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Donald Trump takes a fatal shit on ‘Too Dumb For Suicide: Tim Heidecker’s Trump Songs’
09:02 am

A year to the day in the making, Tim Heidecker’s Donald Trump protest numbers have been collected together as a new album Too Dumb For Suicide: Tim Heidecker’s Trump Songs.

While some people find themselves sapped of the will to live by Donald Trump, Heidecker clearly finds him creatively inspiring, albeit in a bitter/rancorous sense. Steadily rolled out since that dark day the most horrible human being of all time managed to squeak into the White House and get handed the nuclear football, Heidecker says “Most of these songs were written and recorded quickly, with the blood still boiling from whatever indignity or absurdity had popped up on my newsfeed that day.”

Too Dumb For Suicide features a credible Elvis Costello pastiche about POTUS squeezing out a toxic and painful black KFC turd and ultimately dying whilst taking a shit on his gilded toilet; an inspiring number about beating neo-Nazi goofball Richard Spencer about the face and neck; an explication in jaunty song about what exactly it will take to make America great again and a beautifully-backhanded Randy Newman-esque “tribute” to Trump’s weasel-like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. There’s even a cover version “bonus track” of Heidecker’s “Trump’s Private Pilot” by Josh Tillman doing his very best Father John Misty impression as a pilot ready to sacrifice himself for the good of the human race and asking everyone to support a Kickstarter for his kids.

Too Dumb For Suicide is all this and more, although noted weenie Paul Simon refused to allow “I Am A Cuck” (an alt-right take-off on his “I Am A Rock”) to be included. I asked Heidecker a few questions via email.

Dangerous Minds: Is it safe to assume that you don’t really like Donald Trump all that much?

Tim Heidecker: What’s to like? He’s everything we’re taught not to be.  But he’s also totally absurd and very funny to me. So I reflect those two sides; some funny stuff, but also some very dark stuff.

Tell me how you really feel…

Tim Heidecker: It’s all broken and pointless and folks should start thinking about living in the woods again.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger
09:02 am
‘Freedom for the Wolf’: Essential new documentary traces the rise of fake democracy

Last year, I was very fortunate to see an early cut of Rupert Russell’s documentary on the rise of fake democracy Freedom of the Wolf, which will be on release soon and is currently screening at the International Documentary Festival (IDFA) over the next two weeks. The title of the film comes from the renowned philosopher Isaiah Berlin who once said, “Freedom for the wolves has often meant death to the sheep.” This quote provides a starting-point for Russell who goes in search of the world’s most dangerous idea Freedom.

The end result is an excellent and indispensable documentary which provides one helluva ride across continents to meet the people battling on the frontline like the demonstrators occupying the streets of Hong Kong against the Chinese government’s removal of their democratic rights; or the youngsters in Tunisia who are left frustrated and isolated after the failure of the Arab Spring where telling a joke now can land them in jail; and to death on the streets of America, #BlackLivesMatter, and the game-changing election of Donald Trump in 2016. Freedom of the Wolf is the essential documentary to go and see if you want to get a handle on what is happening to freedom and democracy in the world right now .

I caught-up with Russell who has been screening Freedom of the Wolf at film festivals across the world to great acclaim. I started by asking him what had the response to his film been like at film the festivals?

Rupert Russell: The screenings have been fantastic; with a few cultural differences. In the UK, people have been responding to the dark humor – there’s a low-level absurdity that runs through the whole film, which the Brits pick up on pretty quickly. In Poland, the audiences were anxious to discuss how to mount successful protests; which, for them, is understandable!

DM: Was it what you expected?

Russell: To be honest, I think it’s wise to have no expectations. Sure, you screen the film to your friends and family who are supportive and tell you it’s great. I’m sure even Ed Wood had words of encouragement when he played a cut of Plan 9 From Outer Space or Tommy Wiseau with The Room. So I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the reaction.

DM: What do you think Trump will do? Where do you think he’s going as President?

Russell: After the Republicans take a pummeling in the 2018 elections, Trump will be rattled. He’ll provoke a foreign war to consolidate his base and divide the Democrats. Where? Who knows. Australia and Canada appear as villains in Trump’s twitter feed as much as North Korea. I’m guessing that Trump is going to surprise us by invading a U.S. territory. Remember in 2015 how the InfoWars crowd was stoking a heated conspiracy for months that Obama was going to “invade” Texas? It may sound insane, but Trump’s favorite website reported that this kind of action is a normal response to a “hostile” enemy – even if it is already under the control of the Pentagon. Puerto Rico would be the obvious contender for a self-invasion. But Trump is never predictable, so I’m putting my money on California.

