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Ghost Rider: The perfect motorcycle for All Hallows’ Eve
10.31.2014
07:09 am

Topics:
Amusing
Design

Tags:
motorcycles
John Holt
skeleton bike

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Now this is the kind of motorcycle you want to be seen riding when you turn up late to that Halloween party. This customized skeleton bike is a definite head turner—the bike Ghost Rider really should have had.

Take a look at the craftsmanship going on here: a hammer forged bike frame made from a skeleton rib cage and spine, with arm bones as front forks, bony hands as wheel hubs, and a skull with 32 teeth and a headlight in each eye socket. This beauty was almost entirely handmade by self-taught metal worker John Holt in his basement workshop in Boone County, Illinois, in 2004 and 2005. The bike has a 2.3-liter Ford engine with a variable flow hydraulic drive. The bike weighs 850 pounds; if made to stand up straight, the skeleton would be over nine feet tall.

This was the first bike Holt ever built—though he previously made a suit of armor in 1995—and he “fashioned the design” from a plastic model of a skeleton. Holt calls his bike “Iron Death.” Yep, that sounds right.
 
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Thanks to Duke Sandefur, via Vince Lewis
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Dollhouses of doom: Lori Nix’s post-apocalyptic dioramas
10.31.2014
06:58 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
diorama
post-apocalyptic


Library, 2007
 
The morbid fascination with “ruin porn”—the decrepit or devastated remains of human existence—is hardly a niche interest at this point. People are drawn to the aftermath of destruction or the ravages of time because catastrophe and/or decay is mesmerizing, but many argue that ruin porn is voyeuristic and ghoulish. Well, that’s why we have art, folks—so we can gawk without guilt!

For her series, “The City,” photographer Lori Nix hand-builds tiny, exquisitely detailed diorama models of human spaces in a post-apocalyptic world. Nix grew up in disaster-prone Kansas, and a childhood of flooding, tornadoes, and blizzards shaped her catastrophic visions as much as sensationalist cinema. From her site:

I am fascinated, maybe even a little obsessed, with the idea of the apocalypse. In addition to my childhood experiences with natural disasters, I also grew up watching 1970s films known as “disaster flicks.” I remember watching Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Planet of the Apes and sitting in awe in the dark. Here was the same type of dangers I had experienced day to day being magnified and played out on the big screen in a typical Hollywood way.

The mysterious disaster that’s left Nix’s civilization to fallow is never explained, and no human survivors are ever present. The viewer is simply given permission to stare at what’s left.
 

Casino, 2013
 

Chinese Take-Out, 2013
 

Subway, 2012
 

Beauty Shop, 2010
 

Mall, 2010
 
More of Lori Nix’s dollhouses of doom after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
DEVO ‘busking’ on French TV, 1980
10.31.2014
06:43 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
DEVO
Stéphane Collaro


 
I’ll bet a lot of bands at the turn of the ‘80s must have envied the media penetration DEVO were enjoying around then. Even before the creation and widespread adoption of MTV, that band’s knowingly goofy presentation made them just so much fun to look at that they were able to storm not just the late night shows where adventurous music was fairly commonplace, but also blandly housewifey daytime chat shows like Merv Griffin‘s.

Here’s a rarely-seen overseas example—this comes from a June, 1980 broadcast of Collaroshow, a French comedy/variety program. DEVO mimed “Girl U Want,” the leadoff song and first single from their then brand new LP Freedom of Choice, as sidewalk buskers. It’s all done in a single camera shot (a tribute to Rope, or just cheapness?) that circles the band with vocalist Mark Motherbaugh. It’s guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh, though, who wins the day here, his energy dome roguishly cocked at an angle as he flips the bird at the camera to punctuate the song’s solo. The ice cream “microphone,” in a perfectly DEVO-ish yellow and red, is an amusing touch, too.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Tribulation 99’: The ultimate conspiracy theory!
10.31.2014
06:28 am

Topics:
Belief
History
Movies

Tags:
Craig Baldwin
Tribulation 99


 
Tribulation 99 is the work of underground filmmaker Craig Baldwin, a former student of Bruce Conner’s whose specialty is collage. Artfully stitched together from bits of stock footage, B-movies, the news, educational films, commercials, and other archival material, the 1991 movie purports to explain most of the events of recent history as the surface phenomena of an ancient conspiracy to enslave humanity. In its sprint toward Doomsday, it covers 99 tribulations in 48 minutes, so you’re unlikely to be bored, and the ending is worth sticking around for. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…
 

