Wiley Wallace‘s meticulous canvases depict a peculiar universe in which fantastical things happen, usually in nature with kids involved. They suggest an unholy mashup of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy and Jeff Nichols’ 2016 movie Midnight Special. (Why Wiley’s work reminds of works by people named “Jeff” is as yet not clear to me.)
Wallace’s art is what you’d get if you tried to create a Spielbergian “kids in peril” classic on mescaline. Interestingly, Wallace says that he uses his own children as models for the characters in his paintings. A press release states that “at times realistic depictions deliquesce into abstract blurs of bright colors, while at others subtle apparitions make their way into otherwise unassuming everyday scenes.” Yeah, they “deliquesce”......
At any rate, I hereby nominate Wallace to be given the contract for the key art of Stranger Things season 3. (Season 2 of Stranger Things starts in just a few weeks, by the way.)
Previously on Dangerous Minds, m’colleague Cherrybomb highlighted the amusing trend in Asia for wearing wildly offensive t-shirts and wondered whether the wearers of such sartorial eloquence knew what their shock tops actually meant?
The answer is: probably not.
These fashion statements are like those unfortunate Chinese tattoos hipsters sport which identify the wearer as being “Ugly,” or “Unclean,” or a “Pimp.” But at least with a t-shirt, the offending words are not so permanent and can be easily replaced with something more suitable.
Certainly, it’s unclear whether all of these fashion faux pas are worn by accident rather than by design. I doubt the children know what they’re broadcasting (“I ♡ Female Orgasm”—but of course you do!), though do think a few of the college students just might (“I may not be Mr. Right but…” etc.). It’s probably just “cool” to wear something written in English. Like when I was a kid, I thought it cool to wear a fashionable dress shirt covered in pictures of Steve McQueen and various quotes from the film Papillon. The text was tiny but on closer examination, discovered it contained a litany of “fucks” and “fuckings” and a paragraph all about masturbation and how it sapped strength. Who knew? I certainly didn’t, nor did my parents—until it was too late. But knowing that this shirt may have caused offense or have people think I was some kind of compulsive masturbator never once stopped me from wearing it. Why would it?
All of these pictures are the work of street photographer Alex Greenberg, who documents every day life, its quirks and fashions, on Shanghai’s busy streets. He shares his pictures via his Shanghai Observed Instagram and Facebook accounts and for amusement purposes alone is well worth following.
As quickly as the young Kate Bush had won over the British public, she was even more of an overnight sensation in Japan where she performed “Moving” at the Nippon Budokan arena during the 7th annual international Tokyo Music Festival. The performance was broadcast on Japanese television on June 21, 1978 and was watched by an estimated audience of 35 million people. Bush came in second, awarded the silver prize, to American soul singer Al Green.
You’ll note that her microphone is nestled inside of the flowers that she’s wearing, allowing her free movement during a song called… “Moving” (inexplicably retitled as something that translates as “Angels and Little Demons” when it was released in Japan as a single). The song was from her debut album The Kick Inside and is a tribute to Lindsay Kemp, who taught Bush (and before her David Bowie) mime in the mid-Seventies.
Kate Bush performs at the Tokyo Music Festival in June 1978.
Bush may not have nabbed the top prize at the contest, but an offer did come her way immediately afterwards for a lucrative commercial sponsorship deal for Seiko watches that must’ve taken the sting out of losing.
Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant back in the day, perhaps recalling some good times at Chat Noir in 1973.
I haven’t really thought about Led Zeppelin in a while, so the other day I started poking around looking at photos of the band taken back in the early 70s (don’t judge). It was one hell of a rabbit hole where I came across an infamous shot of Zeppelin taken by photographer Bengt H. Malmqvist in Stockholm in 1973. The photo in question featured the members of Zeppelin watching a couple have sex on top of a table displaying their gold records. The bizarre image was part of a larger series attributed to Malmqvist containing 56 black and white negatives, one set of photos and two contact maps which were up for auction in 2010—though it’s unclear if they ever sold. The photos of Zep taken by Mr. Malmqvist were shot inside Chat Noir—one of Stockholm’s premiere sex clubs, and according to the auction site Bonhams, Malmqvist was the only photographer allowed to shoot the event.
