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An actual rose bush plays ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorn’
02.10.2016
02:31 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music

Tags:
Poison
pain


 
What’s that, friend? You say you’re narcotized by modern life, and Cupid’s arrow has lost its sting? Love just doesn’t hurt like it used to do?

If hearing Bret Michaels serenade Rock of Love contestants with his 1988 hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” wasn’t painful enough for you, artist Michael Ridge has come up with just the thing to give this hoary old power ballad some spice. With the aid of a contact mike, Ridge has figured out how to play Poison’s hit on his turntable using a branch from a rose bush in place of a stylus arm, with actual thorns doing the needle’s job.

Remember that one relationship that “really put you through some changes”? It felt just like this sounds. As I type this, I am suffering serious chest pain!
 

 
Thanks to Aaron Dilloway and John Olson of Violent Ramp

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Doin’ the do with Betty Boo, the original spice girl
02.10.2016
12:22 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Betty Boo


 
If you are say, 35 years of age and up, hearing the opening bars of “Doin’ the Do,” the 1990 smash hit single by Betty Boo will probably bring an instant smile of recognition to your face. I could easily “name that tune” with just the very first note, and so can many of you reading this very sentence, I’m pretty sure. If you are younger than 35, however then you probably only know it as that catchy song they always play at LA Fitness during your spinning class.

Betty Boo was the original Spice Girl—it’s fairly well documented that Chris Herbert, one of the music biz managers who originally “manufactured” the Spice Girls was looking for “five Betty Boos”—but this is not to imply that Boo—real name Alison Clarkson—was a pre-fab pop star because she was anything but, not only writing, but producing much of her debut album, the platinum-selling Boomania. She was the real deal, even if this was not widely recognized during her brief fame.
 

 
When she was 16 and still in school, Clarkson joined a Salt-n-Pepa influenced rap trio called She Rockers. In a chance encounter in 1988 with Public Enemy’s “Minister of Information” Professor Griff in a McDonald’s in Shepherd’s Bush—incredibly caught on video—the cheeky young Clarkson performed an impromptu rap with Griff’s “beatbox” accompaniment. This led to She Rockers going to New York where Griff produced their debut single “Give it a Rest.” She Rockers also opened for PE during some American tour dates, but Clarkson soon left the group.

Back in London, she attended a course at the Holloway School of Audio Engineering and sang as a guest vocalist on a hit single by the Beatmasters, “Hey DJ / I Can’t Dance (To That Music You’re Playing)” in 1989, which led to her getting signed as a solo artist. With the financial windfall from the Beatmasters collaboration, Clarkson loaded up on audio equipment—samplers, sequencers, keyboards—so Betty Boo could do her own do. Boomania, which spawned three hit singles, was largely self-produced on her own equipment in her own bedroom, and written by Clarkson herself.

When Boomania came out, I played the shit out of that record. Pure pop perfection in a glossy pop art package. What’s not to love? The album’s first single was “Doin’ the Do.” The way she spits out her brassy, sassy rap out here is razor-sharp. Monie Love-level good!
 

“Doin’ the Do”

If you don’t think that song is absolutely amazing, please stop reading this blog. I hate you.

Annoyingly, she was seldom given full credit for her accomplishments, not even for her own highly original fashion sense!

Clarkson lamented to The Independent in 1992:

‘When you’re a girl and you make pop music, it’s assumed you haven’t got a mind of your own. But it was me who wanted the Emma Peel look.’

And she chose her musical style, too, that blend of rap and frothy pop. ‘I like the Beatles, the Monkees. I like dinky sounds. I’d like to sound like the young Michael Jackson - sweet.’ She did a course at the Holloway School of Audio Engineering and co-produces her recordings. She says it sometimes irks her how little credit she gets for that, but she offsets her frustration with the thought that ‘the people who buy my records like the sound of my voice and the tune; they’re not interested in credits’

 

