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Miscreants rejoice! Artist Krent Able’s new ‘appallingly filthy’ illustrated book is coming!
11.19.2018
01:54 pm
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The cover of the forthcoming book ‘The Second Coming of Krent Able’ by Steve Martin.
 

“This book will make the perfect Xmas gift for elderly relatives, beloved friends, and hated enemies.”

—London-based artist and illustrator Krent Able (the alter-ego of author Steve Martin) on his upcoming book, The Second Coming of Krent Able.

If you think Mr. Able’s statement about the follow-up to his gritty Big Book of Mischief (2012), The Second Coming of Krent Able, sounds like a warning wrapped in a delicious piece of candy, you would be correct. There is nobody quite like Krent Able, a long-time illustrator of morally questionable comics, that initially ran in the UK bi-monthly mag The Stool Pigeon (RIP, 2013). Able’s work has also disgraced the pages of the Guardian and NME, often depicting musician Nick Cave as the no-good chain-smoking “Doctor Cave.” Or meat-is-murder crusader Morrissey, looking forward to devouring a plate of bloody entrails topped with a skinned animal head—one fixated dead eyeball staring right at you because, even though it’s dead, it is as confused about this fucking situation as you are. 

Does this mean Krent Able is a malapert of the highest order, here to provide us with “appallingly filthy” comic book tales full of mayhem, dicks, and death? Assuredly the answer to this question is yes, and knowing Krent’s Second Coming is coming is great news indeed. As a graphic novel enthusiast (amusingly, my last was 2017’s Nick Cave: Mercy on Me), and proud owner of Big Book Of Mischief, I can safely say The Second Coming of Krent Able will be chock full of vitriolic comics which will disgust and delight you at the same time. If you enjoy subversive subject matter, I’m sure you will enjoy looking at some NSFW images from Able’s forthcoming book, courtesy of the artist himself. If you’d like to learn more about Able, check out the engrossing, award-winning short documentary, Ink, Cocks, & Rock ‘N’ Roll (2017) which will give you yet another reason to appreciate the artist and his ultra-salacious take on satire.

The Second Coming of Krent Able is due out in the UK and U.S. on December 13th, 2018. Signed copies of the book can be pre-ordered here.
 

The not-so-good Doctor Cave by Krent Able.
 

William Burroughs and his creepy pal.
 

 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.19.2018
01:54 pm
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Beanpole is here, with all his kin
11.14.2018
11:34 am
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All My Kin is the first—and probably only—release by the mysterious outsider music group known as Beanpole. Not exactly a concept album, but very much a concept album, All My Kin tells warped and demented tales of animal-human hybrids, onion-loving farmers, eating, cousins and other fun stuff.

Most of the music originated from between 1984 and the early 90s and it was Les Claypool, he of Primus, who originally wanted to release a decades’ worth of Beanpole’s output on his Prawn Song imprint sometime in the mid 90s, precipitating, it is said, a break with parent record label Mammoth who just didn’t get it and pulled the plug.

For two decades poor Beanole was forgotten.

Fast forward: Les Claypool is touring with Sean Lennon as The Claypool Lennon Delirium in 2017. On the tour bus Claypool played Beanpole for Lennon, who decided that he wanted to release them on his own Chimera record label.

One of the members of the Beanpole, er, collective (?) is Adam Gates, a graphic designer long employed by the Pixar animation studio and formerly of the Spent Poets. Longtime readers of this blog will know him as “ifthenwhy” in the comments section. He sent me the Beanpole CD and a note telling me “You’ll HATE this,” but I LOVED IT. I mean no less of an authority than Rolling Stone said that Beanpole “sound like the Residents guest-appearing on Hee Haw” which is not only quite correct, but also just about the nicest thing you could ever say about any group, if you ask me.

I asked Adam Gates a few questions about Beanpole over email.

How did Beanpole come to be and who is involved?

Beanpole was started by principal songwriter, and my lifelong music cohort, Derek Greenberg (Derek would eventually play bass in my band The Spent Poets). Initially “the band” was a loosely knit recording project which began somewhere in 1984 and ended in 1995. The recordings were primitive bedroom creations (many of the album tracks were recorded on Tascam 4 Track cassette machines) that eventually graduated to, still primitive, home studios. While Derek has always remained the chief songwriter, a fairly tight circle of friends greatly informed the sound. This includes Derek, myself, Thomas Muer, Geoff Marx, Darin Wilson, Les Claypool and Larry LaLonde.

