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‘Mad Man in Waco’: The haunting rock ballads of cult leader David Koresh


 
Charles Manson wasn’t the only rock & roll cult leader. As you may have learned from watching the Paramount Network’s new miniseries Waco, David Koresh of the Branch Davidians was also known to pick up the axe from time to time…

In an era plagued by gun violence and incessant mass murders, the siege at Waco remains to be one of the most memorable shootouts in American history. As several sources have depicted the tragedy, the situation at Mount Carmel could have been handled more delicately by the ATF and the FBI, who conclusively relied on force as a method of negotiation. What began as a federal search warrant for a suspected cache of illegal weapons, erupted quite literally into a gun battle between religious cult zealots and the United States government. The standoff lasted 51 days, until the iconic conclusion on April 19th, 1993, when a tear gas attack by the FBI prompted a fire that would engulf the Mount Carmel Center. By the close of the standoff, a total of 76 people would die—including leader David Koresh.
 

 
The Branch Davidians arose in 1955 from a rupture within the Shepherd’s Rod, a derivative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The original sect was led by self-proclaimed prophet Victor Houteff who, twenty years prior, had established its headquarters at the Mount Carmel Center near Waco, Texas. When Houteff unexpectedly passed, many disagreements within the church brought about splinter groups like the aforementioned Branch Davidians, now led by the quasi-prophet, Benjamin Roden. Similar to the doctrines preached in the Shepherd’s Rod, the Branch Davidians believed they were living in the final period of Biblical prophecies, right before absolute judgement and the second coming of Christ.

David Koresh joined the Branch Davidians in 1981. Known then as Vernon Howell, the Koresh of his early-twenties seduced Lois Roden, the now-widowed leader of the commune, who was in her late sixties. The following year, Koresh declared himself to be the true prophet of the group and relayed that he had been instructed by God to bear a child with Lois, who would be considered the “Chosen One.” Upon Lois’ death, her son George Roden took over leadership of the Branch Davidians and exiled Koresh from the compound in fear of his rising influence. This was up until 1989, when Roden was convicted of murdering follower Wayman Dale Adair because he was believed to have been sent by Koresh. The former Vernon Howell then changed his name to that of celestial significance (after King David and “Koresh” being the Biblical name of Cyrus the Great) and he, along with his followers, raised enough money to buy-back Mount Carmel from the US government. From that moment forward, David Koresh became the final prophet of the Branch Davidians.
 

David and the Bros
 
Besides stockpiling weaponry, Koresh lived above the law through his teachings of the “New Light Message.” The men who practiced at Mount Carmel, even those who had committed alongside their wives, were to now lead a celibate life. The women, however, would be sexually and reproductively committed to Koresh, who insisted upon a harem of available women known as the “House of David.” The reasoning was, you guessed it, because of God’s commandments, that Koresh was to hold “spiritual weddings” with any woman that their Lord had instructed him to. Many of the women of the Branch Davidian cult became wives of Koresh, several of which had already been legally married—or were underage. At least one follower in particular, Michelle Jones, had her first child with Koresh when she was fourteen years old. The two had begun a sexual relationship years prior while her older sister, Rachel Jones-Koresh, remained the prophet’s only legal wife (whom she also married when she was fourteen). The parents of Michelle and Rachel Jones had been lifelong Branch Davidians and had given David permission to bed & wed their daughters.

It is believed that Koresh had fathered over fifteen children with the women of the group. He expected his children to be perfect and that they would eventually become the ruling elders after the apocalypse and the alleged second coming of Christ. The ideology of the Branch Davidians was heavily focused on Judgement Day and it was Koresh’s prophesy that only he could open the “Seven Seals” as foretold in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. This action would bring about the calamitous end of times, wherefore those devoted “Koreshians” would be led into the heavens by their divine leader. Koresh and his followers’ reaction to the standoff at Mount Carmel was that the Seven Seals had been opened and mankind’s decimation was upon them.
 

