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Peaches sold as sexy butts
07.31.2014
09:03 am

Topics:
Amusing
Food

Tags:
peaches


 
Definitely one way to get young boys to eat their fruit. These delectable peach bums are being sold in China for the upcoming romantical Qixi Festival. Think of it as a goofy novelty gift to get the word out. A box of nine peaches in sheer panties cost around $80 or 498 yuan. Not cheap, but funny as hell.

According to few websites online, local vendors in China are stealing the sheer panty idea and are putting tiny underwear on their peaches. A Nanjing fruit vender has applied for a “panty peach patent” (yep, I just typed that) and is “filing for infringement with the intellectual property bureau.”

I’ll keep you updated on the peach panty war in China as more news comes out.


 

 
Nerdcore, Kotaku and SD China

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘The Mind Benders’: The true story behind the cult classic psychological thriller

moviemindbenders.jpg
 
The writer James Kennaway was working as a publisher’s agent when he first heard talk of the sensory deprivation experiments carried out at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, during the early 1950s.

Kennaway’s job entailed traveling across England seeking out academics and scientists to contribute texts for Longmans catalog of books. The stories he heard at Oxford University were just idle chat shared over cups of milky tea or warm beer in pubs. Rumors someone had heard from somebody else that students were being paid to undergo a week of sensory deprivation—so far no one had succeeded. Though still an unpublished author, Kennaway knew he had found material for a very good story.

James Kennaway was born on 5 June 1928 in Auchterarder, Scotland.  His father was a successful lawyer, his mother a graduate of medicine. The younger of two children (his sister Hazel was born in 1925), Kennaway’s early childhood was one of tradition and privilege, with the expectation that he would one day follow in his father’s footsteps.

His childhood idyll ended when Kennaway’s father died in January 1941. Though at a preparatory school in Edinburgh, the twelve-year-old felt obliged to take up the role as “male head of the household.”  He suppressed his own emotional needs and began to write letters to his mother full of the advice and emotional support he felt his father would have given.

The untimely death made James feel that he too would die young, and this early trauma, together with the pressure he felt to succeed at school led to a fissure in his personality that would widen with age. Kennaway’s biographer, Trevor Royle described this gradual change of character as:

James was the sophisticate, Jim the “nasty wee Scot”. Later, he came to characterize the split as James the domesticated man constrained by society and Jim the artist who should be allowed any amount of license.

Or, as Kennaway later described it:

James et Jim, man and artist, wild boy and introvert.

At school “James” was the likable, eager-to-please pupil; while “Jim” was beginning his first thoughts towards a career as a writer—as Kennaway explained in a letter to his mother:

...I feel I have been granted with more than one talent; in such a life my talent of sympathy would shine but my other talents would lie buried. On my part I would get lazier and fatter every day. I might however do this at the same time as I write and really go in for writing, but I must learn more about the English language before I can write any stuff worth reading.

After school, Kennaway carried out his National Service in the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders before going up to Oxford to study Modern Greats (Politics, Philosophy and Economics or P.P.E.). It was here he met Susan Edmonds, whom he married in 1951.

After university, Kennaway worked for a publishing firm, and in his spare time, started work on his first novel Tunes of Glory.
 
tunesglorypos.jpg
 
Published in 1956, Tunes of Glory was the story of a psychological battle between bully Major Jock Sinclair and war-wounded Lieutenant Colonel Basil Barrow for control of over a peacetime battalion stationed in a Scottish army barracks. The story had been inspired by many of the people and events Kennaway encountered during his National Service.

Max Frisch noted in his novel Montauk that a writer only ever betrays himself; this is true for Kennaway who channeled the experiences of his life through the prism of his writing.