It sounds so much like Renaldo and the Loaf, that I’m gonna guess that it was rather heavily Residents inspired? What were y’all trying to accomplish?

That’s a huge compliment. Thanks.

Derek has always had a “healthy” fixation on two things, The Beatles and Disneyland, and while The Residents were certainly a major influence on all of our high school brains, we never tried to overtly sound like any of our heroes. While we were not good enough to hide our influences we also couldn’t come close to replicating them (although the bass line to “His Name Is Beanpole” is pure McCartney). Rather, we played the songs as best as we could (lots of them are not that easy), usually limiting the recordings to a few takes. The only thing that mattered was that we satisfied ourselves. Nothing was labored over, nothing was precious. The final track just had to sound like “Beanpole,” which was more of a sensibility than anything intellectual. We didn’t care. No one would ever hear it. No one would like it if they did.

I typically loathe “funny” music and while I totally understand why some people are dismissive of Beanpole as a some kind of lesser Ween pastiche, none of us ever thought that we were making music to make people laugh (Why do people find The Residents funny?). The lyrics are often sad and disconcerting: a grandma abducted -  a starving family contemplating eating one of their own - inbreeding - buried children - a bullied embryo - a farmer who loves an onion and then cheats on it.

It’s a dark, if tragic, world.
 

 
What is the backstory of the release? Was it cursed?

I played the tracks for Les Claypool and he fell in love with them, and has championed the band for years. It was his intent to release the album on his Prawn Song label, and an album (that’s very similar to the final 2018 release) was mastered in 1993. We brought in all the tracks on old cassettes, in a shoe box, to the mastering session. The music was then digitized and mastered using the shit tech of the early 90s. Thankfully Stephen Marcussen, who is a truly amazing world class mastering engineer, remastered the album for the Chimera release. We LOVE how it sounds.

Apparently “Beanpole” was the final straw for his label’s distributor and the album (and his label) were subsequently shelved.

After that, we all forgot about poor Beanpole. He was like a distant cousin. Not dead, but not really alive either.

The music became a bit of a cult item with dedicated Primus and Spent Poets fans, but every musician likes to think of his unreleased stuff as a cult item, doesn’t he? We were no Daniel Johnson, but tapes were passed around for years.

How did Sean Lennon get behind the Beanpole vision?

That’s all Les. He played it for Sean in the back of a tour bus during their “Claypool / Lennon Delirium” tour. Apparently dear old Beanpole spoke to him. I remember when Les called to tell me that Sean wanted to release it that I was utterly skeptical, as people say lots of things in the back of tour buses. And I know for a fact that Beanpole is pretty good when one is high on weed, but Sean was serious. Next thing we know his Chimera label was asking for art and masters. .

Now, as far as Derek and I were concerned, we were now members of The Beatles. Let’s just say our Beatles obsession is “biblical” and the fact that Sean (lineage aside, he’s a musician who I greatly esteem) wanted to actually release Beanpole, convinced me that something occult and out of our control was afoot. Some other weird stuff has happened that makes me believe in the Beanpole occult connection. I’m telling you that someone masturbated over a sigil somewhere. It’s the only thing that adds up!

How does it feel to have something from your “youth” come back to haunt you like this?

Weird. Again, no one was ever supposed to hear this music.

It’s funny, I created the illustrations and design for the album and I found myself actually reverting to my high school art style, something I rarely do these days. Hell, I didn’t know that I could do it. So I suppose that’s a sort of haunting? But truth be told, I don’t think any of the principals behind this this music have “evolved” much. We are still the same people, and the music still perfectly represents our loves and obsessions. Larry LaLonde’s tracks (all the albums instrumentals sans “Dinner Time” are his) still fills me with the exact same idiot glee today as they did 20 years ago. Derek was, and is, a musical genius. Over the last five years he’s recorded over 200 remarkable songs that he quietly puts online. No one hears them. No one knows. He doesn’t care.

Personally, I am very satisfied knowing that while my high school peers were listening to Rush and Huey Lewis, we were huddled around a 4-track, in a tiny suburban bedroom, recording a song called “Chicken Boy”.

Will the band be getting back together for a reunion tour or Coachella appearance?

Beanpole will be playing with The Claypool / Lennon Delirium on New Years Eve at the Fillmore in San Francisco. I’m playing my Fender Bass XI with a pick, just like McCartney on the White Album.

