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Amazon sells baseball bats as plus-sized sex toys in Germany
03.17.2014
07:08 am

Topics:
Sex
Sports

Tags:
Germany

Baseball bat
“The Berlin Slugger”
 
It’s clear that there aren’t very many baseball fans in Germany. It’s a little less clear whether these Amazon.de listings for “Bondage Fetish Mega Dildos” (seems like German English have a common vocabulary for such items) are intended to be funny or not. It doesn’t really matter—because they are pretty funny!

The wooden bat costs 25.95 Euros (about $36), while the aluminum model costs 34.95 Euros (about $48.50). This pricing makes sense to me. After all, the aluminum model might be cold to the touch but is almost certainly more pleasant to use—that’s not even taking into account the splinter factor.
 
Baseball bat
“The Weisendorf Wanger”
 
The company listed as the supplier is called “FEIHOFF sarl,” and if you look at their other offerings on Amazon.de, it’s clear what they specialize in.

Both products feature the term “Basballschlägel” (baseball bat) in the description, so at least we can say with confidence that they do know what’s going on here. Both products also use the phrase—I love this—“Bondage für Kenner,” which translates as “Bondage for Experts.” Actually, here is a list of English words that can serve as accurate translations for “Kenner”: “connoisseur, maven, adept, fancier, appreciator, authority, classicist, dabster, expert, cognoscenti, sophisticate.” You get the point: beginners, do tread carefully!

Ordinarily we at DM like to put a video at the bottom of the post, but I think we’ll pass this time. If you’re curious to see this ... er… “implement” in action, well, Google is your friend!
 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Gorgeous color film footage of turn of the century Berlin
01.24.2014
01:11 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
Germany
Berlin

Berlin
 
Absolutely stunning. The footage below is primarily of Berlin around 1900, though it contains a bit of Munich and some shots from 1914, as well. Around the turn of the century, Berlin was experiencing a population boom, mainly due to migration. Massive, rapid industrialization created the beehive of activity you see below, which inspired Mark Twain to call Berlin, “the Chicago of Europe.”

There’s an amazing array of life seen in such a short clip, from political and military pomp and circumstance to children playing to men drinking beer. Beyond the hustle and bustle and beautiful architecture, it’s the fascination of the subjects with the camera that really drew me in. Their curiosity gives the film a very intimate view of life at the time.
 

 
Via The Wall Breakers

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Hear the final (drunk) broadcast of Lord Haw-Haw, Nazi Germany’s answer to Tokyo Rose
10.14.2013
05:26 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
Nazis
Germany
IRA
Fascists
Lord Haw-Haw


 
A lot of folks are familiar with “Tokyo Rose,” a series of English-speaking female broadcasters who trolled Allied forces during World War 2. The idea was that American soldiers would hear the broadcasts and become demoralized, as they contained false information of Japanese victories, supposed “inside information” on unfaithful wives back home, and great music (just to keep them listening). The primary voice of Tokyo Rose, Iva Toguri D’Aquino, was actually an American taken prisoner by the Japanese when she arrived to care for a sick aunt. While she was sent to prison for treason, she was later pardoned in light of the coerced circumstances of her participation in anti-American propaganda.

Like Tokyo Rose, “Lord Haw-Haw” originally referred to quite a few English-speaking broadcasters. Eventually, however, Lord Haw-Haw just became short-hand for William Joyce, an Irish-American with the sort of aristocratic accent described by a British radio critic as “English of the haw-haw, dammit-get-out-of-my-way-variety.” Unlike D’Aquino, Joyce was politically committed to the propaganda he produced. As a teenager he was already an active fascist, and aided the Black and Tans by squealing on the IRA. By 1939, Joyce was a vehement anti-Semite and rising political figure in the British Union of Fascists (BUF) under Oswald Mosley. After receiving a tip that his political activities were about to land him in jail, he fled to Germany.

Joyce quickly became a naturalized German citizen and got involved in wartime propaganda, at first as an anonymous broadcaster, but eventually revealing his identity and becoming a major programming writer as well. The Germany Calling program was exceedingly popular among listeners in the UK (I know that sounds odd, but the announcers enabled prisoners of war to send regards to loved ones.) Like Tokyo Rose, Haw-Haw mocked the British and lied about Axis victories. Opening each show with the trademark, “Germany calling,” Joyce never met Hitler, but was awarded the War Merit Cross (First and Second Class) at the behest of Der Führer.
 
