and louder and louder, the elites will have no choice but to respond. 99% vs. 1%? Who’d be dumb enough to bet against odds like that? The changes that are destined to take place in the next decade of American life are going to make people of a conservative political disposition very uncomfortable indeed. The rest of us are going to be thrilled, though, so fuck ‘em.

From my point of view as an “old school” New Yorker parachuting into Manhattan after a few years away, Occupy Wall Street is functioning like a sun that is radiating its heat throughout all of New York City, and then via the media, to the rest of the planet. It’s extremely inspiring. As someone who lived in the city for the better part of three decades, NOW is the best I have seen NYC since the early 1980s. The energy in the streets is near an all-time high. New York is just killin’ it. Something is really happening at the moment and it’s an exciting time to be there. If you live in Philly, CT, New Jersey… go down there and check out Occupy Wall Street for yourself. If you live in the NY metro area and you haven’t been downtown, shame on you for watching it on tee-vee…

Trust me when I tell you that it pained me, absolutely pained me to be the old fart saying “New York used to be better back when I was young”... but I’ll never be tempted to say that again anyway, not after what I saw last week.


Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Original Occupy Wall Street: Stop the City, 1984

All photographs taken by Greg Barris from his Flickr page.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Psychexotica 1’: Sixties garage rockers vs. vintage bump and grind - NSFW
07:58 pm


Psychexotica 1

01. “A Question of Temperature” - Balloon Farm
02. “Emaretta” - Deep Purple
03. “I’ll Give You More” - Erik And The Smoke Ponies
04. “Primitive” - The Groupies
05. “Lucy” - Crabby Appleton
06. “Whatcha Gonna Do About It” - Evil
07. “Soul Shakin’ Psychedelic Sally” - The Hallmarks
08. “Where You Gonna Go” - Art Guy
09. “Better Man Than I” - Terry Knight And The Pack
10. “Suicidal Flowers” - Crystal Chandelier
11. “Somebody’s Girl” - Deepest Blue
12. “I Will Lose My Mind” - The Counts
13. “Questions” - Bang
14. “My Generation” - Human Beingz
15. “Optical Sound” - The Human Expression
16. “Strawberry Children” - The Hobbits
17. “Gates Of Eden” - Myddle Class
18. “Roll With It” - The Steve Miller Band
19. “It’s A Happening” - Magic Mushrooms
20. “Would You Believe” - Chris Morgan And The Togas
21. “Night Of Fear” - The Move
22. “Mr. Grey” - Stone Circus
23. St. James Infirmary” - The Graham Bond Organization

One solid hour of psychedelic stomp and grind, pulsating liquid lights and old skool strippers from the days when shedding your clothes was an art. Dedicated to the late great Lux Interior who would have been 65 years this past Friday.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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‘Have you ever wished that men would come with instruction booklets?’
08:38 am



If you agree with a woman “You get bashed over the head and if you don’t agree you’re still going to get in an argument.” There are so many zingers in this video I couldn’t possibly type them all out. Just watch.

(via The Daily What )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Blackboards in Porn
03:48 pm



Blackboards in Porn is a blog dedicated to figuring out if the mathematical equations seen written on blackboards in classroom-themed pornos are correct. The website actually breaks down the formulas for you.

Whilst this lesson appears to be aimed at quite a high level, such elementary errors may affect comprehension.

5/10 - rather sloppy.

I’d imagine there must be a lot of “teacher/student” scenarios in porn. The person responsible for this site is gonna’ be busy.

(via )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Abbie Hoffman and the theater of revolution

In the video below shot a few days before the 1968 Democratic National Convention, radical prankster Abbie Hoffman discusses guerrilla theater, drugs, sex and the role of humor as a tool for shaking up the status quo. Dissidence with a touch of Dada.

While the shit is hitting the fan it’s always good to have a sense of the absurd to keep things in perspective.

“Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.”

Much of the tone of the current Occupy Wall Street movement, with it’s colorful signs, face paint, freak flags, costumes and optimism in the face of so much opposition, can be traced to the Sixties provocations and theater of Hoffman, Jerry Ruben, The MC5, Ed Sanders, Paul Krassner, Allen Ginsberg, Dana Beal and the Youth International Party.

While Abbie showed us that political activism could have a playful side and that yippie tactics could be an effective means to grab headlines, releasing word viruses that could fuck with the status quo, he was also wise in his grasp of political realities:

Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit. When all today’s isms have become yesterday’s ancient philosophy, there will still be reactionaries and there will still be revolutionaries. No amount of rationalization can avoid the moment of choice each of us brings to our situation here on the planet. I still believe in the fundamental injustice of the profit system and do not accept the proposition there will be rich and poor for all eternity.

Become an internationalist and learn to respect all life. Make war on machines. And in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them.

Being a revolutionary isn’t just about talking a good game, it’s also about showing the world what freedom loving human beings are capable of: a robust passion for life and a deep respect for humanity and the earth we stand on.

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
― John Lennon

When people discount the role the Sixties play in contemporary attitudes about politics, sex, the environment and human rights, I say open your gawdammed eyes and take a look around. The press, pundits and people in general are comparing the OWS movement to the radical uprisings of the Sixties for good reason - they arise out of the same basic impulse toward justice and freedom….and something innate in all humans: the desire to fuck with authority.

With their limited frames of reference, I keep hearing people referring to the OWS protesters as hippies. Well, I guess we’re all hippies now. Pass the patchouli. Yippee!

