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Being human: Sexuality, gender and belonging to family in Nan Goldin’s photography (NSFW)
03.06.2015
11:07 am

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Art
Drugs
Queer
Sex
Unorthodox

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Nan Goldin became obsessed with taking photographs of her friends and classmates at school—she says she became the class photographer. One of her first subjects was her best friend David Armstrong who was into drag. After they graduated from school, Goldin and Armstrong shared an apartment and he introduced her to the world of drag queens. Goldin spent time photographing David and his friends.

After years of experiencing and photographing the struggle of the two genders with their codes and definitions, and their difficulties in relating to each other, it was liberating to meet people who had crossed these gender boundaries.

Most people get scared when they can’t categorize others—by race, by age, and most of all by gender. It takes nerve to walk down the street when you fall between the cracks. Some of my friends shift genders daily from boy to girl and back again.

 
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Misty and Jimmy.
 
Goldin was born in 1953 the youngest of four children to a middle class Jewish family in Washington D.C. Not long after she was born, the family moved to the suburbs of Lexington, Boston. She was a rebellious child and ran away from home, and was eventually fostered by several families during her teens. Goldin has said she was “full of raw energy, creativity and sensuality” and found the fifties and early sixties an oppressive, difficult time. Then she discovered photography. First she took Polaroids, then shot Super 8, before taking regular photographs that she had developed at the local drugstore. Her friends would stack the pictures in piles to see who had the most portraits. Though these pictures were her a kind of diary—documenting her life, her relationships, her sexuality and her friends who became family (“We were the world to each other”)—the photographs were created out of her relationships and not observation.
 
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Actress, writer and friend Cookie Mueller.
 

The work has always been misunderstood as being about a certain milieu of drugs and parties and the underground. And although I’d say that my family is still marginal and we don’t want to be part of normal society, I don’t think the work has been about that, I think the work has been about the condition of being human—the pain, the ability to survive and how difficult that is.

In this beautiful short film, Nan Goldin discusses her life and career, friends, drug addiction and the “other world” she has documented.
 

 
A selection of Nan Goldin’s beautiful photographs, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Squeal like a pig!: The world champion pig squealer is a really STRANGE dude
02.26.2015
06:14 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals
Unorthodox

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France: a nation that has given the world such eminent artists, writers, scientists and philosophers as Henri Matisse, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Françoise Sagan, Jean-Paul Sartre, Coco Chanel, Marcel Duchamp, Isabelle Adjani, Luc Besson, Juliette Binoche and Edith Piaf, now brings us Noël “Nono” Jamet, the six times world champion pig squealer.

If ever there is a remake of Deliverance, then 48-year-old truck driver Nono would be the perfect choice for the Ned Beatty role…as he can certainly squeal like a pig.
 
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Nono takes his porcine impressions very seriously—dressing up in a pink outfit, with piggy ears and snout—and who knows maybe he even gives himself a wee splash of eau du bacon?

This year, when Nono entered the Agricultural Fair (Salon de l’Agriculture) at the Porte de Versailles in Paris,  he won the pig squealing cup with his incredible performance of the life of a piggy—from birth and breastfeeding to death. This performance is something that has to be seen to be believed, and I’m sure you will be as impressed by Nono’s amazing talent as much as the judges.

And if you can’t get enough of Nono’s delightful squeals and grunts—he can be hired to share his gift of joy as an entertainer at birthday parties. Look at the video, who’d let this guy near kids?
 

 
Via the Local.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Noise music is for the children: The Shoreditch Experimental Music School, 1969
02.24.2015
06:08 am

Topics:
History
Music
Television
Unorthodox

Tags:


 
My education in experimental music came in my college years. Between volunteering at the campus radio station and living in a cheap apartment building in a neighborhood that had historically been a freak magnet, I hooked up with a cadre of students from a nearby music school who were into the weird stuff, and were cool enough not just to clue me in on 20th Century classical, the New York School, atonality, musique concrète, et al, they even invited me to make music with them. Over the course of two or three years, we filled up a metric shitload of blank tape and killed a lot of innocent cannabis plants, and it was all time very, very well spent. But seeing this BBC documentary on a late ‘60s experimental music program in the schools of Shoreditch, London, UK, made me wish I’d been from a time and place where I could have had many of those experiences (likely minus the cannabis, or maybe not) in elementary school.