Lord Haw Haw
Joyce after he was captured
 
Below is the final broadcast of William Joyce, drunk as a skunk, recorded during the Battle of Berlin in April of 1945. What follows is a sort of epic apologia on what he perceived as Germany’s well-intentioned fascism, and an admonishment of Britain for “escalating the war.” Joyce ends with a simple “Heil Hitler and farewell.” He was captured, tried, and executed for treason soon after, though not before some disgustingly unrepentant final words:

“In death as in life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the power of darkness which they represent. I warn the British people against the crushing imperialism of the Soviet Union. May Britain be great once again and in the hour of the greatest danger in the West may the standard be raised from the dust, crowned with the words – “You have conquered nevertheless”. I am proud to die for my ideals and I am sorry for the sons of Britain who have died without knowing why.”

The day after this recording, the British seized the radio station. A few days later, they broadcast their own show, opening with a sly, “Germany calling.”
 

 

Part 2

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Ode to Der Musikladen’s Teutonic go-go girls, the worst disco dancers the world has ever seen
08.23.2013
03:05 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Germany
Der Musikladen


 
Der Musikladen was a West German television program running from 1972 to 1984, and one of the most diverse music-performance shows ever to grace the international boob-tube. It showcased an incredible array of artists, from Motörhead to Pat Boone to Ray Charles to Blondie. There’s a kind of low budget “fuck it” attitude that goes along with European variety TV that tends to promote a very pluralistic consumption of pop culture (plus it looks like, in the 70s and 80s at least, that they took what they could get).

However, in my opinion, the true legacy of Der Musikladen has nothing to do with their varied musical line-ups. No, the absolute best part of any episode was the go-go dancers, who simply cannot dance for shit. Yes, these Teutonic beauties are captivating, enthusiastic and totally charismatic, but their total lack of skill is mesmerizing. A dearth of coordination, the absence of any semblance of a symmetrical chorus line, and a general awkwardness is the essence of their charm. They literally appear to just be fun girls in skimpy outfits who maybe had a bit of schnapps before the show. Here are some of my favorite segments:
 

 
Above is a 1984 performance, and one of the last episodes ever broadcast. The ladies are dancing to Patto’s “Black and White.” Not to be confused with the English jazz-rock band from the 70s, this Patto is a duet of a white German and a black American rapper and the song is a sort of ham-fisted attempt at a rap-version of “Ebony and Ivory,” (which was already pretty ham-fisted to begin with). Needless to say, the track and the dancing are both pretty damning indictments of Germany’s ability to interpret hip-hop in a way that doesn’t make you shudder. But look how cute and happy the girls look in their leotards!
 

 
Admittedly, this 1978 segment is a much better use of their talents. First of all, the Michael Zager Band’s “Let’s All Chant” is a disco track, which is kind of their wheelhouse. Second of all, at least this particular line-up of women has some moves… or at least one move, anyway. Before you get too excited about the brunette knowing a step or two, notice they’re using those bitchen’ video effects to disguise the fact that they’re literally using the same footage over and over again. It’s maybe 20 seconds of dancing that they used weird zooms to stretch over an entire song. But who cares! Look at that hilarious weird shimmy the blonde woman does at 1:30!
 

 
And here we have some of the most incongruous choreography and costume choices known to god or man. This 1981 performance of Status Quo’s “Lies” suffers from somewhat the same problem as before: weird visual effects does nothing to disguise the fact that there are basically three poorly performed moves in the entire routine. The difference here is that the song is a Nick Lowe-style country influenced rocker, and it’s three and a half minutes long. That is two minutes longer than any go-go dancing segment should be, with the added confusion of a song that really doesn’t take well to go go dancers.
 

 
Let’s go out with a bang, shall we? Talk about, talk about, talk about CRAZY EYES, a confusing outfit, lip-syncing, and at 2:12, she even does “The Robot.” I’m out.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Not quite ‘Phase IV’: Woman kept awake at night by ants ringing her doorbell
05.31.2013
06:13 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals

Tags:
Germany
Police
Ants
Saul Bass
Phase IV

ivesahpstna.jpg
 
A 75-year-old woman from Offenburg in Germany, was kept awake at night by a colony of ants ringing her doorbell.