Coachella can’t afford us.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.14.2018
11:34 am
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The Mama & the Dadas: The pioneering feminist artwork of Hannah Höch
11.13.2018
12:24 pm
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‘Untitled’ (1930).
 
Hannah Höch was the only female artist included in the Dada movement that flourished after the First World War. Art was then still considered mainly a man’s game—and women weren’t allowed to share the toys. Dada, however, was supposedly a radical avant garde movement that despised bourgeois conventions and the politics that had led to the carnage of the war. Though the central members of Dada’s Berlin group claimed they supported women’s rights, their words were little more than worthy platitudes as Höch was barely tolerated by some Dadaists (George Grosz and John Heartfield) who were adverse to including her work in the collective’s first exhibition in 1920. Because she was a woman, these also men expected Höch to supply the “beer and sandwiches” while they were busy discussing art and changing the world. This patriarchal sexism was all part of Höch’s long struggle to succeed as an artist.

Hannah Höch was born Anna Therese Johanne Höch into a middle-class family in Gotha, on November 1, 1889. When she first showed an early interest into art as a child, her father told her women were not meant to be artists, but were intended to be mothers and care-givers—“a girl should get married and forget about studying art.” As the eldest of five children, Höch’s role was to look after her younger siblings. When she was fifteen, she was removed from school in order to do this. Her plans for a career as an artist were put on hold until 1912 when she enrolled at the School of Applied Arts in Berlin to study glass and ceramic design. Her studies were interrupted by the First World War. Höch briefly joined the Red Cross but soon returned to Berlin where she studied graphic art at the School of the Royal Museum of Applied Arts. It was here she met the Dadaists Raoul Hausmann, with whom she had a relationship, and Kurt Schwitters, who is said to have added an “H” to her name so it became a palindrome. It was during this time that Höch began making collages. She was inspired after seeing postcards sent by German soldiers to their loved ones in which they had pasted clipped photographs of their faces over the card’s main image of cavaliers or peasants. While developing her ideas with her fellow Dadaists, Höch worked for a variety of magazines writing articles on handicraft and embroidery. This was more than just maintaining her own independence, her lover Hausmann thought Höch should work so she could support him. She described her life with Hausmann in her short story “The Painter” in which a male artist is filled with bitter resentment when his wife asks him “at least four times in four years” to wash dishes.

In 1920, Höch’s work was included in the First International Fair in Berlin. However, Grosz and Heartfield objected to her inclusion as she was a woman. It was only after Hausmann threatened to withdraw his own work if Höch was not included that Grosz and Heartfield relented. Höch disliked the loud, boisterous exhibitionism of her fellow Dadaists. She thought them childish and embarrassing. While their work was primarily intended to shock and cause outrage in response to the war, Höch was more interested in gender, sexism, identity, ethnicity, and society’s poisonous inequalities. She said she used photographs as a painter uses color or a poet words. In 1922, she split from Hausmann and began to move away from the Dada group. She started a lesbian relationship with the poet and writer Til Brugman, which lasted for ten years before she met and married the successful businessman Kurt Matthies in 1938.

With the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s, Höch was listed as a “degenerate artist” and a “cultural bolshevik” whose work was work was deemed to have no moral value. She spent the Second World War hidden in plain sight living an almost anonymous life in a small cottage with its overgrown garden where she continued to produce art. In 1944, she divorced from Matthies.

After the war, Höch’s work moved towards abstraction with an interest in nature and the environment. Though her work from this time until her death is less well-known, Höch was still highly prolific and never lost her desire “to show the world today as an ant sees it and tomorrow as the moon sees it.” Höch died in May 31, 1978, at the age of 88.

Höch’s work ranged from the political to the satirical. She considered the artist’s role as questioning accepted values and pushing for a fairer more equal society. Works life “Beautiful Girl” and “Made for a Party” questioned ideas about beauty, identity, and feminism, while “Heads of State” poked fun at male pomposity and the collages “From an Ethnographic Museum” examined ethnicity and racism.
 
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‘Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany’ (1919).
 
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‘The Beautiful Girl’ (1919).
 
More of Hannah Höch’s work, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.13.2018
12:24 pm
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The hilarious Renaissance art GIFs of ‘Scorpion Dagger’
11.07.2018
07:50 am
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Artist James Kerr was looking for something new to do, so he decided he’d start making GIFs ‘cause he thought that’d be fun. “Somehow,” he tells me, “I figured the best way to learn was to try and make one per day for an entire year, and see where it all went from there. This was back in 2012.”

