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‘Time of the Assassins’: William S. Burroughs’ cut-up version of Time Magazine, 1965
10.30.2014
08:23 am

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:
William S. Burroughs
Brion Gysin
Time Magazine


 
One of the favored forms of Beat author William S. Burroughs was that of the “cut-up,” basically fancy talk for “collage.” After the Dadaists pioneered the technique in the 1920s, the midcentury artist who had done the most with it was Brion Gysin, a close friend of Burroughs, who once called Gysin “the only man I ever respected.” Gysin stumbled on the technique on his own around 1954 when he slashed a newspaper page and noticed that the page underneath created interesting juxtapositions. Gysin showed Burroughs the cut-up concept in the late 1950s, as he related in Cut-Ups: A Project for Disastrous Success:
 

William Burroughs and I first went into techniques of writing, together, back in room No. 15 of the Beat Hotel during the cold Paris spring of 1958. ... Burroughs was more intent on Scotch-taping his photos together into one great continuum on the wall, where scenes faded and slipped into one another, than occupied with editing the monster manuscript. ... Naked Lunch appeared and Burroughs disappeared. He kicked his habit with apomorphine and flew off to London to see Dr Dent, who had first turned him on to the cure. While cutting a mount for a drawing in room No. 15, I sliced through a pile of newspapers with my Stanley blade and thought of what I had said to Burroughs some six months earlier about the necessity for turning painters’ techniques directly into writing. I picked up the raw words and began to piece together texts that later appeared as “First Cut-Ups” in Minutes to Go (Two Cities, Paris 1960).

 

William S. Burroughs, photograph by Brion Gysin
 
In 1965 Gysin and Burroughs collaborated on a cut-up version of Time Magazine that would end up being 27 pages long. According to Jed Birmingham, “Time was published in 1965 in 1000 copies. 886 copies comprised the trade edition. These copies were unnumbered and unsigned. 100 copies were signed by Burroughs and Gysin. 10 copies numbered A-J were hard bound and contained a manuscript page of Burroughs and an original colored drawing by Gysin. 4 more were hors commerce. ... An hors commerce print was used as the color key and printing guide that the printer would use to insure consistency of the print run.”

Apparently, Burroughs and Gysin chose the November 30, 1962, cover of Time to mess with because that issue contained a dismissive review of Naked Lunch under the title “King of the YADs,” where “YAD” stood for “Young American Disaffiliates.” Burroughs was greatly irritated by the review.
 

 
The Time cut-up was described as follows in Robert A. Sobieszek’s Ports of Entry: William S. Burroughs and the Arts:
 

Burroughs created his own version of Time magazine, including a Time cover of November 30, 1962, collaged over by Burroughs with a reproduction of a drawing, four drawings by Gysin, and twenty-six pages of typescript comprised of cut up texts and various photographs serving as news items. One of the pages is from an article on Red China from Time of September 13, 1963, and is collaged with a columnal typescript and an irrelevant illustration from the ‘Modern Living’ section of the magazine. A full-page advertisement for Johns-Manville products is casually inserted amid all these text; its title: Filtering.

 

Here we can see what the cover originally looked like in color. Photograph: Stephen J. Gertz
 
The first few pages (after the “copyright page”) are pretty much pure typewritten text—the metaphor of this being a version of Time doesn’t really obtain until you get to page 5, which has the word “REPUBLICANS” across the top as well as the words “Democratic Governor John Swainson,” who was the Governor of Michigan when the original issue came out (but not in 1965). After that you spot the familiar non-serif typeface here and there. Page 6 is titled “THE WORLD” and is about Red China. Page 8 is simply an unmolested full-page ad for Johns-Manville. Page 10 has a picture of a bunch of dignitaries at Peking Airport and another one with “John and William Faulkner.” Pages 13-16 are a series of ideogrammatic doodles by Gysin, after which the text reverts almost entirely to typewritten text by Burroughs.

