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Bizarre wax Amish children for sale on Craigslist
02:31 pm


wax statues

Someone in the charmingly named town of Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania, is overburdened with wax figures of Amish children and is using an ad on Philadelphia Craiglist to unload them. Here’s the ad:

I have 28 wax figures. I’m asking $300 EACH. There are 4 mechanical. I’m selling 1 figure with a desk for $300. There out of the weavertown one room school house in bird in hand pa. They were made by dwarfmans in 1969. They were appraised at $450 to $800 each. Would love to sell as a set . If your interested in all please contact me. Please NO low balling. I had several offers that I turned down! I have no problem with offers if you buy the 28 as a set (no low balling) and no scams. I take cash on pick up . I can also take credit card but prefer cash.

As Gizmodo’s Katharine Trendacosta figured out, the Weavertown One Room School House is “an authentic one-room school” dating from 1877 in which “life-sized animation brings this interactive classroom to life.” Until May 1969 it was a school for Amish and Mennonite children, but then it became a museum.

One might wonder, what’s up with the museum if all the wax figurines are for sale on Craigslist? A note on the Ultimate Cinema Guide website (??) states that “we are still working on getting the wax figures moving again very soon,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if that note were on the old side. So perhaps they abandoned plans to fix them?

The reasons why and wherefore are secondary. What matters here is that if you can scrape together 8,400 simoleons, you can populate your very own fake Amish classroom—and we won’t even pry all too much as to why you would want to do that…..


Many, many more wax Amish kids, after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Fake human remains become horrifyingly realistic high-art
12:47 pm


Sarah Sitkin

A sculpture by Sarah Sitkin.
LA-based artist Sarah Sitkin says that when she was a kid she used to play with the “dental alginate” mold that dentists use in order to made reproductions of a patient’s teeth. The then budding sculptor and artist would spend “hours” creating plaster reproductions of her own face and hands. Now that you know at least that much about the highly-skilled Sitkin, it should be a bit easier trying to process her surreal sculptures, masks and disembodied heads and hands.

Another fateful aspect of Sitkin’s childhood is that her family owned a hobby shop called Kit Kraft which meant that she quite literally had any kind of artistic tool or material at her disposal. Deadstock inventory ended up in Sitkin’s hands and when she was finally able to work in the store herself she found herself rubbing shoulders with Hollywood special effects artists (including one of my favorites, the great Jordu Schell whose work can be seen in films from the Predator and Alien  franchises.) Sitkin has gone on to develop a large following (including Genesis P-Orridge) and is also the creator of a bizarre and wildly popular skin for the iPhone that not only looks like it was made of real flesh but also included an all-too-realistic ear on the back.

I’ve included a number of images below from Sitkin’s large portfolio that will really get under your own skin in all the best ways possible. That said some should be considered NSFW.

The artist wearing her own creations.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Artist sketches haunting illustrations of mental illness & emotional disorders every day of October
12:02 pm


Shawn Coss

October is the month when Mental Health Awareness events take place. Artist and illustrator Shawn Coss decided to illustrate his own interpretations of mental health disorders for The Inktober Initiative, where artists from all over the world ink one drawing per day in October.

Every year thousands of artists get involved with Inktober, where for 31 days of October, you ink a drawing for each day.

I decided to go off the usual prompt and focus on mental illnesses and disorders.

As dark and as haunting as these illustrations are, they’re beautifully done.


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The expensive new David Hockney coffee table book is so big that you can use it as a coffee table
11:28 am


David Hockney

At the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, David Hockney, who is currently 79 years old, unveiled a new collection of his work published by Taschen called A Bigger Book that definitely lives up to its name. The book is more than two feet tall and weighs a whopping 77 pounds. If you placed it on a little stool, it would definitely be able to support the weight of a tea service, say.

Hockney is one of the most renowned British painters of the 20th century, and A Bigger Book is a limited-edition volume costing $2,500 that covers his career of more than 60 years.