The book’s overwhelming success brought Kennaway more work as a writer: a commission to write an original screenplay. This became Violent Playground, which was filmed in 1957 with Stanley Baker, David McCallum, Anne Heywood and Peter Cushing. Its story of a juvenile delinquent holding a classroom of children to ransom was inspired by real siege in Terrazanno, Italy, when two brothers, armed with guns and dynamite, held ninety-nine pupils and three teachers to ransom. The brothers threatened to kill their hostages unless various demands were met. The siege ended after a teacher attacked and disarmed the brothers allowing the police to rescue the children. Kennaway followed the story in the papers, keeping numerous press clippings, and using the story for a key scene in his screenplay.
 
violentplaygrounddmcc.jpg
 
The following year, Kennaway was commissioned to write another film, this time he relied on the stories he had heard from academics at Oxford in the early 1950s.

The term “brainwashing” was first used by journalist (and CIA stooge) Edward Hunter in an article he wrote for the Miami News, 7th October 1950. Hunter used the term to bogusly describe why certain U.S. soldiers had allegedly co-operated with their captors during the Korean War. Simply put, Hunter was suggesting the Chinese had used various psychological techniques to create a false sense of friendship with which they could undermine, reprogram and brainwash American soldiers. This led to Western governments commencing their own brainwashing experiments.
 
mindbendersfilmposkk.jpg
 
In June 1951, a secret meeting at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montreal saw the launch of a CIA-funded, joint American-British-Canadian venture to fund studies “into the psychological factors causing the human mind to accept certain political beliefs aimed at determining means for combating communism and democracy” and “research into the means whereby an individual may be brought temporarily or perhaps permanently under the control of another.”

Dr. Donald Hebb of McGill University received a grant of $10,000 to examine the effects of sensory deprivation. Volunteers were paid to lie on a bed, cradled in a foam pillow (to block out external sounds), their arms wrapped in cardboard tubes (to limit movement and sensation), whilst wearing white opaque goggles. Without any external stimuli and only short breaks for testing, feeding and use of the toilet, the volunteers quickly began to hallucinate—seeing dots, colored lights, and faces. The experiments had disturbing affects on the volunteers with only a few managing to continue beyond two or three days—no one lasted the week.

The experiments progressed with the use of flotation tanks that became central to Kennaway’s screenplay.
 
bogardemindbenderstank.jpg
 
In an article “The Pathology of Boredom” published in Scientific American, one of Hebb’s associates wrote:

Most of the subjects had planned to think about their work: some intended to review their studies, some to plan term papers, and one thought he would organize a lecture he had to deliver. Nearly all of them reported that the most striking thing about the experience was that they were unable to think clearly about anything for any length of time and that their thought processes seemed to be affected in other ways.

It was also noted during these experiments that the volunteers were overly susceptible to external sensory stimulation—making them open to ideas or beliefs they may have once opposed. In A Question of Torture, professor Alfred McCoy of Madison University, noted that during Hebb’s experiments “the subject’s very identity had begun to disintegrate.”
 
More on James Kennaway’s ‘The Mind Benders’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘RuPaul’s First Art Movie,’ sometime in the ‘80s
07.31.2014
06:36 am

Topics:
Art
Queer

Tags:
RuPaul


 
Glamazon Rupaul is the RuPaul of the people—the Miss America RuPaul, if you will, but pre-drag RuPaul is also a sight to behold. Billed as “RuPaul’s First Art Movie,” this roughly three and a half minute short features Ru preening, mugging and smearing his face with talcum powder, all under a garbled soundtrack of Diana Ross’ “It’s My Turn.” It’s great seeing him doing something so unstructured and organic and just plain weird.

No date is given, but the video looks a lot like American Music Show-era RuPaul—so I’m guessing somewhere between ‘83 and ‘85.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
A (Very Short) History of Tobacco
07.31.2014
06:15 am

Topics:
Sponsored Post

Tags:
Advertorial
Advertizing







 

Sponsored by General Snus, the #1 selling snus in the world now available in the U.S.

Click on the image above to open the gallery

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Lesley Gore on ‘Batman,’ 1967
07.31.2014
06:10 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Batman
Lesley Gore


 
In a two episode story arc from the classic 1960s Batman TV series, Catwoman and her protégé Pussycat drugged Batman and Robin in order to compel them to become criminals. Robin got a little fresh, too, incidentally. But in the end SPOILER FROM ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO it turns out that all along, Batman was faking being drugged so that he could infiltrate Catwoman’s crime organization and rescue Robin. Cheeky devil! You can clearly see why that needed to be two episodes.
 

