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Kevin Spacey’s big brother is Boise, Idaho’s #1 Rod Stewart impersonator and limo driver


 
When you go to the website for Rod’s Limos, in Boise, Idaho, the one word you will probably NOT see, for legal reasons, is “Stewart.” Sure, the man running the establishment cuts his hair and dresses to look as much like Rod Stewart as he can, but any equivalency between the two men is something happening exclusively in your head, understood? Although interestingly, a prominent banner reads “Welcome to RODS LIMOS: Tonight’s the Night.” Wait—didn’t Rod Stewart have a song.....?

Meet Randy Fowler, who’s been making a name as Boise’s top Rod Stewart impersonator/limo driver for some time now. He’s also the older brother of another well-known impressionist who is primarily an actor, that is to say Kevin Spacey, star of House of Cards and L.A. Confidential who has won 2 Academy Awards, for his work in The Usual Suspects and American Beauty.

Judging from his appearance on Treasure Valley View linked below, Fowler is very personable, so it’s easy to see why he’s charmed the pants off of Idaho’s capital and largest city. In fact, in 2013 (according to his website) he was given the prestigious Boise Award for… something or other.
 

 
When you order Randy’s services, you can choose his outfit from one among dozens of flamboyant options, including “Red & Gold Casanova Outfit With Nickers” (sic) and “Purple, Silver, Gold Mozart Outfit With Black & Silver Cape.” As he says, “We have like 92 outfits posted, and there’s 366 different outfits crammed in my condominium… It’s getting bad, no man should have more shoes than his wife.”

Fowler doesn’t seem to get along with his little brother Kevin. Over the years he has contemplated writing a book or “having” a book written about him (whatever that means). Among the titles Fowler has contemplated are Living in the Shadows, Brothers Split by Secrets, and, most amusingly, I’m Spacey’s Brother, Whether He Likes It or Not. An additional title Fowler apparently considered was Spacey’s Brother: Out of the Closet, which at a minimum seems to reference Spacey’s famously coy answers to pointed questions about his sexuality.

Q. Does “Out of the closet” mean what I think it means?

Randy: I don’t know what you think it means, but it refers to the first chapter of the book, where I’m 13 years old and physically hiding in a closet, with a gun in my hand.

Sure, there’s symbolism in the old title, too. Closets are dark, cramped places with the door closed. There’s something comforting about being alone in a familiar place. In a quiet closet, you’re sheltered on all sides when there’s nobody around you can trust. It’s a place where you can hide with your secrets.

Sure, Randy, it’s got nothing to do with what “coming out of the closet” is universally understood to mean, right? Okey-doke.

Then again, maybe Fowler does harbor generous feelings for his brother, as this message he posted in July suggests:
 

 
Commercial for Rod’s Limos:
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Black metal murderer releases terrible white supremacist role playing game
09.04.2015
12:16 pm

Topics:
Games
Music
Race

Tags:
Varg Vikernes


 
Guiding spirit of black metal Varg Vikernes spent 15 years in a Norwegian prison cell for the crime of murdering his fellow black metal practitioner Øystein Aarseth (a.k.a. Euronymous) in August 1993. It is also alleged that he was involved in the burning of at least three churches, although Vikernes denies this. Charmingly enough, on the cover of the EP Aske, released in 1992 by Vikernes’ one-man music project Burzum is a black-and-white picture of one of the churches he is alleged to have torched (the title is also the Norwegian word for “ashes”). (Anyone wishing to learn more about the whole bloody mess is encouraged to check out Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind’s Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground.)

Vikernes was released on parole in 2009 and currently resides in France, where, according to Wikipedia, Vikernes “promotes a neo-völkisch ideology (Odalism) based on the idea that White Europeans should re-adopt native European values, including elements of traditional paganism.” He has also released a RPG similar to Dungeons & Dragons called Myfarog that espouses explicitly white supremacist beliefs.
 

 
The name Myfarog is a kind of acronym, standing for “MYthic FAntasy ROle-playing Game.” Intrepid reporter Jeff Treppel at Metal Sucks went and acquired a copy of the game (it’s a book, really) and wrote up an incisive account of why it’s a terrible game and also, far more important, why it’s a really racist game. As Treppel writes: “Look, I’m not stupid. ... You want to know just how racist this RPG is. Well, spoiler: it’s really fucking racist.” The game is designed to propagate Vikernes’ white supremacist beliefs, and it does that with no noticeable subtlety.

Here’s Treppel’s summary of the racial schema used in Myfarog:

There are a wide variety of races available for the player to choose from, as long as that race is Scandinavian. The lighter the hair and the fairer the skin, the more blessed by the gods your character is. And, of course, the higher born the better. Nobles are naturally superior to the peasantry in this world. It’s the natural order of things.

Treppel also includes an image from the book, a full page describing the groups that correlate to Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Myfarog schema, which is so disgusting that Treppel declines to summarize the contents. Suffice it to say that

People of Middle Eastern and African descent are represented. They are the “filthy”, “vulgar”, “poorly educated”, “animalistic” Koparmenn (“Copper Men”). You can’t play them; they are intended to be cannon fodder. There are two varieties of Copper Men: the Skrælingr (“Weaklings”) and the Myrklingr (“Darklings”). I’m pretty sure that the Weaklings are supposed to be Semitic people, as they receive a bonus to trickery. The Darklings, meanwhile, receive a bonus to spear throwing. You can guess who they’re supposed to represent.

As Treppel points out, this summary of the “motivations for adventure” concludes with a description of a campaign in which you must defend a realm from “savage and subhuman Koparmenn and untrustworthy Eirmenn” that is indistinguishable from ethnic cleansing:
 

 
As mentioned, the game is apparently so convoluted that it’s well-nigh unplayable, so it’s just too bad if you happen to be a big fan of Nazi ideologies!

