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The First Wall Street bombing, 1920
09.16.2011
03:53 pm
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Today is the anniversary of 1920’s Wall Street bombing. On September 16th a horse-drawn wagon stopped in front of the J.P. Morgan building. At noon, the driver disappeared into the street and a powerful explosive killed thirty-nine people and injuring hundreds more, in what Dorian Cope describes as “the first symbolic terrorist attack on American capitalism and power” in today’s entry at On This Deity:

The Washington Post at once declared the incident an “act of war.” Impervious to the lack of any suspects, or even any credible claim for responsibility, the newspaper nevertheless did not hesitate to name the enemy: “The bomb outrage in New York emphasizes the extent to which the alien scum from the cesspools and sewers of the Old World has polluted the clear spring of American democracy.” Without any supportive evidence, this was a dicey statement which only served to further fuel the zeitgeist of post-World War One America in the grip of its Red Scare and ongoing labour disputes. Thus it was, with an amnesiatic shamelessness, that A Nation of Immigrants proceeded to blame the attack firmly and indiscriminately on its most recent arrivals. Fear of further violence intensified the so-called Palmer Raids – the gigantic Government-backed human dragnet, targeting Italians, Russians, Germans and Jews suspected of harbouring radical ideas. In the ensuing hysteria, thousands of ethnic-minority citizens were detained – 10,000 would ultimately be deported – in the name of “national security”, even though there was no evidence to link most of them to the terror plot.

Meanwhile, Wall Street – which, before the attack, had been suspiciously viewed by many for its unchecked growth of power – emerged as a new symbol of patriotism. Stock trading resumed the next day, and the continuing financial boom came to represent an act of defiance against terrorism. Anyone who dared to voice concerns about capitalism or the investigation into the bombing was denounced as unpatriotic, effectively smothering any public debate on the matter (is this beginning to sound familiar?). The attack also served to consolidate the position of the Bureau of Investigation (which, in 1933, was re-named the Federal Bureau of Investigation). Previous public concerns and criticism for a federal secret police evaporated as the fear of radicalism spread.

As one of Dorian’s readers points out:

“Given the current state of the Western economies, I’m surprised Wall Street is still in one piece.”

I’ll “me, too” that sentiment…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.16.2011
03:53 pm
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Viva Mexico!
09.16.2011
02:33 pm
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This beautiful silent excerpt from Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished film on Mexico, ¡Que viva México!, is an exquisite example of avant-garde film making and a fragment of what Eisenstein described as his “greatest film plan and his greatest personal tragedy.”

Eisenstein went to Mexico in 1931 with assistant director Eduard Tisse and producer Grigory Alexandrov to shoot a film about the country’s mythic landscape with the financial help of writer Upton Sinclair, the muck-racking genius behind 1905’s controversial slaughterhouse exposé The Jungle, and his wife Mary Craig. Shooting stopped in 1932 after a series of financial mishaps with most of the work completed, though one of the film’s segments couldn’t be filmed. The Stalinist regime prevented Eisenstein from ever seeing Que viva México! as he had intended it.

Of the over 50 hours of film that Eisenstein shot, various versions of Eisenstein’s Mexican epic have been constructed, none are definitive. Ultimately, no one knows what the director’s final version might have been like, but even unfinished the results are quite magnificent.

Happy Mexican Independence Day.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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09.16.2011
02:33 pm
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Stuart Sutcliffe: The Lost Beatle
09.15.2011
06:58 pm
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He couldn’t play the bass, but he certainly could paint. The trouble is, Stuart Sutcliffe never lived long enough to fulfill the destiny his talents promised, tragically dying at the age of twenty-one from a brain haemorrhage.

As The Beatles original bass player, and John Lennon’s best mate, Sutcliffe’s legend has grown over these past fifty years, and this documentary Stuart Sutcliffe: The Lost Beatle examines the short life and long myth of the man who quit the Fab Four to follow his own star.

Told via interviews with an impressive array of Sutcliffe’s family and friends—and through uniquely descriptive quotes from his letters—this hour-long documentary reveals a lot of intimate detail about Sutcliffe’s transition from promising art-school student in Liverpool (and best friend of John Lennon) to reluctant musician (pressed into service by Lennon) to determined painter within the German avant-garde scene. A lot of Stu’s story, as Beatles fans know, is set in Hamburg, during and after the days the group was a house band in the city’s red-light district. Familiar tales of friction between Sutcliffe and Paul McCartney abound. But these are offset by a tremendous amount of fresh insight and detail offered by such important Beatles-saga figures as rocker Tony Sheridan, Klaus Voormann and—most crucially—Astrid Kirchherr, the photographer who influenced the Beatles’ look and who became Sutcliffe’s lover until his death.