 
Of course it’s pretty stupid, but nobody watches that show for award-winning teleplays, we watch it because nobody sane hates huge, goofy, colorful fun. POW! And we watch these two episodes in particular because Pussycat was played by pop icon Lesley Gore, who gets to perform a song in each episode, and nobody sane hates awesome, sugary, ‘60s female vocal pop. You don’t hate that, right? If you do, Jeeeeesus, how many puppies have you kicked today, fascist?

When these episodes aired, Gore was still only 20 years old, but was already a veteran pop star, famous for still-familiar hits like “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry,” and the awesome “You Don’t Own Me.” Gore never left the music business, though she stopped regularly producing LPs in the mid ‘70s. She earned an Oscar nomination in 1980 for co-writing (but not singing) a song from the Fame soundtrack, and she made headlines in 2005, when her coming out as a lesbian more or less coincided with her song “Words We Don’t Say” being featured in an episode of The L Word. Amusingly, her super-chipper 1965 top-20 hit “Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows” has lately found a 21st Century afterlife, being featured in multiple commercials, and in the kiddie flick Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. On Batman, she’s seen performing music from her then-forthcoming LP California Nights, “Maybe Now,” and the title song, which would enter the top 20 within a couple months of the episode’s broadcast.
 

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
You Don’t Own Me: Lesley Gore, Lena Dunham, Miranda July and others fight back in the war on women

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Scriabin’s ‘Mysterium’: Music to destroy the universe
07.31.2014
06:06 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
apocalypse
Alexander Scriabin


Artist Jean Delville’s title page for Scriabin’s Promethée, originally a section of the Mysterium
 
When he died in 1915, the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin was still working on some tunes intended to bring about the end of the world. The Mysterium and its prelude, the “Prefatory Action,” were, in the words of Scriabin’s biographer Faubion Bowers, “cataclysmic opuses to end the world and its present race of men.” If all went according to plan, the first and only performance would immanentize the eschaton, thereby annihilating space and melting reality; no one would have to pay the band. 

The composer tended to describe his vision in gentler terms: “the whole world,” Scriabin said, would be invited to the performance. “Animals, insects, birds, all must be there.” Artists of all kinds would contribute to the seven-day ritual; the audience’s senses would be dazzled by lights, incenses, textures, music and poetry. Together with fellow Theosophist Emile Sigogne, Scriabin “worked on an absolutely new language for the Mysterium. It had Sanskritic roots, but included cries, interjections, exclamations, and the sounds of breath inhaled and exhaled.”

All this may sound life-affirming, but Bowers’ words are unequivocal. “The universe would be completely destroyed by it, and mankind plunged into the holocaust of finality.”
 

Scriabin’s drawing of part of the Mysterium set
 
Scriabin died young, and he only left sketches of the musical component of the “Prefatory Action.” Russian composer Alexander Nemtin set about finishing it in 1970. He delivered the “Prefatory Action” in 1996, just three years before his own death. Bowers describes Scriabin’s vision of the full show, as the composer planned to stage it in India:

“The Prefatory Action would [...] be a stage work of immense proportion and conception. Bells suspended from the clouds in the sky would summon the spectators from all over the world. The performance was to take place in a half-temple to be built in India. A reflecting pool of water would complete the divinity of the half-circle stage. Spectators would sit in tiers across the water. Those in the balconies would be the least spiritually advanced. The seating was strictly graded, ranking radially from the center of the stage, where Scriabin would sit at the piano, surrounded by hosts of instruments, singers, dancers. The entire group was to be permeated continually with movement, and costumed speakers reciting the text in processions and parades would form parts of the action. The choreography would include glances, looks, eye motions, touches of the hands, odors of both pleasant perfumes and acrid smokes, frankincense and myrrh. Pillars of incense would form part of the scenery. Lights, fires, and constantly changing lighting effects would pervade the cast and audience, each to number in the thousands. This prefaces the final Mysterium and prepares people for their ultimate dissolution in ecstasy.”