Here’s a commercial for the game from last October:
 

 
After the jump, Vikernes discusses the relationship between a survivalist worldview and RPGs…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
1957’s ‘House of the Future’—according to Monsanto and Disney
09.04.2015
11:16 am

Topics:
Design
Science/Tech

Tags:
Monsanto
Disneyland
futurism


Photo: Ralph Crane, LIFE Magazine
 
From 1957 to 1967, in Anaheim’s Disneyland, there existed the “House of the Future,” a creation of the plastics division of Monsanto, in order to demonstrate the wondrous uses to which plastic would be put in the decades to come. Today the house seems like a relic, a path not taken, much like Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 concept that was unveiled at the Montreal Expo in 1967.

Monsanto’s house was also called the “Plastic Mushroom,”  owing to its design, it seems, which required that four wings flare out from a concrete stump in the center. (As with The Jetsons or Star Wars, gee-whiz futurism apparently resides in buildings being perched on top of other things.)
 

 
The Monsanto domicile was featured in a November 11, 1957 story in LIFE about “New Shapes for Shelter” in which the following description appeared.

“Plastic Mushroom,” Monsanto Chemical Co.‘s experimental house, consists of only 20 molded pieces. Whole house rests on a 16-foot-square block of concrete. The four wings are cantilevered from utility core in center. Floors and ceilings are foot thick, of rigid urethane foam set between reinforced plastic panels. The 1,300-square-foot house has two bedrooms, living room, family room, kitchen and two baths. All fixtures, like bathtub and sinks, are molded plastic.

After the “House of the Future” was torn down in 1967, Disneyland visitors were deprived of the chance to tour it for themselves—until now! The Disney History Institute (not affiliated with Disney) recently posted a “Virtual 360° Flythrough” on YouTube that will allow you to take a tour of the premises. After you hit play, you have the option of grabbing the frame and swiveling your point of view around so you can see everything in the home. It’s best if you keep the point of view directed at the direction you’re moving, most of the time.
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Padaung ‘giraffe women’ visit London, 1935
09.04.2015
11:04 am

Topics:
Fashion
History

Tags:
Padaung
Kayan


 
Here are some fascinating images of Padaung (“copper neck”) women visiting London in 1935. From what I understand, “Padaung” is now considered an outdated term for this form of dress and Kayan is the preferred terminology in 2015.

There’s not much of a backstory to these images, the Kayan women were in London to be a part of a circus or sideshow which were hugely popular in the United Kingdom at the time:

Girls first start to wear rings when they are around 5 years old. Over the years the coil is replaced by a longer one and more turns are added. The weight of the brass pushes the collar bone down and compresses the rib cage. The neck itself is not lengthened; the appearance of a stretched neck is created by the deformation of the clavicle. Many ideas regarding why the coils are worn have been suggested, often formed by visiting anthropologists, who have hypothesized that the rings protected women from becoming slaves by making them less attractive to other tribes. It has also been theorised that the coils originate from the desire to look more attractive by exaggerating sexual dimorphism, as women have more slender necks than men. It has also been suggested that the coils give the women resemblance to a dragon, an important figure in Kayan folklore.The coils might be meant to protect from tiger bites, perhaps literally, but probably symbolically.

Kayan women, when asked, acknowledge these ideas, and often say that their purpose for wearing the rings is cultural identity (one associated with beauty).

Sadly, the coil ring practice is gaining popularity again as, “it draws tourists who bring revenue to the tribe and to the local businessmen who run the villages and collect an entry fee of 250 baht per person.”


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Pranksters add micropenis to giant chrome gnome statue
09.04.2015
08:18 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
gnome


 
If you pull out your magnifying glass, you might be able to spot the teeny-tiny weenie added to the “Giant Chrome Gnome” who sits proudly in Frankston on Melbourne’s Peninsula Link freeway since July. On Tuesday night, some evil genius pranksters added the microscopic phallus on the the nine-metre high sculpture that has been welcoming motorists for the past two months.

The “Giant Chrome Gnome” is part “of the Southern Way McClelland Commission and is one of fourteen public artworks to be commissioned for the road over 25 years.”

No word yet if anyone has of yet removed the chrome gnome’s micropenis.


 

 
via Arbroath and SBS

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Is raver cop the best anti-police art of 2015? (Yes. Yes it is.)
09.04.2015
07:42 am

Topics:
Animation
Art
Politics

Tags:
police
rave
cops
donuts


 
Cops and donuts are a cliched pairing, sure, but just when you thought the final joke had been wrung from our collective psyche, someone does something so… amazing, that you just want to stand up and applaud. This 3D animation of a raver cop titled “Antonyms for Prejudice” is from a Spanish animator only known as “ofortvna.” The sparse caption—“donut mess with a cop”—doesn’t give us much of an artist’s statement either, but it really doesn’t require that much of an explanation.

So maybe it’s not explicitly political or particularly insightful, but hey, absurdist cop-mockery is a pretty easy message to digest, and once you see our boy in blue start dancing hypnotically beneath a cascade of donuts to a very earnestly soulful cover version of “Maniac”—the song made famous in Flashdance—you just kinda sit back and enjoy.
 

 
Via The Creators Project

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
A Dangerous Minds exclusive: Carter Tutti Void talk about their new album, ‘f(x)’


 
Carter Tutti Void’s first album, Transverse, holds the record for the longest a CD has stayed in my car stereo. I’m not sure what makes it the perfect soundtrack for driving around my apocalyptic city, but I think its appeal has something to do with the balance of opposites: it’s head music that grabs ahold of your loins, at once ugly, sexy, scary and fun.

