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It is what it is: Head-spinning supercut of ‘The Wire’
05.28.2015
12:01 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
The Wire


 
In The Wire, you know, the writer is the writer, and the script is the script, and the text on the page is what it is. You say “Action!” whenever you say “Action!” and the actors’ll say whatever they’re going to say.

Look: HBO is HBO, you know? The Wire is The Wire, and you’re going to watch whatever you watch.

This video is the video:
 

 
via Slate

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The wild wild world of Japanese rebel biker culture
05.28.2015
11:50 am

Topics:
Fashion
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Japan
bikers

Former bosozuku leader, Kazuhiro Hazuki
 

“I was interested in them because they were punks and they were against society.”—Kazuhiro Hazuki, Narushino Specter gang

 
Back in the 1970s the term bōsōzoku (or “speed tribes”) was first used to describe Japanese biker gangs that routinely fought in the streets with rival gangs and the police. Often dressed like Kamikaze pilots, the bōsōzoku wreaked havoc speeding through the streets on their illegally modified bikes, blowing through red lights, and smashing the car windows of any motorist that dared defy them with baseball bats. Foreigners were an especially favorite target of the bōsōzoku’s aggression.
 
Bosozuku photo from a Japanese biker magazine with modified bike and helmet
Bōsōzoku biker with illegally modified bike and helmet (taken from a Japanese biker magazine)
 
Bosozuku bikers, 1970's
Bōsōzoku bikers, 1970’s
 
Bosozuku biker with his bike and bat, 1980's
Bōsōzoku biker, 1980’s
 
Bosozuku biker with bike and bat
 
The earliest incarnation of the bōsōzoku, the kaminari zoku, appeared in the 1950’s. Not unlike their idols from the films, The Wild Ones or Rebel Without a Cause, the group was formed by the youthful and disenchanted members of Japan’s proletariat, and the gang provided a place for the emerging delinquents to call their own. A fiercely disciplined and rebellious group, the bōsōzoku once boasted more than 40,000 members. By 2003 the bōsōzoku’s numbers had dwindled to just over 7000. According to first-hand accounts from former senior members, the modern version of the bōsōzoku (known as Kyushakai) no longer embody the rebel spirit of their predecessors. In fact, some have returned to homaging their rockabilly idols by donning elaborate Riizentos, a style of pompadour synonymous with disobedience. These days many ex-bōsōzoku parade around on their bikes in non-disruptive groups and enjoy dancing, performing music and socializing in groups in Harajuku, an area well known for its outrageous fashion.
 
Harajuku Black Shadow dancers (ex-bosozuku), 2008
Harajuku Black Shadow dancers (ex-bōsōzoku), hanging out in Harajuku, 2008
 
Ex-Bosozuku hanging out in Harajuku, 2008
 
Many factors are to blame for the demise of the traditional bosozuku. A former leader of from the Narushino Specter gang in the 90s (and one time Yakuza loan shark), Kazuhiro Hazuki recalls that the police were once content to allow the bōsōzoku to run riot and no matter how many times they were arrested, a gang member never had their license revoked. Over the years, revised traffic laws have led to a rise in the arrest and prosecution of the bōsōzoku. Some also point to the inclusion of women as bōsōzoku riders, now a common sight in Japan, and a less than robust economy (many bōsōzoku bikes can cost as much as ten grand) for the drastic reduction in the gang’s numbers.
 
Modern day Bosozuku
Modern-day bōsōzoku
 
Bosozuku biker girl
 
Modern Kyushakai bikers
Modern Kyushakai bikers
 
If this post has piqued your interest of vintage Japanese biker culture, there are several documentaries and films based on the bōsōzoku and other speed tribes in Japan, such as 1976’s God Speed You! Black Emperor, 2012’s Sayonara Speed Tribes, a short documentary that features historical perspective from the aforementioned Kazuhiro Hazuki, or the series of films from director Teruo Ishii based on the bōsōzoku that began in 1975 with, Detonation! Violent Riders. If you are a fan of Japanese anime, the story told in the cult film Akira deeply parallels the real world of the bōsōzoku in their heyday. Many images of the bōsōzoku of the past and their mind-boggling motorcycles follow.
 
