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Every Day is like Monday: ‘Morrissey Gets a Job’
09.29.2014
05:39 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Morrissey


 
Waaaaaaay back in 1999, Oakland, CA based artist and author Brian Brooks, who played a role in the creation of Emily The Strange, made a series of photocopied Rock ’n’ Roll coloring books, including the utterly classic Morrissey Gets a Job, an amusing speculative look at a possible post-Smiths life that could-have-been. Actually, the singer’s famously dreary disposition could make for a decent fit with the corporate office milieu. Think about it, Moz, there’s room to move in middle-management.

Even if you’ve never seen these, they might look somewhat familiar if you spent any time at all on the internet during the ‘oughts—the panels are detourned from Ready-to-Use Office and Business Illustrations, the same book of Tom Tierney clip-art that David Rees would famously pillage a couple of years later for Get Your War On.
 

 

 

 

 

 
More Moz in the workplace after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The designer purse that looks like a Happy Meal, only $1,050!
09.27.2014
09:07 am

Topics:
Fashion
Food

Tags:
Happy Meals
purse


 
I’ve never found the concepts of luxury and socialism to be mutually exclusive. Freddy Engels’ son-in-law called him “the great beheader of Champagne bottles,” so I’d argue the Left has a noble history of pleasure and indulgence. What I do object to is the terms by which we define “luxury” under capitalism. There are certain obvious factors that tend to make a good, product or service “precious.” If materials required are scarce or difficult to obtain, there should perhaps logically be an increase in price, but again, while the bourgeoisie retains monopolies and fixes prices (like in the diamond trade, for example), artificial scarcity can inflate prices to unconscionable heights.

There is also dear old Karl‘s Labor Theory of Value, which states that value is to be measured by the labor required to produce it. Again, this seems reasonable, but it’s clearly not reflected in wage labor or commodity pricing. In art, value is further complicated, as price is affected by very subjective factors, like “historical significance” (or speculation thereof) and “innovation.” (Not to mention social connections!) Once more, under capitalism, it’s the bourgeoisie that decides what is/will be historically significant, and it’s the bourgeoisie that decides what is innovative. This is why Jeff Koons can fart in a jar and sell it to a tacky-ass Greek billionaire for more than twenty times what you make in a year.
 

Also from the Moschino show. Take it one step further and dress like you work at an ultra chic McDonald’s!
 
Now, disregarding what I believe should be used to determine a justifiable price, let me point you to this $1,050 Happy Meal-inspired purse. I suppose it’s entirely possible that the bag is made from the leather of a rare sacred cow, or that it was hand-sewn by arthritic seamstresses, requiring countless hours to complete, but I have a hunch this is just another case of rich people being gullible fools—the luxury interpretation of “low-culture” is undoubtedly the most ignoble of bourgeois aesthetics. I suppose you could argue the bag is innovative, but only if you know absolutely nothing about fashion or kitsch—the lunchbox purse is practically a classic at this point, and I remember very vividly when these were the ubiquitous handbag for the artier Junior High School girls.

No, this purse, which comes from Moschino’s fall line, is simply an ironic joke about wealth of its owner—they’re paying for the laugh, the irreverence, and the sly wink that says, “Oh, I’m not like one of those rarefied rich people, I burn my glut of cash on dumb shit! Dumb shit that evokes a billion-dollar empire built on garbage food and poverty wages!” I saw shots of the Moschino fashion show that debuted the “Happy Eats Handbag” earlier in the year, but with its “low-culture”/service employee theme, I just assumed it was one of those high concept “runway-shows-as-art-exhibits” affairs, where very little of the line was actually, literally reproduced and sold as ready-to-wear.

Never underestimate the uninspired “zany” blandness of wealth. If you’re feeling cheap, but still want to luxuriate in poverty aesthetics, there are other options. The line also includes a Cheetos knock-off sweater for $750, or even McDonald’s-inspired iPhone case for $85.

That’s right boys and girls, for a trifling $85, you too can laugh along with the wealthy tastemakers!

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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It’s not easy being David Byrne: Kermit the Frog covers ‘Once in a Lifetime’


 
Here’s Kermit the Frog covering “Once in a Lifetime,” wearing the David Byrne oversized suit from Stop Making Sense and faithfully reproducing Byrne’s spastic movements from the video.

I can’t decide if Kermit’s endlessly reasonable (never truly frantic) voice actually fits this material—does it matter?—but it’s a hoot either way. This appeared on Muppets Tonight in 1996, and the voice of Kermit is provided by Steve Whitmire in this instance.