Carter Tutti, of course, is the name Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti have been using since the turn of the millennium for their 34-year, post-Throbbing Gristle partnership. (Earlier this year, the pair revisited their 20th century selves on Carter Tutti Plays Chris & Cosey.) In May 2011, Carter Tutti invited Nik Colk Void of Factory Floor to join them for a performance at a festival in London celebrating the 30th anniversary of Mute Records. Transverse combined live recordings from that show with a single studio track.

On the trio’s second release, f(x), out on Industrial Records on September 11, they return to the nocturnal territory of Transverse, now operating at an even higher pitch of intensity. I don’t know of other contemporary music that works quite like this: for me, the first effect is overwhelming dread, which transforms into pure ecstasy if I just give it enough time (and, as Chris suggests below, turn it up loud enough). The band kindly answered a few questions I sent by email.
 

 
Since Transverse was mostly recorded live, this is Carter Tutti Void’s first studio album. How did you record f(x)? What did each of you play?

COSEY:  We set up in our studio at home as if it was a live gig and jammed and recorded each track three times. The process was pretty intense and transcendent in the way it took form—each of us bouncing off the sounds, responding, leading, holding back, riding the waves of the rhythms and other sounds we worked into the mix.

CHRIS: Cosey plays guitar through a Guitar Rig controller and processes her vocals through an Eventide H9 effect unit, her sample banks and sequencer loops are all in Ableton Live which she manipulates using two Korg NanoKontrollers. She is very ‘hands on’ during a performance, live or in the studio. For CTV I just ‘do beats’. The main rhythms and grooves are from my custom Machinedrum SPS-IUW+ going through a bunch of effects units. But I also trigger extra rhythm loops from my Kaoss pads. The bass-lines are being triggered from Ableton Live via a Novation Launchpad and I control all the levels and effects for my set-up using a Livid DS1 MIDI mixer.

For the f(x) album we pretty much all had our usual set-ups but we separated out all the different elements we each use and fed all those channels—I think it was about 16 in total—into a Mackie Onyx mixer which was sending multichannel audio to Logic Pro X.

To me, the album title and the track names (“f=2.4,” “f=2.5,” etc.) suggest the output of a machine varying with the input, though I’m not sure what to make of that. Tell me about the title.

COSEY: Take out the word ‘machine’ and put ‘people’ and you have it. It’s about ‘form’ as I mentioned in the way we recorded the tracks. I feel the way we work together is very much about the ‘x’ elements (we three) that constitute the ‘form’—being the end result of our creating together as one. The sound is everything. f(x) is the formula for ‘function’ and we function as (x) to produce that sound. But it’s as far away from a ‘machine’ as you could get. It’s a very emotional creative process.

CHRIS: In its most basic form f(x) is a formula and we are the elements.

I know what it feels like to listen to this music—for me, there’s a familiar combination of dread, fascination with the shifting tones and textures, and an ecstatic feeling of self-dissolution, a bit like taking a drug. What does it feel like to play this music?

COSEY: It’s difficult to describe how it feels when we play together. I enter a different space and abandon myself to the sounds we generate, working with them and weaving in and out or driving forward as the moods shift. It’s about intuition, rising and falling passions and most importantly relinquishing any preconceptions. The sounds can change so much from studio to a live situation with a big PA system, so I work with what I have—including the atmosphere. Working on the fly is a rush to say the least and I can get distracted by the intense emotions sometimes but that’s part of my enjoyment as well as seeing the people getting so much out of it too.

CHRIS: It’s strange because not one CTV show will ever sound like another. And although we have certain recognisable elements to each track—mostly the beats or Cosey’s vocals—there is no beginning and no end, as such, to each track. Also because there is a tremendous amount of improvisation going on we are never quite sure where the tracks will take us, or the audience. Which can be quite disconcerting sometimes. Sometimes we go way outside our comfort zones, so to speak, but that can be a good thing.

NIK: I feel a lot of adrenaline so maybe like driving a fast car, it’s 50% control and 50% allow the sounds I’m creating to run wild.

Do you plan to tour?

COSEY: We don’t do tours per se. But we have a Carter Tutti Void gig in Italy in November. Chris and I have some really big projects we’re working on at the moment and Nik is busy with Factory Floor gigs.

CHRIS: Unfortunately not.
 

 
What are the ideal conditions for listening to f(x)?

COSEY: It’s uncompromising and relentless so best enjoyed in total surrender. When I was listening to the final mixes in the studio, it felt so powerful as it built up, like an invocation. It was wonderful to be taken over in that way.

CHRIS: Honestly I don’t know. We’ve been listening to it on all kinds of systems—large, small, headphones, in-car—and it seems to be a different experience each time. But it definitely benefits from being played loudly, that way you can REALLY get into it.

Where do you go for ideas? For entertainment? For news? What are you excited about?

COSEY: You make it sound like there’s some kind of ‘ideas’ store. I don’t go anywhere. Life happens. News arrives via TV, internet, newspapers, word of mouth. Entertainment can be on a trip to the shops or in great series like ’Spiral’. I rarely watch regular TV programmes unless they’re documentaries—or athletics. I get excited by something I’ve never experienced before.

CHRIS: I have no idea, they just come to you out of the ether. Oddly though I occasionally think of ideas for tracks when I’m reading a novel. Make of that what you will.

Tell me about the relationship between Carter Tutti Void and Factory Floor.

NIK: First time I met Chris and Cosey after a Factory Floor show at the ICA. Paul Smith from Blast First introduced us. At the time Factory Floor was a three piece. We heavily relied on eye contact and instinct to keep the machine rolling on stage. Cosey and Chris later said it reminded them of how they play in TG.

Nik, how is playing in Carter Tutti Void different from playing in Factory Floor?