 
The ingenious plot, narrated in sepulchral tones by Sean Kilkoyne, weaves in just about every strand of 20th century conspiracy lore: ancient aliens, the hollow Earth, mind control, Aztec myth, cattle mutilation, UFOs, the CIA’s adventures in Latin America, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the Bermuda Triangle, freemasonry, Satanism, and, of course, the Book of Revelation. Summarizing the plot is a fool’s errand, and, were it possible, would ruin the effect of the movie. But you will soon notice that its survey of the postwar period is at pains to justify the most atrocious aspects of U.S. foreign policy at every turn—no mean feat!
 

 
I first became aware of Baldwin’s work through Sonic Outlaws, his valuable 1995 documentary about Negativland, John Oswald (Plunderphonics), the Barbie Liberation Organization, and other proponents of “culture jamming.” Freshman year, I sought out a VHS of Tribulation 99 in my college library, which meant watching it with headphones, on a tiny screen, sitting in a dismal room that smelled of plaster and mildew. In those surroundings, it felt a bit like getting the taped briefing at the beginning of a Mission: Impossible episode—all the more so because it’s full of the kind of history “they don’t teach you in school.”
 

 
I haven’t seen Baldwin’s latest feature, Mock up on Mu, but how could a Craig Baldwin movie about the Jack Parsons-Marjorie Cameron-L. Ron Hubbard story fail to entertain?
 

 
DVDs of Craig Baldwin’s films, and much else of interest, are available from Other Cinema.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Amazing and disturbing human figures sculpted from typewriter parts
10.31.2014
06:04 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Jeremy Mayer


 
Self-trained artist Jeremy Mayer makes astonishing life-sized human figures and busts using only typewriter parts. He describes his process in detail on his web site’s about page.

I disassemble typewriters and then reassemble them into full-scale, anatomically correct human figures. I do not solder, weld, or glue these assemblages together- the process is entirely cold assembly. I do not introduce any part to the assemblage that did not come from a typewriter.

I collect typewriters (all vintages) that are in very rough shape, more-often-than-not completely unusable or beyond reasonable repair. I get them from yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores, and from my friends who happen upon them and think of me. Even with all the key cutters and crafters out there taking apart typewriters, there are many more out there in the world than you may think. For now, anyway.

I then disassemble the typewriters, very carefully backing out screws, pulling pins, and unfastening springs. I don’t use power tools to do this, because I don’t want to damage the parts or their finish. Someone could take 99% of the parts that I use in my sculpture and put them back in a typewriter, if someone were so inclined.

I tend not to like to clean the parts, and I don’t paint them. I like to leave the patina of age and the traces that the typewriter users left on the components. I like to think that the very DNA of the typist is left on the components.

He’s also done a very cool TED Talk about his work.

Mayer does other critters besides people—in fact, just last year we showed you his chihuahua. There are plenty more marvels to be seen at his Instagram and Tumblr pages.
 

 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Young, loud, snotty: Famous punks just hanging out

Jello Biafra at Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1978 by Jim Jocoy
Jello Biafra at Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1978
 
Jim Jocoy and his family left their home in South Korea and arrived in the town of Sunnyvale, California, when Jocoy was only 17. He enrolled at UC Santa Cruz, but later dropped out once he discovered the burgeoning punk scene that was exploding all around him. Jocoy got a gig at a Xerox store, hung out at punk clubs by night and started up a punk zine with his friends called Widows and Orphans. That’s when Jocoy decided to pick up a camera and started shooting photos of his friends and bands whenever he happened to find himself someplace interesting. Jocoy found himself in lots of interesting places.
 

Olga de Volga of the San Francisco band VS. Geary Street Theatre, SF 1980 Jim Jocoy
Olga de Volga of the San Francisco band VS., Geary Street Theatre, SF 1980
 
Jocoy’s remarkable photos ended up in a book in 2002 called We’re Desperate. I reached out to Jocoy in an email, and the photographer graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions about his days growing up as a young punk in California.
 
Sid Vicious. San Francisco, January 14th, 1978 by Jim Jocoy
Sid Vicious, San Francisco, January 14th, 1978
 
Tell me about your now infamous photo of Sid Vicious.