Fans of Hockney’s work will recognize in the book’s title an echo of some of the artist’s earlier works and book releases. One of Hockney’s most famous paintings is of a swimming pool, the title of which is “A Bigger Splash.”
David Hockney, “A Bigger Splash” (1967)
Similarly, the major retrospective of Hockney’s work that landed at the Tate Modern in 2013 bore the title “A Bigger Exhibition,” and there is a volume with his work called A Bigger Picture (the title has also been used for a documentary about Hockney) as well as a book containing interviews with Hockney called A Bigger Message. You can even purchase a lithograph of one of America’s most famous landmarks that is called “A Bigger Grand Canyon.”

Taschen has a tradition of bestowing upon artists of a certain caliber mega-sized volumes in a line called SUMO. Taschen’s first SUMO edition was for Helmut Newton in 1999. In 2003 Taschen released a SUMO volume dedicated to Muhammad Ali under the title GOAT, which presumably stands for “Greatest of All Time,” and the company has also released “SUMO-sized” volumes for H.R. Giger, Sebastião Salgado, and Annie Leibovitz. In 2014 Taschen published a SUMO volume about the Rolling Stones.
More after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Aliens Among Us: Almost psychedelic microscopic photography of beetles, mites, spiders and moths

Jumping spider (Phidippus otiosus).
Igor Siwanowicz’s interest in the natural world came from poring over brightly colored photographs and illustrations in biology and zoology textbooks as a child. Born in Krakow, Poland in 1976, Siwanowicz is the son of two biologists who he claims reinforced and rewarded his early interest in biology.

Certain amount of the fascination in natural sciences might be encoded in the genes, and that was definitely passed on me from my parents, along with some artistic skills that just pop up in my family generation after generation.

Siwanowicz studied for a Masters in biotechnology at Krakow and then Aarhus, Denmark, before going on to complete a PhD in structural biochemistry in Germany.

His artistic talents came to the fore during a hiatus from post-doctoral studies when Siwanowicz traveled the world as a freelance nature photographer. He “conned some people into organizing” exhibitions of his work which led to the publication of two books of his photographs.

He then returned to his career in science as a “lowly technical assistant in behavioural genetics at the Max-Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich.” Today, Siwanowicz works as a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus in Virginia.

Siwanowicz believes his photographic work keeps him “(relatively) sane.”’s a sort of occupational therapy, a way to cope with the blues. I think I am slightly bipolar (as in manic-depressive), far from raving mad but still having those seasonal swings of mood and warped self-perception. Taking photos, among other things, gives me satisfaction and keeps my mind off of obsessing too much. I use my accomplishments to re-build my self-esteem and move a small step towards self-actualisation.

Siwanowicz’s photographic work includes beautiful macro “mug shots” of insects:

They are foreign, otherworldly looking creatures – the closer you get to them, the stronger the effect. See, insects have those totally alien, Gigeresque forms that I find somehow fascinating.

His incredibly trippy psychedelic extreme close-up photographs of insects—beetles, spiders, moths, mites—are made with a confocal laser-scanning microscope, which captures these beautiful creatures in greater clarity and detail than other lens-based imaging.

See more of Igor Siwanowicz’s glorious microscopy.
Jumping spider.
Jumping spider eyes.
More of these stunning photographs, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Peter Murphy stars as ‘The Dead’ in the experimental Super 8 film ‘The Grid,’ 1980
09:53 am


Peter Murphy

The VHS release of The Grid (via Tumblr)
In 1980, the animator Joanna Woodward (a/k/a JoWOnder) cast her boyfriend Peter Murphy in a short film called The Grid. Now I know it’s hot on planet Earth, but goddammit! If In The Flat Field-era Peter Murphy playing a character called “The Dead” doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit, then maybe somebody’s forgotten the true meaning of Halloween.

Here are JoWOnder’s own notes about her movie, which she says was projected at Bauhaus shows in the 80s. I wish she explained what T.S. Eliot is doing on the soundtrack. Typos are hers.

A story about a time traveler and the search for the first cell of one’s existence. ‘The Dead’, played by Peter Murphy searches for and finds a ‘Grid’ which enables him to watch the beginning of his life -from the moment of conception.