 

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman


 
Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art has announced the mounting of 91 artworks and ephemera relating to the life’s work of the eccentric LA bohemian legend Marjorie Cameron. The show goes up on October 11 at MOCA’s Pacific Design Center annex and will close on January 11, 2015. “Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman” will feature paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, poetry and correspondence between Cameron and her husband rocket scientist/occultist Jack Parsons, and with the great mythologist Joseph Campbell.

In recent years Cameron’s work has begun to be reassessed by the art world, in part inspired by her close association with artists like Wallace Berman and George Herms, actor Dennis Hopper and underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger. As interest in their work increased, so has curiosity about the odd, flaming haired creature from Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Sadly much of her work was deliberately burned by the artist herself in the 50s and can only be glimpsed at in Curtis Harrington’s short cinematic portrait of Cameron, “Wormwood Star.” (See below)
 

 
The show will highlight the recent publication of Songs for the Witch Woman, an absolutely stunning coffee table art book / facsimile reproduction of Cameron’s drawings and watercolors along with Parsons’ metaphysical and occult poetry produced by Fulgur Esoterica. (The book was printed in a very limited edition, and is available now. If this seems like the kind of item that you would like to own—it’s a knockout, finely published at a very high quality—buy it now instead of waiting until next year when it’ll be selling for $500 on eBay. If you like this kind of thing, I’ll say it again, it’s particularly nice. There’s a beautifully composed foreword by the OTO’s WIlliam Breeze, who knew Cameron, to recommend it as well.)
 

 
The exhibition is being organized by guest curator Yael Lipschutz with MOCA’s senior curator Alma Ruiz along with the Cameron-Parsons Foundation. The museum will produce a full color catalogue with 75 illustrations for the exhibit.

Below, Curtis Harrington’s “Wormwood Star.” Heartbreaking to consider how many of these paintings are gone forever.
 

 
And speaking of Cameron, her biographer, Spencer Kansa sent me this curious piece of 60s experimental filmmaking that Cameron was involved with:

Za is an early-70s cinepoem by Elias Romero, the underground filmmaker, and one of the main pioneers of the liquid light shows that he began projecting in the late-50s in San Francisco and at Ben Shapiro’s Renaissance Club on the Sunset Strip. Za was filmed in Big Sur and features the movie actress Diane Varsi, portraying an alchemist cum poet. Varsi had already runaway from the superficiality of Hollywood by the time this was filmed, in order to pursue a more artistic and meaningful life. And, interestingly, the raggy dayglo outfits she wears in the film were created by Cameron, no less. Cameron and Elias were old friends by the time this film was made. He had been married to Cameron’s confidante, the poetess Aya. In Wormwood Star Aya admits that: “For years, Cameron never forgave me for splitting up with Elias.”

Watching it today, the film is, er, interesting. I guess back then it probably helped that most of its original viewers were heavily dosed-up.

 

 
Thank you Lyvia Filotico!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Christian televangelists listen to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ *forwards* hilarity ensues!
07.30.2014
10:14 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Hysteria
Kooks
Music

Tags:
Led Zeppelin
SATAN


 
Oh, this is too funny. Evil genius YouTuber Clemtinite took old footage from the Trinity Broadcasting Network with televangelists Paul and Jan Crouch—the Christian duo are trying to find satanic messages by playing the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven” in reverse—and then reversed the whole video. “Turn me on dead, man!”

The longer it goes on, the funnier it gets.

 
via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Watch Laurie Anderson’s dog Lolabelle improvise her own experimental music
07.30.2014
09:29 am

Topics:
Animals

Tags:
Lou Reed
Laurie Anderson
dogs


 
Laurie Anderson loved her dog Lolabelle. Upon Lola’s passing, Anderson created a lovely sculpture of her ashes in memoriam. She delivered introspective monologues about their relationship. She put on concerts for dogs with Lola sharing the stage (for the record, the music is actually kind of interesting—structureless, but very tonal, and not entirely composed of high pitched whistles inaudible to the human ear). Anderson even sent Lola to music therapy, the adorable results of which you can see below.