Jim Jocoy: The photo of Sid was taken after the last Sex Pistols show in SF. They performed at Winterland on Jan. 14, 1978. He took a cab to my friend Lamar St John’s apartment in the Haight-Ashbury district. I was outside as the cab pulled up. He was alone and got out and pissed in the middle of the street before going into the apartment. I ran into him in the hallway and asked if I could take a Polaroid photo. He nodded yes and that was it. He spent most of the evening in the bathroom with a couple of “fans”.
 
William Burrough's at his 70th birthday party in SF, 1984 Jim Jocoy
William Burroughs at his 70th birthday party in San Francisco, 1984

I understand that you presented a slide show of your photos to William Burroughs in honor of his 70th birthday. How did that go?

Jim Jocoy: The party was held at a warehouse in the Mission district belonging to the artist Mark McCloud. He was known for his (real) LSD postage stamp art. Burroughs allowed me to take a photo of him that evening. He wore an nice blue suit and had his briefcase in hand.

What’s your favorite memory of a show you saw back in the day that really blew your mind?

Jim Jocoy: I would have to say it was the first Ramones’ show in SF at the Savoy Tivoli on August 19th, 1976. It lasted about 30 minutes without a break, only “one, two, three, four!” between songs by Dee Dee. It was such a sonic boom of pure rock energy as I had never heard before. It was in the tiny back room of the bar/restaurant. It was like ground zero for launching the punk rock scene in San Francisco. A few weeks later, many of the seminal SF punk bands started performing regularly at the Mabuhay Gardens, the first main punk rock venue in the city.
 
Punk girl in leather SF 1978 Jim Jocoy
Punk girl in leather skirt, SF 1978
 
Jocoy’s photos were only shown in public twice (one of those times was at Burroughs’ birthday party), and then were stored away for almost two-decades before seeing the light of day once again between the covers of We’re Desperate. So here’s a glimpse of what punk rock looked like back in the late 70s and early 80s, through the lens of a simple 35mm camera with an oversized flash taken by a guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time. Many thanks to Jim Jocoy for the use of his photos and captions (written by Jim) in this post.
 
John Waters at the Deaf Club in SF, 1980 by Jim Jocoy
John Waters at the Deaf Club in SF, 1980
 
Regi Mentle Geary Street Theatre SF, 1980 Jim Jocoy
Regi Mentle, Geary Street Theatre in SF, 1980
 
Poison Ivy of the Cramps in the dressing room of the Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1979 Jim Jocoy
Poison Ivy of the Cramps in the dressing room of Mabuhay Gardens, SF 1979
 
More young punks after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Ian Curtis: Handwritten schoolboy poem up for auction

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As a child Joy Division’s lead singer wanted to be stuntman. He went so far as setting up a specially constructed stunt that involved him jumping off a garage roof. Cheered on by friends, Curtis donned a crash helmet and took a giant leap off the roof. He landed badly and his ambitions for a career as a stuntman were over.

Thankfully, Curtis showed greater talent for writing poetry, and it would be his lyric writing and singing that eventually brought him fame. Now, one of his original poems, written circa 1966-67 when Curtis was at school, is to be sold next month at a “Beatles Rock ‘n’ Roll Memorabilia Auction,” with a starting bid of $1,200 (£1,000).

According to Tracks Auction the poem:

...is written on a piece of lined paper and is glued into a school book called Our Book Of Epitaphs along with poems from the other pupils in the class.

It reads, “An Epitaph for an Electrian (sic), Here lies Fred the electrian (sic), who went on a very fateful mission, he got a shock when tampering with a fuse, which went from his head right down to his shoes, by I. Curtis”.

Ian has also drawn a small picture of a man and a tombstone.

Hardly T. S. Eliot but certainly not McGonagall.

The poem is described as being in “excellent” condition and measures 6.5 inches x 3.75 inches. It is contained within a larger book of poems by fellow classmates which has some wear and tear and a few of the poems have become detached from the book.
 
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A letter confirming the poem’s authenticity from the owner and former classmate of the singer is included. The letter reads:

“I grew up on Hurdsfield Estate, Macclesfield where I attended Hurdsfield Junior School. I started Hurdsfield Junior School in 1963 where I met Ian Curtis, he was a fellow pupil in my class and we went through school together. Mr Young was our teacher when this piece of work was carried out, he himself has got a poem in the book along with myself and all the other pupils in the class. This poem was written in 1966 or 1967. I was presented with the book at the end of the school year for being head boy. At the time the head teacher was called Mr Tattasall. Ian Curtis lived on Grey Stoke Road, Hurdsfield Estate, I lived on Delemere Road, Hurdsfield Estate, Cheshire”.