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Jimmie Nicol: The Beatle Who Never Was


 
More on Stuart Sutcliffe, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.15.2011
06:58 pm
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Richard Metzger’s ‘Show and Tell’ tonight at Cinefamily
09.12.2011
08:34 pm
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Photo by Peter Berberian

Tonight at Cinefamily in Hollywood, I’ll be doing the second presentation in their “Show and Tell” series:

“A new Cinefamily series that invites artists, filmmakers, musicians and other cultural heroes to divulge their deepest, darkest media obsessions by opening their closets, digging through their attic and plundering their garages to curate an evening of whatever they want to share! From thrift store finds to late-night Tivo, from foreign film bootlegs to home movies, from the popular to the perverse –- all media will be presented live by the honored guests, as they take us on a personal tour of the audio, video and other ephemera that has inspired them, delighted them, or just plain freaked them out.

For September’s session, we’re thrilled to present a friend who is not only a true warrior collector of amazing one-of-a-kind artifacts, but also a fantastic chronicler of hidden underground culture: Richard Metzger, creator of Dangerous Minds and co-creator of Disinformation!

Simply put, Richard’s one of the world’s foremost experts on all things counterculture, conspiratorial and just plain crazy. From a childhood in West Virginia spent obsessively digging through libraries (“There wasn’t a whole lot to do except to tip cows and to read”), to a grown-up era of showcasing the work of folks he respects and admires on TV (Disinformation), in blogland (DangerousMinds.net) and in print (“Everything You Know Is Wrong”), Richard’s amassed a personal archive that overflows with impossibly cool items. This evening will be a closet-rummaging bonanza, as Richard shows you everything from his incredible archival print materials to priceless time capsule footage of the groundbreaking ‘80s NYC club scene (of which he was a part!) Plus, join us for excerpts of Richard’s music video work, highlights from the Disinformation TV show, and so much more!”

I’m going to be screening footage from my own collection and from the archive of the late NYC-based video artist Nelson Sullivan, who videotaped hundreds of hours of the East Village art scene and night life of the 1980s. A clip of Andy Warhol signing books at Fiorucci in 1987 with a wild cast of characters surrounding him, video of of the real life “outlaw party” thrown by “club kid murderer” Michael Alig in the Times Square McDonald’s as depicted in Party Monster, Bongwater, John Sex, and some other surprises and rarities.

It’s a double feature, first the “Show and Tell,” then a screening of a 2-hour interview with Robert Anton Wilson conducted by me and Genesis P-Orridge in 1997 for my old “Infinity Factory” talkshow. Ironically, what was once seen as the size of a postage stamp in a 56k modem world will be screened as if it’s Ben Hur…

Get tickets here.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.12.2011
08:34 pm
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Cigars Speak: What your cigar says about you
09.10.2011
07:17 pm
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DM pal, Maria Guimil shared this guide to what your cigar says about you, from the Garo Habana site, where it is claimed “Cigars speak”:

And the attentive ‘listener’ can learn much from them about their owner. The way people hold their cigar can reveal much about their characters and moods.

In the early nineteen twenties an issue of the Italian almanac, Il Tabacco, contained an interesting column under the heading Sigaromanzia - twelve positions of the hand holding the cigar with captions showing the psychological characteristics of the smoker.

The Italian psychologists of the last century were, apparently, right. At our request, a number of modern experts conducted a similar experiment and came to approximately the same conclusion. So take a closer look at the people you talk to, and maybe you’ll find out something about them you didn’t know before.

 
With thanks to Maria Guimil
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.10.2011
07:17 pm
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Peter Watkins’ ‘The War Game’, 1965
09.10.2011
04:25 pm
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You had 3 minutes to close the windows, pull the curtains, fill basins with water, then collect together foodstuffs, torches and radios, before removing the door from its hinges, leaning it against a wall, covering with cushions or sandbags, and sheltering with your loved ones underneath.

Three minutes.

Time enough for one last smoke, and a tumbler of that 25-year-old Macallan - a dash of spring water, no ice.