NIK: The majority of what I play in CTV is limited to guitar, in Factory Floor I play guitar, vocals and electronics. As guitar is my main instrument it’s exciting to focus all my attention on stretching my sounds with the bow and stick and play in response to Cosey—so perfect to play with another atypical guitarist.

f(x) will be released on Industrial Records, the label Throbbing Gristle founded almost 40 years ago. Do you have a sense of continuity with the work TG started?

COSEY: In some ways I find it similar just because of the way we work. And that wasn’t intentional. When we first did Carter Tutti Void we were in a great position where we could do anything we wanted. Total freedom is a gift and I guess that’s comparable to when we did TG first time round.

CHRIS: I guess so… as Cosey says primarily due to the way we three work together. I certainly don’t hear any similarities with what TG did.
 

 
I just revisited Cosey’s Time to Tell, and it made me want to ask: How much control does a performer have over a crowd? What do the performer’s desires have to do with the crowd’s desires?

COSEY: I’m not sure anyone is ever completely in control—performer or other. As far as I’m concerned control exists in part as a point from which to lay out your intent. From that moment, it’s about negotiation, spoken or unspoken. I’m not into dictating how people should be or respond to my work. I love dialogue and control tends to close that down. The crowd are an essential part of our live work and we like to work with them, delivering and responding to the feedback. It’s a shared moment. I’ve often worked against desire. It suggests expectation and I have an aversion to expectation. I prefer to open things up and discover something new.

CHRIS: Control can be an illusion and it’s such a random thing too. I’ve been to shows—but I’m not naming names—where the audience have been in raptures over what’s going on onstage while I couldn’t care less. Other times C&C have performed and I think the audience aren’t connecting with what we are doing but then at the end of the show the place erupts into mad screaming pandemonium and we have to go back onstage and play an encore to keep everyone happy.

From my friend Greg: With so many titles and sonic experiments to your credit, has the process of recording become more methodical or intuitive?

COSEY: It’s got better and better over the years especially with such great technology at our disposal. Obviously we’ve acquired technical skills along the way and that allows us to maintain an intuitive approach—which has always been our primary approach. The only methodical part of our work is our dedication to archiving everything we do.

CHRIS: No not yet. I think it’s partly to do with the fact that we are forever changing what gear we use to produce music. Of course we have a basic recording process that hasn’t changed much and favourite instruments we return to but—and this goes way back to TG days—we adopt, abandon, acquire and dispose of instruments, equipment and gear in random cycles. Sometimes we’ll hear of a piece of gear we’d like to try using—it doesn’t have to be a new thing, it could just as well be something retro. If we can’t afford it we’ll look through the studio cupboards and see what we haven’t used for a while and sell it to fund something else. It’s basically recycling but getting new (or old) gear can be quite inspirational in itself.

Chris, are there likely to be any more hardware products along the lines of Gristleism and the Gristleizer?

CHRIS: Well it’s funny you should mention the Gristleizer because there are secret plans afoot as we speak. Unfortunately I can’t say more right now but something is definitely coming this way—cue spooky music.

When Carter Tutti played at REDCAT ten years ago, my then-girlfriend and I worked security: we stood in front of the stage at the end of the show so no one could steal your gear. Is this a continuing problem? What has been stolen in the past?

COSEY: My worry about theft is based on the fact that we can’t afford to replace gear that’s stolen and that some of it is irreplaceable. When we play live we want to ensure we deliver so if anything goes ‘walkabout’ then the show is lost. It’s about protecting your work more than materialism. We know bands that have had equipment stolen and it’s devastating. Our Art is our life so we have to ensure we have the means to create.

CHRIS: Well it’s not a new phenomenon, it’s been going on forever. I‘ve lost count of how many bands we know that have had equipment stolen over the years. I know most people think bands are paranoid or overzealous about protecting their stuff but we have to be realistic. I had a friend who had a drum machine stolen, and another who had his laptop stolen which meant they couldn’t perform. One had to cancel a tour because he didn’t have any back-ups for his laptop—which is pretty dumb I know. But there are a lot a musicians who are basically living from hand to mouth these days and can’t even afford a spare hard drive.

Carter Tutti Void’s f(x) comes out on September 11. Pre-order it on CD and LP from Industrial Records, Forced Exposure, or Amazon.

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
TV’s cheerfully dark cult comedy: A review of ‘Review with Forrest MacNeil’
09.03.2015
01:12 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Review with Forrest MacNeil
Andrew Daly


 
Yesterday I was speaking to a new Dangerous Minds contributor on the phone and trying to distill, boil down, encapsulate, etc, what I felt the mission of this blog was, and what “reviewing” meant in the days where someone can just press play and instantly see or hear what you are nattering on about in text and quickly form their own opinion. In the golden age of “rock” magazines like CREEM or Rolling Stone, the role of a music critic like, say, the great Lester Bangs, was to convince his readers to purchase some album or another with the power of his persuasive prose. Several decades later, YouTube, Vimeo and Soundcloud have lowered the barrier to cultural participation to merely clicking on something. You needn’t leave the couch to walk across the room let alone have to trek down to the local record store that no longer even exists. The thing you are curious about is right there in front of you. It’s already in your hands. A short burst of “enthusiastic” prose that basically indicates “This ___ is great, here’s why I think this is so wonderful, some background information on it and here’s why you should hit play” seems to be a winning recipe for a “review” on a blog in an age where all manner of cultural products are digitally pumped into your home like water or electricity.