According to the Metro the woman became so fed-up with the nocturnal bell-ringing that she contacted the police, in the hope of catching the prankster.

After an investigation, local police discovered the culprit was a colony of “prank playing ants.”

They said the insects had built such a big home that the nest pressed the switching elements together, keeping the bell ringing.

In the end, officers removed the nest with a knife, allowing the lady to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep for the first time in a while.

There was no news on the ants but we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re off playing pranks somewhere else.

It’s a small pity Saul Bass didn’t include such larks when he made Phase IV, his cult film about intelligent ants at war with humanity.
 

 
Via the Metro
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Black Francis ‘The Golem: How He Came Into The World’

melogredmelogkcalbknarf.jpg
 
Black Francis scores the classic silent movie—Paul Wegener and Carl Boese’s The Golem: How He Came Into The World.

Often regarded as the height of German expressionism, the silent, black and white film The Golem (also known in it’s German form, Der Golem) was the last of a series of three films by director Paul Wegener and was released in 1920.

Set in the 16th century, The Golem: How He Came Into The World tells the story of the persecution of the Jews of Prague. The towns Rabbi (Rabbi Loew), foreseeing these events, constructs a giant ‘Golem’ out of clay in order to protect his people. Mayhem ensues when the creature rebels and begins to destroy the ghetto. The highly expressionistic imagery seen in the film was captured by legendary cinematographer Karl Freund, who went on to do the classic Metropolis in 1927.

Groundbreaking as it was, the film sat ‘silent’ for nearly 88 years until the San Francisco International Film Festival requested Black Francis score the film and perform it live for their annual film festival in April, 2008. Despite the sold out show at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre (with a line stretching around the block) the score has never been performed live since. However, BF recorded the resulting double album in a matter of days in SF at Hyde Street Studios, with help from longtime collaborator/producer Eric Drew Feldman. The album features Black Francis on vocals/guitar, the late Duane Jarvis on lead guitar, EDF on keys, Joseph Pope on bass, Jason Carter on drums and Ralph Carney on horns.

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kate Bush: Splendid concert documentary from 1980

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I’d never seen this rather splendid documentary on Kate Bush before. Made for German television in 1980, Kate Bush in Concert captures what was, and still is so irrepressible about the pioneering singer and performer, and explains the delightful (and naive) charm that caused so many young virginal fans to pine for her. Mixing live performance with an interview, in which we hear how Kate’s brothers’ taste in Prog Rock (Pink Fairies and Pink Floyd) and Folk Music that inspired her, and explaining the difference between her on-stage and off-stage persona.

‘When I perform, there’s just something that happens in me, it just takes over. It’s like suddenly feeling you’ve leapt into another structure, almost like another person, and you just do it. But when I’m not working, it’s me and I certainly wouldn’t dance around a table and sing.’

Och, well, there goes another wee fantasy of Ms Bush dancing and singing around a homely kitchen whilst baking fruit scones.
 

 
With thanks to John Kowalski
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Shadow Play’ and ‘Happy Homes’: Powerful new work by artist Sig Waller

sig01spsighnmckelaojdsig.jpg
 
Artist Sig Waller has been very busy with 2 excellent new projects, Shadow Play and Happy Homes, both of which will form part of a new exhibition to be held later this month.

Sig’s latest work has been inspired by a 1950s book called “Happy Homes”, which is described on its frontispiece as “an indispensable guide to housewives and home lovers everywhere.”

Sig has sabotaged the book’s illustrations creating a humorous and pointed critique of the prescribed roles for women within the home. Shadow Play presents an unsettling cartoon figure manipulating a 1950’s housewife (excitedly frothing at the mouth with toothpaste?) through a series of household chores. While Happy Homes is bleaker and more critically of the enforced relationships between women and home, where objects objects and electrical goods take on a controlling, religious, almost sexual and menacing quality, with the figures isolated in darkened voids on blood soaked floors. The images are like stills from a David Lynch movie, but far more potent and disturbing, each creating their own narrative that leaves the viewer unsettled.

Shadow Play will form part of an exhibition called Happy Homes, which will feature work by Sig Waller and Chris Shaw Hughes. Here’s the blurb:

Family life tends to be portrayed as blissful, idyllic and safe, but reality often tells a different story.

