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Anarchy in Paris: Métal Urbain, classic French punk rock group
08.26.2014
09:39 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
France
Métal Urbain


 
Métal Urbain were Francophone contemporaries of the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Formed in 1976 by Clode Panik, Hermann Schwartz, Pat Luger and Eric Debris, the French punk rock group’s harsh and noisy sound replaced the rhythm section with a synthesizer and drum machine. Sonically, they came across as aggressive—if not more so—as their English or American counterparts with the exception of maybe Suicide or The Screamers. Lead singer Clode Panik sounds a bit like a French version of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith.

The group’s second single, “Paris Maquis” was Rough Trade’s very first record release and John Peel showed his support on his BBC 1 Radio show, going so far as to record a “Peel Session” with them. Sadly they never really made it and broke up in 1979 as there was no appreciable French punk scene to begin with and the media in their home country just couldn’t be bothered with them. Métal Urbain’s distinctively raw guitar sound is said to have had an influence on Big Black’s Steve Albini and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Métal Urbain reformed in 2003 and toured the US. The New York-based Acute label compiled Anarchy in Paris! that year gathering up their complete output during the life of the band with a few outtakes and alternate versions. In 2006, Jello Biafra produced their album, J’irai chier dans ton vomi, in San Francisco. An EP followed in 2008.

Below, Métal Urbain lip-synching “Paris Maquis” on French TV in 1978:

 
More Métal Urbain after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Littering Says A Lot About You’
08.26.2014
02:55 pm

Topics:
Idiocracy
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
littering


 
I’m very much feeling this anti-littering campaign by Live Green Toronto. I think it’s pretty effective in shaming lame-ass litterbugs. I feel like putting these under the windshield wiper of my neighbor who throws his fast food debris right outside of his car nearly every single day. It often ends up on my front lawn. We’re talkin’ chicken bones, cups, crumpled burger wrappers, lollipop sticks and mounds of cigarette butts.

Everyone knows it’s him! It’s right beside his car on a daily basis!

There needs to be one of these ads that reads: “Asshole.”


 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Behind-the-scenes photos of ‘Barbarella,’ 1968
08.26.2014
11:21 am

Topics:
Fashion
Movies

Tags:
Jane Fonda
Roger Vadim
Barbarella


 
Here are some fun behind-the-scenes of the 1968 science fiction film Barbarella. I’m primarily posting these images because of the amazing costumes and because everyone is just so gosh darned gorgeous. Talk about intergalactic glamor. How could it ever be topped?

Sci-fi babes and boys at their finest.
 

Jane Fonda and director (and then husband)  Roger Vadim
 

Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda
 

Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda
 
More photos after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Here are the Young Men’: Classic Joy Division live footage, 1979-1980
08.26.2014
10:19 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Joy Division


 
While you won’t find many people questioning the aesthetic merit of Joy Division’s music, it’s also hard to argue that the tragic suicide of singer Ian Curtis didn’t contribute mightily to the band’s enduring allure. But there was another component that nurtured JD’s mystique—scarcity. All a fan in the US could readily get without paying a hefty import premium were Unknown Pleasures, Closer, and the iffy, posthumous, blood-from-a-stone compilation Still. A lot of single and EP tracks were difficult to come by here until the Substance compilation arrived in 1988. The Heart & Soul set eliminated a lot of scarcity issues as regards JD material, but that didn’t arrive until the late ‘90s.

Resorting to bootlegs wasn’t such a great option, as a hell of a lot of JD boots sounded like total garbage. I remember when a much sought-after Italian JD bootleg called Dante’s Inferno turned up in a record shop I frequented, when I was 17. I snatched that thing up fast and excitedly brought it home to play it, only to find that the music was barely audible. Was I pissed off? OH YES, I was pissed off.
 

