British artist Gerald Scarfe’s corrosive satire of Nixon-era America Long Drawn-Out Trip: Sketches from Los Angeles is an animated assault on the culture of greed, violence, the cult of celebrity and mass media that managed to piss off a lot of people when it was shown on BBC TV once in 1973. A combination of its harsh (though not inaccurate) depiction of the USA and problems obtaining the rights to the music on the soundtrack has kept this piece of cultural dynamite out of the public eye for four decades.
The subject of Long Drawn-Out Trip is Los Angeles and America itself, the concerns being the same ones that Ralph Steadman was depicting that year in his illustrations for Hunter S. “Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72”: venality, violence, vulgarity and the omnipresent spectre of Richard Nixon, a president who had the good fortune to be drawn many times by two of Britain’s greatest living satirists although he wouldn’t have thanked them for it. In Scarfe’s film we also find Mickey Mouse being reduced to his constituent lines and colours after smoking a joint. The animated sequences for The Wall have their origin in this short film.” John Coulthart.
Scarfe recalls his first contact with members of Pink Floyd:
I did an animated film for the BBC in 1971 called Long Drawn-Out Trip. Roger and Nick (Mason) had seen it independently on BBC2 when it was aired. Roger told me that he rang Nick and said: “We’ve got to have this guy on board. He’s fucking mad.” Then Nick approached me and asked me to do an animation film and that’s how the relationship grew.
I first worked with them on their (1975) “Wish You Were Here” album then Roger came to my house and played me the first tapes of The Wall. He said he wanted to make an album, a show and a movie, all of which he accomplished.”
Scarfe on the genesis of his film:
I did a kind of stream of consciousness drawing everything I could think of about America at that time. Like, the Statue of Liberty, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Black Power, Mickey Mouse, Coca Cola, Playboy Magazine, sort of a million images all melting one into the other. I was supposed to be there for 10 days, but I stayed for about 6 or 7 weeks. Hence the title, Long Drawn-Out Trip. And it was also a kind of a trip, cause it was very much the drug era. And it was a kind of a hallucinatory trip too.
In addition to being a ferociously talented illustrator and cartoonist with an amazing past, Scarfe is married to one of the reigning queens of Sixties’ pop culture, Jane Asher.
Appearing at a National Rifle Conference over the weekend, Romney surrogate, gunslinger and Colonel Sanders look-a-like Ted Nugent frothed at the mouth like a rabid dog proclaiming that if Barack Obama is re-elected in November, “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” He also barked that Obama’s head should be chopped off (see video). Isn’t there a law against that?
Hey Ted, you vile piece of dinosaur shit, I hope to fuck that Obama is re-elected and you stay true to your words. I’ll stand in line to piss on your grave.
Update: New York Magazine reports that the Secret Service is aware of Nugent’s remarks and they’ve begun an investigation.
In a rambling speech today before a group of onlookers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum pulled out of the race for President…and the heavens wept.
In his typically brain-addled style, Santorum recalled some of the highlights of his campaign:
Even fun things like the sweater vest—amazing thing, that sweater vest. From then on the sweater vest became the official wardrobe of the Santorum campaign . . . We sourced that sweater vest to a company that was making them here in the United States.”
Expect the sweater vest-wearing, right-wing, religious zealot to re-emerge like the walking dead in 2016.
Everyone loves a hero and even more, everyone loves a villain. The more broad chested the hero and luridly evil the villain, the better. This basic black/white viewpoint that people cling to like a spit stained security blanket is often the main impetus behind the superhero genre. A figure, often with extraordinary powers, becomes the pinpoint of hope for all that is fair and just. Real life is mired with red tape, corruption and the folly of our own nature. These are all reasons why the idea of a flawed superhero wasn’t terribly popular until recent years. (Though The Kinks get some major points with their song, “Catch Me Now I’m Falling” off of their album Low Budget.) But there was a film that predated all of them, way back in 1983 in the form of Philippe Mora’s The Return of Captain Invincible. Did I mention that it’s also a musical?
