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Awesome Alfred Hitchcock action figure unveiled at Comic-Con
07.24.2014
12:30 pm

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
Alfred Hitchcock


Photo via Ain’t It Cool
 
I was a little apprehensive when I heard there was going to be an Alfred Hitchcock action figure. Would Austin’s Mondo—known for their gorgeous posters—be able to do the great director justice in three dimensions? Well, I think they certainly have if this photo of the toy figure that’s starting to make the rounds on the Internet is anything to go by. Mondo did an excellent job with “The Master of Suspense,” IMO.

Sporting a fine-tailored suit, this replica of the legendary horror director comes with his directors chair, clapboard, cigars, and props from his most famous films—including a butcher knife, a raven and a seagull. The figure also comes with interchangeable hands and a stand.

I wish there were better images, but these will have to do for now. More to follow.


 
Via Superpunch

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The strange, but true, story behind the Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’
07.24.2014
11:29 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Beatles

image
 

John and I wrote “She’s Leaving Home together.” It was my inspiration. We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who’d left home and not been found, there were a lot of those at the time, and that was enough to give us a story line. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up ... It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the long sustained notes, and one of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly. Before that period in our song-writing we would have changed chords but it stays on the C chord. It really holds you. It’s a really nice little trick and I think it worked very well.

While I was showing that to John, he was doing the Greek chorus, the parents’ view: ‘We gave her most of our lives, we gave her everything money could buy.’ I think that may have been in the runaway story, it might have been a quote from the parents. Then there’s the famous little line about a man from the motor trade; people have since said that was Terry Doran, who was a friend who worked in a car showroom, but it was just fiction, like the sea captain in “Yellow Submarine”, they weren’t real people.

—Paul McCartney to Barry Miles in 1997

The Daily Mirror story that inspired “She’s Leaving Home” was about Melanie Coe, then aged 17. “Wild child” Coe snuck out of her parents’ comfortable North London home in February of 1967. She was pregnant and afraid of what her mother might do, but had not run off with the father of her unborn child—or “a man from the motor trade,” for that matter—but rather with a croupier she’d just met. They shacked up for ten days before her parents found her. She returned home and had an abortion.

But here’s the weird part: three years earlier Coe had actually met Paul McCartney when he was the judge of a miming contest that Coe won on Ready, Steady, Go! Coe mimed to Brenda Lee’s “Let’s Jump The Broomstick” and Macca gave her the award. Winning the contest meant Coe would be a dancer on the show for an entire year.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Just a few really cool photos of Silver Apples’ homemade electronics rig, 1968
07.24.2014
10:31 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Silver Apples


 
WFMU on Twitter hipped me to these insanely cool photos of psychedelic electronic music group Silver Apples’ homemade electronic gear. Holy hell these are great!


Silver Apples live in Los Angeles, 1968. “In this shot you can see I have the oscillators mounted horizontally in plywood along with echo units, wah pedal, and so on. Here I am playing the ‘lead’ oscillator with my right hand, keying in rhythm oscillators with my elbow on the telegraph keys, changing the volume on an amp with my left hand, and singing. This was typical.”
 

 

This photo was taken at an earlier, outdoor concert in New York City, again in 1968, “before the plywood configuration, where I just had all my oscillators, amps, pedals, and so on piled onto a table. There were 30,000 people in the audience — we were terrified!”
 

 
These electronics in action on “Lovefingers” (1968):

 
via SOS, WFMU, HZ

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The gleefully twisted absurdist animations of Chriddof
07.24.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Animation
Art

Tags:
Chriddof


 

Chris Lyons AKA Chriddof is one of the great enigmas of the Internet. A British culture-jamming, avant-garde surrealist and absurdist mixing video and audio, music and noise, comedy, horror, and retro television altogether into a delightfully incomprehensible, arty mess. And yet he never takes himself too seriously (except for the cases where he decides to close his account[s]); in fact, if you were to ever ask him on YouTube what the sources of any of his videos or the tools he used are, he’ll answer you perfectly straightforward. He’s a strange bloke, but a cool one.—ThornBrain