 
Just a day before the initial raid at Mount Carmel, the Waco Tribune ran its shocking, multi-part expose’ on the cult of David Koresh titled “The Sinful Messiah.” Among the story’s heinous depictions of child abuse, statutory rape, polygamy, paranoia, and a heavy artillery, another persona of David Koresh had also been characterized—that of a rocker. At 22 years of age, Koresh was kicked out of his mother’s Seventh-day Adventist Church in Houston for trying to marry the pastor’s daughter. An aspiring musician, Koresh then moved to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming a rock star. His attempt was considered an “utter failure,” and this is what led Koresh to Waco, Texas.

It could be said that David’s rock ambitions were what led him to literally try to become Jesus Christ. Plenty of rock stars regard themselves in self-idolatry, so the career trajectory checks out.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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04.13.2018
09:48 am
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Get your own festive shitting Trump figurine in time for Christmas!
12.08.2017
09:15 am
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“We’re gonna start saying Merry Shitmas again.”*

—Donald Trump

*Or at least that is what I think he said


A couple of years ago I wrote here about the turd-related Christmas traditions of the Catalans.

Each December 8th, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, families in the Catalonian region of Spain bring out Tió de Nadal or Caga Tió  (which means “shitting log”). The log is painted with a smiling face and stands on two tiny stick legs.
 

 
Every night until the 24th, as tradition dictates, the children are instructed to give the Tió a little bite to “eat” and cover him with a blanket to keep him warm and cozy. On Christmas Eve, the Tió is placed partly under his blanket and the children order it to defecate. The children beat the log with sticks, while singing the Tió de Nadal song, in order to make it shit presents.

Parents place presents under the log’s blanket while the children close their eyes and pray for the really good shit.

The children’s song to Caga Tió is absolutely adorable:

“Caga tió,
caga torró,
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
caga tió!”

Translated:

shit, log,
shit nougats,
hazelnuts and mató cheese,
if you don’t shit well,
I’ll hit you with a stick,
shit, log!

Coaxing turds from Caga Tió is a wonderful Christmas custom, but not the only scatalogical Catalonian tradition. Even more popular and beloved is the Caganer, whose name literally translates to “the crapper” or “the shitter”. The Caganer is a figurine, traditionally in peasant garb, who is bent over and taking a dump. This figurine is placed among the other figures in the Nativity Scene. The figure is hidden away in the Nativity and the children are instructed to try and find the Caganer.
 

Traditional Caganer
 
It’s not known for certain why the pooping character has been added to the Nativity, but it seems to have been around since at least the 18th Century. Some claim that the character represents fertilization of the Earth and others believe the Caganer represents “the spoil-sport we all have within us.” No one is really sure, but the character maintains a massive popularity despite some governmental attempts to ban the public display.

The Caganer statuettes are sometimes fashioned in the likeness of well-known figures from pop culture or politics, including what is certain to be this year’s hottest selling nativity-shitter, Donald J. Trump.
 

 
The Trump Caganer is available HERE for $24.97.
 

 
More after the dump... er, jump

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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12.08.2017
09:15 am
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Blank generation: Depressingly accurate reflections of modern society
08.08.2017
11:02 am
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“Mammon.” A painting by Alex Gross.
 

“Past success is no guarantee of future success, and anything is possible. It’s something that I try not to forget.”

—Artist Alex Gross on what keeps him going.

 
You may already be familiar with the work of New York-based artist Alex Gross as his striking surrealist pop creations have been seen in many publications including The Los Angeles Times. His warped, hyperrealistic artwork was also compiled into a couple of books—one in 2008 by Bruce Sterling, The Art of Alex Gross: Paintings and Other Works, and another published in 2014, Future Tense, Paintings by Alex Gross, 2010-2014.