 
I met Betty Boo in New York in the summer of 1990. It was in a nightclub where I was working at the time called Mars on the Westside Highway just below 14th street. I think it was her publicist from Sire Records who introduced us. I told her that I really loved Boomania and congratulated her on the clever use of the “morse code” Reparata and the Delrons interpolation (it’s not really a sample) from “Captain of Your Ship” in “Doin’ the Do,” which she seemed quite pleased someone had noticed. Obviously, she was a complete knockout and although she would have only been 20 at the time, she was reserved and serious, giving the impression of being someone who was very much in control of her own destiny. She didn’t in any way act all full of herself, either, as you would expect a young person thrust suddenly into that kind of rockstar fame might behave. I thought she’d go on to become a big star, but her second album, Grrr! It’s Betty Boo—which is excellent, too—sold disappointingly. She was on the verge of signing with Madonna’s newly formed Maverick Records—Madonna has praised Betty Boo several times in interviews—when her mother became terminally ill and she took time off to care for her, and later her grandmother, effectively abandoning her performing career.
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meet the legendary ‘glam rock’ wrestler of the 1970s, Adrian Street
02.10.2016
11:59 am

Topics:
Sports

Tags:
wrestling
glam
Adrian Street
Jeremy Deller

0ardstreet1.jpg
 
In Britain during the 1970s live wrestling matches were broadcast every Saturday afternoon on the ITV channel. Millions of fans tuned in to watch such legendary British wrestlers as Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo, Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. These men were working class heroes—no nonsense traditional wrestlers in trunks and boots. Though they looked like your Dad—a bit a chubby, with a liking for beer—in the ring they were ruthless. Each was a master of a particular wrestling technique with which they showed off their athletic prowess.

Then one Saturday there arrived Adrian Street—a peroxide blonde, in lipstick and mascara, nail polish and pantyhose. He was the most glamorous wrestler on the planet. Street was camp, outrageous, a glam rock wrestling superstar who dispatched his opponents without chipping a fingernail. He was the “merchant of menace,” the “sweet transvestite with a broken nose.” A herald of the social and sexual changes happening at full tilt across the country. He was loved and loathed in equal measure—an older generation feared what he represented; a younger generation embraced it.
 
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Each week Adrian turned up in more elaborate costumes, more glittering makeup and a selection of moves that brought the crowds to their feet. His trademark was to kiss his opponent. While they reeled from the shock of being kissed by another man, Adrian flattened them with a forearm smash, a drop kick, or his favorite the sleeper hold.

Adrian Street was born into a mining family in Brynmawr, Wales in 1940.  As a child he fantasized about running away with a tribe of Native American Indians. He wandered neighboring fields dreaming he was Tarzan and picking bluebells to give to his mother. In his teens he started body-building and briefly worked with his father down the mines. He then moved to London where he began his wrestling career in 1957. He was trained by Chic Osmond and fought under the name Kid Tarzan. During his time in London Adrian had his first taste of bohemia life hanging out with artists and writers most notably Francis Bacon. By the late sixties, Adrian reinvented himself as the androgynous wrestler “The Exotic One.” He went on to fight an estimated 15,000 bouts over a seven decade career.
 
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In 2010 the artist Jeremy Deller made a documentary on Adrian Street called So Many Ways To Hurt You. Deller had been inspired to make his film by a photograph of the wrestler.

I first became aware of [Adrian] through a photograph showing him with his father in 1973, which seemed to me possibly the most important photograph taken post-war. It encapsulates the whole history of Britain in that period – of our uneasy transition from being a centre of heavy industry to a producer of entertainment and services. It’s a rather bizarre and disturbing photograph, taken when Adrian went back to Wales, to the mine that he had worked in as a young man, to meet his father. Adrian’s still very much alive and still wrestling in Florida, where he has settled. He’s an incredible person, who has tremendous willpower and a great sense of his own worth. His story has an epic quality to it, he has basically reinvented himself for the late twentieth century.

As much of an influence as all the pop artists who liberated teenage minds during the 1970s, Adrian Street opened up a world of rich diversity to an older generation who had been shaped by the austerity and hardship of post-War Britain.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Stranger in a Strange Land’: 1987 documentary on Nick Cave from Dutch TV
02.10.2016
11:53 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Nick Cave


 
One of the first images in “Nick Cave: Stranger in a Strange Land” is a glimpse of the Berlin Wall, which (it’s strange to imagine) would only be in use for a couple more years. “Stranger in a Strange Land” was produced in 1987 by Bram van Splunteren, and it appeared on the Dutch TV channel VPRO. I saw the second half of this movie when I was living in Austria in the early to mid-1990s, so it’s a pleasure to come across it again!

Cave lived in Berlin in the 1980s, during which he appeared in one of the greatest movies of all time, Wim Wenders’ Das Himmel Über Berlin, known to English speakers as Wings of Desire.