Tip: For a better picture view: watch using the ‘Full Screen’ Option.

Filmed when, when Peter was the boyfriend of Joanna Woodward in the 1980’s, on Super 8 Film Format. This copy has been taken by Jo from the VHS which Peter sold copies of on his, 2000, international Just for Love tour. (The original a clear picture Super 8 copy having been mislaid).

The Grid, movie toured with Bauhaus and was projected on stage in the 1980s. Jo says;’ that she was much more interested in fine art and not so much commercial art or popular music. Punk was predominant at that time and it was quite common for things to get ‘gobbed at’ as a sign of appreciation.’

The closing music here is Subhanallah by Peter Murphy however, the original concluding music track, for The Grid was Kate Bush, Lion Heart. Jo finds both concluding music tracks satisfying however, the Kate Bush track was intended to echo the opera music earlier in the film and the female ‘creator of life’ bursting through. The film’s main soundtrack Jo devised herself on a synthesizer with live playing of a recorder. The tiny sound of ‘clicks’ that can be heard are, literally the sound of switching on and off equipment as she recorded live to the film picture with an open microphone.

Watch ‘The Grid’ after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘The Witch’ movie playset for kids!
09:48 am


The Witch

Somehow I missed this delightful The Witch playset for kids created by Playnnobil and featured on Millionaire Playboy. It was “released” to the Internet back in March and is based on Robert Eggers’ 2015 historical period horror flick The Witch (or The VVitch if you prefer). Dig his Black Phillip figure!

I had mixed emotions about The Witch. While I thought that it was very beautifully shot, and well-acted, it just didn’t scare the pants off me the way movie critics (and seemingly everyone on Facebook) promised it would. More “arthouse flick” as opposed to something truly terrifying, like say The Descent.

I don’t know, but I thought that it could’ve been a lot scarier. That’s just me. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen, but by the time it finally did it just felt too late. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give anything away. Again, what do I know, it could make for a good, spooky October film for you and yours. You might love it. Many people did. There were several haunting elements of the film that stayed with me, but I can’t honestly recommend The Witch but tepidly.

Anyway, I can appreciate the artistry, of both the film and this cool PLAYMOBIL-themed playset! If you want to know more about Playnnobil’s thoughts about his creations—and the source of his inpiration—go here. There aren’t too many spoilers.


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The entire print run (1979-82) of NYC punk magazine ‘Dry’ is now online!
09:33 am


Ryan Richardson
dry magazine

Wendy O Williams of the Plasmatics in ‘Dry’ magazine
Ryan Richardson is one of the United States’ foremost collectors, archivists, and dealers of punk rock records and ephemera, as well as being the Internet saint who created free online archives of StarRock Scene, and Slash magazines. He also runs, a repository of various early punk zines as well as the exhaustive punk info blog Break My Face.

We’ve written about Richardson’s punk altruism before here at Dangerous Minds. The last time was back in June when he uploaded the entire print run of excellent early San Francisco punk magazine Damage over at his site

Richardson has done his Good Samaritan work once again, this time with the upload of the complete print run of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s NYC punk magazine Dry to Circulation Zero.

According to Richardson, Dry was conceived by art school students and titled as a reaction against Wet, “The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.”

Dry is manic in its cut-n-paste layout and panicked in its reviews and reports. Eclectic coverage of punk, No Wave and eventually hardcore in the later installments.

Fourteen issues were published, all of which are available as a single pdf download HERE

The layouts in Dry are a bit over-the-top with the cut-and-paste collage aesthetic. Though the technique is certainly part of the design tradition of punk rock, it doesn’t always make for easy reading—but that’s a fitting standard for a counter-culture fanzine… it should be challenging. 

I wouldn’t call Dry a definitive chronicle of NYC punk between 1979 and 1982 by any stretch, but these issues are still a priceless addition to the historical record and certainly worth a gander by anyone with an interest in this specific era of alternative music, particularly things that happened in New York.