Kerr shares his work under the name Scorpion Dagger. Over the past six years, he has produced hundreds of GIFs featuring artwork from northern and early Renaissance paintings. He has also produced a book which features some of his best and most popular work. But Kerr didn’t start out as an artist, he was a Political Science graduate who spent his time at university hanging “with lots of art school kids who really inspired me to make art.” I like Kerr’s work—they’re funny and clever and remind me of those brilliant animations Terry Gilliam made for Monty Python. I contacted Kerr to find out more about his work as Scorpion Dagger.

What’s with the name Scorpion Dagger? Where did it come from?

James Kerr: Essentially, it’s all to annoy my friends. It comes from working construction with these guys a long time ago, and us joking around about needing some tough sounding nicknames. I came up with Scorpion Dagger, and they all hated it. Them hating on it made me want to try and make it stick even more, so when it came time to name the GIF project, the choice was obvious.

How do you make your GIFs?

JK: At first, it was all made in Photoshop. I’d hunt around for interesting images, cut them up, and animate all in PS. I’ve slowly started using After Effects more-and-more, but there’s some quality issues that I don’t like with it—it’s too clean! I like a slightly messier aesthetic. But, it does save me tons of time, so now somewhere around I’m 50/50.

What brought you to these specific sets of paintings?

JK: It goes back to making GIFs every day for an entire year - it was a real struggle finding inspiration for what to animate, so I would do these totally random google image searches where I would pull out whatever struck a chord. At some point I noticed that I kept going back to these specific paintings, and noticed that the inspiration got easier. I find the paintings from that era to be quite comical on their own, especially those of the Northern Renaissance, and that they were a perfect muse in helping me say what I wanted to say.

What has the response been?

JK: Pretty amazing. During that first year I figured that I may be able to find a gallery show where I would project them all once it was all done, and that would be that. But, as time went on, I couldn’t see myself ending it. I was having way too much fun. Now, this whole silly project has turned in to a career. Definitely lucked out.

You produced a book out—can you tell me something about it?

JK: Do You Like Relaxing? came out a few years ago, and it is (we think) the first ever (and perhaps only) physical book of animated GIFs. It presents itself much like any old art book, with still images and such, but you can animate a good chunk of them on your device using an augmented reality app. It all came about when I was looking around for someone to help me out with an AR project I was trying to pitch, and a friend introduced me the Antesim (the publisher), who were looking for someone to do an AR book with.

What motivates you?

JK: Not entirely sure. Not to sound too clichéd, but at times art feels as if it’s something I need to do. If I haven’t made something in a while, I tend to get this uneasy feeling. In a sense, I just really love making stuff, and don’t feel whole unless I’m working on something.

What’s next?

JK: No idea. I’m sitting on a couple projects that will slowly roll out over the next year that I’m really excited about. One of which is another book, but this time it’s in collaboration with some writers who wrote this fun story. One thing that’s been on my mind is that I would love to experiment a little more, and get back in to posting on my socials a little more regularly, which, for me, I think go hand-in-hand.

You can buy the book Do You Like Relaxing? or follow Scorpion Dagger on Instagram or Facebook or see more of Kerr’s work here.
 
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See more from Scorpion Dagger plus and interview, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.07.2018
07:50 am
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RIP Hardy Fox, ‘primary composer’ and ‘co-founder’ of the Residents
11.01.2018
08:35 am
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Hardy Fox, 1945-2018 (via hardyfox.com)
 
Almost nine years ago, I was interviewing Hardy Fox, the president of the Cryptic Corporation, by Skype. He was telling me about hopes the Residents had expressed over the years for advances in stage technology: touring holographic productions that would fit on a disk, music that would cause everyone in the audience to have a simultaneous orgasm. And then he said the most surprising thing anyone’s said to me during an interview:

Actually, they always wanted to have an album, like a gatefold album that when you opened it, it was just a hole—and it would give you instant vertigo, like you would be terrified to open it because you could fall into it and get lost.

Like a bottomless pit—inside the record? Is that what you’re talking about, Hardy?

Exactly. It opens up—it would just terrify you because it would just be so empty.

I strongly suspected Hardy had more to do with the Residents than he let on, but I was too much a fan of the band to have any interest in unmasking its members, which would not only spoil the mystery, but unmask me as a discourteous jerk. Invading the privacy of the coolest people in the world doesn’t make you a brilliant sleuth; it makes you an asshole. Who wants to be the guy staking out Thomas Pynchon’s apartment with a telephoto lens? So I didn’t bring it up, nor did I have to, considering how he ended our conversation:

Actually, I feel honored that someone of your youth seems to have as much knowledge and information about things that I have spent my life working on, and so that somewhat honors me that it wasn’t just working out into the void that’s inside that album cover, waiting.