It’s clear from Gross’ take on modern times that, like many of us, he may have already abandoned hope for the future. And his most recent gallery show, “Antisocial Network,” his first in nearly ten years back in February of this year, is a perfect example of his perhaps dim outlook on our collective existence. The work featured in the show was the result of two years of observation and reflection while the world began its downward spiral and the U.S. somehow ended up with a “president” that says shit like this.

Many of the paintings I’ve featured in this post involve people interacting with their smartphones while mayhem ensues behind them, unnoticed, which seems entirely plausible as it happens every goddamn day. I mean, people are so attached to their smartphones that they have panic attacks when they can’t find them and quite literally fall into holes in the sidewalk because they can’t bear to not stare into them while simply walking down the street. Despite perpetuating the notion that we all might end up in a hole in the sidewalk never to be seen again, Gross says that he hopes that his work helps people connect with each other. I’m all for that.

If you’d like to add some of Gross’ artwork to your collection, you can pick up limited edition prints at his website.
 

“Android.”
 

“Service Industry.”
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.08.2017
11:02 am
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She f*cking deserved this! Onion devastatingly calls out Senator on healthcare vote AND SAYS IT ALL


 
Like many of you reading this sentence, I have spent nearly 100% of my waking hours so far this year feeling like I wanted to run out into the middle of a cornfield and scream my fucking head off as loudly as possible until I passed out from exhaustion or simply got bored of this activity and decided to stop. (Never underestimate the cathartic value of DIY primal scream therapy in Donald Trump’s America. If it worked for John and Yoko and it can work for you, too.)

But yesterday and today, the Senate votes on repealing the ACA has left me feeling especially sickened, angry and utterly drained. My hatred for “them” has grown by leaps and bounds. From Donald Shit’s remarkably idiotic “Obamacare is death” rant to watching John McCain vote, not once but twice, to revoke poor people’s ability to fight back against cancer, it’s all just gotten so goddamned nauseating. So grotesque. A brain-addled billionaire bully who doesn’t even know the difference between health insurance and life insurance who wants to upend 20% of the American economy and mess with people’s lives because he hates the superior black man who preceded him in office. Trump doesn’t even know what health insurance IS. Not even in the most general sense. But it’s named after the black guy, so… Sorry sick people!
 

#donaldshit

I mean my Twitter feed zaps me of much of my will to carry on. I’m glad I don’t bother much with Facebook, I’d have given up a long time ago.

But having said all that, I read something on The Onion just now that made me LOL and smile again in my heart. I didn’t think that was possible anymore.

An item, appearing sans the byline of the satirical genius who wrote it, takes aim at West Virginia’s GOP Senator Shelley Moore Capito who only a week ago forcefully rebuked her party’s plans to repeal the ACA without a backup plan:

“As I have said before, I did not come to Washington to hurt people. For months, I have expressed reservations about the direction of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians. With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.”

Despite this “brave” statement—some Republicans just LOVE to get brave before they cave—we all know how she actually voted. Which is why this Onion item is such a perfectly cut diamond of truly incendiary political satire served with such a heaping helping of “fuck you, lady”:

WASHINGTON—As legislators gathered Tuesday for a critical vote that would go a long way toward finally repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was reportedly struggling to weigh the interests of her entire constituency against absolutely nothing. “Honestly, it’s a tough call—on one hand, you have opposition to the repeal from a majority of Republicans, virtually all Democrats, and the entire healthcare industry, while on the other, you have not one sound argument or credible opinion,” said Capito, admitting she was, even now, having difficulty balancing her desire to keep as many West Virginians insured as possible with there being no reason whatsoever to do otherwise. “This is an agonizing decision. Sure, there are sound justifications for voting no on ‘repeal and replace,’ but then there’s emptiness, literal emptiness, when you look for reasons to vote yes. All I know is, I have to get this right somehow.” At press time, Senator Capito had resigned herself to the fact that both sides had valid points and she would just have to go with her gut when the time came.