The doc puts student works on display, starting with a piece exploring “heat, radiation, relentlessness, intensity, stillness,” with instructor Brian Dennis (the man who literally wrote the book on Experimental Music in Schools), who then gives a conducting demonstration, and a demonstration of tape effects. There’s a lengthy, edifying, truly wonderful visit to a class of very young children learning the creative use of tape recorders, and a science fiction story by one of the students, scored with music and sound effects made by his classmates. Then we’re treated to a lively and cacophonous student composition, scored with an invented notation. The program concludes with a genuinely creepy piece of drama, written, scored and acted by the students, wouldn’t you know it, about a cholera epidemic.
 

 
The sophistication on display here, even from some of the much younger students, makes me weep for the ultrashitty way US public schools treat arts education. (While athletics, naturally, are the inalienable milieu of young gods…) To keep myself from indulging in a rant about this—and I’d say nothing that hasn’t been said better by others, really—I transcribed my two favorite quotations from teachers in the program. There IS great educational value in difficult music, to wit:

“The children in this school have a great variety of creative experiences, musically, and we do try to make sure that the music is part of activity. All children are very interested in tape recorders, televisions, radios, in fact that is nearer their experience than are a great many nursery rhymes. Creative tape recording teaches them self-discipline, because they soon realize that if they talk at the wrong time it spoils somebody else’s work.”

“The children do have bizarre noise-making sessions as play, but I think this is quite a valuable experience. They soon learn that once they get used to the sounds, they need some other form of organization if they’re going to get more enjoyment. So naturally they progress to electing a leader or conductor, and they find there’s some need for notation of a sort, so they invent one, and they’ve progressed then from play to composition without actually being taught.”

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Langley Schools Music Project: children’s choruses sing Beach Boys, Bowie, Fleetwood Mac
 
With thanks to WFMU on Twitter

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The inflatable rubber fetish of Mr. Blow Up
02.11.2015
07:59 am

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Amusing
Sex
Unorthodox

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About fifteen years ago, way back when I made my living producing television, I interviewed Mr. Blow Up for a documentary on the rise of Internet fetish sites. He was one of the more interesting characters I met—alongside representatives from the wet and messy (“sploshing”) communities, adult babies, furries and used panty-sellers. Mr. Blow Up lived on a quiet London road amid rows of lace curtained windows and neatly trimmed herbaceous borders and distant towering high rises. His charming wife served cups of tea and chocolate biscuits for the crew while Mr. Blow Up talked about his love of being inside a latex suit that was pumped full of air. Mr. B. explained how he had first been attracted to the idea of being constrained in an air-filled rubber suit when playing with a beach ball as a child. He wondered what it would be like to be inside the ball, as it was thwacked and bounced all over the dunes.
 

 
Mr. Blow Up, with the help of his latex-clad wife, slipped into one of his talcum sprinkled outfits and sat on the sofa while she used a foot pump to blow-up his headdress. Just at the very moment I thought he might explode (like some sort of latex Mr. Creosote), Mr. B gave a thumbs up. He later explained how being so constrained made him feel happy, secure and excited.
 

Relaxing with pals.

It seems likely that Mr. Blow Up’s pumped up peccadillo served as the inspiration for one of the most insane moments of that most insane BBC comedy The League of Gentlemen.

This clip of Mr. Blow Up comes from some flip show where the voiceover has the arched eyebrow of condescension—though it is amusing and a rather good introduction to Mr. B and his inflatable fetish.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Log Book: The man who kept a diary of every shit he took in 2014
01.21.2015
10:22 am

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Amusing
Media
Unorthodox

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Intrepid reddit user captainmercedes kept a diary of every poop he had during 2014. He noted down every bowel movement in his captain’s “log book”—at what time he had one, its size, consistency, duration and many other relevant details. The information was kept in accordance with the Bristol Stool Chart—an academic shit comparison guide which experts use to classify the quality of turds from “nuts” and “liquid” to something that resembles “a sausage or snake.”
 
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Poo are you? Distribution of bowel movement on Bristol Stool Scale. It would appear the captain mainly fired “a number two torpedo.” There is evidence of some late night binges throughout the year.
 
