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Bieber cums, Oprah shits & the Cockmuncher gobbles in Joe Becker’s bizarre pop culture paintings
07.13.2017
11:36 am
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‘Justin Bieber says “I love you so much I fucking cum hearts”.’
 
Joe Becker is a Canadian artist who paints big bold canvases filled with the rich detritus of pop culture. Hellbound TV hosts, masturbating pop icons, cadaverous singers, cretinous comic book superheroes, ravenous cuddly toys, and deranged cartoon characters jostle for attention. His cast of Bosch-like figures can be seen performing strange, perverse, and often comic rituals which may once have had some sacred meaning but are now just empty responses against an ever-encroaching chaos. Others are full frame portraits of lovable furry creatures who look half-bemused by the attention they’re receiving as though such vanity was solely reserved for humans.

But Becker isn’t being cynical in his use of pop culture iconography from the ‘80s and ‘90s. These are characters to which he has a “generally honest and sincere” connection.

There is a sincere affection for some of the pop characters I paint. As a kid I was a weird little shit, I once individually drew every character from He-man, I then coloured them and then cut them out and placed each one in a heart shaped box, I still have it. Some people think that my paintings are fucked up or weird but I think the stuff I did as a kid is truly bizarre.

Oddly, some people find his work offensive. In particular, his paintings aimed at the cult of celebrity—Bieber cumming love hearts, Oprah taking a shit, Cobain after his suicide. These paintings may be “cheap shots” but Becker is serious in his “loathing” for the vacuous adulation of such “celebrities.”

I highly doubt frenzied 13 or 14 year old Biebettes or dippy North American white suburban woman who worship Lord Oprah are into emerging contemporary Canadian painters, so those two demographics will likely not be exposed to my work, but if they ever were and they were enraged by my work then fuck them. I have never received hate mail yet, and if I did I would print it out and frame it. What kind of an asshole gets mad at a static, silent work of art anyway?

Becker’s powerful, complex, and darkly comic canvases have been exhibited all across the globe with a selection of respected collectors snapping up his work as soon as its on the market. Understandable, as Becker is mining a rich seam of pop culture icons to create his challenging, beautiful, and subversive art.
 
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‘Kurt Cobain.’
 
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‘Cockmuncher.’
 
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‘Oprah.’
 
More brilliantly rude paintings by Joe Becker, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.13.2017
11:36 am
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Watch Canadian conservatives politely protest Penthouse’s ‘Caligula,’ eh?
02.18.2015
10:06 am
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Caligula actually had a lot going for it, at least on paper, but it was a doomed film from the start. The original screenplay was by Gore Vidal, but then he disowned it after director Tinto Brass made substantial changes (Brass maintains Vidal’s script was terrible, but it’s entirely possible that it was just too gay for his likings). Brass still could have made a good film though—at this point in his career he was known for groundbreaking experimental cinema (like the notorious “high class” Nazi sexploitation film Salon Kitty)—but producer Bob Guccione (of Penthouse magazine fame) wanted to film actual hardcore (rather than simulated) sex. Brass refused, so Guccione had someone else film the scenes, adding to the disjointed insanity of the whole production. Even the fantastic casting—Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole, Helen Mirren, John Gielgud—was tempered by Brass casting his own bohemian friends as Roman elites, and Guccione throwing numerous Penthouse Pets into the sex scenes.

The result was worse than cheesy pornography—it’s confusing, pretentious, cheesy pornography—a $17.5 million Penthouse magazine-funded boondoggle, and an absolute camp classic that everyone should see… once.

This is why Protest, a 1981 mini-documentary on Canadian decency activists is such a charming relic. On the one hand, it’s always unpleasant to see any impulse to curtail free speech. On the other hand, these dowdy conservative Canucks seem so darn sweet and reasonable compared to their American counterparts. If this protest was in middle America, it would have been a spectacle of hellfire sermons and open hostility! The only altercation you even see is a light slap coming from an irate secularist!The rest is just hilariously polite Canadians campaignin’ for decency.

Why can’t our bluenose Christian pearl-clutchers be this considerate? I know it’s a stereotype, but they really do seem nicer up north!
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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02.18.2015
10:06 am
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Watch ‘Angel,’ the 1966 Canadian government-funded art film starring Leonard Cohen
11.21.2014
09:49 am
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Before Leonard Cohen became known as a singer-songwriter, he was a trust-fund kid struggling to be a writer and poet. This is why the 1966 short Angel (a product of the National Film Board of Canada), credits him with, “Music by poet Leonard Cohen, played by The Stormy Clovers”; The Stormy Clovers were one of Cohen’s early musical projects—here’s their version of “Suzanne”. I’ve seen the film once before, but was excited to see it on Vimeo in high definition—the clarity really highlights the the stark contrast of what looks to be overexposed film that’s been run through an old school analog video switcher.