I supposed he could have been talking about all the marketing work he’d done for the Residents, but it sure didn’t sound that way.
 

 
Hardy’s former role in the Residents has been hiding in plain sight for some time now on the home page of his website. It’s right there in the first paragraph of his bio:

Hardy Fox grew up in Texas. After college he moved to San Francisco reveling in the free love days of 1967-68. He co-founded the much loved cult band, the Residents, where he was primary composer.

Hardy retired from The Residents in 2015 but continued to compose for the group through 2018. In addition to his work with that band, he has recorded as a solo artist under various names including Charles Bobuck, Combo de Mechanico, Sonido de la Noche, Chuck, TAR, among others.

Hardy talked about leaving the Residents and undergoing heart surgery in an interview with Musique Machine earlier this year. Last month, the dates “1945-2018” appeared on Hardy’s website and Facebook page, and he sent out a message to the Hacienda Bridge mailing list that began: “I’m 73. Dying of a head thing that will get me soon. So what.” On Tuesday morning, this notice turned up in my inbox, accompanied by the photo of Rod Serling below:

RIP
BRAIN CANCER
HARDY FOX
1945 - 2018

 

 
That evening, the Residents posted this obituary at residents.com:

It is with with great sorrow and regret that The Cryptic Corporation announces the passing of longtime associate, Hardy Fox. As president of the corporation from 1982-2016, the company benefited from Hardy’s instinct for leadership and direction, but his true value came from his longtime association with The Residents. As the group’s producer, engineer, as well as collaborator on much of their material, Fox’s influence on The Residents was indelible; despite any formal training, his musicality was nevertheless unique, highly refined and prolific. Blessed with a vital sense of aesthetics, a keen ear, and an exquisite love of the absurd, Hardy’s smiling face was a constant source of joy to those around him. He will be missed.

After a series of recent health problems, Hardy succumbed to a brief illness. He is survived by his husband, Steven Kloman.

Ave atque vale, Hardy Fox. Thanks for a billion hours of musical pleasure.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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11.01.2018
08:35 am
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Paul Blaisdell: The forgotten B-movie monster maker of Hollywood
10.29.2018
09:16 am
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A color photo of Saucer Man. A costume made by Paul Blaisdell for the 1957 film, ‘Invasion of the Saucer Men.’
 

The cheaper they are, the better they are.”

—Frank Zappa in 1973 referencing his love of horror movies, especially Roger Corman’s 1956 film It Conquered The World.

Unless, of course, you happen to be a huge Roger Cormanfan, the name Paul Blaisdell may be lost on you. This is a very sad thing given the many famous monsters Blaisdell created for Corman’s nutty cinematic flicks and other popular sci-fi/horror low-budget B-movies of the 50s and 60s.

Very early in his career, Blaisdell caught the attention of Forest J. Ackerman. Ackerman, the editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine suggested to his friend Roger Corman that he hire the young illustrator, who he was representing to work on The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955), as the services of Ray Harryhausen were far too expensive for Corman’s production wallet. Corman took Ackerman’s advice, and the film would be the first time Blaisdell would have the title of “monster creator” as a part of his soon-to-be extensive resume. With a total budget of only $200 to build the monsters for the film, Blaisdell created a hand puppet, something he had never done before. He and his wife and collaborator Jackie named the eighteen-inch creation Little Hercules and Corman was apparently happy “enough” with the results to hire Blaisdell again for his next film, Day The World Ended. And let’s face it, Blaisdell talent came cheap and this directly aligned with Corman’s movie studio budgets.

Day The World Ended challenged Blaisdell once again as he was tasked with making a life-sized rubber monster suit for the 1956 film. Blaisdell had never made a monster suit before, and for the movie, he would also be the man inside the monster suit marking his first “appearance” in a Hollywood film. Dubbed by Blaisdell as Marty the Mutant, the costume, which Blaisdell and Jackie glued together one piece at a time was actually quite terrifying. Here’s a little blow-by-blow from Blaisdell’s cohort Bob Burns on how Marty was made:

“The headpiece was pretty interesting. That was built up over an army helmet liner and the top part of the head, the sort of pointed shape up at the top, was actually made out of plaster over a wire framework that he’d built up over the helmet. The ears he made out of a form of resin— or possibly fiberglass at that time —I don’t know if they even had resin in the ’50s. The head was built up, so he had to look out through the mouth, so he wore a pair of sunglasses behind it. And the teeth he sculpted up himself, and I think those were out of clay. The horn things were flexible; it was a kind of early vinyl that he used. He sculpted up Marty’s face out of this resin-like material. There wasn’t much rubber on the head at all…He used to get his supplies from a place called Frye Plastic’s, they had the little plastic spheres that he’d use for eyeballs and all that stuff.”