At school in the 1970s, we were shown Civil Defense Films on flickering Super 8 projectors that depicted the seeming inevitability of nuclear war. Now it’s localized terrorism, back then it was the annihilation of the country, the planet, us.

Of course, through time, we became inured to all of that, and the thought of an all-out nuclear war became a hovering shadow - sometimes we noticed it, sometimes not. It only seemed real when presented as a film The Day After, or as a TV drama, Threads. But it would have hit home hardest, if the BBC had ignored the pressure from the Labour government, and shown Peter Watkins’ film The War Game.

The BBC withdrew the film from its planned transmission on August 6 1965, the twentieth anniversary of Hiroshima, claiming:

“...the effect of the film has been judged by the BBC to be too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting…”

“Too horrifying” was one of the reasons it should have been aired. Instead we were shown those strangely surreal Civil Defense Films, Duck and Cover, Protect and Survive, in dusty, distracted classrooms, where they had little lasting effect.

The War Game was given a limited cinema release, making it eligible for the Oscars, where it won the Best Documentary Feature award in 1966. Watkins was so outraged by the BBC’s cavils, that he quit the UK for Sweden, and continued to make his distinct, powerful and political films - most recently La Commune (2000), a “6-hour re-enactment of the 1871 Paris Commune which examined the role of media in the modern global economy.”

With The War Game, Watkins continued his:

...experiments in blending fiction and documentary techniques which he had begun with his earlier play Culloden (1964), Watkins presented data drawn from his detailed research - encompassing interviews, Civil Defence documents, scientific studies and accounts of the effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts and the non-nuclear devastation of Dresden, Hamburg and other cities during World War II - in the form of charts, quotes and vox-pop style face-to-face interviews with ordinary people. These he embedded into his own imagined scenario of the impact of a blast in Kent following the escalation of an East-West conflict.

The War Game was eventually transmitted in Britain on July 31 1985.
 

 
Bonus Civil Defense Films, after the jump…
 
With thanks to Damien Smith
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.10.2011
04:25 pm
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Hairspray for Steven: The Decline of Western Civilization Part II - The Metal Years
09.10.2011
12:13 pm
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Ah, the delights of hair metal. Marc, you have really opened up a can of glam worms with that post on vintage Poison! Here in its engorged entirety is still the best document of the mid-80s spandex metal years I have seen, though how most of these bands qualify as “metal” is beyond me, as is the fact that most of these men were considered red-blooded, macho heterosexuals! This whole world has been undergoing a re-appraisal in recent years, possibly as being the last time mainstream rock was this fun, stupid and thoroughly enjoyable. To quote Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler “And then that pussy Cobain came along and ruined everything”.

Decline… Pt 2 has lots of recognisable faces (Kiss without their make-up, a surprisingly lucid Ozzy Osbourne, the Toxic Twins from Aerosmith, wisened elder Lemmy) but the real stars of the film are the musicians and fans plucked straight from the Sunset Strip who we have never heard from again. The “where are they now” pathos, especially at the end, is almost heart-breaking. But don’t let that detract from the fun, especially the sight of Paul Stanley on a bed full of groupies, and Chris Holmes from W.A.S.P. pouring fake vodka into his own face while floating in a swimming pool and shouting at his mother: 
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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09.10.2011
12:13 pm
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My 1970s Tumblr
09.09.2011
06:38 pm
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My 1970s Tumblr supplies “inspiration drops from 1970s aesthetics and lifestyle.” A fine reminder to that decade’s rich diversity of music, film, politics, fashion, and some rather dodgy advertising.

See more here.
 
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Previously on Dangerous Minds

The Vintage Lesbian Tumblr


 
More pix from the fab seventies, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.09.2011
06:38 pm
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Obama: Best Republican President Since Lincoln?
09.08.2011
02:23 pm
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Obama as Lincoln portrait by Ron English

Political commentator and humorist, Tina Dupuy has written one of the best summaries of the Obama presidency so far. This woman deserves her own TV show on Current or MSNBC, she really does…

There was a 90 percent top marginal tax rate under President Dwight Eisenhower. Ronald Reagan raised taxes nearly every year he was in office and still managed to quadruple the national debt. Teddy Roosevelt was an anti-business trust-buster who snatched Yosemite away from private profits. Gerald Ford ended a long pointless war in Vietnam even though pontificators like Pat Buchanan claim we could have won…eventually. George W. Bush bailed out the banks and the auto industry. I won’t even utter the names Herbert Hoover or Richard Nixon (Republicans sure won’t).