The premise isn’t elaborate; a woman in decorative wings frolics with a man (an uncredited Cohen), and a dog. The man then tries on the wings, before they are put on the dog. A tryst is implied, then the woman leaves, much to both their resigned dismay. It’s all incredibly lovely, with a striking minimalist aesthetic and an intimate soundtrack. The film received Honourable Mention at the (Canadian) International Annual Film Festival, a Chris Certificate Award in the Graphic Arts Category at the International Film and Video Festival (US), First Prize in the Arts and Experimental category at the Genie Awards (Canada) and Special Mention at the Festival of Canadian Films.
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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11.21.2014
09:49 am
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Celebrate Canada Day with one of the most insane music videos ever made!
07.01.2014
03:50 pm
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B.J. Snowden with Fred Schneider from The B-52s

On July 1, 1867, the British North America Act united three colonies under the name Canada. For all of our northern neighbors, I’d like to extend a warm “Happy Canada Day” with this posting of B.J. Snowden’s mighty “In Canada” music video, taken from her Life in the USA and Canada CD.

BJ Snowden is a very interesting talent. A graduate of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, her songs are catchy, they are original and they are fully formed. They are also malformed, but I don’t mean that in an insulting way, I’m just trying to describe her music accurately: B.J. could have been another Andrew Lloyd Webber, except that her music is missing a few chromosomes.

The story of BJ’s musical career, such that it is, is that she sent a copy of her demo cassette around and one of the places it ended up was in a NYC record store where the employees became obsessed with it, leading eventually to an independent release. Irwin Chusid wrote about her in his classic book Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music and she’s become something of the “queen” of “Outsider music.” You can get a copy of BJ’s album here. I have it. It’s honestly “good” in a very unconventional way.

Suffice to say, once you have heard this song even one time, you are never, ever going to forget it.

BJ Snowden on the “Humans WOW!” cable access show:
 

 
Bonus video… because this couldn’t wait for Valentine’s Day!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.01.2014
03:50 pm
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Correct your debilitating sea shanty deficiency with the brilliance and power of Stan Rogers
12.20.2013
09:25 am
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Stan Rogers
 
Like most audio gourmands, I love recommending music to friends. But while I’d like to think I give a fairly convincing endorsement of this jazz singer or that proto-punk band, I find many otherwise open-minded people possess a remarkably unyielding aversion to folk music. I’m not quite sure what it is. Almost no one would admit they’re too snobby for country. Conversely, they’d hate to be deemed a rube for a deficit in rap. But folks always seem to think folk is too… folksy. This is why I start them off with Canada’s own Stan Rogers.

First of all, Rogers had this brawny, thunderous voice—the kind of pipes that reassures the folk-unaffiliated that they aren’t about to drown in delicate acoustic guitar and fey vocals. Second of all, he’s most famous for his sea shanties, both traditional and original, and everyone loves a good sea shanty. Surprisingly, Rogers’ relationship with the maritime life was more rooted in the cultural identity of rural flight, rather than a life spent at sea.

Born in 1949, Stan Rogers was the son of former maritimers. Like many of their generation, Stan’s parents had been forced to move to an industrialized city in search of work. While he was raised in suburban Ontario, Rogers spent his summers in the sort of small towns his parents had to leave, falling in love with the sea as a sort of ancestral home. His most famous song is arguably his capella opus, “Northwest Passage,” a reverent reflection on the trials of early explorers as they endured (and sometimes perished) to navigate an ocean-route to the Pacific.
 

 
That’s not to say Rogers relegated his talents to the somber. “The Mary Ellen Carter” is the famously uplifting story of a crews’ attempt to salvage their sunken ship. There’s also my favorite, “Barrett’s Privateers,” a raucous cautionary tale for any wannabe seafarer. The video at the end of the post is an absolutely amazing live version—I cannot urge you enough to give it a listen.
 
Lest the romance tone and historical content of Rogers’ most famous songs lead you to believe he was merely infatuated with a bygone era, I assure you, the man was also a staunch champion of the working man with a sharp and sardonic proletariat wit. There’s “The Idiot,” a damn near bitter song, sung from the perspective of a factory worker avoiding his foreman and reminiscing on the country life he left behind. There’s a even a few explicit protest songs, most notably “Tiny Fish for Japan.” Stan was inspired to write that one after time aboard a fishing boat on the Great Lakes; while the fishing industry was once bountiful, the polluted waters were later only fished for tiny smelt, which was then sold to Japan.

In 1983, Air Canada Flight 797 caught fire mid-flight, forcing an emergency landing. Though the plain landed soundly, Stan Rogers was one of the 23 passengers who died when the doors opened and the sudden rush of oxygen fueled a flash fire. Before most likely succumbing to smoke inhalation, he used his last moments to guide other passengers to safety with his booming voice. I’ve heard more than one Canuck proudly declare that for all Rogers’ odes to Canada, he was never more Canadian than in his final words: “Let me help you.” His ashes were scattered off the coast of Nova Scotia.
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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12.20.2013
09:25 am
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Donald Sutherland gives a brief history of his career: Rare interview from 1979

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Donald Sutherland’s big break came in Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen, when co-star Clint Walker refused to play a scene—as Sutherland explained to the Daily Telegraph:

‘...Clint Walker sticks up his hand and says, ‘Mr Aldrich, as a representative of the Native American people, I don’t think it’s appropriate to do this stupid scene where I have to pretend to be a general.’ Aldrich turns and points to me and says, ‘You — with the big ears. You do it’....It changed my life.’

