follow us in feedly
Watch the first silver screen portrayal of Aleister Crowley in 1926’s ‘The Magician’
05.22.2015
05:43 am

Topics:
Movies
Occult

Tags:
Aleister Crowley
W. Somerset Maugham


 
W. Somerset Maugham based Oliver Haddo, the titular character in his 1908 novel The Magician, on Aleister Crowley, whom he had met in literary circles in Paris. It was not an altogether flattering portrait, and Crowley, writing in Vanity Fair as “Oliver Haddo,” argued that Maugham had plagiarized multiple sources in a scathing review of the book.

Almost 20 years later, Rex Ingram brought The Magician to the silver screen with the German actor and director Paul Wegener as the bloodthirsty Haddo. Crowley was living in Paris at the time, and he sought to prevent the movie’s French premiere by legal means. Richard Kaczynski’s definitive Beast biography, Perdurabo, mentions the incident in connection with Crowley’s student Gerald Yorke (the brother of the novelist Henry Green):

[...] Yorke kept AC’s pipe dreams in perspective: one such scheme involved Metro-Goldwyn’s film adaptation of Maugham’s The Magician, which was opening on the Grand Boulevard March 23. Since Crowley received no compensation as the model of Oliver Haddo, he filed an injunction against showing the film. However, when representatives from the film company offered to pay Crowley, he refused. “The lawsuit is a pretext for a business deal,” he explained to Yorke. “I’m holding out for publicity and power.” Crowley wanted a contract to produce a series of educational films on magick. Yorke was pessimistic about the scheme.

(In the event, Crowley got nothing. “I cannot say that I think you will get any damages from Metro-Goldwyn over The Magician film,” Yorke had warned Crowley. “Your reputation is too bad to be damaged by that.”)
 

Paul Wegener as Oliver Haddo: finally, an unbiased cinematic portrait of Aleister Crowley
 
“He looks as if he had stepped out of a melodrama,” the movie’s hero says when he first meets the sorcerer, giving the game away. Briefly: a diabolical sculpture crumbles in a Latin Quarter studio, crushing artist Margaret Dauncey’s spine. Her dashing lover, the famous surgeon Arthur Burdon, cures her paralysis with a scalpel. We first see Haddo in the audience at the operating theater, looking at the beautiful young quadriplegic on the table as if she were a hamburger. Poring over occult books in search of the secret of creating life, the magician has discovered an alchemical working that requires “the Heart Blood of a Maiden.” Can you guess whom he might have in mind for a donor?

There are many visual treats in store—among them a freak show and a snake charmer—but if you’re impatient or easily bored, skip to the 29-minute mark, where Haddo brings Dauncey under his spell, magically transports her to a rite of Pan, and awakens an unnatural lust within her.
 

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
There’s a Roku channel just for cheesy old sex-ed and exploitation films


 
When streaming players boast about their huge numbers of channels, I’m generally even less impressed than I am by the “wealth” of offerings on the grossly overpriced wasteland that is cable TV. I have absolutely no use for thousands of impossibly granular channels like The Christian Comedy Channel, Firewood Hoarders, NRA Women, and Cruise Addicts. Those are all real. But in their favor, I don’t have to pay $75 a month to not watch them.

But sometimes, that nanoscopic specificity does pay weirdness dividends. The Shout Factory channel proffered by the music/video label of the same name holds some treasures, as do the handful of channels that compile old cartoons that have passed into the public domain. And not so long ago, I ran across a channel, called Stop It Or You’ll Go Blind!, devoted exclusively to old sex ed films, with some “educational” exploitation thrown in. (Why is “Sex Ed-sploitation” not a term? It’s a thing, it needs a word…)
 

 

 
Unsurprisingly, a lot of these are a riot. There’s “Miracles in Birth,” a graphic depiction of live births shot in grainy black and white so blown-out it looks less like a miracle and more like outtakes from Begotten. There’s “Dance Little Children,” a creepy VD scare flick directed by Carnival of Souls auteur Herk Harvey, which teaches us all a valuable lesson about not letting slimy rich dudes boink us on the first date. The 1938 Sex Madness, Dwain Esper’s follow-up to Reefer Madness is streaming, as is the bizarre Test Tube Babies, a tale of swinging and sterility. And the ‘60s classic “Perversion for Profit” is there, the notorious and INSANE 30 minute anti-indecency screed in which L.A. newsreader/talk show host (and, later, NewsMax columnist *shudder*) George Putnam blames pornographers for everything from juvenile crime to child molestation. The brilliant thing about “P4P” is that if anyone actually held on to even half of the smut rags displayed for *ahem* viewer edification, they could be an eBay millionaire today.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Ten-hut! X-rated ‘Beetle Bailey’ comics
05.22.2015
05:31 am

Topics:
Art
Media
Sex

Tags:
smut
Beetle Bailey
Mort Walker


 
If you’ve ever so much as glanced at any Beetle Bailey strip involving General Halftrack leering at his secretary, the buxom Miss Buxley, you won’t be all too surprised that Mort Walker, the creator of the comic, at some point dashed off a few strips that, ah, were not intended for publication in a family-oriented newspaper.