The Return of Captain Invincible stars Alan Arkin as our titular hero who is first introduced in a 1940’s style B&W newsreel, with our young, clean-cut Captain defeating gangsters, fighting the Nazis and representing everything that is good and wholesome about America. That is, until he ends up getting hit with charges of communism by The House of Un-American Activities, led by Joseph McCarthy. The witch hunt demoralizes our hero, who goes into hiding and ends up in Australia, liquor soaked and trading his spandex for stained, baggy clothes.
To passersby, he’s just a liver-crying-for-help derelict, belting out “New York, New York” to the rural hills Down Under, when he’s not inadvertently saving lives, particularly of tough police woman, Patty Patria (Kate Fitzpatrick). It’s only a matter of time before the superhero within the man has to come back out, especially with his old foe, the devilish and devilishly handsome Mr Midnight (Christopher Lee), back on the horizon. But it takes an old promise to a young boy who has now grown up to be the President of the United States (the incredible Michael Pate), to bring the hesitant, rusty but goodhearted Captain out of retirement. The question then emerges, will the once strong superhero be able to defend the world from the evil megalomaniacal clutches of Mr. Midnight and surpass his own inner demons?
The Return of Captain Invincible is a heartfelt, goony and surprisingly smart film. It is truly a strange creature, one that could have only be helmed by the same man that gave us the historical art film, Mad Dog Morgan (with Dennis Hopper) AND Howling II (with Sybil Danning’s shirt exploding breasts), Phillipe Mora. A wholly unique filmmaker who is never praised enough for his brass balls, not to mention creative flexibility, Mora pulled out all stops with this one. From the bright, comic-book style color schemes to the number of bizarre little touches,Captain Invincible is a superhero film like no other.
For starters, there’s our main character, played with typical perfection by Alan Arkin. Handsome and with a enough emotional gravitas to pull off a man who is solid in heart but whose spirit has been cracked by the very country he protected, Arkin’s Captain Invincible is a true hero with a human bent. We get to see him run the gamut from being your typical 1940’s strong-jawed hero to being a scruffy alcoholic suffering from the DT’s the night before he goes back into training, only to circle right back to being the chap that saves the day. On top of that, Arkin’s musical background comes into play quite nicely here, taking vocal duties on most of the songs featured, with the highlights being “The Good Guys & The Bad Guys” and “Mr. Midnight.” Arkin balances out the humanity and absurdity of it all so perfectly.
Speaking of absurd wonder, Michael Pate as the President is stupendously awesome. If he ran for office, my cynical booty would be hightailing it to the nearest booth in a hot flash of a second! A legendary character actor who had made his mark both in America and his native Australia, Pate is all Kennedy hair, Texan charm and big shouldered awesomeness, with the standout being the “Bullshit” number. This literally amounts to Pate saying the word “Bullshit” over and over again, set to an electronic beat. It is cathartic in its greatness.
Of course, there is the tall, cool, grim-in-his-beauty Christopher Lee as our villain Mr. Midnight. Lee is having a lot of great fun here, bringing a sense of intentional camp to his role. Lee is center point to the absolute musical highlight of the film with “Choose Your Poison.” Yes, Christopher Lee, in that wonderful Wagner-opera from depths of unknown bass voice of his, singing about the joys of drinking. It’s even better than “Bullshit!”
Kate Fitzpatrick doesn’t really get to shine quite as much as the others but is still good and realistically tough, as in you can halfway buy her as a real police officer. The aforementioned soundtrack, while a bit MOR in spots, has some absolute gems here. It should shock absolutely no one that the highlights, minus my much beloved “Bullshit,” were all helmed by Rocky Horror pioneer and flat out genius Richard O’Brien, along with another Rocky alumni, Richard Hartley, providing the music. His numbers, which include the title theme, “Mr Midnight” and “Choose Your Poison” are A+ O’Brien greatness.