In this show, Hughes and Waller explore the dark circumference of the family circle, exposing the crumbling façade and the unseen stories behind the saccharine smiles that stare out at us from family albums or media and advertising photography. What lies beneath this apparent perfection?

‘Happy Homes’ explores these boundaries, the everyday secrets that families seek to contain and withhold. Found imagery is given new meaning, reality is warped and altered – or is it?

They say “the camera never lies”, but the power of the photographed image lies in its ability to conceal or to contain both truth and falsehood. On closer inspection, the ordinary almost always becomes extraordinary.

Happy Homes opens on January 25th-February 17th, 2013, at Krefeld, 35 Blumen eV - Blumenstrasse 35 47799 Krefeld. More details here.

Shadow Play and Happy Homes on the Sig Waller site and on Facebook and Tumblr.
 
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Previously on Dangerous Minds

Beautiful Fevered Dreams: The Art of Sig Waller


Sig Waller: ‘Our capacity for cruelty and suffering is timeless, as is our ability to look away’


 
More of Sig Waller’s ‘Happy Homes’, after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
People losing their shit on New Year’s Eve in Berlin
01.02.2013
12:01 pm

Topics:

Tags:
Germany
Berlin
New Year's Eve


 
There are some folks who like to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and then there are some folks who really fuckin’ like to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This video captures some of those latter types in action.

Remind me to never be caught in Berlin on December 31st.
 

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Art is a means of feeling our way forwards’: Oskar Kokoschka’s letter to a prisoner of war

oskar_kokoschka_self_portrait
 
The artist, poet and playwright, Oskar Kokoschka sent the following letter to a young German prisoner of war, in 1946. In it he advised him to be warmed by love ‘the sight of our neighbor, other people, a foreign nation, another race,’ in which the ‘embrace of love will illumine the choice, form and shape of a new order of humanity.’ Kokoschka understood the young man’s trauma, having himself served as a Dragoon in the Imperial Austrian army, during the First World War, where he slithered in trenches through ‘bottomless mud,’ until he was seriously wounded and considered too mentally unstable to fight - the twisted logic of this was not lost on Kokoschka. Later, he was the focus of hatred and bigotry, when his art was deemed ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis. It forced Kokoschka to flee Austria for Prague, before then moving to Ullapool in Scotland, where he remained for the duration of the Second World War.

In this letter, Kokoschka expounds his belief in the importance of art and the artist that could show the ‘way up from subjection of blind obedience to human freedom.’

To a German Prisoner-of-War (Fritz Shahlecker)

[London,] 4 July 1946

A close friend showed me the drawings you made in the camp in England. He told me of your prospects of soon regaining your freedom and returning home to Tübingen. Like many of your fellow-Germans, you were abused in your early youth by a criminal demagogy and thrown into a war of aggression, during which the authority of human precepts was thoroughly and totally suspended, and which appears even now to threaten the future validity of those same precepts.

As an older man, I am in a position to make comparisons which shed light on the changes that have taken place in the moral sphere. That gives me a right to offer a younger man some advice that may come in useful when you are home again. After every great disappointment - in your case, when one has been the victim of a betrayal - one’s insight is clouded, because one is always overcome by weariness at the same time. The tendency to feel sorry for oneself is only a natural consequence of that weariness. You are honest in your drawings, but it seems to me that you tend towards the idealized view which comes from being in the center of a world that one is trying to rebuild. In your drawings you are trying to give shape to a new world with artistic expressive media available to you, after the reduction of your old world to ruins. You want it to be a human world, in contrast to the physical, materialistic world where naked force ruled, and in my view that is the hopeful and promising aspect of your experiment.