 
Concert videos were even slimmer pickings. While today, between DVD and YouTube there’s plentiful Joy Division vid easily available, in the ‘80s pretty much the only JD concert footage available through legitimate channels was the Factory release Here Are the Young Men. Inexplicably, it’s never been released on DVD (except by pirates), but if you’re the gotta-own-it type, old VHS copies are priced within reach of mere mortals. The video’s title is borrowed from the lyrics of the song “Decades,” and the video is compiled from footage shot at three shows—the Manchester Apollo on October 28 and 29, 1979, and at Effenaar in Eindhoven, Netherlands, on January 18, 1980. Included at the end, but not included in the track listing on the box, was the music video the band produced for the single “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”
 

 
Since this was pretty primitive looking stuff in the first place, worrying about finding the “best” version on YouTube would have been quixotic, and anyway, I kind of like the rawness of this. As mushy as it looks and sounds, a lot of these performances are face-melters, particularly the stuff from the Dutch show. I selected this version because a few of the band’s BBC television appearances are tacked onto the end. Enjoy.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The ‘Fawlty Towers’ hotel meticulously recreated in LEGO
08.26.2014
10:08 am

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
Lego
Fawlty Towers

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One of the funniest and most enduring sitcoms ever made continues to have inspire fans almost 40 years after it was first broadcast.

Nathan Feist has painstakingly recreated the famous Fawlty Towers hotel out of LEGO. He included such precise details as the reception desk, the broken-antlered moose head, the fire extinguisher and even the design of the lobby’s tiling.

Originally Feist had planned to build the set of Number 6’s apartment from The Prisoner or the combat information center from Battlestar Galactica but, as these had either been built or the LEGO parts were not available, opted instead for the Fawlty Towers set.

Nathan’s incredible homage was exhibited at BrickFair Virginia–-an annual LEGO convention—held in July and August.
 
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If you’re a fan of Fawlty Towers or even all things LEGO, then you might enjoy this little tribute video from a few years back.
 

 
H/T The Poke and Metro

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Decadence, fame & excess at Les Bains Douches, the Parisian answer to Studio 54
08.26.2014
09:57 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
nightclubs
Les Bain Douches


 
From the late 1970s through the 1990s, Les Bains Douches was a nightclub in Paris located at 7 rue du Bourg l’Abbé in the 3rd arrondissement. What made it distinctive from most other nightclubs were the availability—as the club’s very name promised—of large baths for its patrons to cool off or generally frolic in. It was originally built in 1885 by the Guerbois family and soon became one of the most famous thermal baths in Paris. Originally it was used by workers in the area who would come there after an arduous night shift for a shower and a coffee. At the same time Les Bains Douches also a more affluent clientele massage as well as sulphur and steam baths.

In 1978 it was re-conceived by famed designer Philippe Starck as a nightclub. Starck cannily chose to retain the baths and the original tiles. Fans of postpunk music may recognize the name from the title of an excellent Joy Division live album that saw an official release in 2001; the album is simply called Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979. For the next couple of decades Les Bains Douches would become a magnet for the rich and famous to rival only Studio 54 and the Chateau Marmont. Of course, its location in Paris guaranteed that its selection of celebrities would have a more European cast, but that did not prevent many of the ultra famous from dropping in, including Jack Nicholson, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, alongside such European figures as Roman Polanski, Brigitte Nielsen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Julie Delpy, and so on.

By the 2000s, the heady era of fame and excess was rapidly becoming a memory. French DJ David Guetta and his wife bought the club but soon encountered management problems. In 2010 the club finally shut its doors for good. In 2013 it was the site of a street art exhibition, and it is expected to reopen later this year.

These pictures were taken by the nightclub’s resident photographer, Foc Kan. They are true unadorned documents of the moment in all their smeary splendor. You can practically smell the cocaine, can’t you, and there’s plenty of libido to go around too (a good many of Kan’s pictures were taken before AIDS had exerted its check on promiscuity). It’s worth clicking through to see many more vintage pics of the goings on at Les Bains Douches.