Which brings me to my own review of Review with Forrest MacNeil, one of the things that I am indeed most enthusiastic about here as this hot, hot summer winds down (along with Mr. Robot, the upcoming Dungen album and the new Slim Twig). Now in it the midst of its second season on Comedy Central, Review with Forrest MacNeil, is produced by and stars Andrew Daly. You’ve seen him in a number of things (notably Eastbound and Down, as Kenny Powers’ tweedy, button-downed romantic rival) but this is the first time he’s really had such a great venue for his talents. Review—an American restyling of a brilliant Australian series called Review with Myles Barlow—is one of the most consistently gut-bustingly hilarious shows on television. And it is dark, but it is cheerfully dark…
 

 
The set up is simple enough to be telegraphed rapido in Review‘s opening credits where Forrest explains that he’s not like other reviewers who review books, movies or food, he reviews life itself: “Life, it’s literally all we have…. but is it any good?” He reviews “life experiences”—what it’s like to have frostbite, commit theft, be a drug addict, go into space, etc. His perky co-host A.J. Gibbs announces which experience Forrest is expected to try out for his audience’s vicarious thrills. She’ll read an email or open a video file sent in from a viewer who might request something like “What’s it like to eat fifteen stacks of pancakes?” which Forrest then goes out and dutifully does, offering on camera commentary as he vomits outside of the diner leaning against a parking meter. He can veto two review requests per season.

And this is the beauty of Review‘s comic conceit: Forrest’s single-minded determination to maintain absolute fealty to the dumb rules of his TV show which demand total commitment no matter what the consequences, even if if leads to carnage, death and destruction in his own life, and the life of his family and other innocent people he comes into contact with during production. Daly as Forrest is the single best clueless white guy character to come along since Fred Willard’s “Jerry Hubbard” on Fernwood 2Night, which is, of course, one of the nicest compliments I could ever possibly bestow upon the man. (Willard guests as Forrest’s father-in-law on Review.)
 

 
Have I mentioned yet just how much I love this show? To be honest, I just found out about Review with Forrest MacNeil recently myself. Before season two started airing I read something about it that piqued my attention and so I downloaded the first episode, loved it and then powered through the remainder of the season in a matter of three days before starting the second season, which as I mentioned is already in the middle of airing. It the perfect show to binge-watch because you see the destruction of this fool’s life practically occurring in real time.

Below, Forrest MacNeil reviews being a racist:
 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
DEVO, Blondie, Talking Heads, Klaus Nomi on ‘20/20’ segment on New Wave, 1979
09.03.2015
09:45 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
2020
new wave


 
At DM we often poke fun at impossibly stiff or clueless news reporting on the music of the past, but sometimes you run across a piece of news coverage that is much better than it has any right to be. In that category falls this detailed segment from ABC’s 20/20 on the rise of new wave music that aired in December 1979—impressively astute for a news segment on new music from one of the major TV networks. It was written by Thomas Hoving, whose primary competence lay in the world of high art, so he deserves extra credit for being able to assess new impulses in popular music in an intelligent way.

The piece links the new wave impulse with the recent stirrings of punk while also making sure to find precursors in figures of the past such as Buddy Holly. (DEVO’s cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is, naturally, enlisted to make plain these appropriations of the past.) The segment features live footage of Blondie, the Clash, and Talking Heads—it takes an effort of will to remember how weird David Byrne, here singing “Psycho Killer,” must have seemed to a mainstream audience in 1979. The reporting emphasizes the simple chord structures, youthful exuberance, and a stance of general skepticism as integral to the movement, such as it is.

Joe Strummer is shown in an unflattering clip, while Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison idiotically compares the fresh air of new wave music to Beethoven. Remarkably, the piece ends with a look at Klaus Nomi, before Hugh Downs avuncularly cites the 1958 Danny & the Juniors hit “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay.”

The report, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Man sheds tears of joy, finding song after decades of searching that reminded him of his mother
09.03.2015
09:37 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
name that tune


 
Here’s a lovely video of man overwhelmed with joy when he finally gets the name of a song he’s been humming to people for over 20 years asking their help to identify it. His reaction is priceless.

The backstory to this video is heartwarming. Redditor Hotspur000 sums it up nicely:

This man is from Congo. One day he and his mother went to a Chinese grocer there and heard a song playing over the PA system. The mother liked it so much she asked the owner about it and the owner gave her the tape. The mother would listen to the song a lot and the man came to associate it with her (but of course, since it was all in Chinese they didn’t know what it was called, who sang it, or anything about it). Later, the mother and the man emigrated to South Africa, and somewhere in the process, the tape was lost. Soon after, the mother died. The man was heartbroken that he had lost the song which always reminded him of his mother.

For 20 years he has worked as cab driver, and every time he got an Asian person in his cab, he would hum the song to see if the person could tell him what it was, but no one ever knew. Finally, one day, he had his first ever Taiwanese passengers; it turns out the song was Taiwanese, and they knew it immediately. What you see in the video is him reacting after hearing the song again after 20 years.

I had a friend who had an earworm of song that no one knew. He would hum it to everyone he met in hopes someone could “name that tune.” It became almost like an obsession for him to identify the name of this musical motif, a mystery that he just had to solve! It went on for years. Was it Beethoven? An obscure Wagner passage? Stravinsky? Phillip Glass?

One day he hummed the song to a mutual friend and the friend knew what it was immediately! He said, “Dude, that’s the demo song for the Casio keyboard. You mean to tell me you’ve had THAT song stuck in your head all these years?” 

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Seminal art-punks X__X cover Albert Ayler’s ‘Ghosts’: A DM premiere
09.03.2015
08:31 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Albert Ayler
X___X


 
X__X is pronounced “Ex Blank Ex,” and their 1979 debut release—a 7” with an A side titled “A” and a B side called “You’re Full of Shit”—was already posthumous. The group existed for all of six months in the fertile late ‘70s Cleveland ur-punk scene; the electric eels’ singer/antagonist John D Morton knew he’d be moving to New York, and decided before his move to form an intentionally short-duration band. To that end, he recruited guitarist Andrew Klimeyk, bassist/future ‘zine publisher Jim Ellis, and drummer/future Golden Palomino Anton Fier. The only evidence of their existence lived in the form of two 7"s, the aforementioned, and 1980’s “No Nonsense / Approaching The Minimal With Spray Guns.” Those singles are unruly and just plain unholy blasts of spiky, disordered, nihilistic art-punk—had this band been birthed in New York, they could have been No Wave icons. X__X did make that move, but petered out without attracting much notice.
 