But the advice I would like to give you, however great your present need and poverty may be, is this: stop surrendering to a tendency to study yourself alone and to forget that a sentimental outlook is just as sure to lead to waste and failure as the entire order that is collapsing before our eyes today. That order sprang from individual egoism, and was helped to ripen by nationalistic narrowmindedness. Humanism was believed dispensable. This materialistic attitude found its complete embodiment in Fascism. Bear in mind that your personal need and poverty, both physical and spiritual, are nevertheless infinitesimal compared to the need and poverty of the children abandoned to savagery in today’s world. If your heart turns in hope to the work of rebuilding, because you are young and want to do good, you must help to make a better world for these children. You saw for yourself that what was achieved by the sword came to nothing in the end, therefore take up your pencil in the hope of doing better. You do not succeed in expressing anything about the pain throbbing in mankind today, because you are not yet able to give shape to genuine emotions. It will be like that for as long as you idealize yourself as a man of sorrows, instead of looking for the redeemer in every innocent child. The child can truly be the redeemer, if we can genuinely believe in the possibility of a better world. Sentimentality does not help us to discover new worlds, it makes us cling to the past in fascination. The new world can only be given shape if we love our neighbor. If we are warmed by love, the sight of our neighbor, other people, a foreign nation, another race, will enable us to shape a new image of the world, in the contemplation of which the isolation of the individual and his nameless torment in a ruined world will give way to the splendor in which the embrace of love will illumine the choice, form and shape of a new order of humanity. All art, that of the great epochs as well as that of primitive cultures, that of colored races as well as our own folk art, is rooted in this soil, in which the moral man has vanquished dust, decay and force. Man overthrows the dictates of physical laws and the dominion of blind elements, and by that means fights his way up from subjection of blind obedience to human freedom.

Art is a means of feeling our way forwards in the moral sphere, and it is neither a luxury of the rich nor the rigid formalism that comes out of the theories of the academies. The modern art of the present time also tends towards arid formalism. Art is like grass sprouting from the frozen earth at the end of winter, like growing corn, and like the spiritual bread in which the human inheritance is passed on to future generations.

In hope that you will find the inner strength to practice the spiritual office of an artist in the future, I leave you with my best wishes,

Yours, Oskar Kokoschka

‘Oskar Kokoschka Letters 1905-1976’ is published by Thames and Hudson.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Dave Brubeck Quartet: In Concert, Germany 1966

dave_brubeck_quartet
 
Dave Brubeck claimed he had 2 ambitions when he first started out as a Jazz musician - “to play polytonally and polyrhythmically.”

He also said his inspiration for rhythm was the heart beat, for this was what we heard first, and last.

Brubeck was a giant of Jazz, whose passing at the age of 91, brings an end to one of the greatest eras of American Jazz.

He popularized Jazz like few other composers/musicians of his day, becoming a household name and the first million-selling Jazz musician, who also made the cover of Time magazine in 1954. The purists didn’t like him, and many classed his brand of Jazz as “easy listening”, but this is to do him and his music a great disservice.

Take a listen to the Dave Brubeck Quartet (Brubeck - Piano, Paul Desmond - Alto Saxophone, Joe Morello - Drums, Gene Wright - Bass), filmed in concert in Germany, November 6th, 1966.

Track LIsting:

01. “Take the ‘A’ Train”
02. “Forty Days”
03. “I’m in a Dancing Mood”
04. “Koto Song”
05. “Take Five”

R.I.P. Dave Brubeck 1920-2012
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Beautiful Fevered Dreams: The Art of Sig Waller

sig_waller_2002
 
When the artist Sig Waller was a child, she experienced intense fever hallucinations. It possibly explains something about her paintings, which are beautiful, brightly colored, fluid, dreamlike, visions of reality. I find her work addictive, and am drawn back, time and again to certain paintings - paintings which seem as if she has made real some fragment of my dreams.

Waller’s first major exhibition was in 1996, and since then she has exhibited her paintings across the world. Her work is fabulous, intense, politicized yet often darkly amusing. There is a great intelligence at work here, which can be seen in such varied series as: Dreamlands (1999-2001) a series of channel-hopping images taken form television; Hotel Romantica (2002), sensuous paintings based on a pack of nude playing cards, which was stowed away on the Apollo 12 spacecraft during its November 1969 voyage to the moon; All That Is Solid Melts Into Air (2011) a series of paintings examining different forms of protest; which ties in with Burning Desire (2102) a series of paintings based on mobile ‘phone photographs of the Tottenham riots in 2011.

Sig (originally “S.I.G.” or “Spectrum is Green” from Captain Scarlett and the Mysterions) Waller divides her time between Brighton and Berlin, and is about to start an artist’s residency in Italy. I contacted Sig to find out more about her life, her inspiration and her childhood.