Remember, Burns is talking about a man who had never done this kind of special effects before and was operating on sheer talent, ingenuity and being inspired to create outside of his usual wheelhouse. For their next film, Corman would finally have a legitimate hit on his hands thanks to a few key things falling into place. The first, Lee Van Cleef (a regular in sci-fi film during his early career) and Peter Graves signed on to appear in the leading roles in It Conquered The World (1956). Actress Beverly Garland also agreed to appear in the film, and her performance gave the movie credibility teeth as did the script. Though he would have a next-to-nothing budget, Blaisdell created an unforgettable monster, which historically, is as easily recognizable as Godzilla. Here, let me refresh your memory: This is Beulah—the fire red, nearly impossible to describe alien from Venus:
 

 
To help promote the film, Beulah and Marty the Mutant toured around the country during which Marty was mysteriously torn to shreds (pictured above). For Corman’s 1957 film, The She-Creature, Blaisdell made a plaster cast of his entire body, then used it as the foundation so-to-speak for the She-Creature. He and Jackie spent a month inside their garage making Cuddles, and Corman and fans of his films loved it. In 1957 alone, Blaisdell played a crucial role in eight movies, creating effects and monsters, making it even more difficult to understand how his contributions to horror and sci-fi cinema and FX could be so overlooked. Of course, not everyone forgot about Blaisdell’s work as he has a cult following, much like Corman. It’s also important to remember Blaisdell’s competition in the monster department was pretty fierce as they were pitched up against real movie monsters like Christopher Lee, rubber monster suit category killer Godzilla, and the giant spider from 1955’s Tarantula, which still scares the shit out of me to this day.

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.29.2018
09:16 am
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The Godfather of Halloween: The pioneering creations of monster-mask maker Don Post
10.24.2018
07:59 am
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Don Post Studio’s remarkable Wolf Man mask. The mask was modeled after actor Lon Chaney Jr.‘s portrayal of the beast in 1941’s ‘The Wolf Man.’
 
According to accounts concerning Don Post’s early years, he paid a visit to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus with the goal of meeting Ringling Bros. resident star clown, Paul Wenzel so he could get a close look at Wenzel’s famous Popeye the Sailor mask. Wenzel was not only a skilled clown, but he was also a master prop maker, and his act was known for featuring all kinds of dazzling homemade extras for the time, such as enormous dragons (Wenzel himself was 6"4), dinosaurs, and horses as well as Wenzel’s feathered pal, Samson the Goose. Seeing Wenzel’s props up close sent Post off on a mission to launch his own business—Don Post Studios (DPS), which would produce some of the first over-the-head latex masks.

In 1938 at the age of 36, Post established his company which would continue to produce latex masks for a staggering 74 years before being sold rather suddenly in 2012. For decades Don Post (who passed away in 1979), his son Don Post Jr., and sculptors/artists/co-owner Verne Langdon and Pat Newman (and many others such as Bill Malone, Marcel Delgado, Robert Short and Neil Surges) would define what their young customer base was going to look like when they stepped out on October 31st. Post started selling his masks out of Marshall Fields in Chicago before ditching the department store for Hollywood where he would eventually join forces with Universal Studios earning the right to produce over-the-head latex masks based on Universal’s gang of classic monsters, the first being Frankenstein’s Monster. Post’s new alliance with Universal would quickly lead to the creation of other high-profile masks all sculpted by Pat Newman, including Lon Chaney’s portrayal of the Phantom of the Opera, Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, and Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man.

With the help of Famous Monsters of Filmland’s editor Forrest J Ackerman, DPS would become a household name with its army of masks with plenty of mythology attached to them. Here are just a few of the more interesting ones.