Giving the crew a tour of his digs, Cave says one of those things only Nick Cave would say, glumly referencing “my collection of German Gothic paintings, my gun, and my desk.” Later he grabs his “little black book,” which is a little album containing some startling religious iconography, some of which made it into the artwork for the 1986 album Your Funeral ... My Trial.

There’s some bracing footage of Cave with the Birthday Party as well as rehearsals with the Bad Seeds, during which Cave belts out the chorus to “Yesterday,” of all possible things. In the rehearsal we see them do a version of “The Singer,” which appears on Kicking Against The Pricks.

The voiceover is in Dutch, but the interviews with Cave, Blixa Bargeld, Mick Harvey and so on are in English. Mark E. Smith pops up unexpectedly, Cave makes a joke about “two hugely intelligent frontmen.”
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Yep, there’s sexy Bernie Sanders underwear!
02.10.2016
10:18 am

Topics:
Amusing
Politics

Tags:
Bernie Sanders


 
Just in time for Valentine’s Day… some super sexy lingerie-style Bernie Sanders underwear! (I refuse to use the word “panties,” btw.) Made by Bullet and Bees on Etsy—the same shop who brought you The Golden Girls underwear a few months ago—the Bernie-themed underwear sells for anywhere from $40-$60 depending on the style.

Don’t say I never gave you nothing for last minute gift ideas.


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Guided By Voices on ‘Oddville, MTV,’ 1997


 
Just a year and a half since Dangerous Minds reported on Guided By Voices’ breakup comes the news that the band’s ringleader and lone constant member Bob Pollard has reunited the band yet again—kinda. The group was announced as the headliner of the Sled Island festival in Calgary, Alberta, and various credible outlets have reported that a new GBV album is in the works with Pollard playing every instrument. Which would seem like less of a “reunion” and more of an indication of Pollard’s evident willingness to keep hauling the GBV name out of storage for as long as obsessives are willing to line up to buy yet another GBV album—with the recent release of the fourth installment of the blood-from-a-stone “Suitcase” series of multi-CD sets full of alternate takes and discarded songs only underscoring that point. The move of calling a solo album Guided By Voices might not sit well with those subsets of the band’s fandom that hold that it’s not truly Guided By Voices without early ‘90s guitarist Tobin Sprout or later-era-defining guitarist Doug Gillard, but then this turned up on Twitter:
 

 
Bobby Bare, Jr. is a highly noteworthy roots rocker. Kevin March was the drummer of GBV’s previous final lineup. Nick Mitchell is Pollard’s (and March’s) collaborator in the band Ricked Wicky, and Mark Shue was the bassist for The Library Is On Fire, connected to GBV via producer Todd Tobias. This is just the live lineup, and there’s no indication that this will be a creative unit, but whatever shows that ensemble does should probably be pretty goddamn good. Snobbier uberdorks who haven’t gotten over the fact that Guided By Voices is whatever Bob Pollard wants it to be are 100% guaranteed to cry foul about the lack of past members anyway, but this sort of thing has happened before.
 

 
In 1997, Pollard jettisoned the band’s entire lineup and replaced them with the arty glam-punk band Cobra Verde, a supergroup with members of Death of Samantha, garage-punks The Reactions, and power-metalists Breaker. That version of the band committed the GBV sacrilege of recording most of the album Mag Earwhig! in an actual multitrack studio, an apostasy that was rewarded when the Gillard-penned single “I Am A Tree,” originally released by his own band Gem, became one of GBV’s most revered fan-favorites. “Guided By Verde” only lasted the one album; ironically, that major GBV lineup shuffle provoked a major shakeup in Cobra Verde, as well. Gillard remained in GBV with Pollard (and quite edifyingly, at that) while CV’s honcho John Petkovic ended up carrying on with an entirely new band, himself.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
5 minutes of Judas Priest’s frontman Rob Halford holding that high note of his
02.10.2016
09:07 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Judas Priest
Rob Halford


 
What I like about this video is that’s it’s a supercut of Rob Halford’s infamous high note. It’s not just one long 5-minute high note to test your patience. I watched this all the way through and afterwards immediately grabbed a glass of water to whet my whistle because… ouch. I don’t know how he does it.

 
via WFMU on Twitter

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Vintage 1970s Warhol / Velvet Underground-inspired banana record player


 
Over on Etsy, there’s a Warhol/Velvet Underground-inspired portable banana-shaped record player from the 1970s for sale. The asking price is $1500. That seems a bit steep to me, but truth be told, I’ve never seen one of these before. They must be pretty scarce!