DM: Do you think revolutionary acts “keep the status in the quo”?—as a character in one of Derek Jarman’s films once ironically pointed out?

Russell: If your bar for success is the elimination of inequality, sexism, racism and other forms of oppression in their entirety, then yes, every act – revolutionary or not – is unlikely to eliminate them. There’s something ingrained in us to create distinctions and hierarchies. Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels captured this flaw in human nature elegantly in the sectarian conflict between Big-Endians and the Little-Endians; that is, between those who crack open an egg on the big or little end. If we can’t find a real reason to divide ourselves, we’ll find one: no matter how arbitrary or absurd.

But if you lower the bar, to say, improvement, then I think even small – let alone revolutionary – acts can make a big difference. If you thought the global women’s marches on January 21 were going to lead to the removal of Donald Trump or the overthrow of patriarchy, then yes, you will have been disappointed. But the current pushback against famous men who have sexually assaulted, harassed, and demeaned women, then I think you have the Women’s March to thank for it. It generated grassroots organizations - in both real life and online - that gave women spaces, opportunities, and platforms to articulate and understand what, until then, had been largely private interactions.

And if you take the two most successful civil disobedient campaigns in history – the civil rights struggle in the US and campaign for independence in India – the striking thing is how long they took. Change takes decades. Sometimes a protest resulted in a step backward with more oppression; other times they moved things forward. But the individuals knew that their struggle was historic and may even take multiple generations to complete. That’s why the arc of history is “long” – and not conveniently contained within a 24-hour news cycle.

DM: What do you think will happen in Hong Kong? And in Tunisia?

Russell: In Hong Kong, the short term looks very bleak. Young leaders are in prison, and pro-democracy legislators have been banned from the legislature. In the long term, I’m optimistic. There’s a body of research in psychology that has found that the events that happen in your early adult life – from 18 to 22 – have an incredible impact on the rest of your life. So in Hong Kong, you have an entire generation who has teargassed by the police and slept under highways for democracy; they’re not going to forget that. And in twenty, thirty years, these will be the people who will be running the banks, the civil service, and even the police in Hong Kong.

Tunisia is sadly predictable. The President, Beji Essebsi, has used the police to drive motorcycles in protests and kept laws that prohibit the criticizing of public officials on the books (inherited from the dictatorship, which he served in). He has made some important reforms on women’s issues, freeing Muslim women from the necessity of having to marry another Muslim. This shouldn’t surprise us though. He was the Minister of the Interior – the heart of the police state – under the secular dictator Ben Ali. So a mixture of authoritarianism and anti-Islamism was to be expected. The unfortunate thing is that while progress on women’s issue is reported in the Western press, his illiberal actions are not. Perhaps this is because we want to keep in our (Western) minds the notion that Tunisia is a “success” and “progress” is being made. It’s a narcissistic reflection of our own ideals; our values flourishing outside of our immediate cultural orbit. And if we look too closely, we may not like what we see.

DM: What next for you? What are you making?

Russell: I have just completed an animated web-series for the online streaming platform, Yaddo. It’s called How the World Went Mad and it uses a mixture of satire and science to try to explain the rise of Trump. Each episode takes a lesson from social science to explain a different aspect of this “disease” – diagnosis, symptoms, transmission, epidemic, and cure. It’s been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to put them out there. Not sure how the episode on suicide bombing is going to be received. But I’m ready for the trolls (the episode might be the one thing that will unite ISIS and the Alt-Right).

Rupert Russell’s film ‘Freedom for the Wolf’ is being screened at the International Documentary Festival (IDFA) over the next two weeks. Details here..

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Freedom for the Wolf’: The Rise of Illiberal Democracy

Posted by Paul Gallagher
08:55 am
There’s a book of ‘beautiful’ (but strictly unauthorized) poetry by Donald Trump and it’s a hoot
10:47 am

Apparently, Donald Trump has unwittingly produced a book of poetry. Not just your run-of-the-mill rhyming couplets or iambic pentameter, but short sentences artfully clipped from speeches, Tweets, and interviews and then edited by Rob Sears. The resulting work reveal the “little known alternative fact that the 45th President, Donald J. Trump, has long been a remarkable poet.”

Who knew? you may well ask. Nobody, that is, until now.

With The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump, renowned fiction and comedy writer Sears hopes to redress this glaring oversight by the literary world and show that Trump is no slouch, no dunderhead, “no fabulous whiner,” when it comes to the aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language, but “a modern-day Basho or Larkin” with smaller hands.