 

 

 
As seems inevitable these days, X__X’s music has been exhumed recently, by the Full Contact imprint of the Finnish label Ektro, who last year released the compilation X Sticky Fingers X, which included both of the singles and a slew of live recordings and rehearsal tapes. Finally reaping some overdue accolades, Klimek and Morton put together a version of the band to tour, with Rocket From the Tombs bassist Craig Bell and drummer Matthew Albert Harris, a band that opted to continue making new music as X__X. In a phone conversation, Klimeyk discussed the band’s initial dissolution, and its decision to move forward on reuniting.

When the archival album was becoming a reality, we started putting feelers out to everyone. We thought a reunion would be good to promote the release, and just an interesting thing to do. I was hoping to do it with as close to the recorded lineup as possible, but it was something I was interested in doing anyway. When we moved to New York there was a plan to keep the band going, and that didn’t happen. John moved up first, then Anton, then me, but Anton got involved with the Feelies and Lounge Lizards so his plate was full. John and I did get together a little, but it fizzled out.

We want to keep going with it, definitely, I wouldn’t pursue this if we were only going to play old songs and do gigs just based on them, I would get bored with that. We’re already looking ahead to different things.

The band’s first proper album, 37 years after forming as a temporary why-the-fuck-not, will be released by the Smog Veil label in November. Named Albert Ayler’s Ghosts live at the Yellow Ghetto, the title is no bullshit—the band actually covers “Ghosts” by Albert Ayler. It’s a fit move, as Ayler was a fellow CLEperson, and his divisive, skronking sax style which privileged timbre over pitch made him something of a No Wave forefather. He was definitely a hero to John D Morton, who talked to DM about that inspiration.

I was 14 when I got the the ESP Sampler for 99¢. I knew the Fugs, I knew Sun Ra a little, and I knew William Burroughs. The sampler had just a little clip of every song, and one of them was from Albert Ayler’s “Ghosts,” and I’d never heard anything like it. I mean I was 14, just getting out of the Beatles and looking for more interesting things. “Ghosts?” I was totally flummoxed by it, but I smiled when I heard it. And I went on to discover more about music, and I actually bought an Ayler album. I didn’t even know he was from Cleveland, then I found that out, and eventually I realized that when I play, the way I think about music, that little clip of Ayler was always in my mind’s background, especially in my thoughts about anti-music. There are a lot of similarities, when you think about it, between free jazz and punk. They’re both angry, or at least I think so, they can both be funny, and they’re both like “fuck you, I don’t care if you like it or not.”

So while we were on tour, Craig said that we’d become a “real band,” and on the way back from Detroit, Andrew told us he made arrangements for us to record. So knowing we were going to stay together and record, I thought about “Ghosts,” and I tried to work it out to see if I could do it. I don’t know the scales on purpose, and sax has different scales anyway, but I was able to learn it. And I knew that doing it was audacious, and it had to be really good if we did it, otherwise it would be laughable, embarrassing. It had to be right. Some songs are great, but some bands shouldn’t do ‘em. I got through the first three melody parts that make up the piece and got to the free jazz part, and 20 seconds in to that, I knew I could do it. Teaching the guys to play it, they were looking at me kind of askance, like “we’re REALLY going to do this?” and Craig said “oh, this could kill us.” But part of the basis of Smog Veil’s interest in releasing the album was the cover of “Ghosts,” so it had to be there. We met up in Cleveland like five days before the recording to practice, we hadn’t been together since the tour. We got through “Ghosts” and I said “we got it, we can do it,” and they all looked at me like “I don’t know if we played it right.” I said “You can’t play it wrong.” But after we recorded it, we all agreed it was the right thing to do. The fact that Ayler’s from Cleveland, I feel a debt and affinity there. I’d heard free jazz by Coleman, and others, but Ayler was the ghost that spoke into my ear.

After the jump, hear X__X’s dizzying and jagged take on Ayler, plus an in-studio take of “Ghosts”...

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Crumb’: Watch the brilliant, notorious and disturbing Robert Crumb documentary
09.03.2015
08:16 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
documentary
R. Crumb
Terry Zwigoff
Crumb


Note the presentation by David Lynch. Lynch actually had nothing whatsoever to do with the film, but allowed his name to be used for promotion.

The famous myth about the 1994 documentary Crumb is that director Terry Zwigoff only got Robert Crumb to agree to make it because Zwigoff threatened to kill himself if Crumb didn’t participate. This was a legendary miscommunication that stemmed from a comment made by Zwigoff describing the intense nine years of production. During that time, Zwigoff was living off of “about $200 a month and living with back pain so intense that I spent three years with a loaded gun on the pillow next to my bed, trying to get up the nerve to kill myself.” It’s from this statement that Roger Ebert clarified the film may have saved Zwigoff’s life, meaning that his obsession with completing the film might’ve tempered his suicidal impulses.

Although Zwigoff and Crumb actually were very good friends at the time the film as made (they still are and once even played in a 1920s-style string band together), it is true that Crumb was hesitant to make the film, and it’s easy to see why. While Crumb has always portrayed himself as a sort of deviant/pervert/degenerate, he is most definitely the most normal one in his family. The Crumb boys grew up with a pill-addicted mother and a violent alcoholic father. Crumb also features Robert Crumb’s brothers, Maxon and Charles and both come off like victims of parental-inflicted PTSD.