Standing ovation to the uncredited author of this, one of the single most impressive paragraphs ever composed in the English language, I reckon.

If you know someone from West Virginia, be sure to send this to them or post it on their Facebook wall (especially the Republicans, it will go right over their pointed lil’ heads). And if you feel like tweeting it at Shelley Moore Capito just to make triple sure that she’s seen it, have at it, her Twitter handle is @SenCapito

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.26.2017
02:18 pm
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The Screamers logo has been stolen for a (Billy Idol-themed?) novelty firework
07.07.2017
10:20 am
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I have often dreamed of a career naming novelty fireworks. How do you describe one particular sparkler that looks almost identical to all the rest of ‘em, in one snappy title? By use of a great stretch of creativity, of course. I’m sure some of you are familiar with much of the web’s “best of fireworks brand names” collections, including clever titles such as the Psycho X-Girlfriend, Nuclear Sunrise, One Bad Mother-In-Law, The Golden Shower, Uncle Sam’s Answer, Forced Entry, and one for the entire family, the Poopy Puppy.

The latest from this year’s Independence Day collection arrives with one for the nation’s imaginary population of patriotic punks. Produced by a company out of Osage City, Kansas (but made in China, natch), the Rebel Yell novelty firework (obviously) packs much of the same punch as Billy Idol’s hit song of the same name. Its description reads:

Three stage whistle cake will leave you screaming more, more, MORE!

It seems pretty obvious that they thought this logo was meant to represent Billy Idol. While this is not the first novelty firework with this name (another contains Confederate flag imagery because there’s a market for that), it is perhaps the first ever to utilize the explosive logo of first-wave Los Angeles electropunk band, The Screamers. The iconic image, which was designed by artist and cartoonist Gary Panter, is almost too perfect for use on a firework that I’m actually surprised it took someone nearly forty years to rip it off!

More after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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07.07.2017
10:20 am
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‘Killer’ video of Alice Cooper on the Fourth of July, 1971
06.29.2017
09:29 am
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Enjambment as marketing technique: ‘Love It to Death’ ad in Creem, 1971 (via SickthingsUK)

The greatest achievement of American democracy was Alice Cooper’s perfect Warner Bros. debut, Love It to Death. (As Bill Maher says “I don’t know this for a fact, I just know that it’s true.) Fittingly, a few months after the LP’s release, the group celebrated 195 years of U.S. independence from the hated English crown by playing Love It to Death at the Sunshine Inn in Asbury Park, New Jersey, a musket ball’s bounce from Monmouth Battlefield. Or playing most of it, anyway—it’s hard to know, because the video of the show cuts out during the seventh number, “Black Juju.”

It’s primitive, black and white, 1971 video, to be sure, but this upload sounds and looks way better than the quavery zillionth-generation copies of the “Stone Pony show” I’d seen before. (Tape traders misidentified the venue as the Stone Pony, as I understand from the timeline at The Original Glen Buxton, which confirms this date and location.) You can watch it for pleasure, even, and while cutting off the end of “Black Juju” is a fucking scandal, AC’s outstanding (and intact) TV performance of that number on Barry Richards’ Turn On will comfort you in your time of loss.

Independence Day, Asbury Park. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Could the Boss have been in the crowd at the Sunshine Inn that night, raising a glass to Lady Liberty?

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.29.2017
09:29 am
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Home for sale in Arizona is move-in ready IF YOU’RE A CRAZY CAT PERSON
06.13.2017
09:23 am
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These may not be particularly original observations, but two things are true of cats—they find more of interest in our houses than we do, and they’d be happier still living in labyrinths of cat-sized Habitrail tubes. But what if there was a middle option—what if you needed a human house decked out entirely for the comfort and enjoyment of cats?

If you’re OK with living on the outskirts of Nowheresville By God Arizona, you’re covered.