As Sears explains in his introduction to this “groundbreaking” collection of verse:

The greatest misapprehension about DJT corrected by this volume, however, may be the idea that he sees money and power as ends in themselves. In fact, just as Wilfred Owen turned his wartime experiences into poetry, and Slyvia Plath found the dark beauty in her own depression, Trump is able to transform his unique experiences of being a winner into 24-karat verse. He didn’t build a huge real-estate empire for the billions; he did it so he could write poems…

Not that anyone normal would ever recognize this from Trump’s rambling, incoherent, monosyllabic outpourings, but somehow Sears has toiled heroically to cut and reorder the President’s pronouncements into “a trove of beautiful verse waiting to be discovered.”

I can see that you don’t believe him, or me. Well, here are just a few of the many delights waiting to be discovered in The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump:

I won!

Well, we’ve had some disasters, but this is the worst

Bad hombres

I’ve known some bad dudes
I’ve been at parties
They want to do serious harm
I’ve seen and I’ve watched things like with guns
I know a lot of tough guys but they’re not smart
We’re dealing with people like animals

But they are the folks I like the best—by far!

I am the least racist person there is

I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks
I remained strong for Tiger Woods during his difficult
Oprah, I love Oprah. Oprah would always be my first choice
Kanye West—I love him
I think Eminem is fantastic, and most people think I
wouldn’t like Eminem
And did you know my name is in more black songs than any
other name in hip-hop?
You are the racist, not I

I respect women, I love women, I cherish women

Vagina is expensive
No more apologies—take the offensive!

Hot little girl in high school

I’m a very compassionate person (with a very high IQ)
Just think, in a couple of years I’ll be dating you
It must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees
Come here, I’ll show how life works. Please.

We’ve got to stop the stupid

You know what uranium is, right?
It’s a thing called nuclear weapons and other things like lots
of things that are done with uranium including some bad
I have to explain this to these people, they don’t even understand basic
physics, basic mathematics, whatever you call it
I mean, they’re like stupid

Look at the way I’ve been treated lately

I should have been TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year
Just like I should have gotten the Emmy for The Apprentice
I should have easily won the Trump University case
I should have won New York state but I didn’t
I unfairly get audited by the I.R.S. almost every
single year
No politician in history—and I say this with great surety—
has been treated worse or more unfairly

The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump is published by Canongate.

Posted by Paul Gallagher
10:47 am
Greedheads, preying priests and oligarchs: The politically-charged surrealist paintings of Ole Fick

‘Red Alert.’
You may have heard of Postman Pat or rather, “Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his black and white cat.” If you know what I’m talking about, then you’ll know how goddamned difficult it is to say “Postman Pat” without singing the show’s catchy little jingle.

Anyway, Postman Pat is a kids’ series on British TV that’s been running long enough for the big-nosed puppet Pat to claim his pension. It’s been so successful the series has been sold to who knows how many different countries across the world. One day, no doubt, there will a gathering of all the world’s bigwigs at the UN who will suddenly agree on global peace and prosperity after bursting into several rousing renditions of the Postman Pat theme tune.

Ole Fick is the Danish actor who provides the voice for the series in Denmark where it’s known as Postmand Per. Fick has voiced a whole bunch of kids TV and movie imports as far back as Disney’s The Aristocats,. As an actor, he’s starred in quite a few big screen movies and acclaimed TV series.

But acting is just one of the many things with which Fick (b. 1948) has achieved great success in his life. He’s also well-known as a comic who has worked alongside comedy duo Monrad & Rislund—think Rowan and Martin or Morecambe and Wise. He writes kids’ books and draws cartoons. But Fick’s probably best known in Denmark as singer and guitarist with the jazz-funk-prog rock band Burnin Red Ivanhoe—who coincidentally celebrate their 50th anniversary this year.

If this weren’t enough to make you want to re-evaluate your own productivity, Fick is a painter who since 2010 has been exhibiting his surreal and satirical paintings across Denmark to considerable success. Fick paints pictures of the various kinds of deluded men who seem to have an overly large part in running the world. The men who feast on havoc and chaos, exploitation and greed. Fick’s paintings are chronicles of the world in which we all live—between the devourer and the devoured—where manners and etiquette don’t soften the damage done. See more of Fick’s work here.
‘Something is Rotten.’
‘Soft Cut.’
See more of Ole Fick’s paitnings, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
08:36 am
‘Consumerism cums in your hair’: Hijacking capitalism one advert at a time
08:23 am

I suppose some may say, “It’s not big. It’s not clever.” But still, it is quite amusing. Artist provocateur Hogre is waging a war against capitalism, consumerism, right-wing politics, and religion one advert at a time.

