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Meet Hard Ton, the disco love-child of Divine, Sylvester & Leigh Bowery
11:35 am


Hard Ton
House music

Ladies and gentlemen, all the way from disco-licious Italy, let me introduce you to the wonderful Hard Ton!

This Italian house music performer comes across like the bastard offspring of Divine and Sylvester (and with more than a little Leigh Bowery to satisfy your outlandish-costume-and-make-up needs.) Hard Ton makes a righteous, soulful noise that harks back to the original pioneers of sleazy, seedy Chicago house like Mr Fingers and Robert Owens. In a sea of anonymous dance-music acts that seem happy to bask in the hazy glow of their battered MacBooks, Hard Ton stands out not just for making authentically retro-sounding house, but for making a huge visual statement that reminds us that house was once the realm of the weirdos and the outcasts.

Hard Ton is actually a duo composed of Mauro Wawashi, a formidable producer and DJ in his own right, and vocalist/front person Max, here taking a break from his day job in various metal tribute acts to channel his inner disco diva, including wrapping himself up in the kind of glad rags that would make a hooker blush. Being quite the big guy, this in itself is a bit of a statement, and a beautiful act of plus-size body positivity. Not surprisingly, Hard Ton are fast gaining a hardcore following among the gay bear community.

To my shame, I have known Hard Ton for quite a while now (we even shared a label, Dissident, a few years back) but have failed to feature them on Dangerous Minds before. Let’s remedy that right away! With a new EP to promote and a current tour of the States for Pride season, I sent the formidable Max some questions to wrap his tongue, and brain, around.

The Niallist: Who and what is Hard Ton?

Hard Ton: A multi-sensorial experience: you can dance to me, you can watch me, you can touch me. Sometimes you can also bite me.

The Niallist: What inspires you musically?

Hard Ton: Acid house, disco music, pop. But I suppose I got inspired from everything I ear, it could be a techno track in an underground club, a metal song in a concert, or the shit played on the radio. Outside of music I find inspiration in pop culture, club culture, photography, fashion and art. Well, some fashion and some art. And definitely all the queens who stood up against the police at Stonewall back in 1969!

The Niallist: What can someone expect form a Hard Ton show?

Hard Ton: A ton of meat screaming like a real diva. 

The Niallist: What is the strangest reaction you have had live?

Hard Ton: A guy kissed me in front of his girlfriend while I was singing, and I’m not talking about that kind of kiss that your mama would give you…

The Niallist: What is in the near future for Hard Ton?
Hard Ton
: Our new E.P. has just been released [via Killekill Records - check it out here], and we are very proud of it. We’ve also just finished a remix for S’Express, and produced some tracks for Paul Parker. And of course we are working on new tracks. As for an album… is there really anyone who still buys CDs? Well, I do!

Hard Ton “Work That Body”

You can find Hard Ton on Facebook, and keep up with the latest news via Hard Ton’s Twitter.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
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The ‘Rusty Knife’ of Arigó, Brazil’s amazing psychic surgeon
08:55 am


Psychic Surgery

With their sleeves surreptitiously stuffed with chicken blood and pig guts, so-called “psychic surgeons” have been hoaxing the vulnerable (the most vulnerable) for centuries.

Yet every vein of the paranormal has its hero, its standard-bearer… and psychic surgery is no exception. Nestled in its dubious and oft-maligned ranks is the charming, beguiling and relatively well-authenticated instance of Arigó, Brazil’s celebrated “surgeon of the rusty knife.”

Regardless of its veracity or verifiability, it is an incredible story—science and spirituality shaken together into a narrative cocktail worthy of the finest magical realist imagination.

Born José Pedro de Freitas in 1921 on a farm in the Brazilian Highlands, Arigó was an entirely unschooled miner up to the age of thirty. Then, however, his life took an unexpected turn, when he became plagued with terrible depression and headaches and hallucinations. A local spiritualist informed him that the maladies were symptomatic of a spirit’s attempting to work through him: they would persist, he was assured, until he obeyed the entity’s bidding.

How Arigó first succumbed to the will of this sprit (ostensibly a German surgeon called ‘Dr Adolphus Fritz’, who died during WWI) is one of the more colorful episodes of a colorful life. Attending some political convention with fellow miners around 1950, an entranced Arigó reportedly entered a sleeping senator’s hotel room, and carved out a recently diagnosed tumor with his razor.