A property for sale at 669 Stanford Drive (Country Road 8235) in unincorporated Concho, AZ, is convenient to expanses of hot dirt and little else. But you’re not moving here to be right in the mix, you’re here for your furbabies (and if you unironically call your pets that I’m not 100% sure we can be friends). Every room in the place is essentially Pee-wee’s Playhouse for cats. I’m powerless to further describe the 2,500 sqft of eyebleedy cat toy that is this house, I can only let the realtor’s photos do the talking.

See the effects of untreated toxoplasmosis on the human mind, after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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06.13.2017
09:23 am
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‘Memorial Day 2000’: Disgusting ‘found footage’ classic of drunken hillbilly white trash insanity
05.16.2017
11:05 am
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The front cover of ‘Memorial Day 2000’
 

Memorial Day 2000 is the finest find in the history of found stuff.”—Davy Rothbart, founder of Found Magazine, as quoted on the back of the Memorial Day 2000 VHS cover

Memorial Day 2000 was “discovered” by noise musicians Twig Harper and Carly Ptak of Nautical Almanac at a Michigan yard sale. It’s the low-fi record of a massive hillbilly bender that took place on a campground in Silver Lake State Park, Michigan on Memorial Day weekend of 2000. There’s fire jumping, lots of driving around in the mud, plenty of peeing and puking, (and chanted group puke encouragement), wrasslin’ and even a really severe… er… sewage issue.
 

 
Drop what you are doing and watch this video right now. Grab yourself a tallboy or two of Steel Reserve High Gravity Lager, a Manwich—well maybe not a Manwich, and definitely not sausage—and indulge in the luxuries of this repulsive but FUCKING HILARIOUS fly-on-the-wall experience, as you encounter everyday midwestern white trash indulging in unadulterated racism, misogyny, and booze-fueled debauchery. And of course, there are plenty of candidly soused interviews with the participants. This is Heavy Metal Parking Lot without the glamor of Judas Priest. American Juggalo without the face paint and Faygo. Yep, this is Lord of the Flies on Lake Michigan. What joy-filled mirth awaits you!

Many people discovered this video via Nautical Almanac’s merch table and over the years its legend has grown. Compulsively watchable, in fact, you could say that Memorial Day 2000 is “the fuckin whip shit of all fuckin shitter bongers.” (This will make a little bit more sense after you’ve watched it.) To deem the mighty MD2K NSFW is a laughable understatement. It’s not safe for anything or anyone at any time. Got that?

As you watch, ponder what percentage of these idiot Memorial Day 2000 revelers probably voted for Donald Trump.

Watch—if you dare—after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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05.16.2017
11:05 am
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Tiny Tim + Edith Massey + Jesus = Opal Covey: The singing, would-be mayor of Toledo, Ohio


 
The American political system has long produced colorfully aberrant and utterly quixotic recidivist candidates for public office, whether they’re tenacious delusionals with lunatic fringe appeal like Lyndon LaRouche, satirists engaged in performative protests like Pat Paulsen, or memetic stars of the internet era like Vermin Supreme or Jimmy “The Rent Is Too Damn High” McMillan. Hell, a total goddamn freakshow candidate defied all conventional wisdom to occupy the highest office in the USA, but few such candidates ever succeed electorally, and since pretty much every region has at least one, they can (mostly) be safely regarded with indulgent affection and granted local-color oddball status, however bonkers their platforms may be.

Toledo, OH has Opal Covey, not just an Evangelical Christian but a self-professed prophetess who has attempted five Mayoral runs on the basis of her belief that God told her she’d be elected Mayor, which of course could still happen eventually. In 2015, she received less than 1% of the vote but nonetheless insisted that she won, and promised that if she wasn’t sworn in, “…destruction is gonna come. And I’m standing back and I’m gonna let it happen.”
 

 
Covey is also noteworthy for utterly bonkers interviews in which she speaks in tongues, and for her singing, which sounds like Tiny Tim losing his grip.
 