With his long filmography of not-at-all-very-long films, the English artist Chris “Chriddof” Lyons is a front-runner for best YouTube surrealist ever. Working in so many styles he can barely be said to actually have one, and with an oeuvre spread across multiple media and countless YouTube channels (many of them deleted, some resurrected), he is an exasperatingly mercurial figure in spite of the sheer amount of work he shares with the world. The ‘About’ page on his web site is this…
 

 
...and that’s all. His work, it’s our good fortune, is significantly easier to access than biographical information. He regularly updates a Tumblr with his videos, music, drawings and writings. Many of his videos are rhythmically edited and really, really funny found media cut-ups, but the pieces I’m keen to share with you are his twisted 3D animations. He warps what appear to be rudimentary DAZ or Poser figures into short, freakish, body-horror creations that make me laugh even as I’m weirded out, baffled or horrified, which is a hell of a neat trick.
 

 

 
SO MUCH MORE after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
De Stijl-styled wine bottles inspired by ‘The Simpsons’
07.24.2014
07:44 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs
Television

Tags:
Piet Mondrian
De Stijl
wine


 
Russian designers Constantin Bolimond and Dmitry Patsukevich have created these awesome wine bottles depicting Marge and Homer Simpson in the style of Piet Mondrian—arguably the most recognizable artist of the De Stijl movement. However, the kitschy appeal of the bottles is part and parcel to the suspicious beverage inside, which is described as “wine, or maybe not?”

The drink was brought to life together with the cartoon characters in 1987. Maybe it is wine, maybe not. We are inviting you to find out yourselves. The contents have been kept secret for already 26 years now. While the ingredients remain the same, their proportions differ from time to time. That is why you will never get bored from this drink! We can assure you that you will not be left disappointed.

No information is given beyond that, but there’s a website given that both leads to nowhere and misspells Marge’s name (www.homer&mardge.com)—mysterious, huh?. Twenty bucks says this is just 26-year-old malt liquor in a cleverly wrapped bottle, but the appeal of the project is the novelty, not the “wine” within.

I’m not above a little gross booze, but I definitely drawn the line at “mystery booze,” Simpsons-themed or otherwise. Besides, wouldn’t beer be the proper beverage for a project like this? Then again, the secret-Simpsons booze is 13% alcohol, and you can’t argue with… efficiency.
 

 

 
Via Juxtapoz

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Torchwood’ star John Barrowman opens Commonwealth Games with same-sex kiss

barrowmankiss.jpg
 
Well done to Torchwood star John Barrowman, who opened the twentieth Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last night with a kiss.

The ceremony, which was held at Celtic Park in the city’s east end, began with a kitsch musical number performed by Barrowman and comedy actress Karen Dunbar celebrating Scotland’s diverse culture and history. In front of an estimated television audience of 1.5 billion, Mr. Barrowman kissed one of the kilted male dancers during a sequence on Gretna Green—the romantic village where eloping couples have traditionally married.

The kiss was accompanied by shouts of “Here’s to equality in Scotland.”

The bill for gay marriage in Scotland received Royal assent in March this year, and the first gay weddings will take place in 2015.

The theme of the opening ceremony was equality for all, and Mr. Barrowman’s kiss highlighted the fact that homosexuality is a prisonable offense in an astonishing 42 of the 54 Commonwealth nations taking part on the games.

Among the other artists taking part in the “Friendly games” opening ceremony were Rod Stewart, Nicola Bendetti, Amy MacDonald, DJ Mylo, Billy Connolly, Susan Boyle, Karen Dunbar, Ewan MacGregor and 41 Scottish Terriers. Read a review here.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Be amazed at the amount of ‘booty’ one man hid up his ass
07.24.2014
06:09 am

Topics:
Amusing
Crime

Tags:
prisons
smuggling

contrabooty1.jpg
 
There’s a possible game show here: call it something like What’s Up My Ass? in which contestants have to smuggle a selection of goods past a panel of celebrity prison officers. It’s like What’s My Line? except with discretely hidden contraband.