A little later, he similarly plunged, blade first, into an unwell relative’s vagina, plucking the cancer from her uterus. In both instances, the recipients of such spontaneous and unorthodox treatment apparently experienced no pain or panic whatsoever, nor subsequent infection, and were completely healed—all elements that remained characteristic of this strange surgeon’s practice for years to come. (Arigó never, I should stress, made use of any anaesthetic.)

Arigó went on to treat thousands from every walk of Brazilian life, from peasants to politicians, sometimes up to 300 a day, never accepting payment, diagnosing with instant, unerring accuracy, and occasionally complimenting his free jazz operations with detailed prescriptions this illiterate and unschooled man would churn out in an unusually academic example of automatic writing. While at his work Arigó would speak, fittingly enough, in a thick German accent.

Although he operated in relative harmony with the medical profession—sometimes he would send people away without treatment, telling them a less transcendent physician would suffice—this establishment still persecuted him, in concert with the Catholic church, and Arigó would serve some time in jail for unlicensed practice. He died in 1971, a controversial legend and enigma.

Now cop the following: the American intelligence asset, psychic researcher, and author of The Sacred Mushroom Andrija Puharich’s account of his own time with Arigó—and his own brief but remarkable experience under the latter’s notorious blade. The not-a-little sinister Puharich’s credentials are far from impeccable (he was, after all, patron of that “spoon-bending” charlatan and spy Uri Geller), but his tale is still a powerful one…

Finally, watch some of Puharich’s bizarre footage for yourself, and see Arigó gouging out cysts, fishing out tumors and whipping out cataracts as if it ain’t no thing, while his unflinching patients sit there cool as cucumbers. You even see him rooting around in a guy’s skull.

While I would hardly describe the following as “safe for work” (puss flies, blood oozes), your correspondent happens to be an almighty wuss about this kind of thing, with an outright phobia of doctors, surgeries, surgeons, gory flicks et al— yet still managed to find this footage quite bearable. Either because it’s uncanny. Or because it’s bullshit. Take your pick…

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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Your new favorite cult film: ‘Grey Gardens’ fans will love ultra-twisted ‘Little Lady Fauntleroy’
11:45 am


Lauren Harries
Keith Allen

In the late 1980s, British talkshow host Terry Wogan introduced his viewers to the curious sight of ten-year-old James Harries, a supposed child prodigy “expert” on antiques.

The young Harries sported fancy dress, a bow tie and a curly bleached-blonde perm, making him look like a pint-sized Harpo Marx. However, Harries, apparently convinced of his own genius, was anything but silent, you see, and came off as an imperious, snobby and obnoxious kid to the general public, becoming one of those brats that you really love to hate. (To be honest, I can’t call to mind a similarly obnoxious kid from the entire history of American TV, either real or fictional. James Harries, as the British public were to find out, was a bit of both...).

Harries “act”—a supposed talent for spotting antiques at flea markets for a few pence that were worth thousands of pounds—was bullshit (based on a single example trumped up by his father to a local newspaper and then parlayed to televsion). The child published a guide to antiquing, Rags to Riches, and the family opened an antiques shop in Wales. As Harries got older, the novelty wore off and the family fell on hard times and lost their business.

The next time anyone heard about this strange little boy, it was in 2001 when the notorious dark lord of Fleet Street public relations, Max Clifford, whipped the tabloid papers in to a frenzy over his new client, now known as Lauren Charotte Harries. Money from the media interest is what funded Harries’ sex change. After this, with Clifford’s help, Harries went about trying to become a celebrity transsexual without that much success.

Enter comic actor Keith Allen (father of Lily) who made the 2004 documentary Little Lady Fauntleroy about Harries and her ludicrously dysfunctional family for Channel 4. It’s truly one of the most insane and riveting things I’ve ever seen. And don’t worry if you’ve never heard of James/Lauren Harries, because it doesn’t matter, you get crash landed from the very start into the world of this zany family—every one of them a “genius” with a PhD in Metaphysics from a fake university somewhere in America. They also confer advanced degrees on each other and believe themselves to be morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us, including the father, a convicted arsonist, who comes off like a caricature of a mad Tory. Allen does an admirable job of playing nice with the fucking crazy Harries family, but eventually, like the viewing audience, he just loses it on them.

You’ll be appalled, but you will watch the entire thing, I’m quite sure…

On Snag Films, so you’ll have to register first to see it:

Thank you Chris Campion!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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WTF?: An outdoor toilet in Scotland?
11:09 am



Santa delivering his presents early?