Much more Opel after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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04.18.2017
08:17 am
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‘How to Steal an Election’: The dirty politics musical of 1968!


 
Like science fiction becoming reality, or worse, satire becoming reality, this 1968 off-Broadway musical—or to quote the subtitle, this “dirty politics musical”—immediately opens eyes very wide in the ironic early days of America 2017. Some things never change, they just get worse.

In a New York Times review of a revival of the play in 2000, Scarlet Cheng wrote:

In the year of Richard Nixon vs. Hubert H. Humphrey vs. George Wallace, “How to Steal an Election” offered a compact off-Broadway primer on presidential elections bought, bartered and swiped throughout American history.

Librettist William F. Brown and composer-lyricist Oscar Brand had the notion of Jazz Age prez Calvin Coolidge materializing in the present day (that is, 1968). There he meets a couple of fervent young protesters, just back from the skull-cracking Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Disillusioned, these two have no taste for the political machine. But what’s wrong with pragmatism, Coolidge wonders? What about learning to work within a corrupt system? Thus Coolidge begins his history lesson, with vignettes and songs depicting cynical power grabs of yore.

 
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The two stars were Carole Demas who was the original Sandy in Grease on Broadway, even before it was turned into the musical we know now (It was originally a much darker, dirtier production). The cast was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (don’t even get me started). She was also one of the two strange hippie hostesses of the weird early seventies TV show The Magic Garden, a program that even as a child had me running for the remote (not that we even had a remote) to avoid twee folk songs sung to flowers.

Also starring was Clifton Davis who appeared in countless films and television shows, making all the Love Boat/Vega$/Police Story rounds right up to the present. His TV biggie was co-starring on The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show in 1972 (or perhaps the That’s My Mama sitcom in 1974). His lifetime biggie was that he wrote the huge hit “Never Can Say Goodbye” for The Jackson 5! Now he’s a minister.

 
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Oscar Brand who passed away last year at 96 was an original folkie who, among many other things (he wrote a hit record for Doris Day, collaborated on musicals, had a TV show called Let’s Sing Out, wrote children’s records, etc.) had the longest running radio show in history.

He hosted the radio show Oscar Brand’s Folksong Festival every Saturday at 10 p.m. on WNYC-AM 820 in New York City, which ran into its 70th year. The show ran more or less continuously since its debut on December 10, 1945, making it the longest-running radio show with the same host, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Over its run it introduced such talents to the world as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Huddie Ledbetter, Joni Mitchell, Peter, Paul & Mary, Judy Collins, the Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger and The Weavers. In order to make sure that his radio program could not be censored he refused to be paid by WNYC for the next 70 years.

 
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Brand, whose radio show was referred to as a “pipeline of communism” by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and who told stories of buying food for Leadbelly when the two traveled together in segregated areas, also participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. He said the character of Calvin Coolidge in the play was originally written by him to be Satan.

...he was Satan, who had decided that the electoral process was the most interesting thing he could join in on since he got kicked out of heaven.

 
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The producer of the play Steve Mellow had this to say:

I was the producer of this play Off Broadway in 1969. It was a labor of love. I got the idea from my uncle Jake Arvey, who was a powerful political broker in Chicago.The play took three years to get on and went thru five different authors. Oscar Brand was with me from the beginning. He has written many political campaign songs over a period of seventy years. Nixon was running for President. His campaign manager asked what we were doing on him in the play. I told him to buy a ticket.

 
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If all this sounds classic, the fate of the show is a true tale of American-style “land of the free” business Hell.

From the New York Times:

“How to Steal an Election” opened to favorable reviews and was packed nightly. After 50 performances, the show was set to move to Broadway. But there was a glitch. Turns out, says Brand, the $80,000 lined up for the move was mob money, and it would only be delivered after someone on the production helped with some securities laundering. The producer ducked out, and Brand refused to cooperate. End of deal, end of production.

And that’s no trumped up charge.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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02.02.2017
09:50 am
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