There is an established connection between actor William Shatner’s life-mask cast (taken in 1975 while he was shooting The Devil’s Rain, a perfect film to watch this time of year) and the white-faced, lifeless mask made famous by actor Tony Moran in order to transform him into the unstoppable slasher, Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s 1978 blood-blitz Halloween. There is also a female version of the Myers mask—which is very rare. However, the mask eventually made and distributed by DPS wasn’t an actual replica of Shatner’s life-cast, as their license for the mask was no longer good, so Nick Surges was called in to craft a new mask called the “Everyman.” This mask would be one of Post’s all-time biggest sellers along with his mask of Tor Johnson (done by artist/sculptor and VP of DPS, John Chambers) as Inspector Daniel Clay in Plan 9 From Outer Space.
 

The original design and color scheme for DPS’s “B Garret Theta” mask.
 
Another cool bit of history with DPS concerns a mask called “B Garret Theta” (pictured above). When B Garret was first conceptualized and brought to market in 1977, it was ahead of its time in the gore department. Looking back at the initial production run now it looked much like an unfortunate skinless victim of the Cenobites from future horror movie series Hellraiser and was touted as the first “blood and guts” zombie mask. Even DPS’ regular customers and buyers thought the mask was far too graphic and refused to market them. The masks were later redesigned to appear more undead with grey, necrotized skin and other color treatments to help it read more like a zombie than an actual corpse.

A few years later in 1979, Post put out the “Nuclear Death” mask during a time when paranoia about nukes and the potential of a full-on apocalypse were high, only to change the name to the tamer “Over-Reactor” the following year. DPS masks were still hugely popular but with the arrival of AIDS, the demand for latex products in the medical community, as well as the sale of condoms, put a massive dent in the company’s ability to satisfy requests for their masks and would nearly go bankrupt. The other thing working against DPS in the 80s were the horrific deaths of seven people (including a twelve-year-old child) after ingesting Tylenol laced with cyanide about a month from Halloween in 1982. Following this, drug-tampering crimes became a disturbing trend, and as Halloween approached, there were reports of Halloween candy being laced with sharp pins. This, of course, created legitimate hysteria concerning Halloween no longer being a safe pursuit and sales of candy and other Halloween-related items such as Post’s masks plummeted. But still, as we all do, DPS persisted.

The contributions made by Don Post and DPS are unrivaled and helped pave the way for the application of practical effects in films and television, thanks to a fateful meeting with an adventurous horror-loving innovator, and one of the greatest circus clowns to ever live. When DPS closed up shop in 2012, it sent shock waves through the horror community. Lee Lambert, a mask collector who as a child was a rabid fan of 70s horror, took on the task of authoring a book on Don Post’s legacy ensuring his artifacts from the past would always be available for fans for years to come. The incredible book, The Illustrated History of Don Post Studios painstakingly catalogued images of DPS’ work through the years including incredible color photos from magazine adverts and from the company’s collectible catalog. Vintage DPS masks can be found out there online for various sums, as well as authentic, hand-painted castings from the Universal Monster collection, which will run you many thousands of dollars. I’ve got a pretty stellar grouping of Post’s work in this post, some are slightly NSFW.
 

Famous, long-time Ringling Bros. clown and inspiration to Don Post, Paul Wenzel riding a giant dinosaur he made with wire and other materials.
 

Don Post doing what he clearly did best.
 

Inside the DPS workshop in 1974.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.24.2018
07:59 am
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Drug dens and dick pics: The lurid art & crude ceramics of Jesse Edwards
10.23.2018
09:26 am
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A painting by Jesse Edwards.
 
Artist Jesse Edwards came of age in Snohomish County, an idyllically beautiful area of Washington State about two hours outside of Seattle. Growing up Edwards spent time skateboarding and experimenting with graffiti to get his kicks. The experience of using spray paint led Edwards to explore the medium more intimately in order to learn how to manipulate it, ultimately succeeding in changing the texture and consistency of the paint. Proficiency with spray paint runs in Edwards family. His brother Travis, (aka Tred who has done jail time for his art) is probably the most well-known graffiti artist in Seattle.

Edwards’ experimentation paid off quite literally, and he was not only accepted to Cornish College of the Arts, but he also scored a partial scholarship to the school. The union between Edwards and higher academia was short, and he was kicked out after having a nasty word fight with one of Cornish’s professors. In an interview with the Seattle Times in 2010, Edwards revealed his only passion was to make “beautiful things.” This quote is quite compelling when you consider art—much like beauty—is determined by the perception and preference of the beholder. As it pertains to Edwards’ “beautiful things” you will either love them or, perhaps loathe them. One thing is sure, Edwards’ work is flush with old-world mastery and color pallets, though you’ll not be seeing any still life bowls of fucking fruit or portraits of frilly aristocrats dressed to the nines. Instead, Edwards’ subjects include representations of weed and drug culture, dick pics, porn, and the occasional amusing pop culture reference. In addition to painting, Edwards also excels at ceramics many of which were displayed for a time at the Museum of Sex in New York City where they fit right in.