Charles—a brilliant artist in his own right and R. Crumb’s childhood artistic collaborator—identified as a pedophile, and though he never acted on his urges, he refused to leave his mother’s house. He committed suicide by overdose in 1993. Maxon Crumb is more functional, and a talented painter (as per the family genre, he portrays incredibly disturbing sexual subjects like incest and abuse). Despite his own sexual obsessions, Maxon remains celibate, as he believes sex causes him seizures, although he admits to molesting women and girls. 

In spite of all this, it’s an incredibly moving portrait of an artist—and there is grateful sense of relief at the film’s end, when R. Crumb and his family leave behind Maxon, Charles and their mother for France.
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Morton Downey, Jr. saves African lives, sings ‘Kumbaya’ in his terrible 1970s nightclub act
09.03.2015
06:36 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Morton Downey Jr.


 
Before he took on the TV persona of Mort the Mouth, Morton Downey, Jr. was a singer like his father, the “Irish Nightingale.” Believe it or not, Stax released Junior’s debut album I Believe America in 1974, an example of the bold A&R work that led the soul label into bankruptcy in 1975.

Around the time his series was cancelled in ‘89, Downey tried to restart his singing career with a new album and an appearance at Trump Castle in Atlantic City, where he was joined by “a singing midget named Michael Anderson.” (Could this be the Michael Anderson who played Twin Peaks’ Little Man from Another Place?) The New York Daily News was not kind:

The Mouth That Roared, and recently roared itself right off television, looked horrible. Wearing pounds of ghastly tan makeup, he most closely resembled a corpse.

During some songs, his voice would quiver. During others it would be raspy, and during others it would fade away. The song selections were disjointed, with the music of the Shirelles getting mixed up with the music of Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Bette Midler.

He has no stage presence - although, on the positive side, at least he doesn’t try to dance. Near the end of the 45-minute act he was visibly out of breath - which was all right, because by that time Anderson sounded as good as the headliner.

 

 
A lifelong Angeleno, I only feel truly at home when I am wallowing chest-deep in the muck of showbiz’s most miserable toilets, so I was delighted to stumble upon this footage of Downey doing his act in Phoenix, Arizona sometime in the ‘70s. Imagine how my joy was multiplied when Downey, introducing “Kumbaya,” started talking about preparing to face a firing squad during the first year of the Biafran War. His crime? Helping a Catholic priest smuggle ten Biafrans to safety in the backseat of a Peugeot.

I was extremely skeptical when I first heard this story—remember that time Mort claimed he was stomped by skinheads in the airport bathroom?—but Downey’s New York Times obituary says that he did indeed travel to Nigeria after the Biafran War to aid its victims, and the priest Downey mentions appears to have done actual missionary work in Nigeria, so I have downgraded my response to very, very skeptical. As New York Magazine observed in its 1988 profile of the talk show host, “He is prone to make large claims about his past, then alter or even deny them.” But who knows: maybe this was the one time Downey told the unvarnished truth, with this improbable, self-aggrandizing tale about God’s inscrutable justice.

You know, 1967, my wife Joannie and I took a cruise in the Caribbean. And in that ship, they had a discotheque lounge, so we went downstairs to the discotheque lounge. And there was one person dancing: a little ruddy-faced, white-haired, balding Irishman. And Joan said, “Ah, there’s only one drunk down here.” And I said, “No,” I said, “he doesn’t look drunk.” But we got to meet that little ruddy-faced Irishman, and his name was Tom Rooney. The thing is is that Tom was a priest, a missionary from Nigeria. Of course, the Biafran War was on in Nigeria, and he had been dismissed from the country. And in passing, I said to Tom, I said, “Well, you know, if you’re ever in Washington, come on over and visit me.”

How many of you folks have ever invited a priest casually to come over and visit you? Two days later, Tom was in the living room, and sleeping on the couch. Well, Father Rooney, about two weeks later, had convinced me that something that was very important to him was to save the people who were dying in Biafra, because these were his children, these were the people that he had baptized, that he had lived with for fourteen years. So he asked me if I’d go on an adventure with him back to Nigeria with a Red Cross plane that would take us from a small island off the coast back into the interior, into an area called Makurdi, and there we would pick up some Nigerian starving immigrants and fly them out to the small island.

The first night we were there—incidentally, how many of you folks know what a Peugeot 404 is? [Counts hands] One, two, three… okay, a Peugeot 404 comfortably seats four, and if the buns are small, it’ll seat five. The backseat of that 404, under a tarpaulin, Father Tom Rooney had hidden ten Nigerians, ten Biafrans. So we went from checkpoint through checkpoint, and each one of them stopping and saying, “Oh, Fadda, what you have in backseat?” and Fadda saying, “It’s alright,” he says, “in the backseat I’ve got myself ten Biafrans stuffed under the tarpaulin.” And they’d smile, and they’d laugh, and they’d say “You go ahead, Fadda!”

We came to one checkpoint where they didn’t enjoy an Irish sense of humor. And they checked. The Biafrans were let off into one area, Father Rooney and I to another, to a small little grass hut, where the sergeant of the guard informed us that we would be shot at dawn. Well, Father Rooney, still trying to be jovial, asked me if I had any final words for my last confession. [Chuckles] I asked him if wanting to kill a priest was a sin. Well, at four o’clock that morning, we were taken out of the grass hut, but not to be shot. Because seventeen years earlier, Tom Rooney had baptized the colonel of the regiment who was in charge of the firing squad. His name, Joseph Aturkba (?). We were set free that night, and so were the Biafrans, as a gesture from a man who had been brought to God by Father Tom Rooney.

From Nigeria, I brought back this song, which is the people’s song of Nigeria. From the bush country, “Kumbaya.”