The download of the complete set is free, but Richardson asks that those taking advantage make a charitable donation to Electronic Frontier Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, or Austin Pets Alive. Donations to these charities make the project worthwhile for Richardson, so it would be, you know, the cool thing to do to toss a few bucks that way, considering the amazing gift being provided here. Richardson has placed donation links on—go there now to download Dry, and while you’re waiting on that file transfer, scroll through this gallery of pages from Dry‘s history:

A pre-fame Cyndi Lauper, singing with Blue Angel, in the pages of ‘Dry’

More from the pages of ‘Dry’ after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Bulba’: The terrible CIA sitcom pilot that starred a young Bill Hicks
03:30 pm


Bill Hicks

The 1980s were a miserable decade for standup comedy—based on the incredible success of men like Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, and Robin Williams, all of whom had an originating identity as standups, comedy saw a “boom” which really translated into bars across America labeling just about anything a “COMEDY SHOWCASE,” attracting MOR hacks everywhere to divert audiences with their “hilarious” Jack Nicholson impressions or their hackneyed thoughts about the packaging of airline peanuts. It was a decade defined by people such as Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, talented men but none of them ever likely to, say, question the Reagan administration’s Central America policy.

Which brings us to Bill Hicks, one of the few comedic heroes that the 1980s produced. Hicks was a bumptious standup comedian out of Texas, one of few comedians of that era who could truly be said to owe Lenny Bruce a debt. He talked about the benefits of LSD, marijuana, and psychedelic mushrooms onstage, railed against the implacable conformity of Americans, and once put down a heckler by saying, “Hitler had the right idea; he was just an underachiever!” In a decade in which development execs constantly lusted after some debased version of the “edgy,” Hicks was the real deal. He sadly died of pancreatic cancer in 1994 at the age of 32, a tragic fate that has cemented his status as a countercultural icon ever since.

One of the events that caused Hicks to adopt a rather jaundiced view of Hollywood was his involvement in an idiotic spoof of the CIA called Bulba. A pilot episode of the show was filmed for ABC in 1981, but it was never picked up—for very good reasons. The show centered on the goofy goings-on at the U.S. embassy in Bulba, a fictional island near India, and the show absolutely reeks of the anti-establishment ethos typified by Stripes and M*A*S*H, but sadly it isn’t funny. At all. Hicks plays “Phil,” a bumbling Marine whose identifying trait is that he isn’t wearing pants.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Smegma: Strange rumblings from legendarily freaky art-damaged noise rock improvisers
02:52 pm


Richard Meltzer

When Smegma first formed—I’m referring here to the avant garde improvisational free music noise group, not that other stuff—in Pasadena, California in 1973, the collective’s membership came together in the back room of the Poo-Bah record store. The Poo-Bah was located in a basement next door to a sleazy porno theatre and the owner encouraged some of the shop’s patrons (who coalesced around a shared love of Zappa, Beefheart and the Residents) to utilize his space. The Poo-Bah later merged with the Los Angeles Free Music Society or L.A.F.M.S., a parallel group of local freaks into the same things, to release records, cassettes, newsletters and a fanzine, and to promote live events and art happenings, including those of Smegma.

Smegma’s cast of characters took on goofy pre-punk pseudonyms such as “Ju Suk Reet Meate,” “Dennis Duck,” “Cheez-It Ritz,” “Amazon Bambi,” “Chucko Fats,” “Pizza Rioux,” “Iso,” “Dr. Id,” “Dr.Odd,” “Foon,” “Ace Farren Ford,” “Electric Bill,” “Borneo Jimmy,” “Burned Mind,” “Oblivia,” “Victor Sparks,” and “Harry Cess Poole” and members overlapped with L.A.F.M.S. which might be considered the loose umbrella organization representing a scene of freaky people who were into making freaky head music. Their sound incorporated tapes, free jazz, power electronics, the Ventures, drones, proto-Plunderphonics tape loops and encouraged inspired amateurism rather than musical prowess. “NO HIPPIE MUSIC” was their guiding motto. Their disgusting name is a pisstake on le nom de French prog-rockers Magma. It should come as no surprise that Smegma were included on the infamous “Nurse with Wound list.”