And it leads into a perfect Statler & Waldorf parting shot. Of course! 
 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Chromatically arranged garbage creates a rainbow of refuse
09.27.2014
08:15 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
garbage


 
Photographer Dan Tobin Smith acquired the materials for his installation “The First Law of Kipple,” through online solicitation. His website implored readers to send him their useless junk to be repurposed for the beautiful ombré of odds and ends you see here—arranged chromatically with meticulous attention to detail, and to stunning effect. The installation showed at the London Design Festival, and was viewed from the ambling pathway geometrically cleared from the piles.

Smith’s use of the word “kipple” comes from Philip K Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (the book Blade Runner was very loosely based on). Dick invented the word to describe the sort of purposeless objects that humans always manage to collect, and sometimes nearly drown in. Smith even provided a handy-dandy guide to what constituted kipple:

Answer YES to any question below and you’ve got kipple:

  • Does the object have an overall colour and fit within the colour map? (see gallery images)
  • Is the object be broken and no longer usable?
  • Could its function be replaced by a very small amount of human effort / intelligence? (eg silly kitchen equipment)
  • Is its main purpose to enable or function within a leisure activity? (eg sports objects golf club, cricket stumps etc)
  • Is the object purely ornamental?
  • Does the object have only novelty value?
  • Is the object clothing of a purely ornamental value? (eg feather boa, decorative belt, tie)
  • Is the object a piece of recently replaced or obsolete technology? (eg first generation iPad, early PC etc)
  • Is the object made for any religious ceremony, purpose?
  • Is the object a product of a pseudoscience, such as homeopathy?
  • Is the object discarded wrappers / packaging of any kind?
  • Is the object something that was once useful but has run out, like an empty gas bottle?
  • Is the object obsolete machinery of any kind that cannot be used for anything useful?
  • Is the object general detritus?
  • Can the object be described as a luxury, rather than a necessity?

Answer NO to any question below and you’ve got kipple:

  • Can it be used as an efficient tool in any way?
  • Is its primary design as an object to help feed, construct, protect or kill and does it have no other practical uses?
  • Can the object be re-appropriated to use as something useful?

The installation can leave one ambivalent. From afar, it feels like a triumph of artistic innovation—reusing waste to create something beautiful. Up close, the rainbow of garbage has a more alienating effect, as the mass production of kipple has left us with in a world crowded with objects devoid of preciousness, or even utility. Still, it collects, and as Dick said, “No one can win against kipple, except temporarily and maybe in one spot.”
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Colossal

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Pirate Radio, Revolution and the rise of Radio Študent

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In the folly of my youth I was once involved with a student anarchist group. Alas, this hapless caucus of surly fellow radicals were more inspired by the swagger of The Sex Pistols and The Clash than by any reading of Kropotkin or Bakunin.

On those odd occasions when we met to discuss plans for the overthrow of capitalism, ahem, we did fire up a few interesting ideas. One such was to start an illegal radio station to broadcast revolutionary hymns (and punk rock) across the west end of Glasgow. Unfortunately, we never had enough radicals willing to take responsibility for setting the thing up and it all came to naught. Our lax attitude was (sadly) best summed up by a leather-jacketed Joe Strummer wannabe who kept asking, “Where’s all the free stuff?”

If only we had been a bit more like Slovenia’s Radio Študent who knows where we could have gone?
 
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Radio Študent came out of the political turmoil and student unrest of the late 1960s. Established in May 1969 by a handful of radical students at Ljubljana University, the station originally broadcast for just three hours a day, offering its listeners a potent mix of music and politics—an alternative voice to the country’s heavily censored and state controlled media. The station’s popularity grew during the 1970s as Radio Študent became the main source for dissent. With the influence of punk, the station attracted more journalists and campaigners and Radio Študent played in a major part in the movement for Slovenia’s independence in the Revolution of 1989.
 
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Now Radio Študent has over 250 contributors and broadcasts 24 hours a day. Though money is tight, people become involved with the station “because they believe in what they are doing.”

If you have an interest in radical media or in finding out how others have successfully created their own revolutionary outlet, then Siniša Gačić‘s short documentary on Radio Študent is a must.
 

 
H/T Voices of East Anglia

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Have some coke and a smile: When McDonald’s coffee stirrers became the nation’s coke spoon of choice
09.26.2014
11:32 am

Topics:
Amusing
Drugs
Food

Tags:
cocaine
McDonalds


 
Many of you reading this site who also lived through the 1970s as an adult probably have share your of wild stories involving cocaine. That subset of readers is probably aware of the quirky way that McDonalds inadvertently created a piece of cocaine paraphernalia and even became almost synonymous with cocaine in certain contexts. The rest of you, maybe not so much.

In the late 1970s, McDonalds introduced a combination coffee spoon/stirrer that had the company’s name on the handle and a tiny egg-shaped bowl or scoop on one end, while the other end was proudly crowned with the company’s double arches logo. Basically this spoon was, quite by accident, absolutely perfect for use as a coke spoon. The scoop could hold precisely 100 milligrams of cocaine, some have claimed, which made it an ideal measuring device in addition to providing an easy way for coke addicts to snort the stuff. And America’s largest corporations had just deposited countless millions of them all across the country. It was inevitable that cheeky cocaine users would adopt it.

