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Bieber cums, Oprah shits & the Cockmuncher gobbles in Joe Becker’s bizarre pop culture paintings
07.13.2017
11:36 am
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‘Justin Bieber says “I love you so much I fucking cum hearts”.’
 
Joe Becker is a Canadian artist who paints big bold canvases filled with the rich detritus of pop culture. Hellbound TV hosts, masturbating pop icons, cadaverous singers, cretinous comic book superheroes, ravenous cuddly toys, and deranged cartoon characters jostle for attention. His cast of Bosch-like figures can be seen performing strange, perverse, and often comic rituals which may once have had some sacred meaning but are now just empty responses against an ever-encroaching chaos. Others are full frame portraits of lovable furry creatures who look half-bemused by the attention they’re receiving as though such vanity was solely reserved for humans.

But Becker isn’t being cynical in his use of pop culture iconography from the ‘80s and ‘90s. These are characters to which he has a “generally honest and sincere” connection.

There is a sincere affection for some of the pop characters I paint. As a kid I was a weird little shit, I once individually drew every character from He-man, I then coloured them and then cut them out and placed each one in a heart shaped box, I still have it. Some people think that my paintings are fucked up or weird but I think the stuff I did as a kid is truly bizarre.

Oddly, some people find his work offensive. In particular, his paintings aimed at the cult of celebrity—Bieber cumming love hearts, Oprah taking a shit, Cobain after his suicide. These paintings may be “cheap shots” but Becker is serious in his “loathing” for the vacuous adulation of such “celebrities.”

I highly doubt frenzied 13 or 14 year old Biebettes or dippy North American white suburban woman who worship Lord Oprah are into emerging contemporary Canadian painters, so those two demographics will likely not be exposed to my work, but if they ever were and they were enraged by my work then fuck them. I have never received hate mail yet, and if I did I would print it out and frame it. What kind of an asshole gets mad at a static, silent work of art anyway?

Becker’s powerful, complex, and darkly comic canvases have been exhibited all across the globe with a selection of respected collectors snapping up his work as soon as its on the market. Understandable, as Becker is mining a rich seam of pop culture icons to create his challenging, beautiful, and subversive art.
 
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‘Kurt Cobain.’
 
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‘Cockmuncher.’
 
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‘Oprah.’
 
More brilliantly rude paintings by Joe Becker, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.13.2017
11:36 am
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Gavin Evans’ magnificent portraits of Bowie, Björk, Iggy, and Nick Cave
07.10.2017
11:18 am
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David Bowie.
 
The Monday morning mailbag arrived with its usual gifts of bills, party invites, ransom demands (which I really must get around to paying), and “Dear John” letters. I was about to tip all this largesse into the bin when I noticed a postcard from a dear friend Christopher. It was the usual greetings of “Having a lovely time” and “Wish you were here” kind of thing but what saved it from the trash was the front photograph of David Bowie by Gavin Evans.

Now we all have favorite photographers and one of mine is certainly Mr. Evans who has taken some of the most magnificent, gorgeous, and iconic images of the past two decades. The photograph of Bowie shushing with a finger to his lips like he did in the promo for “China Girl” has been used on numerous magazine covers, photospreads, TV documentaries, and pirated for Internet memes, urban graffiti, and even tattoos. Its ubiquity one would hope should have made Mr. Evans a very rich man—but somehow (sadly) I very much doubt that.

Another of Evans’ Bowie photographs—a color portrait in which he wore blue contact lenses—captured a vulnerability that I’d never seen before (see picture above). It was as if Bowie allowed his guard down for just a moment and had unknowingly (or perhaps willingly) revealed a more vulnerable and intimate side. The picture was taken in 1995 for a Time Out cover. A couple of years later, Bowie contacted Evans and asked for a print of this picture to hang in his office. Bowie explained to Evans that this was his favorite portrait.