In 1975, Smegma’s loose center of operations moved to Portland, Oregon where they became an important part of that city’s musical history even if most of that burg’s residents were and are still blissfully unaware of this fact. Over the decades they’ve recorded with noted oddballs like Frank Zappa discovery Wild Man Fischer, Boyd Rice, and Japanese noise prankster Merzbow (on the dual release Smegma Plays Merzbow/Merzbow Plays Smegma.) During the late 1990s, the noted pioneer rock scribe and literary cult figure Richard Meltzer served as the group’s lyricist and frontman.

More Smegma after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Frank Zappa wants you to ‘vote like a beast’
01:50 pm


Frank Zappa

Vote suppression is in the news again. In August, Donald Trump, likely recognizing that he was going to lose the election, started talking about the need to prevent voter shenanigans in “certain sections” of Pennsylvania—“you know the ones,” he told them—clear code to his supporters that black people in Pennsylvania’s urban areas were plotting to steal the vote on behalf of “Crooked” Hillary Clinton.

The truth is something like the opposite. Acutely aware that it has a purchase on a dwindling minority of voters, the Republican Party has for some years used the specter of vote fraud to enact legislative measures that would require increased documentation at polling places, measures that are likely to have the effect of limiting the turnout of low-income and/or minority voters, both of which are reliable Democratic constituencies. The “voter fraud” scare is now widely seen as itself to be a voter suppression gambit, as some high-level Republicans are sometimes unwise enough to actuallly admit to in public.

The crucial importance of the vote can be seen in the centuries-long struggles over who gets to vote and who does not. In a sense, artificial or scarcely justified limits on the franchise are as American as apple pie, as Your Vote, a 1991 program for The Learning Channel hosted by none other than Frank Zappa, explains.

Frank Zappa was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1990, after the disease had progressed unnoticed for roughly a decade. Obviously, as he neared his untimely death, which eventually occurred in December 1993, Zappa’s illness restricted his ability to travel or undertake arduous projects. Zappa is hardly the vigorous figure here that he had once been, but his commitment to the cause of participatory democracy was such that he did the project anyway.

The show begins with footage of George Herbert Walker Bush and Michael Dukakis, the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees for the most recent national election in 1988. It would be easy to frame the story of franchisement in the United States as an optimistic one, with the vote being granted to ever more groups, but that is not the tone adopted here. In this program, the emphasis is squarely on the unjustifiable shenanigans that prevent people from exercising one of the most basic human rights.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Gorbals Vampire: The child-eating monster that terrorized Glasgow in the 1950s

For three nights the children came to the “City of the Dead.” They carried knives, clubs and stakes—even a crucifix. Two hundred or more children came to the Gorbals Necropolis—a large cemetery situated in the south of the city of Glasgow. They were aged between four and fourteen. A few were just toddlers accompanying older brothers on this terrifying hunt. There was a sense of excitement. A sense of danger. Some thought it thrilling. Others were terrified. Most set with a grim determination of what had to be done. They said they were ready—they knew they were ready.  Ready to hunt and kill a vampire.

In September of 1954 the children from the Gorbals district of Glasgow were terrorized by tales of a hideous vampire. A ghoulish beast, he was supposedly seven feet tall with blood red eyes and sharp iron teeth. The children called this creature the Gorbals Vampire. They said it had already killed two young boys—drinking their blood and feasting on their flesh. The police refused to comment but when pressed claimed they had no knowledge of these missing children or the vampire who had eaten them. But the children thought they knew better…

Tales and half-truths spread word-of-mouth: Wee Jimmy had heard it from Rab; and Rab heard it from Billy; and Billy should know ‘cause his cousin’s a policeman.

On September 23rd, police constable Alex Deeprose was called to a disturbance at the Gorbals “City of the Dead”—the Southern Necropolis. PC Deeprose was shocked on arrival to find up to 200 kids roaming the graves looking for signs of a vampire. At first, he thought the children were joking—but when they begged him to help find the vampire and drive a stake through its heart, he realized that this was no joke.