I’ve posted a large selection of Edwards work below, much of it is very NSFW. Yay!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.23.2018
09:26 am
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‘Freud’s cranium is a snail!’ Salvador Dalí was sure Sigmund Freud had a ‘spiral brain’
10.19.2018
06:06 am
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Sketch of Sigmund Freud by Salvador Dalí (via Freud Museum)
 
If you visit London’s Freud Museum between now and next February, you’ll see an exhibition devoted to the meeting between Salvador Dalí and Sigmund Freud that took place there in 1938, when the house in Hampstead was Freud’s “last home on this planet.” The artist brought his recent painting “Metamorphosis of Narcissus” to show the doctor, and, he later claimed, took the opportunity to sketch the form of Freud’s skull d’après nature (from life).

Like many of the Surrealists, Dalí revered Freud as a towering genius who had solved the riddles of the dream, but Dalí‘s ideas about the shape of Freud’s head were all his own. As he tells it in The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, the actual meeting between the two men was preceded by a number of fantasy meetings that took place in Dalí‘s imagination during his visits to Vienna. When Freud escaped the Nazis in ‘38, arriving in Paris en route to London, Dalí was eating snails nearby in Sens, and his dinner was interrupted by a shocking epiphany about the involute form of Freud’s brainpan:

Several years after my last ineffectual attempt to meet Freud, I made a gastronomic excursion into the region of Sens in France. We started the dinner with snails, one of my favorite dishes. The conversation turned to Edgar Allan Poe, a magnificent theme while savoring snails, and concerned itself particularly with a recently published book by the Princess of Greece, Marie Bonaparte, which is a psychoanalytical study of Poe. All of a sudden I saw a photograph of Professor Freud on the front page of a newspaper which someone beside me was reading. I immediately had one brought to me and read that the exiled Freud had just arrived in Paris. We had not yet recovered from the effect of this news when I uttered a loud cry. I had just that instant discovered the morphological secret of Freud! Freud’s cranium is a snail! His brain is in the form of a spiral—to be extracted with a needle! This discovery strongly influenced the portrait drawing which I later made from life, a year before his death.

 

Dalí‘s ‘Freud à tête d’escargot’
 

‘Morphology of the skull of Sigmund Freud’: Dalí‘s sketch of Freud’s skull as a snail, ‘d’après nature’
 
Nadia Choucha will be giving a sold-out talk on “occult and psychoanalytical theory in the art of Surrealism” at the Freud Museum on Halloween. Below is the trailer for the ongoing exhibition “Freud, Dalí and the Metamorphosis of Narcissus.”
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.19.2018
06:06 am
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Full-color Basil Wolverton cards rejected by Topps in 1968
10.17.2018
11:58 am
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It’s tempting to suppose that Basil Wolverton never drew even a single doodle that couldn’t elicit a “WTF?” from a random passerby. Wolverton’s manic and aggressively cracked images found a natural home at MAD Magazine, where he executed the notable May 1954 cover of the run, featuring the “Beautiful Girl of the Month,” with predictable results. An extreme approach such as Wolverton’s was bound to spark a passionate cult of admirers, but no less an authority than Jules Feiffer bluntly stated, “I don’t like his work. I think it’s ugly.”

In addition to MAD, Wolverton also found a patron in the Topps Company in the 1960s, which was primarily known for sports trading cards but also produced the Bazooka Joe strips and a wide variety of movie tie-ins and humorous products. Wolverton’s best-known series for Topps was the Ugly Stickers line, which looked like this:
 

 
It will be noted that the very name of the line seemed to embrace Feiffer’s critique as a positive good.

In 1968 Wolverton worked on a test project called “Hang-Ups,” which was to be a full-color gallery of grotesques in his scarcely imitable style. The project was overseen by a Topps manager named Bhob Stewart (sic), who later reviewed movies in the pages of Heavy Metal.

According to a Flickr user named Joey Anuff, the project was killed when it was tested by a focus group of Brooklyn schoolchildren. They loved them, of course, but swore up and down that there was no earthly way their parents would ever let the kids have them. And so Topps passed…...
 
See the entire test group after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.17.2018
11:58 am
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