The strips are pretty harmless, but they are unmistakably about boners and fellatio. So there’s that.

These comics appeared in a Swedish book about Beetle Bailey. Apparently the Swedes dig Beetle Bailey, where he is called “Knasen.” According to Google Translate, “Fräckisarna som stannade på skiss-stadiet” refers to something that is “cheeky” that “stayed at the sketch stage,” and “Varning för Snusk” means “warning for smut,” which is hilarious.

Varning för Snusk! You have been warned.
 

 
More smutty ‘Beetle Bailey’ after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Satan’s daughter is getting baptized tomorrow?
05.22.2015
05:04 am

Topics:
Advertising
Amusing
Media
Occult

Tags:
Satan's daughter

000advsatanlucybapzfghjkihg0123.jpg
 
“Satan’s mother” placed an advert in Sweden’s daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Tuesday announcing the baptism of her daughter Lucy on Saturday 23rd May in Elmsta.

The advert read “Welcome to the world beloved LUCY,” and carried a picture of a cherubic (demonic?) child with dark piercing eyes and 666 kiss curls. The ad included an RSVP email address from “rehtom.snatas”—which as all good occultists know is “Satan’s mother” backwards.
 

 
Alas, for all those expecting the end of days, fire, brimstone and alike, the announcement is part of a “guerilla” advertising campaign promoting the Elmsta 3000 Horror Fest.

Some eagle-eyed journalists noted their paper had been duped and carried a story about the advert later that day. This was the second time something unusual had ended up in the paper’s pages recently. On Sunday an essay in the culture section of the paper contained capital letters at the start of each paragraph that spelt out the word “P E N I S.”.
 

 
This time the mistake (cock-up?) in the Svenska Dagbladet was picked up by its rival newspaper Göteborgs-Posten RSS.
 
Via the Local

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Meet ‘Patrick’: The robotic proctology-simulation ass
05.21.2015
09:22 am

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
robotic ass


 
This week Medical Daily reported on “Patrick,” a “simulated patient that talks to medical students while offering real-time feedback about the virtual prostate exam he’s receiving.”

Patrick is connected to a mock prostate in a robotic ass.

From Medical Daily:

Patrick serves a dual purpose: personal and professional. Personally, he comes equipped with software that enables him to interact emotionally with the student and voice any concerns he has about the procedure. Dr. Benjamin Lok, one of the program’s designers, says the interpersonal relationship Patrick helps foster is invaluable from a practicing perspective. “This virtual human patient can talk to the learner, expresses fears and concerns about the prostate exam, and presents a realistic patient encounter,” Lok told Geekosystem.

The other purpose he serves is functional. Patrick is endowed with force sensors, which can alert the student when he or she is being too aggressive, and can report how thorough the student was in his or her examination.

“Consider this,” Lok said, “how would a medical student know if they are doing a good prostate exam? Currently it is impossible for the educator to gauge performance. This simulation provides performance, feedback, and an opportunity to learn and lower anxiety.”

The image of “Patrick” in action looks to us like the very worst video game peripheral imaginable. Let’s hope he’s not the butt of too many jokes. We’d all rather our new doctors get some simulator practice in before going to town on the rest of us.

Via Medical Daily

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Title sequence of ‘Twin Peaks’ recreated using nothing but paper
05.21.2015
09:13 am

Topics:
Art
Television

Tags:
David Lynch
Twin Peaks


 
As I write this, Showtime and David Lynch have been going back and forth on the possibility of new episodes of Twin Peaks, the strikingly original TV show that aired on ABC in 1990 and 1991, setting a new bar (that has never really been surpassed) for brazenly experimental programming in an utterly mainstream context. A month ago Lynch made it known that “not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done.” However, Twin Peaks fans rejoiced when Lynch tweeted the following message last week:
 

 
A new web project called And The World Was Paper is dedicated to the task of recreating bits of famous video using nothing but artfully cut-up pieces of colorful paper (somewhat like South Park). There are only two videos up at this point, but weekly installments have been promised, with new episodes on the way “every other Monday.” One video re-creates the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the other is the Twin Peaks title sequence.

I must say, this is very nicely done. It took some creative positioning of my browser windows, but I was able to watch the cut-paper version and the real version side by side, and it’s uncanny how perfectly the homage matches the original.