Page 22 may be the most interesting page, as it features several short paragraphs of true automatic writing, as for example: “moo moo. .Tally Tillie Valspar Vent flu flu..doo do do. .Ding Dong Bell. .Sell sell sell. .Knee Wall fell. .sell sell sell. .Tele tell yell. .Sell sell sell. .Pell Pow Mell. .Sell Sell Sell. .Pel Tex Mell.”

Here is Burroughs and Gysin’s Time cut-up in its entirety:
 

 

 

 
The rest after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Working Women: Portraits of WWII’s female factory workers
10.30.2014
07:30 am

Topics:
Feminism
History

Tags:
WWII

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Miss M. Greatorex: a war worker in the manufacture of 17-pdr anti-tank guns, 1943.
 
The coloring and composition of some of these photographs look like paintings by the great Dutch masters, but they were taken by photographers from the Ministry of Information to document working life on the British homefront during the Second World War.

Women workers were essential to the war effort, and although working class women had been working prior to the war, the number of British women workers involved in heavy industry increased “from 19.75% to 27% from 1938-1945.” The number of skilled and semi-skilled female workers working in the engineering industry increased from 75% to 85% between 1940 and 1942. However, as documented in The Economic History Review the rates of pay for women—surprise, surprise—were less than their male counterparts.

The photographs are part of the Imperial War Museums’ history of modern Britain’s “wartime experience,” and more images can be seen here.
 
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Mrs. C. Graham, war worker in the manufacture of 17-pdr anti-tank guns, 1943.
 
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Unnamed war worker involved in milling breech blocks, 1943.
 
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Miss Miriam Highams welding the saddle of a 25 pounder gun.
 
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Women at work in a makeshift factory, 1943.
 
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Mrs. Chaulkey, portrait of a war worker, 1943.
 
More women war workers, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Blackout! The mysterious story behind Black Sabbath’s first US gig
10.30.2014
07:26 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Black Sabbath
folklore
mysterious

Black Sabbath 1970
Black Sabbath, 1970
 
On this day 44 years ago, Black Sabbath played their first-ever show on U.S. soil. However, as the headline of this post insinuates, the actual location of the gig is some debate, depending on the sources you choose to believe.
 
Black Sabbath London 1970
Black Sabbath, London 1970
 
Riding high (quite literally) on the huge successes of their first two albums, Black Sabbath (released on February 18th, 1970) and Paranoid (released on September 18th, 1970), both Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne historically credit the location of their first U.S. show in their respective autobiographies as legendary Manhattan club, Ungano’s. In his 2012 autobiography, Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath, Iommi recalls showing up to Ungano’s and was horrified at what a “shithole” the club was. Their roadie plugged their Euro gear into Ungano’s U.S.-only sockets and subsequently blew the club’s fuses. After a short unplanned pre-show intermission, the power went back on and Black Sabbath’s first gig was history. Or was it?
 
Black Sabbath at Glassboro Esby Gymnasium, October 30, 1970
Black Sabbath jamming at Esby Gymnasium at Glassboro State College?
 
Other sources claim that the band’s first gig took place at Glassboro State College (now known as Rowan University) in New Jersey. And the story is quite similar to Iommi’s. Claims made by rock promoter Rick Green, the brother of Stu Green who with his brother ran Midnight Sun an influential music promotion company that started out in Pennsylvania in early 70’s, has been quoted as calling himself the “promoter” of Black Sabbath’s “first U.S. gig” at Glassboro. On the surface, it’s not hard to believe. The Greens booked everyone from Lou Reed and Alice Cooper to the Patti Smith Group at the historic Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, not far from Glassboro State.

In aninterview that Rick did in 1992 with The Philadelphia Daily News, he spoke about the gig in strangely similar detail to Iommi’s recalling that Sabbath blew out the power after plugging in their amps into incompatible sockets. This caused the gig to be rescheduled until the end of Sabbath’s inaugural tour. Hmmm. So what about Glassboro? Was it real, or was it just a bad memory? Here’s another version of the Glassboro story, according to an article from The Seth Man, a journalist who writes over at Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage. The post also cites Rick Green’s Daily News interview as a source, but includes more detail:
 

The band’s (Black Sabbath’s) passage through customs at Kennedy Airport in New York proved to be “a day-long trauma that left the group tired and humiliated,” causing them to be three and a half hours late for the gig. Finally appearing onstage at 1:00 in the morning, the power to their sound system cut out during the first song. It was fixed within a few minutes, but once they recommenced they caused a second power outage that not only knocked out their sound system but the power to the gymnasium, the campus and “...most of the power in the neighborhood. The street lights were out and there was darkness.” Appropriately enough, the date was Mischief Night: exactly half a year away from Walpurgisnacht on October 30th.