The Chat Noir itself was the epitome of what one might imagine a high-end sex club to be like. The establishment prided itself on being “classy” by offering what they described as a “luxury” sex experience which would routinely feature female stars from Stockholm and other locations around the world, and even some sort of sexy “wizard” which according to folklore about Chat Noir was especially popular with Japanese businessmen. The club, considered at the time to be one of Stockholm’s most glamorous, was also a popular site used by the Swedish sex film industry and several movies were shot on there including Anita: Swedish Nymphet. That film came out the same year Led Zeppelin was welcomed by the club to receive four gold records from Metronome Records in honor of their record sales. True to form, the whole salacious event was orchestrated by the band’s manager, the notorious Peter Grant.
Below, a few of the images from Zeppelin’s infamous visit to the Chat Noir, plus a full page account of what went down that night that was published in a Swedish magazine in 1973.
Robert Plant and a friend at the Chat Noir, 1973. Photo by Bengt H. Malmqvist.
Jimmy Page, (allegedly) Pamela Des Barres, and John Bonham hanging out at Chat Noir in 1973. Photo by Bengt H. Malmqvist.
A gorgeously vibrant poster “Space is the Place” by Kilian Eng. The poster was created for a 2015 exhibit called “Alien Encounters” curated by the Nottingham Contemporary Museum.
Kilian Eng is a digital artist working under the moniker of DW Design in Stockholm, Sweden. Now 35, the artist has been actively working in the digital illustration industry after graduating with both a bachelor and masters degree in illustration and storytelling. His futuristic and often psychedelic work has been published by magazines and other periodicals around the world such as Heavy Metal, The New York Times, as well as creating movie posters for the Austin, Texas-based Mondo.
Eng’s medium is modern however his many influences are artists who came long before his time such as the masterful Moebius, and American comic book legend, Geof Darrow. Darrow is best known for his work for the gritty comic from Dark Horse, Hard Boiled which was written by the equally legendary Frank Miller (Daredevil, Sin City and a litany of other notable comics too numerous to name here). His work is visually arresting as is his use of color schemes to entice the viewer. Eng’s vast work with Mondo includes his trippy artistic treatments for the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, John Carpenter, and David Lynch. Given his reputation, some of our readers are probably already familiar with Eng’s work. If you are not then you are truly in for a treat as I’ve posted an excellent, large selection of Eng’s impossibly cool work below for you to scroll through. If you like what you see, you should look into picking up one or all of Eng’s uber-successful trilogy of books, Object 5: Works by Kilian Eng, Object 10: Works by Kilian Eng, and 2016’s Object 15: Works by Kilian Eng.
Dolenz also directed the TV film of a one-act play by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. The Box was based on Buchanan’s Finest Hour, the second of two short plays that made up Palin and Jones’ Their Finest Hours. A footnote in Palin’s diaries gives these plot summaries:
Underwood’s Finest Hour is set in a labour room with a mother straining to give birth and a doctor straining to listen to a particularly exciting Test Match. Buchanan’s Finest Hour is about a marketing idea gone awry. The cast, including the Pope, are trapped inside a packing crate throughout.
Everyone has something—that ONE THING—from their youth that they wish they had kept and still had today. Mine? The most regrettable thing I’ve ever loved and lost? A nearly lifesize cardboard cutout “standee” advertising the Cut album by the Slits. All three of them, covered in mud and at least 4 1/2 feet tall. In pristine condition, too. Yep, I used to own that. I can psychically feel the envy of several of you reading this. I bought it for eight pounds at the Portobello Market sometime in 1983 and carefully dragged it home via the London underground back to my squat on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton. I loved that thing. It was unquestionably my prized possession at the time. Problem was, when I moved to New York in late 1984, there was no practical way to get it across the Atlantic that wouldn’t have been prohibitively expensive to then 19-year-old me without bending it and fucking it up too much. It was too fragile and unwieldy for anything other than fine art shipping, so I ruefully gave it to a friend who was more than happy to eagerly take it off my hands.