Billing itself as “Common Sense Counseling for Dogs and their Humans,” Dog Relations NYC is a sort of Montessori-style obedience school, and as far as I know, they’re the only pet service with a testimonial from Laurie Anderson and the late Lou Reed and on their homepage—apparently dog behavior counselor Elisabeth Weiss has quite the magic touch.

Elisabeth was one of the key people in helping maintain the spirit and integrity of Lola’s life. Everyday Lola looked forward to her time with Elisabeth. It was a great relationship that we all rejoiced in. Elisabeth is a kind dog genius. Her help cannot be overestimated and went far beyond what one can buy. Lolabelle loved her. We all loved her.

Lolabelle’s musical ventures were categorized by Dog Relations NYC as Occupational Therapy—she had actually been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, but honestly I’d imagine this is the sort of thing that might just calm any nervous little terrier. At any rate, she looks genuinely rapt by her own keyboard skills. On the first video, she is receiving no instruction from a human. The second is a collaboration of sorts for Rock n Roll Rescue, a benefit for Art For Animals.
 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Replicas of the floating pink teddy bear from ‘Breaking Bad’ for sale
07.30.2014
09:18 am

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
Breaking Bad


 
Think Geek just released a life-size replica (18 inches tall to be exact) of the iconic pool-floating pink teddy bear from Breaking Bad.

I have to say that all this Breaking Bad merchandise is getting a bit stale. Come on. The show ended last year. But I do dig this gnarly pink teddy bear… in a Mike Kelley sorta way.

  • Now you don’t have to throw your own teddy bear into the swimming pool
  • Life-size replica with screen-accurate airplane damage (and only one eye)

It’s reasonably priced at $29.99.


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Legendary Fripp & Eno concert from 1975 will finally see official release
07.30.2014
07:34 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Brian Eno
Robert Fripp
bootleg
Malcom LeGrice


 
Robert Fripp’s web presence, Discipline Global Mobile, has announced that an oft-bootlegged Fripp/Brian Eno show recorded in Paris in 1975 has been mixed and mastered to the best possible quality, and pre-orders are now being taken by Amazon, Inner Knot (US), and Burning Shed (UK/Europe).

Hearing the tapes in fully restored audio quality, it’s easy to understand why it attracts such reverence now and perhaps, why the shows attracted such hostility then. No Roxy Music hits, No King Crimson riffs, just a duo sitting in near darkness with a reel to reel tape recorder, improvising over the pre-recorded loops with a filmed background projection. Replace the reel to reel machine with a couple of laptops/iPads/sequencers and the core of much current live performance from electronica to hip-hop was there some thirty years in advance. At the time, audiences responded to such a glimpse of the future with booing, walkouts and general confusion.

Thanks to the discovery and restoration of the original backing tapes, it was possible - with much painstaking restoration work by Alex Mundy at DGM - to isolate, de-noise and match the live elements from the performance tapes to the studio loops to produce the final recording.

 

 
An article by Frippertonics archivist Allan Okada (OK, you know, “Dangerous Minds Contributor” is a damn cool title, I won’t lie, but “Frippertronics Archivist” sounds like a mighty sweet gig, too…) describes the concert itself thusly:

Fripp just recently disbanded King Crimson at a point which many would describe as their artistic pinnacle. Eno also recently parted ways with Roxy Music at a similar juncture and then aborted his first and only extensive solo tour after only a handful of shows, due to a collapsed lung. Fripp & Eno live in concert? What would they do? All the shows in Spain and France were, not surprisingly, accompanied with unrealistic fan expectations, hoping for a presentation of ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ combined with ‘Baby’s on Fire’ perhaps? What this audience got was something entirely different. The programme was largely improvised and totally instrumental. Adding to the event’s unorthodoxy was the absence of all conventional stage lighting. The sole illumination was provided by Malcolm LeGrice’s colour saturated and looped short film ‘Berlin Horse’ projected behind the two shadowy figures on stage, visually mimicking the music. The result was an unprecedented live performance format, years ahead of its time. It was also mind-boggling to most of the unsuspecting 1975 audience, yielding wildly different reactions. Reportedly about half the shows on this tour were also plagued with some sort of major technical hazard, stemming from the venue, the PA or the duo’s stage equipment. In Saint-Étienne, the audience went as far as booing the duo off the stage! Fortunately for us here, this Paris Olympia performance was technically flawless and from a musical standpoint, incredibly inspired.

