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  • ‘A Joyful Noise’: Cheer up with the gleefully cosmic philosophy of Sun Ra
    12:39 pm



    “Some call me Mister Ra. Others call me Mister Ree. You can call me Mr. Mystery.”

    Sun Ra was always the most original and singular of free jazz musicians—indeed, his resonant origin story about his Saturnian roots often seemed to transport his music into another category altogether.

    In 1980 Robert Mugge made an hour-long documentary on Sun Ra called A Joyful Noise, and it’s splendid. I don’t know if Mugge ever uttered the words “Let Sun Ra be Sun Ra,” but he surely thought it. Several years ago Time Out London included A Joyful Noise on its list of the 50 greatest music films ever made.

    Mugge wonderfully arranged for Sun Ra to expound on his many daffy ideas while draping himself on and ambling near an authentic ancient Egyptian sphinx at the Museum of the University of Philadelphia. In another resonant bit, Sun Ra is filmed at night in front of the White House, which affords him an opportunity to observe sardonically that he hasn’t noticed a similarly lofty Black House in the vicinity.

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Ridiculous Vines of hip-hop beats dropped behind fast-talking auctioneers
    12:13 pm



    Here’s something at least mildly amusing of your midday yucks: Vines of fast-talking auctioneers with hip-hop beats!

    There’s not much say as the videos certainly can speak for themselves. Play them all at once for a total mindfuck and watch the whole world collapse in on itself.

    If you want to see more, you can follow Auctioneer Beats here on Vine.

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Photographs of Marilyn Monroe doing yoga
    10:51 am



    Marilyn Monroe is putting my sad self to shame with her yoga poses shot back in 1948. She’s making it look easy here, but it’s actually not so easy if you’re a beginner. You have to work and gradually stretch yourself into these poses. It can take some time for your body to become this limber.

    I’ve read that Marilyn Monroe was a devotee of yoga, but I’ve never seen that much photographic evidence for it. But here she is in all her yoga glory. And of course, looking stunning while posing.

    From what I could find online, Indra Devi, who many consider to be the “The First Lady of Yoga,” claimed to have taught Monroe the life of yoga. But according to Wikipedia that seems to be untrue. There is zero proof the two women ever even met. Apparently there’s a popular photo of Indra Devi and Eva Gabor training together in 1960 and it’s often mistaken for Monroe.



    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Awesome anatomical models of cartoon, video game and toy characters
    08:46 am

    Pop Culture


    These are just great—sculptor/illustrator Jason Freeny produces anatomical models of well known animated characters—Bugs Bunny, Popeye, a certain notoriously litigious mouse. Some of them are mass-produced (his Bugs and Batman are on Amazon, and many others are available on his web store), some are one-of-a-kind. The individual sculptures, as you’ll see in Freeny’s time-lapse demonstration video below, are made by building individually crafted skeletons and organs into existing vinyl figures that he carefully opens up. The results are seamless and often hilarious. While the originals can be cost-prohibitive, he’s so accommodating as to offer prints of his work for the many among us who just can’t spring four figures for a Mr. Potato Head autopsy, as much as we’d like to.

    Plenty more after the jump…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    Paul Williams sings in his ‘Planet of the Apes’ makeup
    02:45 pm



    Paul Williams, the witty and diminutive singer-songwriter (Carpenters, Three Dog Night)  would often appear on 70s talk shows, games shows, on The Love Boat, in Smokey and the Bandit, on The Muppet Show, celebrity roasts—not to mention his greatest role as “Swan” in Brian DePalma’s campy cult classic Phantom of the Paradise. He was in, or on just about anything back then, including heaping mountains of cocaine (Hence all of that manic energy he used to exhibit back then.)

    Williams also played “Virgil” the smart orangutan in Battle for the Planet of the Apes. He wore his makeup straight from the 20th Century Fox movie set for this memorable appearance promoting the film on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1973 and sang in costume.

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Live Evil: Psychic TV, raising demons live in concert 1983
    01:59 pm



    Psychic TV’s shows, especially in their early years, had an intimidating sense of menace and dark energy. From the minute you walked in, you strongly got the impression that you were somewhere where you shouldn’t be. Early PTV shows were among the most mesmerizing, depraved, insane and just plain hair-raisingly scary concerts I’ve ever attended. I vividly remember seeing them at the Hammersmith Town Hall in fall of 1984 and deciding to step back from the front in case a winged demon materialized onstage and started flying around killing people. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I didn’t want to be too close to that action, it was like an evil vortex was threatening to open up and suck the entire place into it. The whole thing was like the most twisted Hammer Horror version of what a demonic rock concert would be like. Yep, the best way to describe it would be to say that it was like being in a really weird, mind-bending horror movie, something so far beyond real life as to seem fictional almost.

    In the group’s original incarnation Psychic TV included Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and Genesis P-Orridge, both late of Throbbing Gristle. The other members were Paula P-Orridge, Alex Fergusson (formerly of Alternative TV), John “Zos Kia” Gosling and Geff Rushton, a.k.a. John Balance. At this time, the group’s sound was a unique mix of exotic instruments (like Tibetan thigh bones and tribal drums), vibraphone, Fergusson’s Velvet Undergroundy guitar drone, a hefty dollop of Throbbing Gristle’s painfully LOUD musique concrète and the various sonic elements we think of as defining the music of Coil, which, of course, Christopherson and Balance soon went on to form, not staying with PTV much beyond their classic 1983 album Dreams Less Sweet.