Return of Captain Invincible is not a perfect film and it will undoubtedly off-put some with its strange brew of social commentary and goofiness bordering on surrealism. The idea that a bourbon soaked derelict muttering to himself down the road could be a superhero gone to seed is a smart and thoughtful one. Our hero and concept here could fit in any time period. A little flea-bitten and hardened by a flawed world but at the end of the day, still hopeful and willing to fight for a better future.
Whether you were a Britney Spears fan or not, like it or not, you were forced to watch her very public meltdown in every newspaper, magazine, entertainment website, and everywhere else. I always felt extremely sorry her. It seemed like the world couldn’t wait for some new tragedy or misfortune to befall the poor woman so they would have something new to gossip about at the water cooler or post on their Myspace page.
While watching the photos of her face morphing throughout the years, I noticed her eyes. When she was young, her eyes sparkled. She was happy, but as time goes by it’s like the massed machinery of the mediadrome sucked the very life right out of this young woman. Heartbreaking.
So I was gonna sit here and write a long, rambling post about Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine and the amount of bullshit that’s been spewing out his tiny little mouth of late. You know, something about a guy with a shoulder length frizzy perm being anti-gay, something about a 100% no-homo-heterosexual dude feeling threatened by the sex lives of African women and other consenting adults. Maybe throw in a little reference to still smarting about Metallica here, or “small man syndrome” there, perhaps go off on a diatribe about the über-pseudo-macho world of heavy metal being just as “authentic” as that of drag queens, about how the biggest shit-talkers always reveal themselves to be the most immature, petulant little nerds desperate to live up to a false sense of masculine superiority in the end.
But I’m not going to waste my effort.
I mean, why should I bother? Mustaine is doing all that hard graft for me! Seriously. Here are a selection of quotes from recent interviews displaying the wisdom of Dave Mustaine:
Mustaine explained a biblical prophecy to LA Weekly. “Even if you don’t believe in God and you don’t believe in faith, you’ve got to understand, when Israel became a country again, that was a prophecy in the Bible that came true, and the Bible was written so many hundreds of years ago,” says Mustaine. Also, any of the stuff that it says in there about the end times — that stuff’s really happening right now. Look what’s happening over in the Middle East. It’s crazy.”
Earlier in the election, I was completely oblivious as to who Rick Santorum was, but when the dude went home to be with his daughter when she was sick, that was very commendable. Also, just watching how he hasn’t gotten into doing these horrible, horrible attack ads like Mitt Romney’s done against Newt Gingrich, and then the volume at which Newt has gone back at Romney… You know, I think Santorum has some presidential qualities, and I’m hoping that if it does come down to it, we’ll see a Republican in the White House… and that it’s Rick Santorum.
There’s so many houses without a dad that it’s just terrible. I mean, you know how they used to say there should be a license to have a baby? Well, as far-fetched as that sounds, I really think that, if the parents aren’t going to stick together, they shouldn’t make that kind of commitment to life. I watch some of these shows from over in Africa, and you’ve got starving women with six kids. Well, how about, you know, put a plug in it? It’s like, you shouldn’t be having children if you can’t feed them.
Do you support gay marriage, or is that something you oppose?
Well, since I’m not gay, the answer to that would be no.
OK. What about for people who are gay?
Since I’m not gay, the answer to that would be no.
Would you support legislation to make marriage between a man and another man legal?
I’m Christian. The answer to that would be no.
All this is a real shame, because Megadeth were a fucking great band. It’s just too bad that if Dave Mustaine’s reputation ever recovers from being a “very conservative” über-douche who lets the TV make up his mind for him, he’s going down in the annals of history as the guy who wept for Metallica:
What a bunch of pompous crybabies. Who gives a fuck? No one owns this movement. They can do it in their way, in their style and you can do it in your own way. Why try to hold this energy back in any way? What’s the point, you’re not on the same side?