I’m bummed out just thinking of it. It sucked then and it still sucks today, some 33 years later. Don’t think I haven’t scoured eBay for years searching for another! Can you imagine how much such a museum-level artifact of punk would go for today? SHIT!
I bought Cut when it first came out and I saw it filed in the “import” section of the local mall’s Musicland store (the same bin where I’d also discover X-Ray Spex, Henry Cow, Peter Hammill and Tubular Bells). Its punky reggae sound was very, very appealing to me straight off the bat. I’d read about the Slits, in books like Caroline Coon’s 1988 and in the few issues of Melody Maker that made their way to my rust belt hometown, but they were probably the last of the formative punk bands to put a record out. When I did finally hear them, Cut was a bolt from the blue to my teenaged, rock-crazed brain and the Slits more than lived up to the larger-than-life idea that I already I had of them. It sounded exactly like I expected it to, in other words. The Slits were, to my young ears, amongst the most sonically “far out” and experimental of the post-punk groups, in the same category as Public Image Ltd. (who were my #1 favorite band) in terms of the astonishing originality of their music.
For the Slits’ sound was like none other, a perfectly melded hybrid of playfully loopy, almost itchy punk, dub-drenched reggae and Afro-pop with the riotous white-Rastafarian-cum-St. Trinian’s-girl-run-amok front woman in the form of Ari Up (who was all of fourteen when she joined the group). Truly the unruly, inspired, nearly uncategorizable MUSIC of the Slits deserves a better place in the history of modern music than it’s been accorded thus far. Of course, their gender has everything and nothing whatsoever to do with what made the Slits so great.
One reason for this disconnect between their by now historically well-established reputation as formative feminist icons of British punk and how amazing and special their actual music was, is clearly the fact of the relative unobtainability of Cut‘s arguably better follow-up Return of the Giant Slits. That album was never released in America at all. Additionally, for the better part of 26 years it was only ever available from 2004 on as a pricey Japanese import CD until it was finally reissued in 2008 by Blast First. Sadly, to this day few people know the album, including no doubt many, if not most, of the people who profess to love its more roughly-hewn predecessor.
Return of the Giant Slits represented a huge leap forward for the group who were joined on drums and percussion by Bruce Smith of the Pop Group. Aside from Ari’s almost childishly obnoxious vocalizing, there was precious little in common with their first album. The shambolic, off-kilter feel of Cut was replaced by a lighter, more nimble sound. Viv Albertine’s guitar sound went from being (perfectly) plodding to scratchy, skittish, skipping, full of uniquely oblique angles and wonderfully complemented by Smith’s complex Afrobeat-inspired percussion and Tessa Pollitt’s rubbery bass. Much credit is deserved by the noted British multi-instrumentalist Steve Beresford whose tripped-out, atmospheric sound effects, melodica and trombone contributions—he’s all over the album—elevate the proceedings to another level entirely. Once I was able to get my hands on some “real” (Jamaican) dub, I was disappointed that it seldom lived up to the psychedelic standards set for me by Return of the Giant Slits.
Apart from album covers, Hipgnosis also designed a series of fashion spreads for the softcore porn mag Club International and its more hardcore American edition Club.
Club International was founded by porn supremo Paul Raymond, who ran the legendary strip club the Raymond Revuebar in London’s seedy Soho district and a series of best-selling porn mags. Under its first editor Tony Power, Club International was intended as a high-quality adult entertainment magazine mixing the best of writers with the finest photographers and designers.
Hipgnosis was hired to add a classy touch to the magazine’s fashion spreads. The gig allowed Thorgerson and Powell to try-out a few ideas which they would later re-use on album covers—the flasher who would reappear on Pink Floyd’s A Nice Pair, for instance, while the water-in-the-face shots would feature on Peter Frampton’s Something’s Happened. See more Hipgnosis glorious work here.