From the write-up on Etsy:

Ok, folks. I bought this record player because the time to buy something you have never seen is when you see it. And I am a huge Warhol fan. At the time, I could find no information on this. A friend was able to find this old advertising for it in an old Speigel catalog. In searching the internet, there are only 2 of these known. There is one in Indianapolis that a guy has from his youth- a present from his grandmother. The other one is in the Banana Museum in California. I even wrote to the Warhol Foundation to find out if there was any kind of affiliation, but they had never heard anything about this and had no record. They came up with the same information I did. Mine is not perfect, it shows wear and I cannot determine if the black markings on this have been redone or if they are original- looking at the picture in the ad, it is still hard to tell, but they look rough to me. I still love this. It runs properly at all 3 speeds, but it will need a needle. The cord is in good condition and the case locks as it should. The ad touts that this will play in any position, even upside-down, but I would not suggest such a thing, as it cannot be good for your records.

If you’re interested in it or want to contact seller, click here.


 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Sexualized: Jarvis Cocker takes Viagra and has a heavy nite with his Relaxed Muscle
02.09.2016
02:19 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jarvis Cocker
Pulp
Relaxed Muscle


Jarvis Cocker takes a selfie as his alter ego “Darren Spooner”

After Pulp went on their rather extended hiatus back in 2001, Jarvis Cocker kept quite active. He got married, became a dad and a stepfather, moved to Paris, DJ’d, and did voice-overs for Wes Anderson. He also worked on solo albums and various one-off collaborations with the likes of Nancy Sinatra, Marianne Faithfull and perhaps the strangest project of his career, Relaxed Muscle, a freaky duo formed with electronic musician Jason Buckle. Previously Cocker had worked with Buckle when the latter was a member of the Sheffield-based All Seeing I collective. Cocker recorded with them and even appeared live with All Seeing I on Top of the Pops in 1999 singing “Walk Like A Panther.”

Relaxed Muscle was a dirty-sounding, dirty-minded concoction conceived to be an “anonymous” band. The name seems to refer to Viagra, which relaxes smooth muscle to allow for more blood flow to the penis. One of the songs on the album, A heavy nite with… Relaxed Muscle, is called “Rod of Iron.” You get the idea. Musically they sounded sort of like Suicide meets Cabaret Voltaire meets Add N to (X). Richard Hawley played guitar under the moniker “Wayne Marsden” which is the name of a kid who bullied Jarvis at school.

The lengths Cocker—who was billed as his alter ego “Darren Spooner”—went to hide the fact that he had anything to do with Relaxed Muscle (which I think was a pretty open secret) included using a Darth Vader voice box during phone interviews with journalists and wearing a skeleton leotard bodysuit and deliberately naff corpse paint on his face in photos, videos and when they played live. Few were fooled.
 

 
Cocker spoke about his split personality with Self Service magazine’s Ezra Petronio in 2003:

Which brings us to Darren Spooner. How did he come about?

Jarvis: Oh, right. Well, that happened years ago. Pulp was making a video for one of our songs called “Mis-Shapes”, which is on that DVD. It’s not one of our better songs, to be kind. And the concept the director had come up with, which we agreed with, was that I was going to play two characters in the video. So I played myself, and then I played this kind of rough guy who was the leader of this gang. In England we used to call them townies. It’s the kind of guy who would go out on a Saturday night and they’ve all got a sort of short-sleeved shirt on even when it’s the middle of winter, and just want to have a fight after the pub. Kind of like that. So I drank about three quarters of a bottle of brandy, and then did my acting bit, and anyway, I got into character, and suddenly the name Darren Spooner came into me mind. I don’t know why because I was so drunk, but I guess because it sounds a bit like Jarvis Cocker, it has the same number of syllables. And I became Darren Spooner for that day. And unfortunately when I went home, I couldn’t get out of character. My girlfriend at the time came into the flat we shared and I was on the kitchen floor singing “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” by Michael Jackson. Anyway. So that was the first appearance of Spooner back in 1995. And then it became my pseudonym, like when I was on tour and I checked into hotels.

And for those last couple of years did he reappear? Is there any trace of him in the last couple of years of Pulp?