You can judge the show’s level of inspiration yourself—as mentioned above, bootlegs have been around forever, and they are of course on YouTube. See what you think.
 

 
The trance continues after the jump.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
United States of Jedi: Liam Lynch vs. ‘Star Wars’
07.30.2014
07:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies
Music

Tags:
Star Wars
Liam Lynch

lynchjedi.jpg
 
It’s possibly the anticipation of the next Star Wars movie that’s brought this mash-up from circa 2007 back into the ether. Whatever…is generally how I feel about the series of Star Wars movies, which is maybe why I quite like this mash-up of Liam Lynch’s “United States of Whatever” with sample dialog from Star Wars.

Some of you will remember a similar mash-up between Lynch and Darth Vader’s “Noooooooooooo!” back in 2011, but this one has the edge.

It comes via Bootie Dragon, who has a variety of similar mash-ups over on Sound Cloud, along with a rather tasty mix tape that includes samples of Kraftwerk, William Burroughs, Doctor Who and The Beastie Boys all dovetailed together.
 

 

 
H/T Nerdcore
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Behold Apple’s hilariously AWFUL fashion line of 1986
07.30.2014
07:10 am

Topics:
Fashion
History

Tags:
Apple

Apple Collection
 
You know, I watched that whole movie about Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher a few weeks ago, and not once did the movie address Apple’s 1986 attempt to show the fashion world how it’s done. This move made perfect sense. Apple had already brought a heightened sense of style and functionality to the worlds of computers and… well, computers, so it was a natural to assume that the world was waiting to see what Cupertino had to say on the subject of Kevlar-reinforced sportswear.

As stated in the catalog—swear to god—“After a rough day windsurfing, the Apple sweatshirt is just the thing.” The catalog also included fashions for tots, a toy Apple semi as well as a bitchin’ sailboard that ran a cool $1100. 
 
Apple Collection
 
Apple Collection
 
Apple Collection
 
Apple Collection
 
Apple Collection
 
Apple Collection
 
Apple Collection
 
Apple Collection
 
Apple Collection
 
After the jump, selections from the Apple Collection catalog…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dean Wareham covers Joy Division/New Order’s ‘Ceremony’ live on KEXP


 
If not for Galaxie 500’s version of “Ceremony,” I probably wouldn’t like that song all that much.

OK, so while the commenters busy themselves sharpening their claws and crayons to inform me that I’m an idiot who knows nothing of music and should immediately be fired, let’s talk about the song. “Ceremony” was an ill-starred entry into the later Joy Division catalog. No proper studio recording was ever made, so the version most fans know best is the live version on the posthumous JD release Still, from which about half the vocals are AWOL. A different version, culled from a rehearsal tape, appeared on the boxed set Heart & Soul. The vocals are all present, but are largely unintelligible, and there’d never be another chance to get it right, as the group’s singer Ian Curtis took his own life days after that tape was made. I’ve heard that another live version exists, a crummy bootleg of a soundcheck,  but I’m aware of no extant version with Curtis’ vocals clear and complete. (If I’m wrong on that, for the love of all that matters in this shitsack world, post a link, PLEASE.)
 

Joy Division, ”Ceremony,” version from Still
 

Joy Division, ”Ceremony,” version from Heart and Soul
 
The ceremony continues after the jump.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Klovn: Watch one of the funniest—and most outrageous—TV shows in the entire world. Ever
07.29.2014
08:14 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Klown
Klovn
Casper Christensen
Frank Hvam

 
In 2012, Klown, a Danish comedy made in 2010, was given a limited release in movie theaters and on VOD by Drafthouse Films. It’s one of the funniest, raunchiest and just plain wrong comedies to come along in… well, years, really. The outrageous Klown was marketed like it was a Danish version of The Hangover and that seems about right. Todd Phillips and Danny McBride are said to be planning a Hollywood remake.