That’s the thing I like about Evans’ work—he has an uncanny talent for capturing the very essence of his subject matter. His photographs make the gods flesh. Look at his portraits of Nick Cave which reveal something of the man behind the public persona or his series of photographs of Björk which capture a tender and humorous side sometimes lacking from more traditional photo shoots. Or just look at his portrait of John Hurt where you can see the pores of the actor’s skin and peer right into his soul.

Christopher’s Bowie postcard is now pinned to the wall. I browsed for more of Evans work and was happily surprised to find a selection of his most powerful and iconic work is currently on tour. Then something even better, a selection of Evans’ beautiful prints are availble to buy. Now every home can have a Gavin Evans on their wall.
 
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David Bowie.
 
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See more of Gavin Evans majestic photographs, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.10.2017
11:18 am
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It’s a rival vintage Addams Family and Munsters hand-puppet showdown
07.07.2017
10:44 am
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The Addams Family and The Munsters both ran for only two television seasons between 1964 and 1966. The Addams Family ran on ABC and (the higher Nielsen-rated) The Munsters ran on CBS—both shows airing for the same two seasons.

The cultural impact of both shows is astounding, considering they were both such short-lived programs. Legions of fans appreciate both shows 50+ years later, with individuals leaning towards one or the other as a personal favorite.

Me, personally, I’ve always been an Addams Family guy since religiously viewing both shows (in syndication) as a kid. My first crush was on Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams, and that crush basically informed my “type” until this very day. The Addams Family seemed relatable as a gaggle of offbeat weirdos with ghoulish quirks and passions—a concept which resonated with me, even as a child. The Munsters seemed like, well, some TV execs had a pitch meeting and said: “Wouldn’t it be CRAZY if a Dracula and a Frankenstein and a Wolfman LIVED TOGETHER?!”

Given the lowest-common-denominator mentality of most Americans, it’s not surprising that The Munsters was the ratings favorite.

Having a life-long obsession with all thing Addams, my curiosity was piqued when I ran across this 1964 vintage Addams Family hand-puppet.
 

 
These puppets were produced by the Ideal Toy company. Three puppets were produced in the line: Gomez Addams, Morticia Addams, and Uncle Fester. The Morticia is a bit odd with a strangely short hairdo. I guess Ideal skimped on the plastic for a full hair-length Morticia.
 

 

 

 
The rival show had a similar toy, produced by rival toy manufacturer, Mattel. Herman Munster was the only puppet produced for The Munsters, but the Mattel puppet had a string-activated voicebox, much like their G.I. Joe line. Frankly, the Herman Munster is the cooler toy.
 
See the Herman Munster toy in action, after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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07.07.2017
10:44 am
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Manson, Larry Flynt, Abbie Hoffman, O.J. and other infamous folks depicted by court sketch artists
06.23.2017
06:04 am
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Abbie Hoffman’s Viet Cong flag tug-of-war with deputy marshal Ronald Dobroski during the Chicago Eight trial as depicted by Howard Brodie.
 
Courtroom sketches in the United States date back to the 17th Century Salem Witch Trials, and were a necessary staple of reporting on court cases up until recent years when the courtroom was off-limits to photographers and television cameras. It wasn’t until 2014 that all 50 states allowed cameras in the courtroom, though by the late ‘80s most states already had. 

As portraits that exist solely out of the necessity for historically documenting legal proceedings, such sketches have never been considered high art, but a current exhibition of sketches housed at the Library of Congress shines a spotlight on some of the talents behind these documents.

The Library of Congress’ exhibition, “Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustrations,” features a selection of the Library’s collection of more than 10,000 courtroom drawings, many of which were donated to the library by the estates of the artists themselves.

From the Library of Congress’ website:

The exhibition begins with the work of Howard Brodie, who popularized reportage-style courtroom illustrations with his documentation of the Jack Ruby trial in 1964 for CBS Evening News.  Brodie supported and encouraged the first generation of artists who created the artwork for television and print media.  Brodie donated his trial drawings to the Library of Congress, which spurred the development of the courtroom-illustration collections.