It never occurred to me before how much of the title sequence is just footage of things happening in factories.
 

 
via The World’s Best Ever
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Orson Welles talks about the conspiracy to suppress ‘Citizen Kane’ in 1960 interview
05.21.2015
07:08 am

Topics:
Movies
Politics

Tags:
Orson Welles
Citizen Kane


 
This short interview from 1960 has some fascinating comments from Orson Welles on the uphill battle he faced getting Citizen Kane into theaters. It was often speculated of course, that the titular character was based on publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, who only exacerbated this notion by using all his resources to try and prevent the film’s release—this is without ever having seen it. (You’d think a strategy of denial might be a little less self-incriminating!) Welles manages to get in a snide jab with: “Kane isn’t really founded on Hearst… in particular,” specifying that Kane was a composite character.

Even more fascinatingly, Welles does not shy from the more explicit politics of the film, admitting “it was intended consciously as a sort of social document, as an attack on the acquisitive society, and indeed on acquisition in general.” This clear critique of power managed to get him branded as a Communist in the states and banned in the Soviet Union—can’t win for losing, I suppose. As it was, Hearst actually did succeed at limiting the run of the film in the US—by a lot. Few theaters even showed the film. The box office numbers suffered, and though Citizen Kane is now considered one of the greats, it damaged Welles’ career from the very start.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Black Eunuch’: the elemental soul-punk of Algiers. A DM premiere.
05.21.2015
07:01 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Algiers


 
There are few releases I’m looking forward to this year like the self-titled debut from Algiers. There are past and current bands that have edifyingly fused the energies of southern gospel and rock, but Algiers? Theirs is some potent stuff, absolutely worthy of all the discussion they’ve been generating. The band is made up of expats from America’s deep south, and is built around the nexus of singer Franklin James Fisher, an expressive blues howler whose calls for radical social change can turn on a dime from guttural grunts to righteous wails. In answer, the band combines HOT soul tropes with the loftiest ideals and gnarliest noises of experimental post-punk. And I’m tellin’ you, good people, the alloy is as strong as the forge is hot.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Music-Hall Humorist’: Read Marc Bolan’s Melody Maker article about David Bowie
05.21.2015
06:59 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Marc Bolan


Bowie and Bolan on the final episode of Bolan’s TV show, MARC

He had a mime act and used to open up the show. He didn’t sing at all but had a tape going and he’d act out a story about a Tibetan boy.

Mime act? Tape going? Tibetan boy? It can only be another reminiscence of David Bowie’s early years in showbiz. But this one is special: it comes from a Melody Maker feature by Bowie’s friend and sometime rival Marc Bolan. It appeared in print just six months before Bolan’s tragic death in a car crash.

I came across Bolan’s article, “Music-Hall Humorist,” in the foxed and brittle pages of David Bowie, A Chronology, a relic from the Let’s Dance era. “Music-Hall Humorist” first appeared in the March 12, 1977 issue of Melody Maker, a number that was heavy with Bowie-related news. Published during the Thin White Duke’s annus mirabilis, the issue featured both Iggy and Bowie on the cover, and the headline screamed LOU REED DUE.

The article reads more like a transcript of Bolan talking to a reporter than something he sweated out over a typewriter, but who knows? Maybe it was laboriously composed over a period of several weeks. Sure it was…

David is a great singer . . . he can sing anything, almost. I remember him when he was in The Lower Third and he used to go to gigs in an ambulance. I used to think he was very professional. He was playing saxophone then and singing. I suppose it was a blues band then and he was produced by Shel Talmy.

He did a record which I’m sure everybody has forgotten. It was ‘Pop Art’ – yer actual feedback. I can’t remember what it was called.

After that he went to Decca around the time I was doing ‘The Wizard’. He was into . . . bombardiers then. Don’t you remember ‘The Little Bombardier’?

He was very Cockney then. I used to go round to his place in Bromley and he always played Anthony Newley records. I haven’t spoken to him about it, but I guess that was how he got into mime.

Newley did mime in Stop the World I Wanna Get Off. The funny thing is that ‘The Laughing Gnome’, which was one of David’s biggest singles here, came from that early period.

It came at the height of his supercool image. And that’s very ‘Strawberry Fair’ . . . ‘the donkey’s eaten all the strawberries!’ That was his biggest single, so it just shows you it doesn’t pay to be cool, man!

Rock ‘n’ Roll suicide hit the dust and the laughing gnomes took over. We were all looking for something to get into then. I wanted to be Bob Dylan, but I think David was looking into that music-hall humour.