I saw the movie then, loved it, but didn’t really think that much more about it until a few months ago, when I picked up the Klovn DVD box set used for twenty bucks at Amoeba. [Klown was the “film of the TV show” that aired for six series between 2005 and 2009, but that’s spelled Klovn and how I will spell it from here on out.]

Of late, with the summer TV doldrums, the wife and I have been watching several episodes of Klovn a week. I think it’s safe to assume that people who come to this blog regularly do so because they trust our tastes and recommendation of fun stuff to get stoned and watch. Well listen up then, because if the idea of a Danish TV comedy, a sitcom for fuck’s sake, where you’d be expected to read subtitles, doesn’t immediately seem like something you might like, give Klovn a chance, because in the five years of doing this blog (we turned five two weeks ago) this is one of the top things that I am the most enthusiastic about recommending to our high IQ, good-looking readers, ever.

And no, I’m not suggesting that you go out and spend $100 for an imported DVD box set that your DVD player probably won’t even play based on my say so, because every episode of Klovn is on Hulu. Who knew? (And who knows what other great shit lurks there if this gem of genius comedy is any indication?)
 

 
Klovn is the product of two of the most devious comedic minds on the entire planet, Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen. Imagine a Danish buddy version of Curb Your Enthusiasm. As with Larry David in the American sitcom, Christensen and Hvam play fictionalized versions of themselves, two middle-aged comedians in a sort of docu-comedy meets Dogme 95 kind of thing, which makes sense as Lars von Trier’s Zentropa produced it. He even makes a cameo appearance, playing himself, as do other internationally notable Danes like Oscar-winning director Bille August and actor Mads Mikkelsen. Co-star Iben Hjejle (who plays herself playing Caspar’s often exasperated girlfriend, as she once was in real life) will be familiar to American audiences for her role as John Cusack’s girlfriend in High Fidelity.

Casper and Frank were already well-known in Denmark prior to Klovn, having appeared previously in Langt fra Las Vegas (“Far from Las Vegas” where Christensen played himself in a behind the scenes of a morning show situation comedy and Hvam played his geeky best friend, a sportscaster) and a sketch show, Casper og Madrilaftalen. Both of them, but especially Christensen—who has been a household name since he was nineteen—have also hosted mainstream television variety shows and radio programs.

Which is why it’s so extraordinary just how far they are willing to go. Casual racism. AIDs. Political refugees. Drug overdoses. The handicapped. Sexual harassment. Abortion. Men made to look like total fucking idiots while the female characters (Hjejle and Mia Lyhne who plays Frank’s girlfriend “Mia” but who is not playing “herself”) just look on in utter, befuddled amazement.


 
They go there. Oh do they got there. Christensen and Hvam do not give a fuck about portraying themselves as complete assholes (“Alan Partridge” is a character after all, his name isn’t Steve Coogan!). It’s about the laugh and the laughs are HUGE in this show. The writing, by Hvam and Christensen, is as sharp as an informercial knife and they manage to employ a charming formula of laying a long fuse near the start of each episode that eventually explodes in the face of one or the other, or both, of our hapless, but thoroughly immoral protagonists. Apparently when they first sat down to write the series, they challenged themselves to come up with a list of the most troublesome and politically incorrect topics they could think of and then wrote an episode around each of these offensive themes. If I tell you that during the course of the series that one of them gets caught shitting in a litter box and flirts with a high school girl who has a colostomy bag by telling her that he has one, too (and getting caught in this lie), I’m not giving away much, just a bit of the flava.

But don’t take my word for it. Just hit play and smoke one if you’ve got one. It’s worth noting that the jaunty music played in the Danish version of the series—it’s played incessantly—has been swapped out for different music here. That’s too bad because it really adds to the show’s unique personality, but it’s not like anyone would know the difference outside of Denmark anyway.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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