In addition to Brodie, the artists represented in the exhibition include Marilyn Church, Aggie Kenny, Pat Lopez, Arnold Mesches, Gary Myrick, Joseph Papin, David Rose, Freda Reiter, Bill Robles, Jane Rosenberg and Elizabeth Williams.

The exhibition is being held in the South Gallery on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. It is free to the public.

Enjoy, below, a gallery of some of the more interesting pieces in the collection:


The New York Black Panther trial as depicted by Howard Brodie. Twenty-one members of the New York Black Panther Party faced charges of conspiracy to bomb several sites in New York City. They were acquitted of all 156 charges on May 12, 1971.


Bobby Seale, sketched by Howard Brodie, taking notes while bound and gagged at the Chicago Eight trial.


John Hinckley, failed assassin of Ronald Reagan, shown by artist Freda Reiter in front of a television broadcasting his obsession, Jodie Foster.

Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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06.23.2017
06:04 am
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Old-school action figures based on ‘Motel Hell,’ ‘Creepshow,’ ‘Salem’s Lot,’ ‘Heavy Metal’ & more!
06.22.2017
01:16 pm
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Four action figures from the1981 film ‘Heavy Metal’ of ‘Taarna,’ ‘Harry Canyon,’ and two ‘B-17 Gunner’ variants made by hand by Aaron Moreno of Retroband, 2015. You can get a little better look at them, here.
 
So I’ve been laid up for a couple of weeks and have been watching entirely too much television—most of the time turning back the clock to eyeball what I consider a “comfort food” of sorts—vintage horror films and old-school 80s flicks. 

While my love of horror cinema spans the decades, I usually end up digging through my go-to big three—the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. On a recent, particularly tough day, I watched the first two seasons of Tales from the Crypt which, if it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, still holds up in my rarely blinking eyes. Now that you know this, I’m sure you can understand my sheer fucking delight when I became aware of a toy company called Retroband that makes some pretty incredible action figures based on characters from notable horror and cult films. Such as 1980’s Motel Hell, the 1979 television miniseries based on author Stephen King’s 1975 novel, Salem’s Lot, and the terrifying character “Bobbi” from the 1980 film Dressed to Kill.

Before you start screaming “shut up and take my money” it’s best that you know that Retroband’s covetable figures, which are made by hand by Retroband’s owner and creator Aaron Moreno, sell for several hundred dollars apiece when and if they ever pop up on auction sites like eBay. For instance—and because it was the first one I looked for—the figure of “Bobbi” from Dressed to Kill was listed for a whopping $299.98. Figures based on the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal, which made their debut back in 2015, will run you a hundred bucks each. If you can find them, that is. I’ve posted images of Retroband’s awesomely eclectic, highly collectible action figure line below.
 

‘A bloody version of ‘Vincent’ from the 1980 cult-horror film, ‘Motel Hell.’
 

‘Bobbi’ and her trusty switchblade from the 1980 film ‘Dressed to Kill.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.22.2017
01:16 pm
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Laser-cut jewelry based on ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ Siouxsie Sioux’s ‘eyes’ & other pop culture icons
06.19.2017
09:36 am
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A laser-cut image of actor Malcolm McDowell from ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ A triangular cameo and necklace by Fable & Fury.
 
Based in Seattle, Fable & Fury’s often gonzo wearable offerings run the gamut from necklaces with cameos of David Lynch and Vampirella to devilishly stylish takes on famous verbiage from Stanley Kubrick’s violent mindfuck, A Clockwork Orange. One such homage—derived from Anthony Burgess’ 1971 novel on which the film was based—includes the word “Devotchka” attached to a chain. The word, which means “young woman” is a part of the colorful fictional slang “Nadsat” created by Burgess himself which Kubrick incorporated into the film. Another great homage to the film by Fable & Fury designer Jennifer is her grim nod to “Alex DeLarge” (memorably played by actor Malcolm McDowell) and his prison number “655321” done in gleaming stainless steel. Nice.