Jarvis: I’m sure it comes out now and again. But more probably he comes out when I’ve had too much to drink.

So for that video you shot, he made an official kind of coming out.

Jarvis: Yeah, but then, I didn’t want people to know it was me.

Oh, well done!

Jarvis: I thought if I had skull makeup on, people wouldn’t know. At least I wouldn’t look like myself. I was happy with it. He’s like an anti-superhero, a super nasty hero. And I thought he was quite good. I was nicking his look really. As l said, a lot of it is instinctive, so I can’t say why really.

Make-up can’t really disguise how tall someone is, can it? By the time Relaxed Muscle played live, the pretense was definitely over, although I don’t think that really mattered to any of the participants, who seemed to be having a good time:
 
More Relaxed Muscle, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Unlimited Dream Company’: Essential video portrait for J.G. Ballard fans
02.09.2016
12:41 pm

Topics:
Books
Movies

Tags:
J.G. Ballard


 
In 1983 a director named Sam Scoggins made a 23-minute movie with the title The Unlimited Dream Company; the film gestured at being an adaptation of J.G. Ballard‘s 1979 novel of the same name but is actually something far more compelling, an experimental profile of Ballard himself with some of the most fascinating footage ever taken of the writer.

You couldn’t ask for a more thorough examination of Ballard’s themes, work, and bio in 23 minutes. The movie alternates between footage of Ballard himself speaking and strange clips accompanied by clinical extracts from The Atrocity Exhibition read by Julian Gartside. Sometimes Ballard’s comments also receive a filmic accompaniment. In his own comments, Ballard discusses his childhood in Shanghai and describes in some detail a car crash he experienced, an event that occurred, curiously, after Ballard had written Crash.
 

 
A lengthy treatment of The Unlimited Dream Company appeared in RE/Search #8/9: J.G. Ballard, which you can read here. What follows is just a portion:
 

There are two main types of material intercut in the film:

1) A big close-up of Ballard’s face. He talks, looking straight at the camera,

2) Ballard’s alter ego wearing a ragged flying suit wanders through “Ballardian” landscapes and in each makes a portrait of Ballard from things around him.

The landscapes are:

a) The jungle (past). He makes a portrait from feathers.

b) Motorway/Scrapyard (present). He makes a portrait from crashed cars.

c) The Beach (future). He draws a huge spiral in the sand.

These sections were shot in black and white, then printed each in a different monochrome, i.e. a green, b) red, c) blue.

 
The enthralling core of the movie is unmistakably “(v)”, which is described thus: “A 6 min. duration very slow zoom in from a head and shoulders shot of Ballard to a very large close-up of his right eyeball. Off camera a voice asks the 90 questions from the Eyckman Personality Quotient, each of which Ballard answers Yes or No.”

This section in some quarters bears the title “Answers Given By Patient J.G.B. To The Eyckman Personality Quotient Test.” (A commenter points out, its actual name is the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire.) It’s reminiscent of the Voigt-Kampff test from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, adapted in 1982 by Ridley Scott as Blade Runner. It’s a six-minute shot in which the camera slowly zooms in on Ballard’s left eye (the above synopsis has the eye wrong) during which the writer gives candid answers to questions such as these:
 

Are you an irritable person? No
Have you ever blamed someone for doing something you knew was really your fault? No
Do you enjoy meeting new people? Yes
Do you believe insurance schemes are a good idea? Yes
Are your feelings easily hurt? No
Are all your habits good and desirable ones? No
Do you tend to keep in the background on social occasions? Yes

 
Keep reading, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Love and Affection: Vintage photos of gay and lesbian couples
02.09.2016
11:39 am

Topics:
History
Queer

Tags:
photography
lesbians
homosexuality

002coupll.jpg
 
A couple’s photographic portrait is an affirmation of their relationship. It states for all to see: “We love each other. We care for each other. We are proud of who we are together.”

During the Victorian era many gay and lesbian couples proudly expressed their love for each other in studio portraits. Unlike the common belief that such relationships were “the love that dare not speak its name,” as Oscar Wilde so famously described same sex attraction in his poem “Two Loves,” gays and lesbians often dared to show their love. Indeed, many gay and lesbian couples more or less lived openly together throughout their lives. This was far easier for women than for men as women were expected to live together if they were not married, or to live with the euphemistically termed “female companion.”