A potential contestant for such a show would certainly be 35-year-old André Silva de Jesus, who was arrested after attempting to smuggle a surprising number of items into a prison in Ribeirao das Neves, Greater Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

André Silva managed to secrete two mobile phones, two batteries, pliers, two drills, eight pieces of a hacksaw, five nails and three Sim cards up his anus. On arrival at the prison, the man presented guards with a medical certificate which claimed he had a pacemaker and was therefore exempt from passing through the facility’s x-ray machine. However, the guards became suspicious of André Silva’s “nervousness” and searched him. Military police were called in to “record the occurrence” but it is not known which inmate was to receive the smuggled contraband.

In an innuendo-laden statement, the Secretariat for Prison Administration said authorities had “opened an internal procedure to determine what happened.” Sounds painful.

As there is no news footage for this story (quelle surprise!), so here’s one that was put together earlier…
 

 
Via Arbroath

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Recurring Dreams’: Homemade 1982 album sounds like Brian Eno playing the ‘Forbidden Planet’ theme
07.23.2014
03:53 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Yoga Records
Matthew Young


 
Yesterday marked Drag City/Yoga Records re-release of “New Age” outsider musician Matthew Young’s 1982 album Recurring Dreams. To call Young a “cult” artist is probably overstating the case—Jandek is a household name in comparison—but that may change when, say, NPR picks up on this 32-year-old obscurity. (Yes, this is one of those things with a bit of an exotic backstory that NPR absolutely loves, like The Langley Schools Music Project or the Ghetto Brothers.)

The album begins with a number called “Mistrial,” an ambient fantasia which calls to mind Brian Eno playing the theme to Forbidden Planet. That’s what a lot of it sounds like to my ears and I pronounce this a very good thing. Recurring Dreams is quite unusual. Although it’s not necessarily “foreground” music that demands your attention, I don’t know if I would exactly call it “New Age” so much either—it’s got much more in common with Morton Subotnick than with Yanni—as I would try not to categorize it at all. The self-released album has a “homemade” low-fi sound and was, in a sense, technologically hand-crafted utilizing EMS Synthi A and Roland synthesizers, piano, guitars, log drums, voice and tape manipulation. (Young took the Computer Music Seminar courses at Princeton. He knew what he was doing.)

Yoga Records is the label that released the (deeply fascinating) set I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age In America, 1950 - 1990 as well as Young’s Traveler’s Advisory. There’s only so much I can really write about an instrumental album like this, but Yoga’s Douglas Mcgowan made a charming short video introducing Young, shot at his home in New Jersey.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Everything to the extreme’: Be a guest at one of Henry Miller’s dinner parties
07.23.2014
02:04 pm

Topics:
Literature

Tags:
Henry Miller


 

“The earth is not a lair, neither is it a prison. The earth is a Paradise, the only one we’ll ever know. We will realize it the moment we open our eyes. We don’t have to make it a Paradise-it is one. We have only to make ourselves fit to inhabit it. The man with the gun, the man with murder in his heart, cannot possibly recognize Paradise even when he is shown it.”

― Henry Miller, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare

“We get about as much information about the other peoples of this globe, through the movies and the radio, as the Martians get about us.”

― Henry Miller, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare

I think I probably “discovered” Henry Miller from Tom Schiller’s SNL shorts that featured the dry wit of the Tropic of Cancer author and from his role in Warren Beatty’s Reds as one of the “witnesses” who had personally known John Reed and Louise Bryant. Miller’s presence onscreen was remarkable for a man his age and I wanted to know more about him. I was a kid, but I thought he was a very cool motherfucker for an old guy, like his near contemporary in authoring banned books, William S. Burroughs.