Hogre illegally takes over large billboards and bus stop advertising displays across London and reinvents them with subversive messages. Santa Claus is no longer celebrating Christmas with a Coke but preparing to start the revolution with a fiery Molotov cocktail. Neighborhood Watch is really Neighborhood Snitch. And car companies are shitting all over the world because “Why worry about Global Warming? We all die anyway!”

Originally from Italy, Hogre’s been making his presence known for about ten years with his clever, amusing stencils and inventive acts of vandalism. It’s all jolly good fun and thought-provoking to boot but I do wonder if such well-intended artistic anarchy is more likely to result in Hogre’s work being curated in an art gallery than awakening the “sheeple” from their addiction to consumerism. But I suppose one can hope.

See more of the mighty Hogre’s art here.
See more of Hogre’s sterling work, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
08:23 am
The never before told story of the man in the infamous ‘FUCK THE DRAFT’ posters

Of the many stories of official government suppression that came out of the Vietnam War era protest movements, one of the most compelling is the saga of Kiyoshi Kuromiya’s indelible “Fuck the Draft” poster. Kuromiya procured—how is unclear—a photo of a hippie burning his draft card, looking almost religiously captivated by the flame, and set his slogan in the plainest possible type. It was a hit, but his mail order sales gave feds seeking to suppress its message a strong angle of attack—using the mails to send obscene materials over state lines. The designer spent three years fighting those obscenity charges, and my Dangerous Minds colleague Jason Schafer crafted a fascinating deep-dive of that story about two and a half years ago. I unconditionally recommend reading it before proceeding here.

A crucial part of that story has gone untold until now—the perspective of Bill Greenshields, the man in the photograph. He’s only ever been publicly identified as the face of “Fuck the Draft” once before, practically in passing in a 1968 issue of an underground magazine. He’s agreed to tell his story for the first time to Dangerous Minds, to mark the 50th anniversary of his immortal rebellious action—the photo was taken on October 21, 1967, at the notorious war protest at the Pentagon, the one during which Abbie Hoffman famously attempted to levitate the building.

Dangerous Minds was put in contact with Greenshields by longtime Detroit art/punk provocateur Tim Caldwell (we’ve told you about him before.) Caldwell has known Greenshields for decades, but only just found out about his friend’s connection to the poster. It’s a story best told in Caldwell’s words:

Tim Caldwell: I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit for this exhibit called “Sonic Rebellion,” for the 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots in July of 1967. There are all these artifacts, like magazines, protest posters, books, and photographs, and people’s interpretations of all that in their artwork. And also there’s this idea of music as a force of expressive resistance. And there was this poster of my friend Bill. It was really weird, because he’d always told me he’d had a very different life before we met, and I didn’t really know what he looked like as a teenager—he’s almost 70 and I met him about 30 years ago, doing films and things like that. But so I saw this poster, in a case, and I was like “WOW, that’s him!” He looks kind of goofy and crazed in it, because that’s just the moment they caught him, he wasn’t posing or anything. I hadn’t seen him in about five or seven years, so I called a mutual friend who’s a musician who he knew Bill from film societies going back to the ‘80s. And he confirmed that it was Bill in the poster, and I asked if he was OK with talking about it, since he’d never mentioned it. So finally I called Bill and, yeah, it’s him! And every time we talked after that he’d have more and more crazy stories about stuff he did in the protest era that I’d never heard about before, he had this whole secret life before I met him—I started to wonder how well I’d really known him for those 30 years!

Bill Greenshields reliving a key moment from his past

Greenshields broke his decades-long silence on his experience in a phone conversation last weekend.

DM: So let’s start at the beginning—the protest itself. What were the circumstances, and do you know who shot the picture?

Bill Greenshield: I have no idea who took the picture or how I was selected to be on a poster. There were some people around with cameras, some of whom I thought were probably government spooks.

DM: Some of them probably were!

BG: There were friendlies too, with cameras, though. This occurred at the Pentagon on October 21, 1967, and it was part of the march on the Pentagon.

DM: This was the day that Yippies tried to levitate the Pentagon?