 
Is this Black Sabbath? The SG Gibson may provide a clue
Black Sabbath, perhaps snapped during the Esby show
 
As I mentioned earlier, there are many resources, some trustworthy, that credit Glassboro as Sabbath’s first American gig, including British author Garry Sharpe-Young (specifically in the book, “Metal: The Definitive Guide”) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s timeline on Sabbath. I’ve even read accounts that seem legit that tell the tale of a young Ozzy Osbourne, allegedly so distraught during the Glassboro gig that he wandered off into a messy pile of tears in corner of Glassboro’s Esby Gymnasium (where the mythological gig was held), while shouting “I hate America and I want to go home!” Of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that said article spelled Ozzy’s name “Ozzie” and also notes that Ozzy was 20 at the time, when he was actually 22. I’m probably nitpicking here, but for what it’s worth, I’d like to present another piece of this very weird puzzle.  Below is a strange show poster for the Glassboro show, supposedly created by promoter Rick Green’s little sister. The poster went to auction at Christie’s in 2007. The auction item’s bio states a bit of maybe-history noting that after the power went out during the first song, Sabbath wasn’t able to continue and the show was made up later at neighboring Montclair State University.
 
Black Sabbath Glassboro show poster Christies
Black Sabbath show poster for Glassboro State College. Christies auction 2007.
 
So what to believe? In my mind, it’s hard to conceive that Tony Iommi’s recollection of Sabbath’s first gig would be incorrect. I mean, he was there, man. And despite the fact that it’s nothing short of a miracle that Ozzy remembers anything from those early days (although in his book “I Am Ozzy,” which I’m currently reading, he remembers a lot), the fact that he corroborates Iommi’s heavy metal history lesson just adds credibility to the show taking place at Ungano’s. So let’s put an end to this folklore once and for all. In the pages of the the Fall 1998 issue of Rowan Magazine the University historians took a look back at the many famous visitors they have hosted through the years such as Blondie, Elton John and Jane Fonda. The publication, that the University publishes itself, makes no mention of Black Sabbath. So there you have it. Black Sabbath’s first live U.S. show PROBABLY took place in a small, skuzzy club in Manhattan on October 30th, 1970, not some upper-crust college in New Jersey that was more accustomed to the stylings of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The END (or is it?).

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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The psychedelic madness of Louis Wain’s cats
10.29.2014
04:18 pm

Topics:
Animals
Art
Unorthodox

Tags:
cats
Louis Wain
Schizophrenia

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Though I do prefer dogs, I cannot but help but love Louis Wain’s cats—those beautiful playful wide-eyed felines that slowly evolve (disintegrate?) into psychedelic creatures of the electric night. These paintings have inspired considerable speculation with the oft-cited suggestion that Wain’s paintings show his gradual psychosis and descent into schizophrenia.

Louis Wain was born into a working class family in Victorian England in 1860, and died just prior to the Second World War in 1939. He was born with a cleft palate and was kept off school during a large part of his childhood. When he did eventually go to school, he spent most of his time playing truant, wandering the city, people watching. However, he must have been clever for he attended the West London School of Art and became a teacher. When his father died, Louis became the chief breadwinner and decided to make his living as an illustrator for the various top line London magazines. He had his own style and wit, and produced satirical cartoons and illustrations of cats in various human situations: playing golf, singing opera, having a tea party, singing carols, eating cake. He explained the inspiration for his work:

I take a sketch-book to a restaurant, or other public place, and draw the people in their different positions as cats, getting as near to their human characteristics as possible. This gives me doubly nature, and these studies I think my best humorous work.