 

Iman and David Bowie
 

 

Mick Jagger
 

 

Iggy Pop
 

Emmanuelle Seigner and Roman Polanski
 

Robert De Niro
 

 

Nicolas Cage and Grace Jones
 

Keith Haring
 
More pics after the jump….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
End of an era: NYC’s legendary cinephile paradise Kim’s Video closes (1987-2014)
08.26.2014
09:27 am

Topics:
Media
Movies

Tags:
Yongman Kim
Kim's Underground
Kim's Video


 
For anyone who hung out in the East Village between 1987 and 2010, the various Kim’s Video locations, which would sprout up and disappear depending on the economic vagaries of the moment, constituted an essential cultural landmark. Founded by Korean businessman Yongman Kim, initially when he rented out part of his Avenue A dry cleaning store to a fellow with a large collection of VHS tapes and then opened up a store down the street for him to manage. Kim’s Video lasted through the days when Napster reigned supreme and even after LPs made a comeback. When you stood in a Kim’s Video, it was easy to imagine that you were existing in an idealized community of punks, freaks, and artists, you could watch Stranger Than Paradise, After Hours, The Brother from Another Planet, or Do the Right Thing and know that those movies were shot in this same city and that the filmmakers themselves might walk through the door any minute.

Yesterday, August 25, was the last day of the last remaining location of Kim’s Video, at 124 First Avenue. For a certain kind of scruffy video-literate New Yorker, it was a sad day indeed.

Kim’s was one of the country’s great video stores, part of a community that included such hallowed places as Four Star Video Heaven in Madison and Scarecrow Video in Seattle. If you wanted to watch an Ozu movie or a Kenneth Anger film in the days before DVD, you had to go to a store like Kim’s. Kim’s ordered their shelves by filmmaker—the Godard shelf had a sign that read simply, “God”—and for hard-to-get movies that had never had an official release, they were perfectly content to stock bootlegs (this tendency would eventually get them into trouble). The only time in my life I had a 9-to-5 job in New York City was between 1997 and 2001, and those were also, not coincidentally, my prime Kim’s years (not that I used Kim’s for videos all that much—I lived up near Columbia University, where there were more convenient options). I can remember renting, over a period of a few weeks, the entire oeuvre of Errol Morris as well as selected early masterpieces by Wong Kar Wai. In my mind the quintessential Kim’s movie was Superstar, Todd Haynes’ 1987 movie that used Barbie dolls to tell the Karen Carpenter story and ended up getting withdrawn from circulation after Haynes lost lawsuit filed by Richard Carpenter.

In the late 1990s and into the 2000s it kept getting raided by the FBI for bootlegs, which were often displayed blatantly. I remember visiting one of the stores one day and learning the next day that a serious raid had occurred a couple hours after I left. Kim’s was legendary for its condescending clerks, but my only good Kim’s story involved a considerate and helpful clerk, so whatevs. (I received my share of eyerolls, I’m sure, but I must have shrugged them off.) I was visiting the Kim’s Underground location on Bleecker (formerly the site of both the Bleecker Street Cinema and the Cafe a Go Go), and at the time I was obsessed with the band Spoon, who disappeared for a couple years there after Elektra dropped them in 1998. I made it a habit of checking the CD bins for Spoon releases, and I was invariably disappointed. On this occasion I asked the music clerk (this location emphasized movies more than the others, and the CD section was pretty small) about Spoon, and he indicated that he had a stack behind the counter of perhaps a dozen copies of a newish promo, the “30 Gallon Tank” maxi-single, that Elektra had obviously given up on. The clerk reached back and gave me one, no charge.

Be sure to check out this detailed oral history of Kim’s at Bedford and Bowery. It does a far better job of filling in the blanks than I ever could. I didn’t realize that so many prominent people worked there as clerks—for instance, Todd Phillips, director of the Hangover movies. Here’s a choice quote from Louis CK about Kim’s you can read in there:

“When I first moved to New York there was a place next door to my apartment called Kim’s Video which was a sort of artsy video store. Instead of arranging the videos by title, they had them arranged by director or even photographer, so I educated myself. I went through the Godard section in one week and then Pasolini.”

Today the huge Kim’s video collection is languishing in Italy and the last of the stores is no more. I moved away from New York City last December for related reasons. New York’s still a great city but without places like Kim’s around, I’m not really sure who it’s there for anymore.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Cholafied: Celebrities as female Mexican gang members
08.26.2014
08:40 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Fashion

Tags:
photography
gangs
Cholafied


Cholafied Jay-Z.
 