BG: Yeah, that occurred at the same time, you might say, around sundown. The march started at the Lincoln Memorial. People were bussed in from all over the country, and it was kind of a virgin thing, the first really big national march. If you’ve been to the Lincoln Memorial, you know there’s a giant long reflecting pool between that and the Washington Monument obelisk. At that particular time, I was part of a group of draft resistors in the Detroit area, and one of us had made a mock-up of a sign, a really large draft card. The name on it was “Loony Bird Johnson,” since LBJ was president at the time. Another fellow and I took off our shoes and sock and walked into the reflecting pool, which was slippery as hell. So we’re slipping and sliding, trying to be really careful, taking this gigantic draft card out into the middle of it, and suddenly everyone looked a lot smaller, except Lincoln, who was still very imposing. We got out a butane lighter and tried to light it, and it took a while, because there was a breeze and it was poster board. But we got it lit and immolated the whole thing. Then slid all the way back and put our shoes on to go hear all the speeches.

Then there was a march across the Potomac to the Pentagon. I don’t know how many miles it was, but it was slow going. I don’t know how many people were there but it was a long line of them, and the first people there went to where the public entrance was, that large staircase, and they went up there and got stuck up there, surrounded by Federal Marshals, who were not very nice [laughs], with billy clubs and whatnot, and Federal troops, who were our age, and were very nice. They were armed, but you could talk with them. It was starting to get dark, and like I said, they were stuck up there. Then some of the Yippies were doing like an invocation to levitate the Pentagon…

DM: So did it go up?

BG: Well, WE levitated! [laughs] Anyway, what happened was someone threw a rope up to the next level, because the stairs were blocked, and nobody was grabbing it to climb it, and I thought “what the hell,” and I started to go up. And as I’m going up I’m thinking various things, like “I hope someone up there keeps holding the other end of this,” and “A sniper could pick me off pretty good right now.” And when I got all the way up some people saw me and helped me over the ledge. People were pretty crammed together, and about 50 of them had put their draft cards in a soldier’s helmet and burned them all, and I had just missed it. So I took mine out and lit it up individually, and it lit a lot better than the big cardboard one. That was when someone took my picture. And that picture somehow got to Kiyoshi Kuromiya who made the poster.

I had no knowledge of the poster until an article in May of 1968, in The Fifth Estate, an underground paper that still exists, by the way, Harvey Ovshinsky was the editor. I was a childhood friend of his, all the way through junior high school, and he recognized me on the poster right away, and even named me in the article.

click to spawn a more readable enlargement

DM: The look on your face in that poster is a little demented, like you’re some kind of twisted fire-worshipper.

BG: Yeah, like there’s this GLEE of some kind! That’s probably why it was selected, but you gotta remember, I had just climbed this rope after walking from the Lincoln Monument to the Pentagon, and so I probably WAS really enjoying burning that card at the time. [laughs]

DM: So after the poster came out, the Federal obscenity charges came up against Kuromiya. Did the feds try finding you, too?

BG: Yes, they did.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch
09:58 am
That time 100,000 Iranian women protested against mandatory wearing of the hijab, 1979.

There was once a strong belief among many Iranians that if they wanted something, then they just had to go out onto the street and demand it. This idea was fostered by the role many Iranians had in deposing Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and bringing back the radical Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khomeini from exile in France in 1979. This ended 2,500 years of Persian monarchy, replacing it with an Islamic Republic.

The Shah was seen as an autocratic, brutal, and oppressive dictator, who was attempting to westernize the country against the will of the people. The opposition to the Shah and his alleged evil western ways brought together an odd mix of Marxists, socialists, Islamic fundamentalists, and even the misguided media outlet the BBC. Together this unlikely coalition succeeded by demonstrations, strikes, marches, and news propaganda in forcing the Shah (and his supporters) to flee Iran and to bring in the Ayatollah and his Islamic revolution.

Many Iranians thought they were taking back control of their country for themselves. It wasn’t quite so simple. Political coalitions, no matter how well-meaning, only ever work in favor of those who appear to have the most power. The Ayatollah Khomeini was a figurehead around whom the country could unite. Therefore, Khomeini appeared to have the most power. Rather than working together to curtail the Khomeini’s influence, the socialists and the Marxists and the liberals all tried to win his support. This only confirmed to the Ayatollah Khomeini (and the Muslims who supported him) that he was in control.

An estimated one million people greeted the Ayatollah Khomeini’s arrival in Iran by Air France jet, in February 1979. By the end of March, the people had voted by an overwhelming margin of 99% to make Iran an Islamic Republic.