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A Week of Poo: This chart shows how many fudge brownies our poo expert baked per day. Thursday was the day our man preferred to “drop the kids off at the pool,” while Monday and Tuesday seemed to produce the least number of brown fishies.
 
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Log Dropping Time: 10am in the morning was the optimum time for pebble-dashing the porcelain—though note the very occasional night shift.
 
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Toilet Punishments per day: Or, how many many fudge bombs dropped—which appears to be one on average, though there was that time he fired off five in one day—now that’s impressive. Still, what about the ranking for incomplete turds? What qualifies them as less than one?
 
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Distance from optimal corndog condition.—a kind of sliding scale…
 
What our chocolate fingered maestro will do with all this information I dunno, but I certainly won’t be holding on with bated breathed…. maybe just holding my breath.
 
Via reddit.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Grisly rites of Hitler’s monster flesh stripper’: Vintage Naziploitation magazine covers
01.20.2015
09:22 am

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Media
Pop Culture
Unorthodox

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For some Americans, the Second World War didn’t end in 1945 but continued in their imaginations through the pages of lurid Naziploitation magazines published during the fifties and sixties. Why so many mid-century male Baby Boomers enjoyed ogling scantily clad women being tortured by Nazi pigs raises serious questions about the mindset of an entire generation. Indeed, it may explain why so many former hippies voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, preferring the whip of capitalist exploitation and the jack boot of a dominant male to any kind of real fairness and equality.

It’s a theory…

The damsel in distress has long been a cultural trope and such magazines as Man’s Daring, Man’s Story, All Man and Real Men (imaginative titles, eh?) catered to this and permitted readers to indulge taboo fantasies under the guise of fighting a common evil enemy. It made weak men feel masculine and protective at the same time, while indulging their arousal over the antics of some wicked, pervy Nazis. Of course these magazines didn’t just focus on Nazis but picked on Communist Russians and the KGB (NKVD), Japanese geishas and Chinese Red Army generals.

Eventually these exploitation magazines lost out to the rise of “skin mags” like Playboy and Mayfair, where nothing was left to the imagination. As for Naziploitation, well it moved into movies during the 1970s with the likes of SS Experiment Love Camp, Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. and even arthouse fare by directors such as Luchino Visconti (The Damned, 1969), Liliana Caviani (The Night Porter, 1974) and Tinto Brass (the notorious Salon Kitty, 1976). 
 
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More questionable exploitation mags after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Brazilian woman escapes death as truck crashes through wall
01.08.2015
05:46 am

Topics:
Unorthodox

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A receptionist at a real estate company in Toledo, Brazil, narrowly escaped death after a pick-up truck crashed through an office wall. The whole incident was captured on the company’s CCTV and the footage shows the woman appearing nervous as if responding to something she has heard outside of the building.
 
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Seconds later, as the woman attempts to stand up, a vehicle plows through the wall pushing her and her desk across the room under a tide of crumbling wall.
 
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The crash was also taped from another angle and shows other employees attempting to escape the truck before it quickly comes to a halt.

It was one hell of a crash and the woman was very, very lucky to come out it alive.
 

 
H/T Arbroath

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The astonishingly incompetent superhero art of Fletcher Hanks
12.11.2014
10:48 am

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Unorthodox

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The other day I was trying to describe the work of Fletcher Hanks to a comics collector friend of mine, a fan of Spider-Man and the X-Men and Daredevil, and I made the following analogy: Fletcher Hanks is the Shaggs of superhero comics…. they have the same combination of fascinating (ahem) “excellence” and off-putting weirdness, the same feeling of a direction very much not taken, the same outsider status, the same fervent adoption by devotees.

Hanks drew superhero comics for a terribly short time—1939 to 1941—before dropping off the map altogether. It’s a bit of a miracle that we have so many of his comics in print, and much of that is due to the heroic labors of Paul Karasik, a former RAW employee of Art Spiegelman’s who also collaborated with David Mazzucchelli to create a graphic novel version of Paul Auster’s novel City of Glass in 1994. Hanks first became known to contemporary readers in Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969 edited by Dan Nadel, a fascinating delight for comics lovers, experts, dorks from 2006. In 2007 Karasik published I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! and in 2009 You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, both of which are highly recommended if you like what you see here. The first volume contains a 16-page comic by Karasik about discovering Hanks’ work and meeting with his (it turns out) estranged son.