Bosozuku biker, early 1970's
Bōsōzoku biker, early 1970’s
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Nick Cave, Mark E. Smith and Shane MacGowan arguing in a pub
05.28.2015
09:06 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Nick Cave
Mark E. Smith
Shane MacGowan


 
Years ago, I read the transcript of this NME “summit” on some Fall obsessive’s fansite: it’s Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan and Mark E. Smith arguing in a pub in 1988 (published in 1989). I searched for it the other day and found that the Quietus reprinted this latter-day symposium in 2012.

If you like Mark E. Smith at his most truculent, you’re going to love this conversation. Cave is laconic (hates journalists), MacGowan is affable (loves drink), and MES is as voluble and contentious as ever. He complains that Fad Gadget (a/k/a Frank Tovey) “was doing incense and headstands” before a show, that the only good Bob Dylan album he’s heard is The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1, and that Morrissey is an Irish person. As always, there are splenetic outbursts concerning the many things Mark E. Smith doesn’t need to be told about, pal:

There’s nothing new in Acid House for me, pal. I’ve been using that process for years. Bloody years. It might be new for you but don’t assume it’s new for anyone else, because you’re fucking wrong, pal.

We had jazz arrangements in ‘82 when the rest of those tossers were playing cocktail lounge music and fucking pseudo new wave, so don’t talk to me about it because I know what I’m talking about pal.

Don’t tell me about oppression, my parents and grandparents were exploited to the hilt. Sent to wars, they had gangrene in their teeth.

But this is Smith dancing like a prizefighter. Just wait until MacGowan (whom MES addresses as “Sean”) calls Nietzsche “a fascist maniac posing as a philosopher.” Friend, do you hear that bell? That’s Mark E. Smith, and school is back in session:

MES: If we’re gonna talk philosophy, that’s a load of crap! The Nazis adopted his creed and distorted it, they misquoted him all the time.

SM: The Will To Power. Try reinterpreting that statement. You can’t, it says what it says.

MES: He wasn’t a Nazi – you’re only saying that ‘cos some polytechnic fuckin’ lecturer told you he was.

SM: I’m saying it ‘cos I read two of his books where he dismissed the weak, the ugly, the radically [racially?] impure, Christianity, Socrates, Plato. He was anti anyone who hadn’t got a strong body, perfect features…

MES: That’s the coffee table analysis. He was the most anti-German, pro-Semitic person…

SM: His books were full of hate.

MES: You just said you’re full of hate when you go on stage.

SM: I don’t go round saying Socrates was a c***, Jesus Christ was an idiot, do l?


MES: Jesus Christ was the biggest blight on the human race, he was. And all them socialists and communists – second rate Christianity. It’s alright for you Catholics. I was brought up with Irish Catholics. Some of my best friends are Irish Catholics.

SM: Listen to him.

MES: Hitler was a Catholic vegetarian, non-smoker, non-drinker. The way you’re talking about Nietzsche is that anyone who’s a non-smoker, non-drinker is a Nazi. That’s the level of your debate, pal. You don’t know fuck all about Nietzsche, pal!

In the Cave biography Bad Seed, an eyewitness to the summit reports that while Cave (who had just spent seven weeks in rehab) was clean and sober, MacGowan had “done some Ecstasy and had drunk a bottle of whisky on the way down.” MacGowan picks up the story:

I was out of my brains, Cave was dead straight, drinking tea, and Mark E. Smith was pissed on bitter and very belligerent. It must have been really difficult for Nick but I wasn’t in that position, you know what I mean. We were ranting and raving and Nick was very quiet that day. I was amazed how together he was, considering. At the time I was really pissed off with touring and I was going on about that in the interview, and he said, “Well, why don’t you just stop?” and I couldn’t think of a good reason because I was on the treadmill and you can’t get off it. Nick turned out to have a savage wit. He’s an intense person. It was a great interview, two soul brothers and Mark E. Smith. Cave was winding both of us up, he basically instigated the fight between me and Mark Smith. He was shit-stirring, seeing how far it was going to go. Mark E. Smith was saying things to me I couldn’t let him get away with, stuff about Ireland and the British Army. [Reporter] Sean O’Hagan went loony as well, he’s from Armagh, a Catholic. Nick was enjoying it as it got more and more intense and the reporters joined in and I started going barmy.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The dopey paintings of Sylvester Stallone
05.28.2015
08:09 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Sylvester Stallone


“Finding Rocky”
 
You’ve only got two more days to do it, but if you’re reading this in Nice, France, and would like to see paintings by the muscular star of Rhinestone, Over the Top, and Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot, then hurry on over to the Galerie Contemporaine du Musée de Nice, which is currently mounting an exhibition of Stallone’s work called “Real Love: Paintings 1975-2015.” The show has been on since May 15 and ends May 30.