Though women were credited by the Ayatollah Khomeini for their essential role in bringing about the Iranian revolution, in early March 1979, he paid back their actions by implementing an edict that made it compulsory for all women to wear the hijab (veil) in public. Suddenly, any promise the Ayatollah offered of a new, better, fairer Iran was revealed as nothing more than a chimera. Khomeini was a hardline fundamentalist and he had no time for individual freedom—not when he knew what his invisible friend wanted. And Allah apparently wanted women covered up.

On March 8th, 1979, 100,000 women marched on the streets of Tehran against the mandatory wearing for all women of the hijab. Photographer Hengameh Golestan was present that day and believed it was her responsibility to document the demonstration as she was witnessing “something historic.”

It was a huge demonstration with women – and men – from all professions there, students, doctors, lawyers. We were fighting for freedom: political and religious, but also individual.


“They were demanding the freedom of choice. It wasn’t a protest against religion or beliefs, in fact many religious women joined the protest, this was strictly about women’s rights, it was all about having the option.”


I was walking beside this group of women, who were talking and joking. Everyone was happy for me to take their picture. You can see in their faces they felt joyful and powerful. The Iranian revolution had taught us that if we wanted something, we should go out into the street and demand it. People were so happy – I remember a group of nurses stopping some men in a car and telling them: “We want equality, so put on some scarves, too!” Everyone laughed.

I wanted to join in all the protests during the revolution, but I knew I had to go as a photographer. My first thought was: “It’s my responsibility to document this.” I’m rather small, so I was ducking in and out of the crowd, constantly taking photos. I took about 20 rolls of film. When the day was over, I ran home to develop them in my darkroom. I knew I had witnessed something historic. I was so proud of all the women. I wanted to show the best of us.

This turned out to be the last day women walked the streets of Tehran uncovered. It was our first disappointment with the new post-revolution rulers of Iran. We didn’t get the effect we had wanted. But when I look at this photo, I don’t just see the hijab looming over it. I see the women, the solidarity, the joy – and the strength we felt.

The women lost. The demonstration ended with the women being attacked and some even stabbed on the streets of Tehran. The men and their sexist, superstitious beliefs won. It’s a way of having power over women that continues to this day in many different forms.

Pioneering photographer Hengameh Golestan has been documenting life in Iran for 28 years, see more of her work here.
See more photos, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
09:40 am
Swallow the Leader: Amusingly titled, tawdry gay pulp novels of the 50s & 60s
09:34 am

‘Rally Round the Fag’ one of ten vintage gay pulp novels starring the popular character “Jackie Holmes” from ‘The Man from C.A.M.P.’ series. Artwork by the great Robert Bonfils,1967.
Gay pulp novels have been around since the 1930s when the sale of paperback books proliferated. Historically, lesbian pulp was much more popular than novels featuring the exploits of gay men—and that is, of course, because the lesbian pulp was widely purchased by straight dudes. The popularity of the novels continued to rise during 1940s though, as noted in the book Where Thy Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allan Poe edited by pulp historian Steve Berman, the very first true “gay pulp” novel was published in 1952 by author George Viereck. Viereck, a former propaganda tool of the Nazis during WWII authored the 195 page Men into Beasts that used homosexual prison culture as a part of its storyline—something Viereck had observed first hand while he was locked up.

The 50s was not a good time for the gay community, much in part to the gay-hating U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy who in addition to his suspicions that commies, pinkos and reds had managed to weasel their way into government positions, was also convinced that it was swarming with homosexuals, probably commie, pinko homosexuals, too. Known as the “Lavender Scare,” the State Department fired back at McCarthy’s delusional accusations saying that there were no communists on the government payroll. McCarthy sent his right-wing buddies to turn up the heat on the State Department claims which would result in the acknowledgment that 91 employees had been identified as “gay” and were fired under the guise that they were a huge “security risk.” When the news hit the papers and television, the public, as well as Congress, demanded a full investigation.

During this hysteria, a committee of the U.S. Senate launched the ridiculous sounding investigation “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in the Government”.
Upon the conclusion of what is best described as a gay witch hunt, the committee was unable to identify any American citizen who might have sold out the good-old U.S. of A. This didn’t stop the committee from publishing a post-operative paper which “conclusively” established that a gay man or a lesbian possessed “weak moral character” and that the inclusion of only one homosexual can “pollute a government office.” After Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected he signed the executive order 10450 which added “sexual perversion” to a long list of personality traits that could prevent a person from holding a job with the federal government which led to thousands of people losing their livelihoods.