Cholafied comes from the mind of Michael Jason Enriques, an LA kid who grew up in the 1990s.

It’s a throwback to the Chola gangster style: “Sharpied” eyebrows, dark lipliner, and the fumes from a can of Aqua Net.

It’s a product of LA where subculture, celebrity obsession, street art, and stupidity are rolled up together like one of those bacon wraped hot dogs sold on Hollywood Blvd.

See more of Michael’s “Cholafied” celebrities here.
 

‘Do you feel lucky, Chola?’: Clint Eastwood.
 

The Royal Chola Queen Elizabeth dos.
 

Chola Wonder Woman
 

Chola Mark Zuckerberg
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Peyote Queen’: Storm De Hirsch, the woman who made movies without a camera
08.26.2014
08:14 am

Topics:
Animation
Art
Drugs
Movies

Tags:
Storm de Hirsch


 
Storm De Hirsch is one of those avant-garde goddesses without much name-recognition outside of underground film circles, but her influence and dynamism has always been lauded by peers. Jonas Mekas, for example (often referred to as the “godfather of American avant-garde cinema”), called her psychedelic classic, Peyote Queen, “among my favorites ... beauty and excitement.”

De Hirsch was actually a published poet before transitioning to film, and as such didn’t have ready access to a camera early on. Her first improvisational techniques were innovative manipulations of whatever film was just lying around at the time, making her as much a “sculptor” of celluloid as a filmmaker. The results of her experiments are now recognized as foundational films in avant-garde cinema. In an interview with Mekas, she spoke of her early work, like Peyote Queen, saying:

I wanted badly to make an animated short, but I had no camera available.  I did have some old, unused film stock and several rolls of 16mm sound tape. So I used that—plus a variety of discarded surgical instruments and the sharp edge of a screwdriver — by cutting, etching, and painting directly on both film and [sound] tape

 

 
De Hirsch continued making films into the 1970s, and though she eventually got ahold of a camera, it’s what she accomplished without one that most baldly represents her creative drive. She was dedicated to the work and its preservation, even hand repairing the raw film itself, (which one would assume was left very delicate after her initial artistic mangling). One of her former intern even remembers her hand-coloring the fading frames of Peyote Queen with magic marker in 1973, restoring the splashy, electric feel you see below.

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Babies covered with corporate logos
08.26.2014
07:27 am

Topics:
Advertising
Art

Tags:
Dietrich Wegner


Cumulous Brand
 
Australian artist Dietrich Wegner’s preverbal infants festooned with corporate logos, known collectively as “Cumulous Brand,” come in two forms, 2D Photoshopped images of real children and 3D sculptures made of silicone and foam. These artworks may be more thoughtful than they first appear to be—the logos are not selected randomly but rather emerge as the brands that are most relevant to the parent or guardian of the child depicted. According to Wegner, he “put(s) opposites together in works that feed on the friction between two things that should not make sense together. ... In Cumulous Brand, babies are covered in multicolored tattoos. The tattoos are selected through an interview process with an adult prominent in the child’s life, usually the parents. Each work is a portrait through the logos of the products used, the activities participated in and organizations belonged to throughout this adult’s life.”

It’s estimated that a child sees 40,000 television commercials in a typical year. Corporations have an intense interest in insinuating themselves into a newborn’s life, in ways that might not apply to civic groups, governmental agencies, educational organizations, etc. “Reading” these infants, I see an awful lot of brands I use. In turning these children into billboards, it’s a healthy reminder of the forces that act upon all of us.
 

Cumulous Brand, Sabine Sitting Up
 

Cumulous Brand, Bill
 

Cumulous Brand, Sabine & Sebastian
 

Cumulous Brand, Sebastian As Grandma Susan
 

Cumulous Brand, Beatrice
 

Cumulous Brand, Sebastian as Auntie Gretchen
 
Thank you Brian Boucher!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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