Look, I think Stallone gets a bad rap for being a dumb guy, he’s clearly a formidable fellow and more intelligent than it might at first appear. One of the things he’s gotten flak for in Hollywood is his apparent need to mess with the scripts of his movies (check out his voluminous screenwriting credits). That may make him an egomaniac or worse, but the criticism that he wants to write all of his movies isn’t consistent with his occasional depiction as an idiot.

I’m no art critic and I have little way of differentiating good art from bad. But… let’s see—subjects including boxing gloves, Rocky, Joan Crawford, some of it in a loosely abstract expressionist style and other parts vaguely conceptual (one of his paintings, “Backlash,” is half-painting, half-mirror)... I submit that if I told you that Stallone was a painter, this is exactly the type of stuff you’d expect out of him. He’s no better or no worse than Ronnie Wood, which is not necessarily a compliment.
 

“Behind the Mind”
 

“The Arena”
 

“Untitled (Michael Jackson)”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Rihanna farts in bathtub
05.28.2015
07:53 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Rihanna
farting

00rihanfart098765esxcvhjk.jpg
 
Musicless music videos can sometimes reveal an unexpectedly amusing moment of bathos—like this clip of Rihanna apparently accompanying herself in the bathtub to the song “Stay.”

Of course we all fart and that’s why farting is funny—it levels, usurps vanity and pretension, and is comic—and has always been so. Fart jokes are pebbledashed throughout ancient literature and history—from plays by Aristophanes to the Roman Emperor Elagabalus, who kept a pig’s bladder he used as a whoopee cushion to prick any pomposity at the dinner table. In more recent history, Benjamin Franklin penned a letter to the Royal Academy of Brussels, or “the Royal Academy of Farting,” in which he poked fun at the pretensions of European academies and their increasing obsession with the impractical, and extolled them to fart boldly and proud.

‘Nuff of the history, here’s Rihanna…
 

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
THOUSANDS of pot plants ‘accidentally’ planted on city center flowerbeds
05.28.2015
07:29 am

Topics:
Amusing
Drugs

Tags:
marijuana
cannabis
Kazakhstan

0011maryjane98scvbiuy111.jpg
 
The streets of the Kazakhstan capital Astana City may not be paved with gold, but their flowerbeds are planted with marijuana.

On Auezov Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, the smell of cannabis plants alerted authorities to “thousands” of marijuana plants flourishing at the side of the road. Local resident Mihail Malorod was one of the first who noticed the plants.

‘I was walking down the street when I saw these cute plants at the junction of Auezova Street and Dzhangeldina Street,’ he said.

‘What a nice little flowerbed, I thought.’

But not everyone is happy about weed growing on the city’s highways.

The city council has launched an investigation into who planted the cannabis? Was it an accident? Or an act of “guerilla gardening”?
 
00highwaydop0987easf.jpg
 
For years, Kazakhstan’s government has been “working in vain” to destroy crops of cannabis that grow wild across the country.

Kazakhstan’s Chu Valley is twice the size of France and is riddled with cannabis plants. However, although consumption and dealing marijuana is illegal, the ready availability of the plant makes it impossible to police effectively.

To counter the problem, last year politician Dariga Nazarbayeva suggested turning over swathes of cannabis covered land to pharmaceutical companies to cultivate for profit.

Or, perhaps why not use this freely available plant as a lure for weed aficionados to holiday in the country?

Meantime, the gardening company hired by the council to plant flowers have started their own internal investigation into what happened claiming they will “weed out” all the cannabis plants.