Once the swinging 60s rolled around the U.S. post office could no longer refuse to deliver books that featured homosexuality, which, according to research conducted by the University of Massachusetts Press led to a veritable “explosion” of gay pulp novels.

Now that I’ve shared a bit of the rich history surrounding gay pulp fiction, let’s take a look at some of the more hysterical, tongue-in-cheek covers that created such a stir back in the 50s and 60s, shall we? Yes, we shall. Some are pretty NSFW.


More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb
09:34 am
Jean-Luc Godard and the catchiest song ever written about a brutal dictator
08:02 am

A few weeks ago I signed up for a new membership at the Cinematheque in Cleveland, and I’ve been attending movies there at a far higher rate than I was before. One of the previews I ended up seeing several times was the utterly infectious trailer for Jean-Luc Godard‘s La Chinoise, which was until very recently unavailable on DVD and a new digital restoration of which has been making the rounds of the art-house circuit this year.

A bizarre adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novel The Demons, La Chinoise puts five French-speaking radicals in a tidy Paris apartment decked out in appealing primary colors and festooned with slogans, as they push forward their Maoist agenda. This movie came out a year before the widespread unrest in Paris 1968, and not unusually Godard had his finger on the pulse of something. Godard’s wife, Anne Wiazemsky, plays the most radical (i.e. most bomb-throwing) character, and the final act of the movie centers around a lengthy debate on a moving train about the utility of political violence with an actual professor named Francis Jeanson who had been tried for treason for his radical activities in connection with the Algerian War. Jeanson argues against political violence in La Chinoise, while Godard piped in his own retorts into Wiazemsky’s earpiece during the take.

The movie La Chinoise is diverting, but in all honesty it tested my ability to stay out of REM state. The movie poses the as-yet-unasked question of what would happen if Wes Anderson directed a script by Yvonne Rainer, whose movies (I find them compulsively watchable) sometimes include characters reading political tracts aloud as dialogue. (To be fair, it’s a testament to Godard’s prodigious gifts that he could plausibly anticipate both Anderson and Rainer.)

I saw that preview probably five times and as a result, the featured song, “Mao Mao,” sung by Claude Channes and written by Channes, Gérard Guégan, and Gérard Hugé, would always get relentlessly lodged in my head for days afterward. Part of the song’s charm is the French pronunciation of “Mao”—at least in this song—with two strong syllables, “Ma-Oh,” whereas in English it’s a one-syllable word. The decision to end every line in the verse with “MA OH MA OH” and the infectious chorus apparently sung by children (or at least recorded to give that effect) makes this one hell of a song.

Not surprisingly, the song is about .... uh, Chairman Mao, supreme leader of China for a generation, known then in English as Mao Tse-Tung and today universally as Mao Zedong. It’s tempting to try to figure out whether the song is pro- or anti-Mao….. it’s a fool’s errand. The lyrics make references to both “renouncing” and “following” Mao and the song should most clearly be seen as the taking up of Mao as a pop subject. One might say that it’s postmodern in the sense that the status of Mao’s pluses and minuses take a back seat to his incomparable there-ness—as the leader of Communist China during the Vietnam War and having recently overseen the Cultural Revolution, Mao was there to be discussed, debated, apprehended no matter what.

La Chinoise is worth a look but what remains is the song (which does appear in the movie). I’ve seldom found a ditty about a brutal dictator as engaging as Channes’ masterpiece, and I had to pass it on to the faithful Dangerous Minds readership. Here are the lyrics in French and an English translation, followed by the trailer, which is a must-see for those who like odd, catchy songs.

Le Vietnam brûle et moi je hurle Mao Mao
Johnson rigole et moi je vole Mao Mao
Le napalm coule et moi je roule Mao Mao
Les villes crèvent et moi je rêve Mao Mao
Les putains crient et moi je ris Mao Mao
Le riz est fou et moi je joue Mao Mao

C’est le petit livre rouge
Qui fait que tout enfin bouge

L’impérialisme dicte partout sa loi
La révolution n’est pas un dîner
La bombe A est un tigre en papier
Les masses sont les véritables héros
Les Ricains tuent et moi je mue Mao Mao
Les fous sont rois et moi je bois Mao Mao
Les bombes tonnent et moi je sonne Mao Mao
Les bébés fuient et moi je fuis Mao Mao
Les Russes mangent et moi je danse Mao Mao
Giap dénonce, je renonce Mao Mao

C’est le petit livre rouge
Qui fait que tout enfin bouge

La base de l’armée, c’est le soldat
Le vrai pouvoir est au bout du fusil
Les monstres seront tous anéantis
L’ennemi ne périt pas de lui-même
Mao Mao
Mao Mao
Mao Mao