    Another time I saw Psychic TV live it was in a disused synagogue in London’s Drayton Park earlier that same summer. The “security” were Hackney skinheads. There was no electricity in the abandoned temple, so they’d brought in a portable generator. The circular staircase was illuminated with candles. There was debris, bricks, beer bottles and broken glass everywhere. It was late July, hot, humid and the place smelled of human waste and urine. Genesis played an amplified violin, just sawing away at it, his atonal screeching providing the perfect soundtrack to watching ectoplasm form. It was more of an Aleister Crowley-type occult ritual than anything resembling a rock concert…
    Keep reading after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Listen to over an hour of the jazz/surf background music from 60s ‘Spider-Man’ cartoon
    01:17 pm



    There were three main ways I learned about Spider-Man as a child. The first was his wordless appearances on The Electric Company. Then as a tween, I came to love the excellent Saturday morning series from the early 1980s, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends featuring Iceman and Firestar.

    But before all of that was Spider-Man, the animated adventure series that ran on ABC starting in 1967. That series, of course, is the origin of the famous “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can!” theme jingle, but the musical bounty of the series hardly ended there.

    The incidental music was credited to Ray Ellis, an arranger and conductor whose primary claim to fame is his orchestration on Billie Holiday’s 1958 album Lady in Satin. In the 1980s and 1990s Ellis was occupied with game shows like Hot Streak, Scrabble, and Scattergories, but his work on Spider-Man is a groovy and atmospheric marvel that rewards further listens, combining surf guitar, luxuriant horns, and some splendid hard bop.
    Listen after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Vintage photographs of dominatrixes
    11:41 am



    Here’s a gallery of vintage photographs of women dressed in dominatrix gear. Not all of the women pictured were necessarily dominatrixes by trade, some were no doubt fetish models for BDSM-style magazines back in the day. I’m digging the costumes, hairstyles and… the boots. Just look at those kinky boots!

    I tried to keep this as safe for work as possible. But, you know, it might be a tad NSFW-ish because of the topic.


    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Snake women, dragons and other esoteric imagery from the alchemical manuscript ‘Clavis Artis’
    10:38 am



    The renowned composer Nino Rota collected books and manuscripts on the occult. Rota was a child prodigy who went on to compose ten operas, five ballets and many, many choral and chamber pieces. He is now best known for his multi-award-winning film scores for The Godfather, Romeo and Juliet and Fellini’s and

    When Rota died in 1979, a copy of a very strange occult manuscript Clavis Artis was discovered among his personal effects. Rota had purchased this illustrated text from a bookseller in Frankfurt. After his death it was donated to the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei where it can still be found today.

    Rota’s copy of Clavis Artis is one of only three editions of the manuscript being currently held in Italy and Germany—only two of which are illustrated.

    The Clavis Artis is an alchemical manuscript believed to have been produced in the late 17th or early 18th century—though the title page states the book was written in 1236 AD. The text is attributed to “Zoroaster (“Zarathustra”) the rabbi and Jew” who claimed to have written the book over “a dragon skin.”

    R. et AC
    Secret key for many covert operations
    In the animal kingdom, the kingdom of metals
    and minerals

    the rabbi and Jew
    Clavis Artis
    Part one
    The original was written by the author
    over a dragon skin
    World Year
    Following text was translated
    from Arabic into German
    in the Year of Christ
    SVFR and AC

    Zoroaster’s manuscript details various rites and practices relating to alchemy. It has been suggested the text may have been lifted from an earlier work, while its author “Zoroaster” may have been Abraham Eleazar—an occultist who wrote another alchemical text L’Uraltes Chymisches Werk in 1735. However both these manuscripts contain imagery to be found in an even earlier alchemical manuscripts by Nicolas Flamel—the man who allegedly found the Philosopher’s Stone.

    Whatever the book’s provenance it is fair to say these illustrations from Clavis Artis are quite beautiful and strange.
    More magical illustrations from the ‘Clavis Artis,’ after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    FURR: Meet the band who tried to be like KISS and failed
    10:24 am



    The strange cover of the only album by the band FURR. Image by Vinyls Among Other Things
    Reminding one of the sort of off-brand cologne that advertises itself as “If you like Calvin, you’ll love KEVIN!” very little is known about FURR, the curious creation of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz the dynamic “bubblegum” songwriting and producing duo who brought us The Ohio Express’ “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” and Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” And yet you may be familiar with the cover art from the band’s eponymously titled first (and last) album from 1977 in which the four members of FURR are all dolled up like low-budget knock-off versions of KISS.

    The back cover of FURR’s only album.

    Now that folks, is what you call originality. KISS, my ass, this is dangerously close to Sid and Marty Krofft territory…

    Here’s what we do know about FURR—they do a pretty sweet cover of a 1966 hit by Louisville, KY band The Rugbys called “You, I” and the rest of the songs on the album (which sound like funkier versions of every song by Grand Funk Railroad) were written by the former bubblegum band hawkers themselves Kasenetz and Katz, as well as a person noted only as “G. Gouldman” otherwise known as the golden-penned songwriter Graham Gouldman of UK artrock band 10cc. The “band” (studio musicians Jeff Woods, George Bruce, Robert Sylvester and John Gunner) disappeared without so much as a trace after the release of the record—unless you count its appearances in various discount bins in record shops since the late 70s.

    Keep reading after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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