In 2003, writer/presenter Simon Reeve discovered how easily marijuana grows in Kazakhstan when he traveled across the country for his TV series Meet the Stans.
 

 
H/T the Metro

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ash from ‘Evil Dead’ fights Marvel Zombies in this ultimate mashup fan film
05.28.2015
06:24 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
mashup
Marvel Comics
Evil Dead


Ash uses a repulser beam on superhero zombies.
 

Slash/Up is a fan-film web-series specializing in unlikely mashup “what if” shorts like Sarah Connor vs. Jason Voorhees.

According to Bloody-Disgusting.com, Slash/Up are “currently hard at work on Ash vs. the DC Dead, which they say ‘is basically a gigantic middle finger to the house of mouse.’”

Ash vs. the DC Dead is a sequel to this short, Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, which had previously been removed from YouTube.
 

 
Well, for now, it’s back up—so check this out while you can! It’s an extremely well made fan-film, shot for “the cost of a Macbook Pro.”
 

Zombie Iron Man and Zombie Spider-man.
 
Quick, before the angry YouTube gods pull it down again!

 
Via Bloody-Disgusting.com

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
It’s safe to assume that the kid who took this lunchbox to school got beat up every day


 
On December 23rd, 1975, Gerald Ford signed the reasonable Metric Conversion Act into law, stating, “the truth is that our continued use of the English system of measurement was making us an island in a metric sea.”

School curriculums were altered to teach the metric system, despite the fact that converting was overwhelmingly unpopular with Americans, who were used to doing things the ‘murican way—not no pansy, pussy-ass European way.

In 1982, progressive agent of change, President Ronald Wilson Reagan officially disbanded the U.S. Metric Board—the government organization charged with “increasing the use” of the metric system in the United States. Reagan did so citing efforts to “reduce government spending,” but really it was because America, fuck yeah.

In 1976 King-Seeley Thermos Company released what has to have been the worst-selling lunchbox of all time:
 

The Exciting World of Metrics lunchbox!
 
It’s safe to assume that whatever kid was unfortunate enough to have been sent off to school with this box in tow, was beaten mercilessly within centimeters of his life.

Luckily, ‘70s lunchboxes were made out of HARD metal with a swingable handle, so at least the kid had a fighting chance!
 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Win oceans of mind-blowing live Yes at their peak in 1972, courtesy of Rhino
05.27.2015
12:02 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Yes


 

In late 1972 Yes was on fire. Close to the Edge, arguably their greatest album, had come out in September, and their previous two efforts were the groundbreaking Fragile and The Yes Album. If ever there was a moment you wanted to see that band live, it was right then.

Fortunately, Yes supported Close to the Edge with ambitious live shows, as audiences around the world packed arenas to see the legendary group perform their unbeatable harmonies. This was the tour captured on Yes’ first live album, Yessongs, a triple LP that came out in 1973 and sold over a million copies (Roger Dean’s trippy and iconic artwork in particular blew many minds).
 

Credit: Roger Dean
 
If you just can’t get enough vintage Yes at their artistic pinnacle, then you’re going to love Progeny: Highlights from Seventy-Two and Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two, two new releases from Rhino featuring recently discovered recordings of seven complete concerts from the weeks leading up to the shows heard on Yessongs. The latest audio technology was used to restore the reel-to-reel recordings and bring out incredible sonic detail, creating an open, immediate sound that drops listeners right into the front row.

Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two is fourteen whopping discs that contain every note from all seven shows recorded between October 31 and November 20 of 1972, in locales like Canada, Tennessee, and North Carolina. This comprehensive set comes in a cigarette-style flip top box with stunning new artwork by Roger Dean. Recorded three months into the tour, these powerful performances attest to how quickly the new lineup gelled musically as they navigate hits like “Roundabout” as well as complex pieces like “And You and I.” Even though the setlist didn’t vary much from night to night, the individual performances are strikingly different.
 

 
This was Yes’ first tour with drummer Alan White, who’s been with the band ever since. He replaced Bill Bruford, who recorded Close To The Edge before leaving to join King Crimson. White only had three days to learn the band’s live show before his first night on stage with Jon Anderson (vocals), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass) and Rick Wakeman (keyboards). 