Hanks was born in 1887. We know he was married and had a son but then packed up and left around 1930. According to his son, who is named Fletcher Hanks Jr., he was an alcoholic and physically abused his wife and son. We know that he was found, frozen to death on a park bench in Manhattan in January 1976, at the age of 88. Hanks’ work had two primary characters, “Stardust the Super Wizard” and “Fantomah the Mystery Woman of the Jungle,” and a host of less interesting characters like Space Smith, Big Red McLane, and Whirlwind Carter. Hanks used pseudonyms like Hank Christy, Barclay Flagg, Bob Jordan, and Charles Netcher. As Karasik points out in the video below, part of the fascination Hanks exerts is that he is a rare early case of a true auteur, a comics artist who “wrote, penciled, inked, lettered, and, I think, colored his work.”

Stardust is a well-nigh omnipotent space traveler who has prodigious strength, can read people’s thoughts, can control objects with his mind, produce all manner of anti-gravity rays from his body, and generally do whatever he wants. On the page he seems a lot like Magneto of the X-Men but in truth he has a whole lot in common with Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. Fantomah was similarly prodigiously powered and whenever she used her powers, her face would transform from that of a normal human woman to a blue-skinned skull-like visage with a blond locks of hair, an arresting voodoo-like image.

Stardust bears some resemblance to Superman but in fact ends up being an unwitting critique of Superman, in that a creature who has so many powers ends up being less than interesting. Stardust never faces the slightest resistance in any of his plots. A typical Stardust story features Stardust becoming aware of some nefarious scheme by some gangsters or “fifth columnists” and then zeroing in on the malefactors and stopping them and then either depositing them with the federal authorities (who have done nothing to assist Stardust) or else consigning them to some horrible fate that somehow, poetically, serves as a just comeuppance. The best-known example of that comes in “De Structo & the Headhunter,” in which he punishes the ringleader by reducing him to nothing but a head, while stating “I’ll punish you according to your crime, De Structo. ... You tried to destroy the heads of a great nation, so your own head shall be destroyed.” In another story he turns the head honcho into a rat with a human head.

Here’s Nadel on Hanks, as quoted in Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter blog:
 

Fletcher Hanks I like graphically. Some people might call him a primitive, but what’s so great about him is that he took this idea of superheroes as gods literally, even before anyone articulated the idea. He made these moving statues. You have characters carved out of granite, moving around the page, and then maybe he got lucky with whomever was coloring the Fiction House stuff. There are these clunky outlines of bodies and this gorgeous flat color laid over it. Icons moving across the page. Granite statues. It’s really intriguing. Every single Fletcher Hanks comic I’ve seen is like that. They’re just these incredible visions of statues in motion. The writing is just bizarre, so intense and vicious—maybe one of the more visceral comics in there.

 
Hanks’ stories are full of un-nuanced plots and schemes with bad guys who are constantly trying to “enslave” or “destroy” something. Even adjusting for the pre-WW2 atmosphere of fear, these stories are just silly most of the time. What sets Hanks’ works apart are his remarkable compositions and use of color—Karasik is quite right in observing that these strips are so fascinating because they so CLEARLY emanate from one mind. All the compositions are defiantly 2-D, and as Karasik establishes in his second Hanks volume You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, he frequently reused entire pages in different stories. Hanks’ comics are wildly inert, improbable, at times ugly, yet always bountifully colorful and arresting and distinctive. Hanks showed great imagination in his tropes, which frequently involve Stardust or somebody suspending a phalanx of tanks suspended in mid-air, or rocketing every human being in existence away from planet Earth simultaneously before Stardust can set it right. The vitality of Hanks’ expression isn’t on a par with Winsor McCay and George Herriman but does have something of that flavor of strange distant fever dreams from long ago…...
 

 

 

 

 
More amazing Fletcher Hanks frames and a Q&A with author Paul Karasik, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Norma Bates: Woman slept with dead mother for five years
11.20.2014
08:22 am

Topics:
R.I.P.
Unorthodox

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The emotional trauma caused by the death of a loved one can cause humans to grieve in some tragic and bizarre ways. I was once at a funeral where a distraught wife attempted to hurl herself on top of her husband’s coffin as it was lowered into the ground. This is nothing compared to the poor grief-stricken 55-year-old German woman who slept beside the mummified remains of her dead mother at their home in the suburb of Blumenau, Munich, for five years.