Yet despite his success, Wain was always in financial difficulties—some of his own making, but most by those business people around him who exploited, used and literally stole from him.

When he was thirty, his sister was committed to an insane asylum—it was the first rumble of the fate that was to befall Wain. He continued providing for his mother and sisters, but he spent long seasons in asylums caused by his psychosis and schizophrenia.

News of his circumstances were publicized by H.G. Wells, who organized the funds to move Wain into a nicer hospital with a colony of cats, along with Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald who personally intervened on Wain’s behalf.

There has been some speculation that Wain’s schizophrenia was caused by toxoplasma gondii—a parasite found in cat’s excreta. Whatever began the illness, Wain was incarcerated in various asylums and mental hospitals for years at a time. The changes to his life were reflected in his art. His paintings of cats took on a radiance and vitality never before seen: the fur sharp and colorful, the eyes brilliant, and a wired sense of unease of disaster about to unfold.

But these paintings look normal compared to the psychedelic fractals and spirals that followed. Though these are beautiful images, startling, stunning, shocking—they suggest a mind that has broken reality down to its atomic level.

Though it is believed that Louis Wain’s paintings followed a direct line towards schizophrenia, it is actually not known in which order Wain painted his pictures. Like his finances, Wain’s mental state was erratic throughout his life, which may explain the changes back and forth between cute and cuddly and abstract and psychedelic. No matter, the are beautiful, kaleidoscopic, disturbing and utterly mesmerizing.

Beginning in the late 60s, Wain’s work came into fashion again and has become sought after by collectors. In 2009 Nick Cave, a Wain enthusiast since the late 70s, organized the first showing of Wain’s work outside of England when he exhibited his work as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties concert series in Australia. Artist Tracy Emin and musician David Tibet are also prominent collectors of Wain’s work.

For images from Louis Wain’s children’s books check here and for more cats check here.
 
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More of Louis Wain’s fabulous cats, after the jump…
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Leigh Bowery TV commercials
10.29.2014
01:51 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Fashion

Tags:
Leigh Bowery


 
Leigh Bowery, the Australian-born, London-based artist, club promoter, pop star, model, fashion designer and dancer in Michael Clark’s ballet company was one of the most influential figures in the fashion world of the 1980s and 90s. Before his death at the age of 33 from an AIDS-related illness, Bowery was famously a model/muse for painter Lucien Freud and after, he was a central character of Boy George’s ill-fated Broadway show Taboo (the one Rosie O’Donnell financed). The documentary about his life by Charles Atlas, The Legend of Leigh Bowery is a must-see.
 

 
I knew Leigh Bowery casually dating back to 1984, when I’d see him and his friend Trojan (who was dressed by Leigh) when they’d be out and about at London clubs like White Trash or Phillip Salon’s Mud Club (where I spent most Friday nights of my 18th year). At the time I met them, they had a stall selling make-up in the Great Gear Market on King’s Road and they’d be dressed head-to-toe as you see them dressed above. After that, Bowery became well-known for his Taboo nightclub, the infamous “Where’s Pepe?” TV jeans ads (see below) and his association with Michael Clark. For someone who appeared so monstrous, Leigh was an extremely friendly and affable person who always remembered me when I’d see him in New York.

Little Britain’s Matt Lucas is currently developing a dramatic film about Bowery’s life. He’s the perfect actor for the role.

These Pepe Jeans ads from 1989 were directed by mega-genius Tony Kaye. There were actually five commercials in the series, but one’s not on YouTube and Leigh Bowery isn’t in one of them.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Watch the hilarious operatic tale of one man’s relapse into his teen goth self
10.29.2014
10:55 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
goth