Tam Smith was a seven-year-old schoolboy at the time. He recalled the scene in a newspaper interview:

“The walls were lined with people. We ventured through the gatehouse and there were loads of kids in there, some wandering around, some sitting on the walls. There were a lot of dogs too, and mums and dads with kids.

“We found a place to stand out of the way because there were so many people there. I think the whole of the Gorbals was in that graveyard. It’s hard to put an estimate on the number of people.”

But what had caused so many people to believe there was a vampire in their midst? Ronnie Sanderson was an eight-year-old from the Gorbals when the vampire story first spread through the city:

“It all started in the playground - the word was there was a vampire and everyone was going to head out there after school. At three o’clock the school emptied and everyone made a beeline for it. We sat there for ages on the wall waiting and waiting. I wouldn’t go in because it was a bit scary for me.”

“I think somebody saw someone wandering about and the cry went up: ‘There’s the vampire!’ That was it - that was the word to get off that wall quick and get away from it.”

“I just remember scampering home to my mother: ‘What’s the matter with you?’ ‘I’ve seen a vampire!’ and I got a clout round the ear for my trouble. I didn’t really know what a vampire was.”

The vampire hunt and the story of the two missing children spread panic across the city. Still, the police had no report of any missing children. At the local school the headmaster denounced the story as nonsense and warned children against believing such a ridiculous tale, but the following night and the night after that the Gorbals children came out in force looking to kill a vampire.

The press picked up on the story. “AMAZING SCENE AS HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN RUSH CEMETERY” ran one headline. The Gorbals Vampire was dismissed as an urban myth—an example of mass hysteria. The press began to investigate how this fiction of the murderous bloodsucking monster came about. They claimed American comic books like Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror were responsible. These comics with their graphic tales and gruesome imagery were the cause of the mass panic. Yet some academics disagreed stating they had found no reference to any iron toothed vampire in either comic. Instead they claimed there was “a monster with iron teeth in the Bible (Daniel 7.7) and one in a poem taught in local schools.”

Then another story spread about a woman—most probably a witch—who was said to be in league with the Gorbals Vampire:

“There was an old lady who used to carry two cats in a basket. She would go to the graveyard to get peace away from the kids and let her cats have a wander. But she was in there the night we went looking for it and people were involving the ‘cat woman’ with the iron man. It was a shame when you think about it, she was an eccentric with wiry hair, but we called her Tin Lizzie. She was the iron man’s ‘burd’.”

In fact, the press were half right. The story of an iron-tooth vampire had been inspired by an American comic—but not Tales from the Crypt or Vault of Horror—rather Dark Mysteries.

In issue the December 1953 issue of Dark Mysteries #15 there was a story entitled: “The Vampire with the Iron Teeth.” This was the apparent source of the panic over the Gorbals Vampire.
The suggestion that “nasty” American comic books were corrupting young children led to an unholy alliance between teachers, Communists and religious leaders to demand a ban on sales of comics like Tales from the Crypt and the Vault of Horror to children.

Yet our two eyewitnesses to the events of September 1954 have said they had never seen a horror movie or read a horror comic.
On September 26th, 1954, the Sunday Mail newspaper ran the following story:


Read on after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Totally 80s tarot deck with Punk, Post-Punk and New Wave icons
12:23 pm



It seems like there’s a tarot card set for freaking everything nowadays and this long list now includes a “New Wave” tarot deck by Amanda Lee Stilwell of Last Craft Designs on Etsy . The cards feature iconic musicians including Siouxsie Sioux, Nina Hagen, Nick Cave, Genesis P-Orridge, Klaus Nomi, Grace Jones, Kate Bush, Marc Almond, Steve Strange, Peter Murphy and many more.

It appears that currently all of these nifty “New Wave” decks are sadly sold out. Perhaps if you contact Amanda on Etsy, and if there is enough interest, she’ll print up some more?

Update: you can purchase the deck here for $45.