Vietnam burns and me I spurn Mao Mao
Johnson giggles and me I wiggle Mao Mao
Napalm runs and me I gun Mao Mao
Cities die and me I cry Mao Mao
Whores cry and me I sigh Mao Mao
The rice is mad and me a cad

It’s the Little Red Book
That makes it all move

Imperialism lays down the law
Revolution is not a party
The A-bomb is a paper tiger
The masses are the real heroes
The Yanks kill and me I read Mao Mao
The jester is king and me I sing Mao Mao
The bombs go off and me I scoff Mao Mao
Girls run and me I follow Mao Mao
The Russians eat and me I dance Mao Mao
I denounce and I renounce Mao Mao

It’s the Little Red Book
That makes it all move



Posted by Martin Schneider
08:02 am
Powerful anti-racist miniature dioramas created inside jewelry boxes
09:37 am

‘Deluge’ (2015).
Maybe it was the miniature world of The Sims or the illustrations in Where’s Waldo? with its crammed panoramic scenes filled with chaos and action that first suggested the possibility to Canadian artist Curtis “Talwst” Santiago of producing tiny dioramas inside jewelry boxes. Or, maybe it was the Parisian dude living in Vancouver, from whom Talwst bought old magazines and posters to make his collages, who one day tossed him an engagement ring box and said, “I want to see what you can do with this.”

It didn’t take long. Talwst’s turned the box into a diorama of a beach scene with his girlfriend coming out of the water like Botticelli’s Venus. It was the start of a process with which Talwst creates astonishing works of power and beauty.

Talwst—pronounced “Tall Waist” a reference to his Caribbean grandfather’s and his father’s nickname—was born and raised in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada. His father emigrated from Trinidad to Fort McMurray in 1969. The experience of growing up in Canada was different to the life Talwst discovered when he moved to New York. As a Black man then living in Brooklyn, he found himself stopped and frisked by cops for no other reason than the color of his skin.

When I came to the States, there was some difference between me and the young man here that I see. But the minute I put on that big black hoodie, my black sweatpants, and I’m standing outside having a smoke outside of my studio, I’m immediately viewed as ‘nobody,’ and they know nothing about me. I realized that could happen to anyone, at any time. How many young men, that are loved by their families and are good people, were being killed? That resonated with me. It was the start of looking at Black identity in America because it’s significantly different than Canada.

The state-sanctioned racism and violence against the Black community made Talwst understand that Black lives have less value in America, and that at any moment his own “life could be taken or seen as having no value.”

Watching news reports of Black men being murdered on the streets for no reason led Talwst to produce dioramas on the shooting by police of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, and the strangulation by police of Eric Garner on Staten Island in 2014.

[W]ith Michael Brown, it’s almost like a Goya painting [The Third of May]. Where we have images of this person beforehand and then we have images of him dead.

It’s a plethora of feelings. It’s frustration, it’s feeling thankful that I’m standing in a position where I’m able to observe and look at it, and not feel lost, locked in it, trapped by it. With the Eric Garner tape, you watch the whole thing happen in front of you. Working on that piece was so sad for me. I felt so much sorrow for his family. You hear him beg for his life.

Just before Garner’s murder, Talwst had seen Goya’s Disasters of War etching Por Qué? of “this guy being choked against a tree by three soldiers.”

A few days later, it’s 4 AM in the morning and I’m watching the YouTube video [of Garner being choked by police officers], and it draws to mind the etchings. I started crying, working and crying and feeling so sad and hurt. But I learned so much from that. I learned that I had the ability to channel my emotions into the work, if it’s honest work. But I held in the back of mind, this is not a monument to death. This is the spark to thinking and looking differently for a lot of people that are going to view this and see the video. It had to be a catalyst, mainly for his family. They’ve seen the moment of his death so much, but they never saw a moment of his ascension, his soul moving. And that’s what I wanted to create.

Talwst has also produced dioramas on the plight of Syrian refugees (Deluge) and the rape of indigenous people (The Rape). He also has produced work on environmentalism, gender and identity. His dioramas have been featured in art galleries and museums across America and Canada, and in Paris, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Geneva, Switzerland. And you can see more of Curtis Talwst Santiago’s work here. Click images to see larger picture.
‘Execution of Unarmed Black Men’ aka ’ Execution of Michael Brown’ (2014).
‘Por qué?’ (2014).
More of Talwst’s astonishing dioramas, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
09:37 am
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