 
As a punk, my disdain for goths was challenged upon moving to NYC, where I was forced to admit some of the looks were pretty cool (I blame Hot Topic-style mall gothery for my bad first impression). A year ago, I lost all claim to goth derision when I found myself searching Etsy for pretty cameo jewelry and nearly had an identity crisis wondering if I was a “late-in-life-goth.” (Have no fear, I simply had a dress that required some Victorian flair.) I think a large portion of goth-mockery is rooted in inane subculture competitiveness, but I think the perception of goths as humorless doesn’t exactly help.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Take this comic operetta and short film from New York performance artist Joseph Keckler; a working stiff longs for his days as a teen goth and suddenly finds himself descended into the blackness of his youth (and all the poorer for it—it’s not a look for the broke). The video is really funny of course, but you also have to admire Keckler’s composition and performance. He wrote and sang the entire number, and it’s really technically impressive, not to mention… kind of beautiful? That German dialect! That romantic bass! It’s enough to seduce anyone towards the darkside! Bela Lugosi lives!
 

 
Via VICE

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Thomas Pynchon pranks the 1974 National Book Awards ceremony
10.29.2014
10:24 am

Topics:
Books

Tags:
Thomas Pynchon
Professor Irwin Corey


 
The publication of Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon was one of the most important events in American publishing during the postwar era. Everyone who grappled with it at the time recognized it to be an unusually interesting and impressive work—it’s also very long—but it also engaged, in a high-minded way, the counterculture. The book is above all about paranoia. It features five “Proverbs for Paranoids,” including, “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” One of the book’s characters is young Malcolm Little, later Malcolm X, and the epigraph to the book’s final section (“What?”) came from Richard Nixon himself. Gravity’s Rainbow was so polarizing that it led to a stalemate among the Pulitzer Prize voting committee; for the year 1974, there is simply no award given. (Causing a schism of this type is much cooler than winning a Pulitzer, I reckon.)

Through the unusual mix in his books of science, conspiracy, corny jokes, and rock music (most of his books have made-up rock or pop lyrics as part of the text, and Gravity’s Rainbow is no exception), Pynchon has always been one of those writers, like Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins, whose audience did not consist merely of literary types. Pynchon’s audience, as far as I can tell, always had more than its share of autodidacts, computer programmers, truckers, rock music fans. For a difficult author, Pynchon has had something like the common touch. The corny jokes part of the equation is an important one. In his introduction to Slow Learner, a volume of Pynchon’s stories, the author cites Spike Jones (no, not Spike Jonze) in a way that suggests a deeper connection.
 

 
Which leads us to the 1974 National Book Awards. As mentioned, Gravity’s Rainbow was a big enough deal that people pretty much knew it was going to win for best novel. There was a big gala held at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center in New York, and everyone present also knew that Thomas Pynchon, being extremely reluctant to appear in public, was unlikely to show up. And yet, one just never knew, did one? ... Instead of making an appearance, Pynchon (actually Pynchon’s publisher Thomas Guinzburg, pictured below) sent in his place comedian Professor Irwin Corey, whose schtick consists mainly of butchering hifalutin language, including bad puns, malapropisms…. basically the ultimate absent-minded professor. Oh—and just for fun, the proceedings were also interrupted by a streaker. It was the 1970s! Stuff like that happened.

The ceremony took place on April 18, 1974. The next day, the New York Times account of the event related the following:
 

The National Book Awards were given to 14 authors last night and burlesqued at the same time by a stand-up comic who accepted the prize for Thomas Pynchon, the novelist, and a naked man who jogged through Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center shouting: “Read books! Read books!”

Professor Irwin Corey, the comedian who bills himself as “the world’s greatest expert on everything,” accepted Mr. Pynchon’s prize and took off into a series of bad jokes and mangled syntax that left some people roaring with laughter and others perplexed.

Some in the audience wondered whether Mr. Corey—who pounded the podium and shouted such aphorisms as “He who underestimates the American public will not go broke”—was, in fact, the reclusive Mr. Pynchon himself.

It turned out, however, that his appearance was a jape contrived by Thomas Guinzburg, head of Viking Press, publishers of “Gravity’s Rainbow,” which won the award for Mr. Pynchon.