Inadvertently, McDonalds had created the People’s Coke Spoon. 
 

 
Remarkably, the adoption of the McDonalds stirrers as a helpful cocaine device was not limited to the product’s user base. Far from it. According to Barbara Mikkelson at snopes.com (which has confirmed the story), “The practice of using these implements in such fashion became so widespread that at least in some cities, a dose of cocaine was dubbed a ‘McSpoon’ because it came packaged in the tiny coffee stirrers from McDonald’s restaurants. ... In 1992 an undercover detective in Columbus, Ohio, said McSpoons were commonly sold ten to a bundle in that town and twelve to a bundle in Detroit” (emphasis added).

Understandably, McDonalds wasn’t thrilled to see their fine name being used as shorthand for one of the most widespread Schedule II controlled substances as defined by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Eventually the McDonalds spoon became a flat coffee stirrer. According to snopes.com, a spokesman for McDonald’s Corp. named Doug Timberlake stated at the time that the fast-food chain had chosen to redesign its spoons because “It has been brought to our attention that people are using them illegally and illicitly for purposes for which they are not intended.”
 

Three of the McSpoons alongside three of the redesigned flat version
 
According to a pretty entertaining reddit thread about the “McSpoon,” it was common for coke users to “break away the long middle section and melt the little spoon end to the McDonald’s logo.” When another user asks why on earth anyone would go to so much trouble, the response given is, “You did it so it would fit in a cigarette box.” If you click here you can see what I believe is a Photoshopped image representing what that would look like, I don’t think it’s a photograph of such a stirrer.

Understandably, the “McSpoon” has become the nostalgia artifact for some people. Right now you can buy a lot of 50 McSpoons for $60 on eBay.

In 2005 the artists Tobias Wong and “Ju$t Another Rich Kid” (founded by Ken Courtney) teamed up to create Coke Spoon 02, from “the Indulgent series,” which is described below. Coke Spoon 02 is a version of the McSpoon made of gold-plated bronze, while Coke Spoon 01 is a ballpoint pen cap made of the same expensive material. You can see pics of these items at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art website. Wong unfortunately died in 2010, but he endeared himself to me by calling his own body of work “postinteresting,” which is hilarious.
 

 
Predictably, McDonalds sent out a cease and desist letter with alacrity.

As Fox News reported at the time:

“The piece was part of the pair’s 2005 ‘Indulgences’ collection, inspired by the luxury goods market and designed to be the ultimate gift for the wealthy bachelor who had it all, said Courtney of Ju$t Another Rich Kid. ‘Indulgences’ featured gold-plated Playboy swizzle sticks, 24-karat gold pills meant to be swallowed, golden dumbbells and another golden coke spoon cast from the cap of a BIC pen.” Wong was quoted as saying, “It’s kind of the pop culture of today with a bling twist.” Philip Wood, the creative director of CITIZEN:Citizen, which had been showing the piece, said, “I think it’s a shame because I don’t think there’s any intent in damning anybody’s reputation. ... It really is a comment on how these objects change shape when they get into culture.”

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Flaming Creatures: Icon of perversion Jack Smith’s fabulous photographs
09.26.2014
10:53 am

Topics:
Art
Sex

Tags:
photography
Jack Smith

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Jack Smith was a visionary performance artist and underground filmmaker who produced and directed a series of no-budget films during the 1950s and 1960s, the most famous being Flaming Creatures and Normal Love both from 1963. Smith peopled his camp B-movie melodramas with friends, and often shot them on out-of-date film stock. As a filmmaker he seemed often careless about the fate of his movies, but their success and influence was far greater than the size of the audience that saw them. John Waters hailed Smith as “the only true underground filmmaker.” Susan Sontag described the controversial and allegedly pornographic Flaming Creatures as “a rare modern work of art; about joy and innocence.” While Andy Warhol said Smith was the only filmmaker he would steal from.

Smith was also a photographer whose beautiful prints have rarely been seen outside of a gallery exhibition. Many of his images capture moments from his films, or portraits of the cast and friends.  They vary from the haunting and dreamlike to the comically irreverent—yet all are fabulously beautiful.
 
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Three self-portraits:
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It used to be that screenings of Jack Smith’s films were raided by New York’s vice squad and they were all but impossible to see for many years. Not anymore. To demonstrate just how far the culture war goalposts have moved since the early 1960s, what was once considered utterly depraved is now on YouTube getting piped right into your home or handset.