It was the wrong time to do it, but all his songs were story songs, like ‘London Boys’. They had a flavour, with very square kinda backings.

But in those days there weren’t any groovy backings being laid down. I think if he played back those records now he’d smile at them, because he was an unformed talent then. He was putting together the nucleus of what he was eventually going to be.

When he had ‘Space Oddity’ he was on tour with me in Tyrannosaurus Rex. He had a mime act and used to open up the show. He didn’t sing at all but had a tape going and he’d act out a story about a Tibetan boy. It was quite good actually, and we did the Festival Hall with Roy Harper as well.

I remember David playing me ‘Space Oddity’ in his room and I loved it and said he needed a sound like the Bee Gees, who were very big then. The stylophones he used on that, I gave him. Tony Visconti turned me onto stylophones.

The record was a sleeper for months before it became a hit, and I played on ‘Prettiest Star’, you know which I thought was a great song, and it flopped completely.

But I never got the feeling from David that he was ambitious. I remember he’d buy antiques if he had a hit, when he should have saved his money. David got his drive to be successful once I’d done it with the T. Rex thing. At the beginning of the seventies it was the only way to go.

 

“It’s so easy, a baby could learn to play it in fifteen minutes”: an ad for the Stylophone
 
David Bowie, A Chronology also includes this unsourced anecdote from March 1977:

While in London, David is taken for lunch to Toscanini’s in the Kings Road by Marc Bolan. After the meal, David and Bolan, both slightly drunk, wandered down the Kings Road singing. At one point, when in view of a packed open-topped double-decker bus full of school children, the two jumped up and down trying to attract the children’s attention shouting alternately, ‘I’m David Bowie’, and ‘I’m Marc Bolan’. Although the school children were none too interested in their antics, they did manage to attract some Bowie fans who couldn’t believe their luck when David obliged with an autograph and a chat.

I’m not sure if this is the “pop art” single Bolan was trying to recall, but here’s Bowie (in the Manish Boys) singing “I Pity The Fool” in 1965. Shel Talmy produced and Jimmy Page played lead guitar. (Be warned: there’s six seconds of silence before the song starts.)

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The last of the Samurai: Beautiful hand-colored photographs of the warriors and their courtesans
05.21.2015
06:43 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:
James Robertson
samurai
Felice Beato

000samujpnsldzxfghjijyhn001.jpg
 
When photographer Felice Beato arrived in Japan in 1863, he found the country in the midst of civil war. After spending over two hundred years in seclusion, Japan was being forced by the Americans—under a mission led by Commodore Matthew C. Perry—to expand its trade with the west. The country was divided between the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo and the Imperial Court based in Kyoto. Over the next decade, a period known as the Bakumatsu, Japan was riven as the Imperial order gradually took control. The key moment came when the samurai of the Chōshū and Satsuma provinces defeated the Shogunate in 1867, which led to the restoration of imperial rule under Emperor Meiji.

Beato was an Anglo-Italian, born in Venice in 1832, and raised in the British protectorate of Corfu. He learnt his trade under the renowned photographic pioneer James Robertson, with whom he traveled to Constantinople documenting many British imperial wars fought in Crimea, India and China. Beato’s skill saw him (along with his brother Antonio) hailed as one of the century’s leading photojournalists.

In 1862, Beato sold most of his photographic work and invested the money in the London Stock Exchange, where it was quickly lost. The following year, he decided to quit England and start out on a new adventure, this time to Japan. On his arrival in Yokohama, Beato set-up a business with English artist Charles Wirgman, who drew sketches and engravings based on Beato’s photographs. Travel was dangerous in Japan, with many of the Shogunate samurai warriors killing westerners—in Edo the American legation was burned to the ground and westerners threatened with death. On one occasion, Beato escaped such a fate after declining a tour of Kamakura with two Imperial officers, who happened across two masterless samurais (or ronin) and were beheaded. However, through his contacts in the military, Beato did manage to travel to many of the secluded areas of the country, where he documented the last years of feudal Japan.

Among his first photographs were the portraits of the Satsuma samurais, who happily posed for him. In one group portrait, four samurais symbolically show their strength and ambition by presenting themselves with one standing samurai holding a red book of English literature and one seated with an unsheathed knife—highlighting their hold on western knowledge and their strength in Japanese tradition. As travel became restricted because of the civil war, Beato opened a studio back in Yokohama, where he photographed many samurai warriors and their courtesans.

A selection of Felice Beato’s rare hand-colored photographs will be on display at the London Photographic Fair 23rd-24th May.
 
002samujpndfghjiug2.jpg
 
000samudfgfivsmlojkd001.jpg
 
More of Felice Beato’s incredible photographs, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 1779  1 2 3 >  Last ›