 
George Plimpton of the Paris Review remembered it this way: “Tom [Guinzburg] was fairly sure that Pynchon was going to win the National Book Awards, but he knew that Pynchon wasn’t going to appear. And so in a wonderful bit of imagination and cleverness, he got this wonderful actor called Professor Corey. ... So he came out onto the stage, and Thomas Pynchon was announced and a great roar of applause ... because everybody knew that Pynchon was more or less a recluse, and to have him actually appear to get his award, everybody stared at this man, who then proceeded to give an acceptance speech.”

The award was shared by Gravity’s Rainbow and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s A Crown of Feathers. Corey/Pynchon was introduced by none other than Ralph Ellison In the speech, Corey referred to “himself” as “Richard Python,” had a lot of fun with the name of noted author Studs Terkel, and referred to Henry Kissinger as the “acting president of the United States.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Bible prophet: ‘Danny DeVito is the Antichrist’
10.29.2014
09:29 am

Topics:
Belief
Kooks

Tags:
William Tapley
Danny DeVito


 
HE’S BACK!

Yep, William “the Tap” Tapley, Bible “co-prophet of the Endtimes” and “Third Eagle of the Apocalypse” has returned. Tapley posted a new video over the weekend where he carefully dissects the “symbolism” of the new One Direction video that he claims is an Illuminati-inspired prophecy of the last days of the Catholic Church.

What else?

Danny DeVito happens to be in the “Steal My Girl” video and now Tapley seems to think the diminutive funnyman (and director of the cinematic MASTERPIECE Death to Smoochy, I don’t care what anyone says) is the Antichrist.

Makes sense if you’re William Tapley, I suppose. The man sees messages everywhere, doesn’t he?

So do his YouTube subscribers!
 

 
Here are a few more that I enjoyed.
 

 
The One Direction video for “Steal My Girl”:

 
Tapley’s “decoding” of the “symbolism” in the “Steal My Girl” video:

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Roots of ‘The Evil Dead’ franchise: Watch Sam Raimi’s 1978 short film, ‘Clockwork’
10.29.2014
07:55 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Sam Raimi
Clockwork
Evil Dead


 
Sam Raimi would have been no more than 19 years old when he directed Clockwork, but you can definitely see the horror-legend’s talents gestating in the bones of this little Super-8 thriller. Scott Spiegel, the writer, director, producer and actor who would eventually write the screenplay for Evil Dead 2, plays a stalker. His victim is Cheryl Guttridge—who did little in the way of acting, but later served as a “Fake Shemp” (a term associated with Sam Raimi) in The Evil Dead. (Ever notice how much influence the Three Stooges had on these films?)
 

 
What plays out is clearly a predecessor to his goofy gore franchise. It’s a great little short. There’s blood and screams and the sort of pop culture imagery that reminds the viewer—you are not safe, not even in the modern world (though the amenities of say, an S-Mart, can really help a guy out of a jam)! The use of alienating, electronic music builds suspense beautifully, while more traditionally orchestrated sounds add to the unease. There are some artfully executed classic horror shots, with some noir zooms thrown in for suspense. Enjoy the early work of this camp-horror auteur!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Jack Daniel’s Bar Stories: Donna makes eye contact
10.29.2014
07:15 am

Topics:
Advertorial

Tags:
Jack Daniel's


 
They say that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but behind the glitz, glamour and sleaze of the Vegas strip (literally right behind it, out of view) there’s the even more lawless underbelly of “Sin City,” that well-worn part of town now often referred to as “Old Vegas.”

It is against this less than glamorous backdrop that we hear Donna’s tale… ¡Eye, caramba!

(Trust me, there is no way, none, that you are expecting the punchline.)

Donna’s outrageous story is part of Jack Daniel’s sprawling new interactive project The Few & Far Between: Tales of Mischief, Revelry, and Whiskey. The website collects fantastic, often bust-a-gut funny anecdotes and strangely poetic, colorful stories that have taken place in America’s favorite watering holes, saloons and dive bars.

Jack Daniel’s is partnering with VICE to promote a photo contest. The winning image of an American bar will be featured in a future Jack Daniel’s ad in an upcoming issue of VICE magazine. More information at www.talesofwhiskey.com.
 

Posted by Sponsored Post | Discussion
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