Historians agree the best Republican President was also the first: Abraham Lincoln. Who’s second runner up? Which President has represented Republican values best? Easy. President Barack Obama.

First off – his signature legislative accomplishment was to implement a Republican/Heritage Foundation idea from 1989. Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans reads, “[N]either the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement…A mandate on households certainly would force those with adequate means to obtain insurance protection.”

The Heritage Foundation has since recanted and even filed friend-of-the-court briefs against the mandate. This is only after an alleged Democrat was for it. There’s been a pattern of this partisanship before policy since Obama was sworn in.

But if you ignore the misplaced (and often misspelled) vehemence against the first African-American president as a communist/socialist/Marxist/bad “ist” du jour and instead just look at the policy – we have a stellar Republican in the Oval Office.

Obama renewed the Bush Tax Cuts. Republicans love those tax cuts even more than they love being against something once Obama has signed it. In fact the President hasn’t raised taxes at all – just like Republicans say they won’t (see: “Read my lips – no new taxes.”). The only tax he’s raised is on smokers. Obama increased the tax on cigarettes even though he’s an admitted (reformed) smoker. But even that is ideal in a Republican hypocrite kind of way (see: too many anti-gay Republicans in gay sex scandals to list).

And on top of the Bush Tax Cuts – Obama cut even more taxes for 95 percent of Americans.

Plus, he’s cut the size of government! Yes. Regardless of all those email forwards your kooky great-aunt sends you from her decades-old AOL account – the public work force has been reduced under an Obama presidency – therefore “shrinking the size of government.” The reason we had no net jobs in August is because the public sector (i.e., the government) lost jobs due to cuts. The private sector gained the exact amount resulting in a push.

President Obama has managed to quell all anti-war protests and even start a new conflict. That is surely to be the envy of any Republican president who’s ever served.

Guantanamo Bay? Still open. Osama bin Laden? Shot in the head.

Talk about getting 98 percent of what they wanted. If the GOP didn’t have to change their goal post so Obama could never score in their view – Republicans could be dumping Gatorade on Rush Limbaugh by now.

Read the rest of “Obama is the Best Republican President Since Lincoln” (Tina Dupuy.com)

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.08.2011
02:23 pm
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Jim Hendrix on French pop TV show ‘Dim Dam Dom’
09.07.2011
12:07 pm
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The folks at Mod Cinema just keep the goods rolling out, don’t they? It’s hard to stay up with the embarrassment of riches on offer from them. Take for instance their recent duo of double DVD sets featuring unedited episodes of Dim Dam Dom, the distinctive, ultra-hip, fashion-forward late sixties French pop TV series. Dim Dam Dom had a very French “mod” sensibility, giving it a vastly different look and feel to British programs like Colour Me Pop or Top of the Pops and American counterparts like Shindig! and Hullabaloo.

Dim Dam Dom was a music variety hour produced for the Deuxième channel in France. The title summarizes this shows concept, “Dim” for Sunday, “Dam” for ladies, and “Dom” for men. Pioneering the creativity of the show was Daisy Galard. From the elaborate dance choreography, to the set design, to the production and staging, Dim Dam Dom serves as a colorful time capsule of pop music in 1968.

Included in Mod Cinema’s two 2-disc Dim Dam Dom sets are several complete unedited episodes (most in color, a few in black & white) with rare performances by Johnny Hallyday, Mireille Darc, Grapefruit, Marie Laforêt, Nino Ferrer, Eddy Mitchell, Stone, Memphis Slim, Ronnie Bird, Françoise Hardy, Procol Harum, The Electric Prunes, Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity, Sylvie Vartan, Jacques Dutronc, Pussy Cat, The Moody Blues, P.P.Arnold, Serge Gainsbourg, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jacques Dutronc, “Les Bee Gees,” Claude François, The Easybeats, Manfred Mann, France Gall (who also sings the shows “theme song”) and many many others.

Order Dim Dam Dom from Mod Cinema here.

Below, The Jimi Hendrix Experience performing “Burning of the Midnight Lamp.”
 

 
Bonus clip after the jump: A young Keith Emerson and The Nice performing “Karelia Suite” on “Dim Dam Dom,” 1969.

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.07.2011
12:07 pm
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