Either that, or perhaps some disgruntled customer taking revenge on the emporium below? Fish & Shits?

Not much else to be said about this picture other than to reassure Dangerous Minds’ readers that we do have indoor toilets in Scotland. I should know—I live in the Bonnie country.
Via The Poke (25 Reasons Why We Love Scotland)

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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07:23 am

Current Events

Ed Snowden
Ed Chiarini

...  according to conspiracy theorist Ed Chiarini (aka Dallasgoldbug) that is. I hope you didn’t think… Oh well, you’re here now. What’s done can’t be undone and all that.

Yes, as soon as this NSA story hit, I knew that my man Ed Chiarini—already responsible for “exposing” Iran’s Ahmadinejad as Henry Winkler (as you can read here in my DM article from last year)—would have something… interesting to say on the matter. He has far from disappointed.

Not only, you see, are Snowden and Zuckerberg apparently related (yeah I know, pretty freakin’ ironic), but the former is also apparently “played by” the same actor responsible for Tyler Clementi, the young man the media rather insensitively dubbed the “Rutgers sex-cam suicide.”

I’ll let Chiarini explain exactly how, suffice to say that you’ve gotta love conspiracy theorists like him. The mainstream media announces that the world is effectively a digital police state and they say, “Oh no it isn’t!” The daft, contrary buggers…

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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When Goths thought it was OK to go on Neo-Nazi talkshows

Boyd Rice: Wannabe Nazi or the original troll?

Larry Wessel’s 2011 Boyd Rice documentary Iconoclast was, I thought, an interesting way to spend four-odd hours. In it, Rice does come across as a curious individual, half dark lord and half fabulous fan-boy, with a mania for tiki bars, practical jokes, and a hundred other peculiar hobbies and fixations. It was noticeable however that the film—seemingly made in close collaboration with its subject—was also something of a white-wash regarding Rice’s flirtation with white-supremacy.

It seemed significant, for example, that the following appearance by Rice on the US Nazi Tom Metzger’s self-styled “controversial pro-white TV show” Race & Reason didn’t make Wessel’s capacious final cut. When not discussing electronic music’s “intrinsic whiteness,” and deriding “pitiful liberal humanist values,” Rice, Tom Metzger, and the show’s co-host (a Neo-Nazi Hank Kingsley!) find common ground concerning Adolf Hitler’s underrated prose style. “Whenever you see Mein Kampf referred to in print,” muses Rice, “they always use the exact same words—they call it turgid prose and incoherent and stuff (…) when you read it it’s like the exact opposite.” (Which, according to the Thesaurus, throws up the following antonyms: “humble, modest, quiet, reserved, self-effacing, balanced, collected, normal, sane.” Sounds like Mein Kampf to me!)

More after the jump…

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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Highly disturbing human/dolphin ‘face swap’
09:09 am


Face Swap

Whoever is behind this horrifying face swap should be tarred-and-feathered.

I don’t like this.

Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘The Burning Ghat’: Short film starring original Beat Herbert Huncke

The Burning Ghat is a strange, yet revealing short film that reveals something of the relationship between original Beat, Herbert Huncke, and his long-time companion and room-mate, Louis Cartwright.

Huncke was a petty crook and junkie, who hustled around Times Square in the 1940s, where he met William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. It was Huncke who originally introduced these 3 young writers to the “Beat Life,” and became a major inspiration on their writing.

Not long after meeting him, Ginsberg wrote in his journal:

Who is Herbert Huncke? When I first knew him I saw him in what I considered the ‘glamorous’ light of a petty criminal and Times Square hustler who was experienced in the ways, thoughts, and activities of an underground culture which is enormously extensive. The attempt to dismiss him because of his social irresponsibility is something that I was never able to conceive as truthful or productive. I saw him as a self-damned soul—but a soul nonetheless, aware of itself and others in a strangely perceptive and essentially human way. He has great charm. I see that he suffers, more than myself, more than anyone I know of perhaps; suffers like a saint of old in the making; and also has cosmic or supersensory perceptions of an extraordinary depth and openness.

Louis Cartwright was a photographer (he took the portrait of Huncke above), drug addict and alleged pimp. According to Huncke, he was also someone not to be trusted. In 1994, Cartwright was stabbed to death, and his murder still remains unsolved.

The Burning Ghat was directed by James Rasin (Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar) and Jerome Poynton, and was filmed in Huncke’s apartment on Henry Street, New York.