As The Local reports, neighbors became suspicious over the mother’s disappearance and contacted authorities. A local social worker then tried several times by telephone to arrange a visit to the daughter, but was fobbed off with various excuses. The social worker then decided to visit the apartment in person.

When the daughter wouldn’t open the door, he called the police. They and the fire service were able to get the door open and discovered the body inside in a double bed which the daughter had been sharing.

The daughter later admitted during questioning that her mother had died during March of 2009. She has been sent to a psychiatric institution.

An autopsy produced no evidence of foul play in the mother’s death.

Sleeping with the bodies of dead partners or relatives is not that uncommon. In 2013, New York police made a grim discovery when they visited the apartment of 28-year-old Chava Stirn, where they found the distraught young woman had been living with the skeletal remains of her dead mother. Stirn would sleep beside her mother’s remains she had placed on a chair. She would also lay the body on the table during meal times.
 
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The body of Marcel H.
 
In 2013, Belgian police discovered a 69-year-old woman had been sleeping with the mummified remains of her dead 79-year-old husband, Marcel H. for almost a year. The woman had been too distraught to notify the authorities over her husband’s demise after an asthma attack and had kept him in bed. The police were only notified after the woman had failed to pay her rent.

Le Van, a 55-year-old Vietnamese man, exhumed his dead wife, wrapped her in a paper effigy, and slept with the corpse for five years.
 
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Le Van and his dead wife.
 
In 2003, Xie Yuchen was found to have slept with his dead wife for eight years, after she died of a cerebral haemorrhage in 1995, while a woman in Argentina traveled to Mexico to sleep in the mausoleum of her dead husband. She told police:

“When you love someone, you do all sorts of things.”

 

 
H/T The Local.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Wild at the Wheel: 1970’s driving safety film makes you want to get funky and drive with caution
11.17.2014
06:01 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Unorthodox

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Wild at the Wheel
 
Part cautionary tale, part psychoanalysis of the 1970’s bored suburban teen, part strait-up fusiony funk throw-down, the film below, called Wild at the Wheel, fictionally explores the sad case of decidedly handsome, deceased 1970’s teen epitome Tom Robinson. Known by his friends as “Speedy” for reasons that become obvious, Tom’s silky, loosely buttoned western shirts and even silkier flowing golden locks earn him lots of chicks, but his hubristic need to constantly put the pedal to the metal proves to be his undoing.  After months of highway showboating and increasingly sporadic road theatrics, Tom finally rolls his beautiful, vintage forest green Mustang over a California cliff while trying to change the radio station. What could have caused this tragedy?

Wild at the Wheel is narrated by a local traffic investigator who’s taken an interest in the story partly because he happened to be Tom’s tight-shorted, side-burned softball coach before the tragic accident took place. This curly-haired funk detective’s got all kinds theories about what drove Tom over the edge, as it were. Was Tom compensating because he didn’t make first baseman at softball tryouts the other day? Was it Tom’s own aggressively driving father that set a poor example about masculinity and power? Or was it because Tom got turned down for that raise by his boss at the local drug store? All valid questions, but one thing we do know for sure from watching the film is that it clearly wasn’t Tom’s lack of tail that was causing him to drive like a maniac. He’s pretty much up to his eyeballs in smiling, feather-haired ladies throughout this whole thing.   

And then there’s the soundtrack. It just seriously makes you want rock out and form a Return to Forever cover band immediately. As one astute YouTube commenter mentions, the (at times) vaguely Goblin-esque soundtrack features a dirgey funk ballad called “Confunktion,” a smooth KPM stock recording by Dave Richmond that kind of kicks ass, leaving you confused about how to feel, especially since it shows up just as the paramedics are hauling off Tom’s bloody carcass. I was also able to identify another Dave Richmond track that appears later called Phase Out, also a piece of KPM stock recording and also ass-kicking. If there’s one unintentional takeaway from the film, it’s that awesomeness was in no short supply when it came to cheap, funky library scores in the 1970’s. 

Look, as Wild at the Wheel attempt to make clear, reckless driving is no laughing matter, especially when it involves hunky teens taken from us far too soon. On the other hand, this clip is pretty goddamned hilarious. Please refrain from watching it on your phone while driving!
 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
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