Sig Waller: ‘I grew up mainly on the Gower Peninsula near Swansea, Wales. My parents were foreign intellectuals - my father an American historian who dressed like a tramp and my mother an obsessively Francophile, German psychologist. Our house had no TV or telephone; pop music was banned, as were cinema visits. The only contact my sister and I had with popular culture was via comic books and story cassettes sent from Germany. We spent a lot of time at our grandparent’s house in the Saarland and I grew up bi-lingual with my mother’s French-influenced regional dialect as my first language.

‘My mother was horrified by life in South Wales and tried to create her own “Little Germany” within the walls of our house. This resulted in me reading Gothic tales in old German script dressed in Bavarian costume while my classmates wore t-shirts and watched Top of the Pops.

‘When I was 8 there was a period when I experienced some quite intense fever hallucinations. At the same time, I had Hauff’s dark tales swirling around in my head and this came to form the root of my fascination with the macabre and the grotesque. Stories such as “The Tale of the Hacked-off Hand” or “The Tale of the Ghost Ship” are still with me today.

‘One of my most formative childhood experiences was that of alienation. If a kid is different, the other kids will point and I got used to being pointed at. Later things changed and my parents got hip, dragging us to experimental theater performances and art movies. I remember the day I told them I wanted a record and their dumbfounded reaction. Prior to this, I’d been secretly listening to music on a small transistor radio in bed. Surprisingly, my mother entered into the spirit of things and started buying Brian Eno records and taking us to the ICA. At around this time I began to dye my hair and decided that it was okay to be different.

‘When I was little I wanted to be a clown or an artist. I loved Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy and was fascinated by the idea of the circus but as I was also quiet and shy I must have decided that art was the better option. I spent hours studying reproductions of paintings and imagining my future life as an artist. I didn’t think I was very good at drawing but held onto my fantasy and at around age 13 something strange happened and suddenly I could draw. I then spent most of my adolescence listening to obscure music, drawing and nurturing my teenage melancholia.

‘My first truly artistic (and coincidentally also comic) act took place in the baby cot, where I – left unattended – picked up one of my baby-poos and using it as a colouring stick, expressively daubed at the bars of my confinement. This event has been recounted to me on many occasions, usually in the presence of a new boyfriend, so it must be true.

Paul Gallagher: Tell me about Art College?

Sig Waller: ‘I was barely 18 when I moved to London to study Art and Art History at Goldsmiths. Back then the art college was at the Millard building in Camberwell and that place had an incredible atmosphere. I remember one afternoon, a guy came into the bar with a pistol and yelled, ‘Everybody get their hands up,’ and everyone just ignored him, it was that kind of place. People were generally too busy polishing their egos to notice the guy with the gun.

‘I started going to warehouse and squat parties and halfway through my first year at college I began living in squats. I continued with this life for the next 7 years and this gave rise to my interest in protest and rebellion.

‘While at college I began to paint with oils and use elements of my clothing in my work. I would walk around with slogans pinned to my back and these would eventually make their way into my paintings. One of my jackets became part of a painting too – I wore some very strange outfits; I guess it was a kind of performance I was engaged in, though it was more organic than contrived.

‘After college, I stopped painting and started making hats and other fluffy rubbish and selling these through markets and designer shops. I also did a Photo / Video foundation course, worked on music videos and animation and wrote a few film scripts.’

Paul Gallagher: From college, you moved to berlin, why and what happened?

Sig Waller: ‘I’d been fascinated by Berlin for years, its new wave and industrial music scene excited me and so many things seemed to be happening there. I first went to Berlin in 1989, just after The Wall came down and was there over the New Year, which was an incredibly intense experience. In 1995 my friend Volker Sieben invited me to live in his run down studio complex in Brunnenstrasse in Berlin-Mitte, so I packed my bags and drove there with a car full of fake fur, which I was going to turn into stuff to sell.

‘In 1996, I moved into a place on Reinhardstrasse, which was a stone’s throw away from the Reichstag. A new project space called C4 opened round the corner and in early 1998 I curated Blut & Blumen (Blood and Flowers) there. This marked a turning point for me as I began to revisit my childhood dream of being an artist. Some months later, I had a solo show at the Tacheles and painted my first oil paintings in 10 years.

‘In late 1998 I moved back to Brunnenstrasse, which is where I painted my extensive Dreamlands TV-zapping series which I showed as part of the Z2000 Festival in Berlin and also in New York in 2001. The flat on Brunnenstrasse was documented in a book called Berlin Interiors: East meets West.’