See more of Hipgnosis’ fashion work for Club International, after the jump…
Before the advent of photography as a widespread practice available to common citizens, it was not unusual to take casts of the faces of prominent personages in the moments after death. For those who had logged noteworthy accomplishments, it was a way to fix the memory of that person, to remind one of his (seldom her) reality. A quick round of Googling reveals the existence of death masks of such well-known folks as Abraham Lincoln, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Napoleon, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Ulysses S. Grant, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), Martin Luther, Richard Wagner, and Isaac Newton.
Once you hit the mature years of the 20th century, death masks become far rarer. For some reason there is one for James Dean, and Nazis are statistically overrepresented in the group, there being death masks for Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, and Erwin Rommel. It’s not a thing we do anymore. In the age of Facebook, even un-famous people are often photographed incessantly, so the need is not as pressing to fix our memory of a person’s visual appearance. There’s always plenty of pictures out there!
To the best of my knowledge, there never was a death mask taken of the distinctive visage of David Bowie, but a “life mask” was taken, during the making of Tony Scott’s moody vampire flick The Hunger. In one point in The Hunger, the vampire John Blaylock rapidly ages several decades, so it was necessary to depict Bowie as an old man. Rather than subject Bowie to extra makeup sessions, the life mask was taken to make life easier for Dick Smith, in charge of makeup effects for the movie.
At the risk of being called morbid, it would certainly be an apt sign of devotion to have a casting of Bowie’s life mask in your living room, and just such a possibility is currently being provided by Kirstie Hewer of Classic Castings, located in Warwickshire, England. They are made from plaster of Paris and come in white, silver, and copper as well as an iconic Aladdin Sane face paint version. The price for the single-color version is £40; the Aladdin Sane one is £60 (shipping in the U.K. is £6.50; international £30).
The lord and savior, Tom Waits, striking a Christ-like pose on a shower curtain by artist Hilan Can. The bible held by Waits contains lyrics from the musician’s 2004 single, “Dead and Lovely”
Sometimes one is fortunate enough to do what they have always wanted to do for a living—and I am living proof of that. Lots of people utter the phrase “thank god” without actually giving the words a second thought beyond using it as a mere expression. By the way, I’m one of those people, and though I wasn’t raised in an non-believing home, I’m pretty convinced that some unseen, unknown deity was not responsible for the creation of this world, nor should said (probably) non-existent deity be personally thanked when you achieve a goal, win a Grammy or dodge a bullet in the game of Russian roulette that is life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love my job—regardless if I’m writing about Iggy Pop doing coke while in rehab or in this case, fancy shower curtains with various, strange depictions of Jesus Christ emblazened on them. AMEN!
If you have been reading Dangerous Minds for a while, then you’ve been personally hipped to an obsession that I share with DM’s own Tara McGinley that concerns our preoccupation with designer shower curtains. To prove my point, I will tell you that just today I was looking for yet another new curtain for my bathroom (I need a support group, it’s true). Then I came across a curtain featuring Slim Jim spokesperson/one of the greatest WWE wrestlers of all time, Randy “Macho Man” Savage flying through the air about to land a perfect “big elbow” to the back of Jesus’ head. I do remember that particular image was a huge Internet meme following Savage’s passing in 2011 in a tragic car crash. Even in death, Macho wasn’t having any of it, not even when he arrived at Jesus’ nifty cloud house. Anyway, the discovery of that epic shower curtain led me to immediately pursue the availability of other alarming bathroom necessities that incorporated images of the Son o’ God in ways that most of us have never considered. All I can say is this—there is a blacklight shower curtain in this post of Jesus with a third eye and blood dripping from his other eyes. That’s all. No big deal. Some of the images below are NSFW.
Jesus as an astronaut, a more believable scenario than other stuff I’ve heard. Get it here.
The mythical Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. Jesus shower curtain. Get it here.
The equally mythical blacklight Jesus shower curtain. Bong and VHS copy of ‘The Song Remains the Same’ not included.