The story begins at 8:48, and Mort tears up “Kumbaya” at 12:30. Sure, you’ve heard it before, but have you heard it sung by Morton Downey, Jr., with Vegas key changes?
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘I pity the fool who messes with my Boy, George’—An unlikely A-Team cameo
09.03.2015
05:38 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Boy George
Culture Club
The A-Team


 
When I was a kid I liked The A-Team and I liked Culture Club, yet somehow I never knew about Boy George’s inexplicable guest-star gig on the NBC program. I’ll chalk this up to a combination of not expecting these two worlds to collide and the fact that by the fourth season, The A-Team had already “jumped the shark” and was moved to the Friday at 8:00 pm slot up against Webster. Webster was hot shit.

Face (Dirk Benedict) has a scheme to make big money as a club promoter managing a “Cowboy George” concert at a local redneck bar. The ol’ bait-and-switch brings Boy George to play the contractually-obligated gig, not at the promised “Arizona Forum,” but at the “Floor ‘Em.”

The rednecks at the Floor ‘em aren’t the biggest Boy George fans in the world, indicating that they “don’t want no English glitter prince.” Boy George is likewise not excited about playing the roadhouse which he describes as “a certified toilet.”

B.A. (Mr. T) shows up and is star-struck by Boy George, whom he is a huge fan of.
 

 
Believe it or not, things get really convoluted from there. Boy George has to entertain the roughneck good ol’ boy crowd at the Floor ‘Em while the A-Team guys investigate the shady dealings of the club owners. Of course Culture Club inexplicably wins over the rowdy roadhouse crowd.  While Culture Club plays, the A-Team foils a bank robbery in typical A-Team style with lots of bullets and explosions but with no actual people being shot or blown up. When the A-Team gets falsely imprisoned for the robbery they foiled, it’s up to Murdock (Dwight Schultz) and Boy George to bust them out and catch the bad guys. All’s well that ends well with an encore Culture Club performance at the Floor ‘Em with a rousing performance of “Karma Chameleon.”
 

 
This episode has made such illustrious lists as “The 25 worst cameos in TV history” and “Most embarrassing TV moments.”

Here’s an abbreviated and condensed version of the bizarre episode:
 

 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The psychedelic hairscapes of Cathy Ward
09.02.2015
02:21 pm

Topics:
Art
Occult

Tags:
Nick Abrahams
Cathy Ward


 
This is a guest post by artist/director Nick Abrahams.

Los Angeles gets the pleasure of being the first city in America to stage a solo show by the London-based artist Cathy Ward. Her forthcoming exhibition at the Good Luck Gallery is opening on September 5th, with the artist talking about her work at the gallery on September 6th.

Cathy Ward is something of an alternative British institution, having exhibited in many medias and forms over the years with everything from large scale sculptures and installations, to tapisteries and work made from corn dollies. But the work she is best known for are the dark psychic landscapes, reminiscent of woven hair, which are both immediately familiar and unlike anything else you will have ever seen. With a technique she has been honing for seventeen years, she scrapes intricate patterns into a layer of ink to reveal fine lines of the white clay that lie underneath, these scratch works suggest many things… cosmic struggles, full of pulsations and explosions…  the dark matter or the ‘dust’ of Philip Pullman’s novels… swirling waterways or weirs, made up of feminine eddies or sprays of water… but most of all they resemble plaited and flowing swathes of hair….  ‘I can’t plan them, I can’t replicate them either,’ Ward says.
 

Albina Incubii Albion

Hair of the recently deceased was carefully bound and arranged in Victorian hair works, an art form and custom which gradually fell out of fashion. These memento mori often took the form of a piece of jewellery (such as a locket), but sometimes in fabulously complicated and contorted “hair wreaths.” The hair that flows through these memorials also flows through the works of the Brothers Grimm, with Rapunzel’s climbable tresses, and later continued to flow through the counterculture of the 60s as a signifier of a rejection of cultural norms, whether by long-haired bikers or drug-addled hippies.
 

Lost Commune

The pulsating lines of Wards works have something of the drawings of Hans Bellmer about them, suggesting female curves and crevices, with the female body as a site of erotic mystery and power.
 

Cathy Ward

At a retrospective of the works of outsider artist Madge Gill in London, Ward was a natural choice for the position as artist in residence, with both artists driven to obsessive drawing styles, Gill with repetitive depiction of angels or ‘spirit guides’ , and Ward with her incredibly detailed abstractions reminiscent of woven hair, both describing very active ‘inner landscapes’ of womens minds, and there is a feeling that the act of line making may, for both women, act as a form of spell casting or be a sacred act.

There is a musicality to the waves in Ward’s work, and she has found a natural connections with certain musicians, such as Sunn O))) who used a triptych of her works on their Monoliths and Dimensions sleeve, and Stephen O’Malley of the band later providing a soundtrack for Ward’s animated work “Sonafeld.”

‘The Order’ is a new set of works which make specific reference to Ward’s early tuition under the Sisters of Mercy in Ashford—not the Goth band, but one of the schools run by notoriously strict nuns whose ghostly outlines people Ward’s new pictures.  Ward says that the nuns all had their hair cut close to their skulls: “As a child I was shocked, appalled, fascinated that nuns sacrificed their hair in this way. Hair in the 1960s was a symbol of liberation and this livery was being wilfully, symbolically removed.”
 

The Order

These works often inhabit ornate frames sourced from flea markets and junk shops, giving them the feel of found objects, rediscovered antiquities from another time and place.

These works form part of the world of Cathy Ward’s artistic vision. Her many projects in collaboration with her husband Eric Wright can be followed here’, while more information about her solo works can be found here.

This is a guest post by artist/director Nick Abrahams.

Below, Ward’s “Sonafeld” with Stephen O’Malley soundtrack:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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