As far as pop culture goes, it seems everything and anything is up for grabs, and amongst the other lots going under the hammer are Adam Ant’s 1981 “Prince Charming” shirt, Kate Bush’s handwritten lyrics for “Wuthering Heights,” various signed singles, albums, posters and concert programmes, and a shed load of Beatles’ memorabilia. I’m sure these will all make more than their asking prices and if you fancy bidding check details they are here.
 
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Below Kate Bush’s handwritten lyrics for ‘Wuthering Heights.’
 
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H/T Letters of Note
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Vincent Price visits ‘The Dating Game,’ 1972
10.30.2014
04:18 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
Vincent Price
The Dating Game


 
On October 31st, 1972, a 61-year-old Vincent Price paid a visit to the ABC game show, The Dating Game. Many notable entertainers were contestants on the show such as Karen Carpenter, Sally Field, Farrah Fawcett and Steve Martin. Dusty Springfield, Andy Kaufman, Arnold Schwarzenegger and even a serial killer made The Dating Game scene.

In case you’ve never seen the show, here’s the premise: three “eligible bachelors” (or bachelorettes) are kept behind a partition as a potential romantic prospect asks them each questions to determine who she (or in some cases he) should go out with. On this episode however, Price, who was promoting his 1972 film, Dr. Phibes Rises Again!, ran interference with the trio of single guys on behalf of the show’s contestant (who was always referred to as “Miss X”), 19-year-old actress Janit Baldwin.

The affable Price is ridiculously entertaining and in line with the Halloween theme of the show, he tweaks his questions to include subject matter just so, leaving the bachelors to respond in ways that are totally cringeworthy (which was business as usual on this program, by the way). Apologies for the quality of the video but it was just too good not to share!
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Tales of Mischief, Revelry, and Whiskey: The Accidental Undertaker
10.30.2014
04:15 pm

Topics:
Advertorial

Tags:
Jack Daniel's


 
Tierney manages the New Orleans bar that her grandfather started forty years ago and ran until his death in 2001, but he’s always watching over her, literally from above the bar, where an urn of his ashes rests, as requested in his last will and testament.

But Tierney’s grandfather is not the only one to find his final resting place in her family’s French Quarter saloon, as you will find out in “Accidental Undertaker.”

Tierney’s tale 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 | Leave a comment
Extremely dark Soviet-era Stephen King animation
10.30.2014
01:29 pm

Topics:
Animation

Tags:
animation
Soviet
Stephen King


 
There are some amazing cinematic adaptations of Stephen King’s writing. There are also some… less impressive examples. This 1986 animated short, “Battle,” is not only a fine example of the former, it has the distinction of being the only Stephen King adaptation produced in the famously dark genre of Soviet animation. Based on King’s short story, “Battleground” (first published in a magazine in 1972, then compiled in his 1978 Night Shift anthology), the story is a classic revenge tale with a supernatural twist. A hitman is hired to kill a toymaker, and toy soldiers come to life in the murderer’s home to avenge their father’s death. Their artillery is tiny, but their warfare is relentless, and the hitman meets a brutal end.

“Battle” touches on the fear of the small, and “golem terror”—a sort of childlike anxiety around anthropomorphic objects and the irrational fear that they will become both animate and malevolent. You can see thematic similarities in both the third installment of King’s 1985 trilogy, Cat’s Eye, (where the titular cat protects a young Drew Barrymore from a tiny troll), and the brilliant “Amelia” tale from the 1975 TV movie Trilogy of Terror, where Karen Black is terrorized in her home by a Zuni fetish doll come to life. (A 2006 adaptation of “Battleground,” (starring William Hurt, and also quite good/intense), actually shows the Zuni fetish doll in the background of Hurt’s apartment multiple times as a sort of Hidden Mickey.)

The cartoon itself is a beautiful horror-noir, much of it done via rotoscoping, which gives it the fast-action fear it needs without sacrificing great animation. At any rate, you could definitely use it to scare children into putting their toys away, right?
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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