Men, no historical surprises here, had their own haunts for meeting like-minded souls. In London these could be found in the “Molly houses” and gentlemen’s clubs or pick-ups haunts at Lincoln’s Inn, or St. James Park or the path on the City’s Moorfields, which was charmingly referred to as “Sodomites Walk.”

Theaters and circuses were also well-known dens of homosexual activity—this can be traced all the way back to Elizabethan England, when male prostitutes plied their trade at theaters.

The armed forces, in particular the Royal Navy was notorious for gay relationships—understandable with all the horny seamen looking for any port in a storm. Apparently word got around.

It is a moot point that the change in public attitude towards homosexuality commenced with the Labouchere Amendment to the Sexual Offences Act in 1885, which “prohibited gross indecency between males.” This was the law under which Wilde was infamously prosecuted and the law that heightened discrimination against gays.

Before that there had been the Buggery Act—against anal penetration and bestiality—which was introduced during the reign of Henry VIII. This led to numerous executions (hangings) and imprisonments. It was briefly repealed, then reinstated by Elizabeth I. However, there were few prosecutions under the act and it was repealed again in 1828—though “buggery” remained a capital offense. James Pratt and John Smith became the last two men to be executed for buggery, in 1835.

The Labouchere Amendment outlawed homosexuality and made it more difficult for gay men to live the lives they desired. Labouchere did not include lesbians in the act as he believed drawing attention to lesbianism would only encourage sapphic desires amongst most Victorian women.

So even when gay relationships were outlawed in England, they still thrived in open secret. In America, the sodomy laws varied from state to state. What one state tolerated or had no opinion about, another state punished. However, as with England in the Victorian era, America gay and lesbian couples would often openly express their love for each other in portrait photographs.

This collection of beautiful, brave people gives us a small visual history of LGBT relationships from the 1860s-1960s. Many of the couples are unidentifiable, but where possible their names have been given. (Editor writes: Mild disclaimer: Of course it’s difficult to say that in all cases these photos are of gay couples.)
 
003couplg.jpg
 
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Anna Moor and Elsie Dale, 1900.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Take this mind-blowing virtual tour of Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’
02.09.2016
11:14 am

Topics:
Art
Science/Tech

Tags:
Hieronymus Bosch


 
There’s a stunning website dedicated to Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights,” one of the great (and enduringly popular) treasures of “Early Netherlandish” art. If you should check it out, you’ll be treated to a high-res image of the painting, Dolby-esque sound effects like snarling animals and lapping water, and an erudite series of audio clips explaining certain aspects of the painting, which you can take in sequence (as a tour) or investigate after your own fashion.

The real thing is at the Prado in Madrid.
 

The full painting, with little notes everywhere
 
The different areas of the massive triptych have titles like “The Mountain Landscape,” “The Circuit,” “City on Fire,” and “Tree Man.”

Here are the three favorite things I learned while screwing around with the website:

1. People of that time didn’t necessarily know what an elephant looked like.
2. The Dutch word for “birds” is basically the same as the Dutch word for “fucking.”
3. The bagpipe is a symbol of “sloth and idleness.”

Who knew? Scotland explained.

After the jump, a kind of trailer for the “transmedia triptych” of which the website is a part…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Jim’ll Paint It: No, really, Jim’ll paint ANYTHING you ask of him, no matter how weird it is!
02.09.2016
09:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Pop Culture

Tags:
Jim'll Paint It


 

Please paint me the T-Rex attack scene from Jurassic Park, but the T-Rex is the band T-Rex.

I mean… how good is that? Yes, please.

Admittedly I’m way late on discovering Jim’ll Paint It on Facebook. That’s okay, though. The world is big. If you, like poor lil’ me, didn’t know about Jim’ll Paint It until today… then congrats, because you’re in for a treat. Since 2013, the Jim’ll Paint It Facebook page has been taking requests from the general public. Jim promises to paint any scenario—and I do mean any scenario—that you think up and send to him. The crazier the request, the better and more inspired Jim gets. Don’t believe me? I’ve posted Jim’s final results with the original request underneath each image.

Jim gets a ton of requests each day. I wonder what the deciding factor is for the ones he ends up painting?


 

Dear Jim, please paint an episode of Fawlty Towers in zero gravity.