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Swiss porn voice-over session
02:19 pm


Christopher Walken

If you’ve ever wanted to see a Christopher Walken doppelgänger make sexy-talk… here’s your chance.

(via KMFW )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Pucker Up for the Snogometer
04:13 pm


Malcolm Pickard

Back in the 1960s, youngsters had to make their own entertainment, just like British teenager Malcolm Pickard, who invented this “fantastic contraption to measure the voltage of snogs”.

Malcolm’s Snogometer gave hours fun to family and friends, though no one was ever quite sure what Malcolm got out of it.

Whatever it was, he didn’t say, though that Snogometer does look uncannily like something those whacky Scientologists use.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Hugh Hefner interview on New York City cable TV from the mid-1970s

I’m not going to go into the whole song and dance about how Playboy provided a forum for some of the most progressive thinkers and artists on the planet including Lenny Bruce, Robert Anton Wilson, Paul Krassner, Timothy Leary, Joan Baez, R. Buckminster Fuller, Jane Fonda, Muhammad Ali and many more. I’m not gonna tell you how I bought the magazine to read the interviews and fine fiction from writers such as Arthur C. Clarke, Gabriel García Márquez, Joseph Heller, Margaret Atwood, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut. No, I’m not gonna tell you all about that because it won’t make any difference in anyone’s opinion of Playboy magazine. You’ve got your opinion, I’ve got mine.

Playboy and its creator Hugh Hefner have been polarizing people for the past half century. I happen to like Hefner and his magazine, though the nude spreads have rarely featured much that floated my boat. My taste in women rarely coincided with the picture perfect All-American, mostly white, women of Playboy. I was also never into the “Playboy philosophy” when it came to stuff like cars, fashion and cocktail culture. I never wore an ascot or cufflinks and I wouldn’t know the difference between a Cuban cigar and a dog turd or good champagne from Everclear and 7-Up.

What I dug about about Playboy is that it introduced my young Catholic-corrupted brain to the idea that sex could be fun and intelligence could be sexy. In retrospect, the nudity objectified women, but at the time, for me, it opened up a world in which women’s bodies were wondrous and beautiful. I may be one of the only teenage boys of the Sixties that didn’t use Playboy as jerk-off fodder. I gazed upon the full-bodied Playmates during breaks in reading the genuinely mind-opening interviews with some of my counter-culture heroes. There literally was nowhere else to get some of the insights that Playboy published (I wasn’t reading Evergreen or Paris Review yet). Between bouts of being battered mentally and physically at school by malevolent Nuns, it was liberating to come home, lock my bedroom door, and read about psychedelics, beatnik culture and the pleasures of the flesh in a girlie magazine. And the nudes did steer my thinking away from perceiving the human body as a vessel of sin and shame toward an appreciation of it as something delightful and fulfilling.

Here’s an interview with Hefner from the mid-1970s that was conducted for City University of New York TV show Day At Night hosted by James Day. I like Hefner’s belief in the liberating power of a healthy sex life. And I bet the Bunnies did too. I can’t recall any of Playboy’s models ever complaining about their jobs and several books have been written about and by them.

As we once again enter an era of prudishness, over-zealous political correctness and sexual repression, some of what Hefner has to say sounds as relevant as it did 40 years ago. While the bunny costumes may seem silly and dated, the truth is always hip.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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‘Les Sucettes’: The Most Ridiculously Phallic Music Video of 1966

Yesterday when I posted about the great new France Gall DVD compilation put out by Mod Cinema, I was frustrated because I couldn’t find an embeddable clip of her notorious TV performance of “Les Sucettes.” (“The Lollipops”). Dante at Mod Cinema was kind enough to upload a higher quality version than any that were previously on-line so that I can share it with you here. It’s a doozy.

“Les Sucettes” was written for the virginal, 18-year-old Gall by that arch-lecher himself, Serge Gainsbourg, who wanted to market her as the ultimate French “Lolita” pop star. The song’s lyrics depict a young girl, Annie, who likes aniseed-flavored lollipops:

When the barley sugar
Flavored with anise
Sinks in Annie’s throat,
She is in heaven.

Annie’s aniseed. Think about that for a minute.

Christ, he’s good…

But here’s the thing: France Gall apparently had no idea that she was singing a song about oral sex and swallowing… seed.

When she performed the number on the television program seen in the clip below, she did so oblivious to what every other person present was thinking! It wasn’t until she was on tour in Tokyo that someone let the cat out of the bag. Gall was infuriated and greatly embarrassed by what she’d unwittingly taken part in. She felt betrayed by the adults around her and mocked like a naive fool. She refused to leave her home for weeks afterwards and ultimately stopped singing Gainsbourg’s songs that had made her so famous. For years afterwards her career suffered from her association with this scandal, even if “Les Sucettes” had been a big hit.

Tonight and tomorrw in Los Angeles at Cinefamily: Gainsbourg and His Girls

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Bongwater: The Power of Pussy

After the jump, a video story about “Les Sucettes” with a rare public comment from France Gall about the scandal.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Slayer custom condoms
10:15 am



Yep! There’s a condom for that!

For when you’re going South of Heaven! Each Slayer Custom Condom “matchbook” holds 1 Durex latex condom. Available as a 3-pack or 6-pack.

They’re $12.99 for a 3-pack and $19.99 for a 6-pack over at Slayer’s official website.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Slayer: Angel of Death rendered in smooth rock stylings

(via Cherry Bombed)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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