Paul Gallagher: What inspires you?

Sig Waller: ‘Dark things inspire me. And things that make me laugh. I find the combination of dark and funny particularly inspirational but I am also interested in art history and cultural theory; junk and found materials; chance encounters; future studies and science fiction; fairy tales, horror and the paranormal; expressionist cinema, cult movies and television; and obviously books and the internet are an endless source of inspiration, as are conversations with artists and friends…

‘Some of my work may appear to be quite militant, this is because I find a lot of political issues quite infuriating, so in a way my work is also a form of personal anger management and these more radical pieces are an expression of some of that rage.

‘Right now I’m feeling inspired by needle-crafting grandmothers everywhere, by all the people who spend hours making stuff in their living rooms, by my son’s infallible sense of humor, by the encouragement of others and by the many great and wonderful artists I’ve stumbled across over the years whose time has yet to come.

‘I’m also still a fan of Kippenberger, his work resonates to this day and a lot of the art I’ve seen in the past 20 years is simply imitation Kippenberger.

Out of the exhibitions I’ve visited recently, I found the Deller show at the Hayward the most engaging. Art can be political, but on some level it should also be enjoyable.
 
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More from Sig Waller’s life and art, after the jump…
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

S.I.G. Waller: ‘Our capacity for cruelty and suffering is timeless, as is our ability to look away’


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
How Fritz Lang escaped the Nazis

fritz_lang_escapes
 
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Fritz Lang explains how his meeting with Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Mad Man of Nazi propaganda, made him flee Germany the very same day.

Director of Metropolis and M, Lang had been called to see Goebbels over his undisguised attack on Hitler in his 1933 film, The Testament of Dr Mabuse - which the Nazis had banned. Instead of the expected interrogation and inevitable incarceration, Doctor Goebbels offered Lang the unexpected position of Head of the National Socialist Film Studios. Goebbels explained that both he and Herr Furher hoped the director would accept. Goebbels then offered his advice on the ending of The Testament of Dr Mabuse, which he had found unsatisfactory. Instead of Mabuse going mad, it would have been better if the mobs had destroyed him with their wrath.

It’s a good story, even if the facts don’t add up. One that’s worth retelling - just to hear Lang build up the dramatic tension with his powers of descriptive narration.
 

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Tales of the Unexpected: William Friedkin interviews Fritz Lang


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
David Bowie: Live at the Beat Club from 1978

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David Bowie having fun at the Beat Club in May 1978, dressed in what looks like a pimp’s pajama top and those kind of pants he made famous, which were later sold via adverts in the NME and The Face. I once nearly bought a pair but opted to have my ear pierced instead. As always, Bowie is more than ably supported by his superb backing band, which here includes Adrian Belew on electric guitar; George Murray on bass guitar; Carlos Alomar on rhythm guitar; Dennis Davis on drums; Simon House on violin; Sean Mayes on piano and strings; and Roger Powell on keyboards and synthesizers.

Track Listing:

01. “Sense of Doubt”
02. “Beauty and The Beast”
03. “Heroes”
04. “Stay”
05. “The Jean Genie”
06. “TVC15”
07. “Alabama Song”
08. “Rebel Rebel”
 

 

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Public Image Ltd: Live on ‘Rockpalast’ 1983

john_lydon_rockpalast_1983
 
Choice clips of Public Image Limited, performing live at Zeche Bochum, Germany, for Rockpalast in 1983.

John Lydon was 5 years into his PiL experiment, and having either kicked out or split from the band’s original members, was now teamed-up with a band of session musicians (who acquit themselves admirably), and regular drummer Martin Atkins. Lydon seems happy that he is now in charge and gives a great performance of his “greatest hits”, a similar version of which would be released as the double EP record Live in Tokyo.

Track Listing

01. “Public Image”
02. “Annalisa”
03. “Religion”
04. “Memories”
05. “Flowers of Romance”
06. “Solitaire”
07. “Chant”
08. “Anarchy in the UK”
09. “(This is Not a) Love Song”
10. “Low Life”
11. “Under the House”
12. “Bad Life”
13. “Public Image”
 

 
More choice chunks of PiL on ‘Rockpalast’, after the jump…
 

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