Fable & Fury has been cranking out their bad-ass statement pieces for almost a decade and many of Jennifer’s pieces sell out quickly. The vast majority of the necklaces I’ve posted below run from $21 bucks to $32 or so depending on the style and material, and most are currently in stock at Fable & Fury’s online store.
 

 

 

Another clever reference to ‘A Clockwork Orange.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.19.2017
09:36 am
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‘Yes that’s right, punk is DEAD’: Crass and other punk AF fidget spinners
06.16.2017
09:50 am
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Do they owe us a spinning? Of course they fucking do! Crass logo fidget spinner. The final death knell of capital P, capital R, Punk Rock?

As fidget spinners are the latest inexplicable toy fad, the popularity of which most adults find absolutely confounding, I posted a couple of weeks ago about low-rent knock-offs in the style of “Nightmare Feddy,” “Robert Cop,” and “Anna Montana.”


PornHub recently revealed that in a May data sampling, during just a ten day stretch in that month, there were 2.5 million “fidget spinner” searches on their popular porn site, making it the top trending term and 5th most popular search for that month (ON A FUCKING PORN SITE!).

Clearly, these things have taken a place on the cultural zeitgeist mantle.

That brings us to this stupid thing which presented itself in my feed today: a Crass logo fidget spinner.

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this isn’t “licensed” merchandise, but nonetheless, you can buy it for $6.89 on Amazon. If that’s not anarchy, then WHAT IS?

Crass’ 1978 declaration that “Punk Is Dead,” may or may not have been a true fact, but here we have a prime indicator—something Crass themselves would have called “another cheap product for the consumer’s head.”

The Crass logo fidget spinner was not the only punk rock spinner I found in a casual search, but it’s certainly the most ridiculous. Of course, you may wanna pick one up to give to the next spanging Oogle you see. It’ll give them something to keep them occupied back at the squat. I’ve paired purchase links with a fitting song by the artist, starting with the aforementioned “Punk is Dead” by Crass:
 

 

 
More of these damned things, after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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06.16.2017
09:50 am
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This isn’t Happiness: The heartbreak, depression and empty sex of Modern Love
06.16.2017
09:49 am
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Peter Nidzgorski is the artist provocateur behind the site This isn’t Happiness™. Under the name Peteski, he blogs about art, photographs, design, and disappointment. All of which has made This isn’t Happiness™ “One of the ‘Top 100 Overall’ Ranked Blogs on the Internet” according to Technorati.

One of the big attractions of Nidzgorski’s site is his clever manipulation of images like these altered panels from classic love story comic books. Nidzgorski asks his followers to suggest sentences or quotes which he then adds to a specific panel. His theme is modern love. Or rather a satirical take on the shallow, fickle, empty sex, selfie-obsessed and self-destructive nature of modern love, which is probably something most people can relate to.

See more of Peteski’s work on Instagram.
 
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Many more brokenhearts and disappointed lovers, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.16.2017
09:49 am
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Almost Grown: Sublime photographs of American teenagers 1969-1984
06.09.2017
09:08 am
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Charlie, Jones Beach, 1976.
 
Teenager: that tricksy time when you’re no longer a child but not quite yet the adult. When hormones light fires and the good ole triumvirate of sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock’n'roll drop by to shake everything up.

Joseph Szabo was teaching a bunch of such teenagers at Malverne High School, Long Island in 1972. Szabo was 28-years old—ancient to most teenagers—and was finding it a hell of a difficult to connect with his young charges. He had all but given up trying when he decided to start taking photographs of the kids in his class. This then led to his photographing all the kids in the school. Then all the kids in the neighborhood. He didn’t discriminate. He just wanted to document every kind of student he could find and let his photographs tell their story.

The kids responded to Szabo’s interest. They soon let him follow them down to the beach, or out to their hangouts and homes after school. Szabo’s pictures moved from posed portrait against wall or on beach to youths caught unawares like nobody was watching.