 

 

Kanye West travels back in time in a DeLorean to ruin Mother Teresa’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

 

 

Can you paint when Hitler was a contestant on Catchphrase and was absolutely furious because his opponent was Bill Oddie and all of the catchphrases were about birds?

 
More of Jim’ll Paint It after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Black Sabbath in 1970: ‘Black magic is not our scene’
02.09.2016
08:46 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Occult

Tags:
Black Sabbath
1970s

Black Sabbath, 1970s
The nice, church-going boys from Black Sabbath, early 70s

Back in 1970 when Black Sabbath was just starting to explode (the band had recently broken an attendance record set at the popular Birmingham venue Henry’s Blues House by Tony Iommi’s former band of about five seconds, Jethro Tull), they were also trying to shake the misconception that they were dabbling in “black magic” after changing their name from Earth.

In an interview with Melody Maker in July of 1970 with Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, journalist Mark Plummer inquired if the band was into the occult. To which Ward replied that not only had Black Sabbath never “practiced black magic” on stage, they were actually “anti-black magic.” In fact, according to Ward, the lyrics to the song “Black Sabbath” specifically denounce the infernal arts and “all its implications.”
 
NO black magic for us! Black Sabbath, 1970s
Black magic? Never heard of it!
 
Ward’s sentiments were echoed by an (allegedly) stone-cold sober Ozzy Osbourne in an interview he gave later that same month to NME journalist Roy Carr. According to Ozz, not only were the occult rumors not true, Sabbath actually wanted to help “stamp out” black magic. The belief that the band was aligned with the dark forces was creating huge headaches for them. Especially, in of all places, Germany:

It’s got so bad that recently a German promoter who had booked us sent along return airfares for the group—and if need be a one-way ticket if we decided on using a sacrificial victim (on stage). The press has blown everything out of proportion. With our name Black Sabbath, people therefore assumed that this (black magic) was our scene. For some unknown reason, people seem to expect something out of the ordinary when we appear. We don’t need to have naked birds leaping all over the stage or try to conjure up the devil.

 
Black Sabbath looking kind of evil, 1970
Nothing evil to see here, move along
 
Tony Iommi even went so far to speculate that the band might have to “change up some of their lyrics” to avoid “trouble” especially while they were in the U.S., where rumors of their alleged love of evil were running wild. Thankfully, that never happened and despite Ozzy’s concerns about naked birds and having no plans to conduct a Satanic sacrificial ritual on stage, Sabbath got to keep making records homaging sex, drugs and the supernatural. While Satan sits and smiles of course. Nice.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Fascinating document of Soviet rock shows before they were legal
02.09.2016
08:36 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Russia


“In Soviet Russia, party finds you.”
 
Shest’ pisem o bite or Six Letters About Beat is a Soviet student film from 1977 examining the cultural impact of rock music, which was very underground at the time, through a series of “letters to the editor” from people of different ages and backgrounds. The attacks, defenses, and explanations of rock music come from a conservative couple, some young fans, members of a band, and a sociology professor.
 

 
According to Russian film website Obskura:

This film is an amazing historical document and a living proof that Soviet rock music didn’t start in the 1980s with Viktor Tsoi and “Kino”, as it is believed by many. The film contains recordings of the 1970s underground concerts with bands like “Rubinovaya ataka” (Ruby Attack), “Visokosnoe leto” (Leap Summer) and “Mashina Vremeni” (Time Machine). Rock music sessions were not completely legal at that time, which makes the footage even more exclusive.

Six Letters About Beat was directed by a documentary film-maker Aleksei Khanyutin, back then a student of VGIK (All Union State University of Cinematography), as part of his university course. This coursework was gathering dust on a shelf of some archive until the collapse of the USSR, mainly because the film doesn’t exhibit any negative attitudes towards rock music scene and even poses a question whether this music can be considered a form of art.

 

 
The music in Six Letters About Beat is not necessarily mind-blowing, but it is pretty interesting in that it sounds like a slightly “off” version of Western music. There are even a few moments of killer fuzz. It’s interesting to note how ‘60s-dated the music sounds for 1977, when the rest of the world was undergoing a musical revolution with punk, dance, and hiphop—but anything youth-counter-culture-related, especially in such an under-reported scene, is worthy of attention. This short doc is totally worth a gander, not only for the interesting Soviet take on rock music, but for the attractive Russian teens dancing to the beat.

After the jump, watch ‘Six Letters About Beat’...

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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