Stop being such predictable Lefties!
Play nice! Thelemites get along better than these territorial children!
Many news outlets are running articles suggesting that the Occupy movement is planning a “national general assembly” in Philadelphia in July. This initiative, referred to as The 99% Declaration, is driven by a not-for-profit corporation called The 99 Percent Working Group, LTD., and is not endorsed by the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street (OWS). The group’s plans blatantly contradict OWS’ Statement of Autonomy, as passed by the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street, where The 99% Declaration generated more controversy than consensus. The proposal was also rejected by the General Assembly of Occupy Philadelphia, which passed a resolution stating, “We do not support the 99% Declaration, its group, its website, its National GA and anything else associated with it.”
The people of Occupy Wall Street are doubtlessly animated by many of the same concerns addressed by the points in the draft 99% Declaration. However, the group’s plan to select delegates representing each Congressional District to ratify a petition to present to the U.S. government while threatening to run candidates for positions in this corrupted system runs counter to OWS’ commitment to direct democracy, grassroots people power, and building a better society from the bottom up.
When reporting on stories concerning the convening of national ‘Occupy conventions,’ registration of political parties and political action committees, and other high-profile initiatives, we strongly urge reporters, editors, and producers to vet these stories by contacting the official press relations working group of Occupy Wall Street.
From OWS’ Statement of Autonomy: “Any statement or declaration not released through the General Assembly and made public online at www.nycga.net should be considered independent of Occupy Wall Street.”
The Press Relations Working Group of Occupy Wall Street
A group of protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement plans to elect 876 “delegates” from around the country and hold a national “general assembly” in Philadelphia over the Fourth of July as part of ongoing protests over corporate excess and economic inequality.The group, dubbed the 99% Declaration Working Group, said Wednesday delegates would be selected during a secure online election in early June from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
In a nod to their First Amendment rights, delegates will meet in Philadelphia to draft and ratify a “petition for a redress of grievances,” convening during the week of July 2 and holding a news conference in front of Independence Hall on the Fourth of July.
Any U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is 18 years of age or older may run as a nonpartisan candidate for delegate, according to Michael S. Pollok, an attorney who advised Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge last year and co-founded the working group.
“We feel it’s appropriate to go back to what our founding fathers did and have another petition congress,” Pollok said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We feel that following the footsteps of our founding fathers is the right way to go.”
In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and cited King George III’s failure to redress the grievances listed in colonial petitions as a reason to declare independence.
One man and one woman will be elected from each of the 435 congressional voting districts, according to Pollok, and they will meet in Philadelphia to deliberate, draft and ratify a “redress of grievances.” One delegate will also be elected to represent each of the U.S. territories.
Organizers won’t take a position on what grievances should be included, Pollok said, but they will likely include issues like getting money out of politics, dealing with the foreclosure crisis and helping students handle loan debt.
Details of the conference are still being worked out, Pollok said, but organizers have paid for a venue in Philadelphia. Pollok would not identify the venue, but said it was “a major state-of-the art facility.” Pollok said the group planned to pay for the conference through donations.
Once the petition is completed, Pollok said, the protesters will deliver copies to the White House, members of Congress and the Supreme Court. They will demand that Congress takes action in the first 100 days of taking office next year. If sufficient action isn’t taken, Pollok said, the delegates will go back to their districts and try to recruit their own candidates for office.
Being able to hold this event right before the parties throw their respective conventions was a stroke of scheduling luck for the movement. Hopefully the media will be all over this—it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t be under any circumstances—and the politicians will be forced to respond.
The Republicans are beyond being a lost cause, but the Democrats can be pushed to the left (it’s what happened before the New Deal). It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.
I think there’s a misconception that this was going to be a predictable election cycle. Whereas the outcome (more Obama, not that this is necessarily a “good” thing, it just is) seems like a foregone covclusion, that there will be extremely high drama until then is starting to look like an inevitability. Bring it on.