If seven full concerts is too much music for you, fear not! There’s also Progeny: Highlights from Seventy-Two, a more modest set that features highlights from the same seven shows. With seven outstanding concerts to choose from, rest assured that you will hear top-notch renditions of Yes classics like “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Heart Of The Sunrise.”

Below, a live “Close to the Edge” from 1972:
 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
A young Jim Jarmusch reports on Cleveland’s foremost post-punk heroes, Pere Ubu, 1977
05.27.2015
10:10 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Punk

Tags:
Jim Jarmusch
Pere Ubu


 
In the early 1970s, Akron native Jim Jarmusch, born in 1953, transferred from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University to Columbia University, receiving his diploma in 1975. He took full advantage of the opportunitis Columbia afforded him, editing The Columbia Review and moving to Paris for a stretch, which is where his lifelong love of film was born. After his return to NYC, Jarmusch enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and also hung out at CBGB’s a lot.

At some point he had the bright idea to return to the big midwestern metropolis from his home state of Ohio—that is, Cleveland—and report on some of the major rock doings going down in that city. In the 7th issue of N.Y. Rocker, which came out in the spring of 1977 (May-June), there appears a lengthy interview with Pere Ubu’s resident genius David Thomas with the byline “Jim Jarmusch.” As I read through it, it took an effort of will not to call to mind the wintry, winsome, and downtrodden feel of the Cleveland section of Jarmusch’s 1984 breakthrough (I would also say masterpiece) Stranger Than Paradise.

I’m currently a resident of Cleveland, having moved here from NYC (reverse trajectory to Jarmusch’s, hmmm) in 2013. I put on Pere Ubu’s 1978 12-inch Datapanik in the Year Zero, which I purchased in Cleveland last year, before writing this post. I’ve met people in the current incarnation of Pere Ubu and visited the Agora, where Ubu played in December 1976, but much more to the point, Jarmusch’s interview with Thomas resonates in a far more general way with me, now that I live here (and like it). On the second page of the interview is a blurry, wintry snapshot of Cleveland’s most prominent building, the Terminal Tower, with a raised drawbridge in the foreground, and you know, that picture now has a homey familiarity for me.

One portion of the interview was conducted at Tommy’s Restaurant on Coventry Road, and that restaurant is still there and thriving. The first part of the interview was conducted at the Pirate’s Cove in the Flats district of Cleveland, which is no more; Cobra Verde frontman and Cleveland Plain Dealer writer John Petkovic described it as a venue that “will go down in Cleveland rock lore as the host of shows by the Dead Boys, DEVO and Pere Ubu—back when the Flats was a rough-and-tumble working-class drinking spot.”

In the interview, Jarmusch and Thomas (winkingly identified as “Crocus Behemoth” throughout) discuss the finer points of Laverne and Shirley, the appeal of Nero Wolfe and Raymond Chandler, and the “repulsive” nature of poetry. At one point Thomas/“Behemoth” appears to set up Pere Ubu as a kind of Beach Boys for the industrial midwest:
 

A lot of our songs are about driving. Like “Street Waves” is like, you know, in California they got the surf, and in Cleveland, in the summer, if you work real hard at it, there’s a surf that comes down the streets. And if you work real hard, you can ride that surf. And in Cleveland, that’s real bizarre. You get out on West 25th and Detroit and ride the surf and its real good. Really good. That’s our big summertime thing—you get out there in a car with a radio in it, “a car that can get me around,” and you know, we dress in our swimming trunks and just surf down the streets…...

-snip-

We’re not innocent, like the Beach Boys are innocent, cuz nobody can be innocent anymore. But we know what innocence is, and we know we have to try to get back there, even if it is tinged with reality.

 
In the third and final part of the interview, Jarmusch and Thomas are cruising around the city in a 1966 Dodge Dart. They have the AM radio station CKLW on, which is cycling through some recent hits, to which Thomas reacts. When Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night” comes on, it spurs Thomas to a mini-manifesto of sorts:
 

This is one of my big faves, too. I like all kinds of shit. I think ABBA’s real superb. I like all kinds of crap. Like, I consider Pere Ubu to be a pop band. Like, we don’t really do long songs. Pop is an art—to do something really new with pop is an art.

 
Read the original article after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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