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Animal/human hybrid sculptures and other menacing ceramic characters
09:59 am


Cynthia Consentino

‘Wolf Girl III’ by sculptor and artist Cynthia Consentino, 2011.
Sculptor Cynthia Consentino hails from my state of birth Massachusetts, and is currently part of the Art Department staff at my mother’s alma mater of the University of Massachusetts. I hope Consentino’s students know how lucky they are to have such a talented (and rather wonderfully demented) mind at their disposal.

To help illuminate my point Consentino’s ceramic series called “Exquisite Corpse” borrowed its title and played upon the concept from a collaborative poetry game played by members of the Surrealist movement. It contains curious pieces that incorporate the bodies of animals and people with sinister and strangely captivating results. And while we’re on the topic of sinister ceramics Consentino’s portfolio is full of characters who fall into precisely that category, such as menacing looking human/wolf hybrids, angry children as well as toddlers armed with weapons.

According to an article on the artist from 2007, she was further inspired to mix-and-match her sculptures’ decidedly non-bianary gender compositions after reading a study that took on sexual stereotypes from the perspective of a five-year-old child. So instead of incorporating the heads (or bodies) of a predatory animal that one might associate with a “boy” Consentino sculpted a ferocious-looking wolf head onto the body of little girl wearing a pink dress. If you’d like to see Consentino’s work up close a few of her pieces are a part of four different current and upcoming exhibitions in New York, Pittsburgh, and Boston. Of course if you ever find yourself visiting the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in good-old Sheboygan, Wisconsin you’ll be able to get an eyeful of Consentino’s handiwork as her gorgeously odd creations adorn the walls and stalls of the entire ladies room.

Examples of Cynthia Consentino’s work follow—some might be considered NSFW.


‘Flower Girl I,’ 2004.
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Live animals are known to be devoured’: Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles’ Sufi recordings

Part of Ira Cohen’s layout for the Jilala sleeve (via Granary Books)
Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka was not the first album of Moroccan music inspired by the kif-smoking literary expats in Tangier. In 1964, Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles taped the Jilala brotherhood, a Sufi order whose ritual dance and music were supposed to exorcise evil spirits and heal the sick. The LP Jilala, released a year or two later by Ira Cohen, brought these recordings into limited circulation and preserved them for posterity.

Poet, musician, traveler, author of The Hashish Cookbook, and director of The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda, Cohen was another Olympian of the arts who had joined Burroughs, Gysin, and the Bowleses in Tangier in 1961. (My old employer Arthur Magazine brought out Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda on DVD ten years ago, with new scores by Acid Mothers Temple and Sunburned Hand of the Man supplementing the original soundtrack by founding Velvet Underground drummer Angus MacLise.) Years before his psychedelic photo experiments with Mylar, Cohen edited the literary magazine Gnaoua, named after a form of North African religious music that’s related to but distinct from the Jilala’s. 

It’s not entirely clear how Jilala is connected to another Paul Bowles recording project involving the same collaborators, time, and place. Bowles wrote Cohen in 1966 about donating the profits from something called the “Hypnotic Music record” to the Timothy Leary Defense Fund. In a footnote, the editor of Bowles’ letters says this refers to a compilation of Hamatcha, Jilala, Gnaoua, and Aissaoua trance music that was put together from tapes made separately by Bowles, Gysin, and Cohen and released by Cohen. However, the Independent reports that the Hypnotic Music record was an unrealized project, so perhaps Bowles’ editor has conflated it with Jilala, which Discogs lists as the sole release on Cohen’s Trance Records.

I would be delighted to be proven wrong about this. Does anyone have a copy of the Hypnotic Music record?

The cover of the original issue of Jilala
Before putting Jilala in your gym playlist, you should probably read Cohen’s liner notes (reprinted in full at Big Bridge and Discogs) so you know what you’re getting yourself into. The Jilala knew how to pitch a wang dang doodle with their flutes and drums. The bath salts of their day, these religious tunes have been known to make listeners eat live animals, slash themselves with knives, and drink boiling water straight from the kettle, as Cohen tells it…

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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