“Big Ears” was born Donald McNichol Sutherland in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, in July 1935. He moved to England in the late 1950s, where he briefly studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, leaving after 9 months to start his professional career as an actor. Sutherland was soon acting in various BBC plays, and guest starring in episodes of such cult TV series as The Saint and The Avengers. Sutherland also co-starred with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Michael Gough in the classic Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, where he played a newly-wed doctor who suspects his wife is a vampire. After a stint in repertory theater, including 2 disastrous productions, Sutherland’s career seemed stalled. The Dirty Dozen changed that.

During the 1970s, Sutherland made some of the most iconic and seminal films of the decade, including M*A*S*H (a film he originally hated), Kelly’s Heroes (which nearly cost him his life), Klute, Little Murders (a cameo), the unforgettable Don’t Look Now, The Day of the Locust (as the original Homer Simpson), 1900, Casanova, The Eagle Has Landed and National Lampoon’s Animal House.

When asked on the set of Bear Island, in 1979, if he considered himself a star, Sutherland replied that Peter O’Toole is a star, as he has that certain something, while he just makes a lot of movies. Personally, I’d beg to differ. Sutherland gives a brief history of his career, discussing the highlights M*A*S*H, working with Fellini on Casanova and the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Some man, some talent, some head of hair.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous MInds

Donald Sutherland’s hairstyles throughout the years


Donald Sutherland: His Films and Hairstyles


 
With thanks to NellyM
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.06.2013
07:52 pm
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Happy Birthday Canada: Here’s William Shatner singing the Canadian National Anthem

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It’s Canada Day, when all good Canadians celebrate the birth of their country.

Today marks the anniversary of the unification of three colonies under the name Canada, which came together through the enactment of the British North America Act, on July 1, 1867.

Canada now consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories, and is sometimes overlooked when compared to its noisy neighbor. However, Canada has a fine political system, a publicly funded health care system, was the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage, and has a wealth of incredible cultural talent, from David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan, to Margaret Atwood and Robertson Davies.

Of course, Canada also has the iconic and irrepressible William Shatner. And here is Mr Shatner giving his version of the national anthem “O, Canada”.
 

 
Via Open Culture
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.01.2012
02:43 pm
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Not suspicious, merely Canadian
05.17.2011
07:56 pm
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(via reddit)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.17.2011
07:56 pm
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Justin Bieber will stay Canadian, thank you very much!

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Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber may just be a kid, and yet in a recent Rolling Stone interview, he demonstrated a level of political sophistication (not to mention common sense) that these brain-dead Tea bagger-types lack when he told journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis that he had no plans to ever become an American citizen:

“You guys are evil,” he says with a laugh. “Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard’s baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby’s premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home.”

Seems like a good system to me.

However, instead of one of JB’s hits, let’s listen to BJ Snowden’s paean to our northern neighbor, “In Canada”:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.16.2011
01:03 pm
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“The whole world becomes kaleidoscopic”: Birthday Boy Marshall McLuhan Meets Norman Mailer

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Marshall McLuhan would have turned 99 years old today, and his status as the god-daddy of media studies still seems pretty rock-solid. I wasn’t previously aware of how often the Canadian theorist appeared on TV, and was especially unaware of his November 1967 duet with New York novelist Norman Mailer on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation show The Summer Way, bravely moderated by Ken Lefolii.

Recovered from recent treatment for a benign brain tumor he suffered while teaching in New York, McLuhan gamely tugs at a few of Mailer’s pretensions. Mailer is recently back from levitating the Pentagon with the Yippies, with the siege of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention in his future.

McLuhan pops off a bunch of gems, including:

The planet is no longer nature, it’s now the content of an artwork.

Nature has ceased to exist…it needs to be programmed.

The environment is not visible, it’s information—it’s electronic.

The present is only faced by any generation by the artist.

Communications maven Michael Hinton goes speculative on his hero’s televised meeting with the Jersey-raised boxer-novelist, but of course it’s best to just check the thing out yourself.
 

 
More after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Ron Nachmann
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07.21.2010
07:00 pm
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The Poppy Family: Beyond the Clouds
07.16.2009
06:58 pm
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Recent discovery and obsession: The late sixties Vancouver, British Colombia band The Poppy Family. Imagine the Mamas and the Papas if they’d gone off their meds, they had sitars and tablas, and they’d been, you know, good. Apparently they had the biggest hit of all time (all Canadian time) in 1969 with “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” off their album of the same name. I’ve had that album on constant iPhone repeat and it never, ever gets old. It’s classic West Coast pop, but from the opposite end of the coast from California. You can almost hear the gloom creeping in from the Rockies…

Apparently the CD still hasn’t been re-issued, and it’s impossible to find on vinyl?

Posted by Jason Louv
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07.16.2009
06:58 pm
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