Below, the longer edit of Smith’s Normal Love:
 

 
H/T The Heavy Mental and Photo 2a.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Goofy commercial hawking KISS makeup kit, 1978
09.26.2014
09:51 am

Topics:
Amusing
Pop Culture

Tags:
1970s
KISS

Kiss kids
 
By the late 1970s, KISS mania was in full swing, and many products bearing the band’s logo were available. Some of this stuff—trading cards, action figures, even a pinball machine—had little to do with rock-n-roll, but were a perfect fit for a band now seen by many kids as superheroes.
 
KISS comic book
 
Those same kids were amongst those attending KISS concerts made-up to look their favorite member of the group, so one piece of merchandise that made total sense was the KISS Your Face Makeup Kit.
 
KISS fans
 
KISS fans
 
Check out this 1978 commercial for the makeup kit, which partially succeeds in attempts at self-conscious humor, but is also just plain goofy.

Halloween will be here before you know it, KISS fans—get yours NOW!
 

 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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Post-Rave Parking Lot: This 90s answer to ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ is LOL funny
09.26.2014
09:29 am

Topics:
Amusing
Dance
Drugs
Music

Tags:
Raves


 
Here’s a short video documenting the, er, aftermath of a post Fantazia rave event that occurred on December 31, 1993 in Hungerford, Wiltshire. According to Wikipedia, over 16,000 people attended the event.

Much like the 1986 video documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot, you get a brief—and kinda hilarious—glimpse into the lives of some of the folks who were at the Fantazia rave. Trust me on this, the video is all about the girl wearing the black hat and plaid jacket. She never stops. She’s like the Energizer Bunny on the best E ever!

Interviewer: Are you guys going to stop ever or are you going to keep dancing forever?

Girl: I can keep dancing forever, me. Well, at least till I remember where I put my car.

This is well worth the watch for shits and giggles. I just wish it were longer.
 

 
via WFMU on Twitter

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Birth of the heavy: 50 years of The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’
09.26.2014
09:01 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
The Kinks
Dave Davies


 
The misconception that a pre-Yardbirds/Zeppelin Jimmy Page played the hectic guitar solo on the Kinks’ stunningly durable first hit “You Really Got Me” seems like it will never die, despite being denied repeatedly, for decades, by the song’s producer Shel Talmy, Page himself, and Kinks guitarist Dave Davies, who, as the actual pair of hands behind that solo, must be singularly miffed that he’s been so widely denied credit for it for five decades. (Davies also famously invented, by slashing the speaker cone of his cheap amp, the guitar distortion effect that became practically a requirement in hard rock forever after that song hit. It bears mentioning that he was 17 years of age at the time.)

Just this last summer, a BBC documentary called London’s Tin Pan Alley: Danny Baker’s Musical History Tour repeated the long-debunked Page myth, prompting a response on Davies’ Facebook profile:
 

 
That justifiably salty post was the next day toned down a bit to this:
 

 
Perhaps the error is being corrected, as the doc is, as of this posting, no longer available for viewing on the BBC’s web site.

The song first appeared on Billboard’s charts on September 26, 1964—fifty years ago today. Its success was dramatic. The Kinks had two flop singles behind them, and their contract with the Pye records label was for three singles. “You Really Got Me” didn’t just launch the Kinks’ career, it saved it, and the label didn’t even approve of its release. Details of the single’s backstory are bared in Thomas M. Kitts book Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else.

The Kinks’ path…began on August 4, 1964, with the release of “You Really Got Me.” Although audiences had responded enthusiastically to the song since the Dave Clark Five tour, record executives thought it too loud and crude, lacking in melody, and too far removed from the harmonies and smooth rhythms of the popular Merseybeat sound—one executive, according to Ray, compared Dave’s guitar to a “barking dog.” Pye Records would have preferred the Kinks to record something else for their third and, most likely, final single. But with two failed efforts behind them and their career in jeopardy, the Kinks insisted on “You Really Got Me,” and to anger executives further, the barely twenty-year-old, unproven lead singer and composer demanded to re-record the song because the production on the first recording dissatisfied the band. Pye only yielded to Davies because Larry Page, the representative of Kassner Music assigned to the Kinks, threatened to withhold the mechanical license to the song. Pye agreed to allow the Kinks to re-record “You Really Got Me,” but at the band’s expense—costs were assumed by Wace and Collins [London businessmen who supported the Kinks early on]. Then, having fulfilled its end of a three-single contract with the Kinks, the company could release the band from the label.

 

 
That should go down in history as shocking executive myopia to rival the famous Decca honcho who passed on the Beatles.

Here are the Kinks performing the song on Shindig in 1965.
 

 
Dave Daives new solo album Rippin’ Up Time is due out in October.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Kink think: Luscious fashion ads from 1966 starring Dave Davies—and Terylene, the wonder fabric
Was the Kinks’ ‘Dead End Street’ promo film the world’s first concept music video?
The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’: Kinky Barbie version

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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