These kids lived in a world they described as “doing nothing” because they were neither at work or at play. It was this unselfconscious spontaneity that Szabo captured so perfectly that made his photographs stand out. They are beautiful and sublime depictions of a golden season when the world is still magical and mysterious before the first frost of adulthood brings cynicism and fear.

Szabo’s work has inspired movie directors like Sofia Coppola and Cameron Crowe and a shopload of fashion directors on shoots for every glossy magazine you can think of. Now in his seventies and retired from teaching in 1999, Szabo still takes photographs of the teenagers and adults he meets on his travels. But nowadays people are more cagey about having their picture taken and it ain’t so easy to connect in the same way. But Szabo still manages to capture those unguarded epiphanic moments when no one else is looking.
 
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Three Friends, 1976.
 
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Anthony and Johanna.
 
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Priscilla, 1969. It became the cover for Dinosaur Jr’s album Green Mind
 
See more of Szabo’s iconic pictures, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.09.2017
09:08 am
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Bizarre vintage ads for life-sized inflatable sex dolls
06.08.2017
01:54 pm
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Let’s imagine it’s 1973. I have my bachelor pad, my 28” color TV, swivel chair, hi-fi stereo gear, fondue set and my corduroy bellbottoms. I live in a Space Age world. I have everything I ever wanted. But somehow I feel empty. I feel I’ve mortgaged my happiness on things I don’t really need. I have a lifestyle but no life. There’s something missing. I’m lonely. I’m missing that certain someone special to share all this luxury with.

But relationships are messy. They’re downright difficult. And I don’t know if I’m ready to commit, you know what I mean? I really need someone who is always ready to please, always ready for me and what I want. When I want it. But where can I find such a person? Do they even exist? 

I flick thru the latest issue of Man’s World where I find an ad for a life-size inflatable doll…

Just add air…Life-like in every detail…Snuggle up to your own Love Maid.

Eight dollars ninety-five. It all seems too good to be true. But I know nothing about “Love Maids.” I know nothing about inflatable love dolls…but maybe I might know a man who does. Bryan Ferry. He sang about inflatable dolls. He’s the man to ask. Maybe I should call him up?

Bryan, I live in this perfect world, all mod cons, everything I need, but why, why do I have this utter sense of loneliness?

Bryan (for it is he….): In every dream home a heartache… And every step I take. Takes me from heaven.

What do you mean by “heaven,” Bryan?

Bryan: The perfect companion. Deluxe and delightful.

You seem to know a lot about this, brah. Way too much…

Looking for a playmate? Well, here I am. I’m Lori, the latest, wildest, party-time sensation and I’m ready for action…

Bryan: Inflatable doll. Disposable darling… My breath is inside you… I dress you up daily. I blew up your body… But you blew my mind.

Ew. Too much information, man…

The earliest sex doll is credited to Dutch sailors in the 17th century, who used a dame de voyage—a masturbatory doll made of cloth for relieving sexual stress on long voyages. In 1908, the first recorded “manufactured” sex doll made its appearance in psychiatrist Iwan Bloch‘s The Sexual Life of Our Time. Bloch described this doll as “Vaucansons” intended for fornicatory purposes. These were made from:

...rubber and other plastic materials, prepare entire male or female bodies, which, as hommes or dames de voyage, subserve fornicatory purposes. More especially are the genital organs represented in a manner true to nature. Even the secretion of Bartholin’s glans is imitated, by means of a “pneumatic tube” filled with oil. Similarly, by means of fluid and suitable apparatus, the ejaculation of the semen is imitated. Such artificial human beings are actually offered for sale in the catalogue of certain manufacturers of “Parisian rubber articles.”

During the Second World War, it was long rumored but never actually proven that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler ordered sex dolls to be supplied to German troops fighting on the front line. The real change in sex dolls took place in the 1960s with the development of the vinyl inflatable doll with realistic “openings.” These became very popular in the 1970s, as can be seen by the following selection of bizarre adverts. Click on image for a closer look.
 
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More ads for inflatable bachelor companions, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.08.2017
01:54 pm
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