By the 1970s, Henry Miller’s work, once very, very difficult to come by in America, was being stocked in regular shopping mall bookstores and could be found on local library shelves, even one in a conservative backwater burg like my hometown of Wheeling, WV, which had most of his books. Frankly, the “erotic” Henry Miller didn’t really interest me all that much. I was more interested to read his opinions on things and events, non fiction essays, in other words, or interviews with him. High on my list of Miller’s writing were “A Nation of Lunatics,” his bicentennial contribution to an anthology titled Four Visions of America and The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, his scathing assessment of traveling around America in a car for two years after a decade spent in Europe (Think of it as a mix of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, which it preceded by many years. with Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night.)

When he was 84, Miller began a relationship with a young woman of twenty named Brenda Venus—a future Playboy model and author of several bestselling sex instruction books—from Biloxi, Mississippi. Venus found Miller’s address in a used book she’d purchased and had written to him. Miller was was infatuated by her and wrote her over 1,500 love letters, which were published in 1986 as Dear, Dear Brenda. (Worth noting that Dear, Dear Brenda was staged as a play in Russia a few years back, with Venus played by Olympic gymnast Svetlana Khorkina. According to her Wikipedia page, Brenda was invited to be the guest of Vladimir Putin at the premiere, which was held at the famed Moscow Art Theatre, home of Chekhov.)

Miller was an extremely gregarious man, known for holding court at frequent dinner parties he threw during the final two decades of his life spent in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles. In the video below, you can be a fly on the wall during one of Miller’s dinners. “The Botticelli of Mississippi” is present at the author’s side. The Swiss poet and novelist who Miller is expounding on at length, and calls his “hero,” is Blaise Cendrars, who many considered the heir to Rimbaud. It’s probably a good idea to read the Wikipedia page on him before beginning this video, because he’s the main topic of conversation. Note that the conversation begins with Miller talking about how he’s hoping to win the Nobel prize (for the cash reward!) and where it ends up a half hour later.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Pig Pile’: Big Black live on their final tour, with members of Wire, 1987
07.23.2014
09:23 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Big Black
Wire
Steve Albini


 
In 1992, five years after their breakup in the wake of their amazing LP Songs About Fucking, the influential and scathing post-hardcore pioneers Big Black released a boxed set called Pig Pile, which featured a shirt, a poster, a VHS tape, a vinyl LP, and a clear-vinyl 5” single. The LP and VHS were documents of the band’s July 1987 concert at London’s Hammersmith Clarendon, and the 5” was a totally incongruous cover of the Mary Jane Girls’ “In My House.”
 

In My House by Big Black on Grooveshark

 
Yyyyyyyep.

Talking to NME about the show, the band’s singer/guitarist Steve Albini had this to offer:

We made a splash immediately before we broke up; now a band starts shopping its demos to majors after its third rehearsal. By the end, I think we improved; on the live record and video we were probably as good as we were ever gonna be. That gig was exciting—there was this giant belch and everyone involved in this giant belch felt immensely relieved afterwards.

 

 
It was indeed a hell of a belch. The band at its height was known for a relentlessly concussive and scarifying musical blitz—Albini’s guitar tone alone could practically sever limbs—paired with true-story lyrics that unflinchingly detailed the most reprehensible of human behaviors, often to genuinely chilling effect. The videotape and album show the band slaying an excoriating best-of set, and for their encore, a cover of Wire’s “Heartbeat,” they were joined onstage by Wire’s Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis in what must have been a fan-fantasy score of a lifetime. The LP was rereleased as a CD in short order, and inevitably came out on vinyl again in the ‘oughts, but the video has never been reissued in any format. Per the band’s label, Touch and Go records,

In 1992, Touch and Go released a Big Black live album and video, titled Pig Pile, that were recorded (mostly) in 1987 during Big Black’s final tour. Someday, we might release the video on DVD. Until then, please don’t ask us about it.

As of this writing, used copies of the complete set are being offered on discogs.com for between $60 USD (box condition fair, shirt worn) and well over $200. But if you’re really that hot to watch it, and you don’t mind tiny and fuzzy, here it is.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Shellac Pistols’: Shellac and David Yow do the Sex Pistols, 1998
Awkward, hilarious interview with Steve Albini
Absolute Nirvana: new Steve Albini mixes push in utero anniversary set into essential territory

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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