Allen Ginsberg wrote of the film, “O Rare Herbert Huncke, live on film! The Burning Ghat features late-in-lifetime old partners Huncke & Louis playing characters beyond themselves with restrained solid self-awareness, their brief masquerade of soul climaxing in an inspired moment’s paradox bittersweet as an O’Henry’s tale’s last twist”.

Harry Smith said of the film, “It should have been longer”.

The Burning Ghat was featured at the 53rd Venice Biennial, and included in the Whitney Museum’s “Beat Culture and the New America” show of 1996. It won the Gold Plaque Award for Best Short Film at the 1990 Chicago International Film Festival.

Made the same year Huncke published his autobiography Guilty of Everything, this was to be his only on-screen, acting performance.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

‘Original Beats’: A film on Herbert Hunke and Gregory Corso

Out-takes from ‘Original Beats’ featuring Herbert Huncke, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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A Guide to Hobo Symbols

I don’t remember if we called them “hobos,” but I do recall occasionally seeing “hobo marks” made in chalk or charcoal on walls or the sides of houses, when I was a child growing-up in Scotland. The marks were mainly lines, circles, or arrows, and rarely anything elaborate.I thought there was something exciting, even romantic, about these simple marks, mainly because I knew here was a secret code that denoted some act of kindness or, gave a warning to others who followed. 

These few men were itinerant workers, who chapped doors in search of odd-jobs, or offered to sharpen tools, mend fences, mow lawns. They passed through towns in summer and fall, moving on to farms, where they picked fruit. My grandmother told me of how she had made “jeely pieces” for such men, and had given them sweet tea and a “tanner” for their pocket. She said some were ex-military, who had lost their way after the War.

There was also Highland travelers (“Summer walkers”), who migrated south for work, and “onion Johnnies,” traders who cycled over from France to sell onions and garlic. All of these men seemed to have a nobility and were different from the “jakeys” or winos, who congregated around railway stations and town centers, mooching for change.

In America it was different, hobos first appeared at the end of the Civil War, and they moved across country in search of work with the arrival of the railroad. By 1911, it was estimated there were 700,000 hobos in America. By the 1950s, this number had dramatically fallen—as Jack Kerouac, who was no stranger to the hobo-life, noted in Lonseome Traveler:

“The American hobo has a hard time hoboing nowadays due to the increase in police surveillance of highways, railorad yards, sea shores, river bottoms, embankments and the thousand-and-one hiding holes of industrial night. - In California, the rat pack, the original old type who goes walking from town to town with supplies and bedding on his back, the “Homeless Brother”, has practically vanished, along with the ancient gold-panning desert rat who used to walk with hope in his heart through struggling Western tons that are now so prosperous they dont want old bums any more. - ‘Man dont want no pack rats here even though they founded California’ said an old man hiding with a can of beans and an Indian fire in a river bottom outside Riverside California in 1955.”

Today, the hobo life continues, and every second weekend in August, a Hobo Convention is held, with races, carnivals and the crowning of the Hobo King and Queen.
With thanks to Sig Waller

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Send our ships out, into uncharted waters’: Sebastian Horsley on ‘Extreme Living’

A friend described the late, lamented artist, writer, and renowned dandy, Sebastian Horsley as a kind and good man, who didn’t quite always think things through.

One winter, in Edinburgh, Horsley had taken pity on a poor down-and-out, who he invited back to his apartment, which he shared with another. Horsley genuinely wanted to help the man, and offered him food, drink, cigarettes, and a warm night’s sleep in bed. The poor man took to it immediately.

Horsley was rather pleased with his role as a good Samaritan, and was about to retire, when his roommate retuned to find a filthy, foul-smelling, piss-stained inebriate under his covers.
‘Why did you give him my bed?’ his roommate asked.
‘I thought he could do with a night’s sleep,’ Horsley replied.
‘But where am I going to sleep?’
‘O, I hadn’t thought of that.’

Here is Mr. Horsley (dressed in a black sequined suit, “looking half Liberace, half Nazi,”) displaying the charm, wit and honesty that made him such a well-loved man, as he discusses clothes, his ban from entering the U.S.A. (on grounds of “moral turpitude”), his autobiography Dandy in the Underworld, and why we should send “our ships out into uncharted waters—for this is the way we will discover ourselves.”

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Sebastian Horsley: Never an Ordinary Man, an interview from 1995


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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