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There’s a book of ‘beautiful’ (but strictly unauthorized) poetry by Donald Trump and it’s a hoot
11.13.2017
10:47 am
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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
period
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
things
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
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11.13.2017
10:47 am
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‘Seventeen’: Shocking made-for-PBS documentary on American teens was too real for TV
11.13.2017
10:23 am
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Seventeen
 
Seventeen is a made-for-TV documentary on American teenagers. Highly controversial before it even aired, it was pulled and never made it to the small screen. It went on to become an award-winning film.

Seventeen would’ve been the sixth installment in Middletown, a five-part documentary series on small town American life. Middletown was filmed in Muncie, Indiana, conceived as a follow-up to two Depression-era sociology studies that took place in Muncie, Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture and Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts. The series aired on PBS in 1982.
 
Directors and title
 
Seventeen is the work of filmmakers Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines (note that DeMott is female, despite her traditionally male forename). The duo followed a group of Class of 1981 seniors during their final year at Muncie’s Southside High School. In the film, students mouth off to their teachers, curse up a storm, talk openly and graphically about sex, get drunk, get high, and are generally seen acting in an irresponsible fashion. Race relations is a recurrent topic—the language used will be shocking to the average viewer—with the threat of violence breaking out between black and white residents so frequent that it becomes unnerving. A number of students appear in Seventeen, but the focus is on Lynn Massie, a particularly outspoken and vivacious teen. Massie, who is white, is dating a black classmate, which is frowned upon by many in her community. At one point, racist neighbors burn a cross on the Massies’ front lawn.
 
Lynn Massie
 
As upsetting as cross burning is (though the Massies seem unsurprised by it), perhaps the most alarming sequence in the film takes place during a drunken house party. Amongst the high schoolers getting wasted is Lynn’s youngest brother—who can’t be more than twelve—who chugs beer after beer. When the keg runs dry, Lynn starts counting her cash for a beer run, when “Jeff” (likely filmmaker Kreines) is heard off-camera agreeing to chip in. Then Lynn’s mother appears in the room and it quickly becomes apparent that we’ve been watching a bunch of underage young people getting blotto at a party sanctioned by parents. Mrs. Massie even narcs on a couple of partygoers who didn’t pay the $3 cover. Unbelievable.
 
House party
 
The most movielike instance in Seventeen occurs when, after the night of partying, the teens silently mourn the recent death of a friend while listening to music. It’s a moment in which it’s easy to forget that what’s happening on screen isn’t scripted—it’s real.
 
Shari Massie and Buck
 
Seventeen is compelling cinéma vérité, for sure, but it just wasn’t the sort of thing that was seen on TV in 1982. Xerox, the corporate sponsor of Middletown, as well as PBS affiliates, had a largely negative reaction to Seventeen. There was also the threat of lawsuits from some of the Muncie residents who appeared in the film, and PBS likely had concerns that future federal funding could be cut. It’s unclear if Peter Davis, the producer of Middletown, pulled Seventeen, or if PBS president Larry Grossman gave it the ax, but on March 30, 1982, PBS announced the documentary wouldn’t air. 
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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11.13.2017
10:23 am
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Buy your very own Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup can chess set
11.10.2017
11:11 am
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According to Hans Ree’s book The Human Comedy of Chess, there was an occasion in the mid-1960s when Marcel Duchamp played a game of chess against Salvador Dalí in public, to a soundtrack provided by the Velvet Underground, at the behest of Andy Warhol. The context for this remarkable event was the display in 1965 of a work of Duchamp’s called “Hommage à Caïssa,” a readymade featuring a chessboard. The incident merits direct quotation, so here it is:
 

At the vernissage on the roof of the building on 978 Madison Avenue, Duchamp played a game of chess against Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol had the band Velvet Underground sent to provide background music. After the game, chess pieces were sent into the air by balloons.

 
It’s notable that Warhol himself didn’t play in the game—I can’t find a reference to Warhol playing chess anywhere, which doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

An early work of Warhol’s dating from 1954 is entitled “The Chess Player”—it looks like this:
 

 
It’s speculated that the work was executed at one of Warhol’s coloring parties, which were hosted at the trendy Serendipity 3 café.

After having been bombarded with multiple factoids involving Andy Warhol and chess, you will surely be primed to purchase the Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup Can Chess Set, which has recently been made available by Kidrobot and The Andy Warhol Foundation:
 

This chess set features Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans as chess pieces on a pop of color chess board complete with felt accents. Each vinyl 3-inch Campbells soup can is labeled and printed on top with its corresponding piece to bring a pop art look to any game room.

 
Because the pieces are very difficult to distinguish from one another, they have little labels on the top with the words “ROOK” and “KNIGHT” or whatever.

Those on a tight Christmas budget will be disgusted to learn that the groovy plaything has a price of $499.99. Surely your landlord/mortgage officer will cut you a break this Christmas season?
 

 

 
More after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.10.2017
11:11 am
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Greedheads, preying priests and oligarchs: The politically-charged surrealist paintings of Ole Fick
11.10.2017
08:36 am
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‘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.
 
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‘Something is Rotten.’
 
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‘Soft Cut.’
 
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‘Epiphany.’
 
See more of Ole Fick’s paitnings, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.10.2017
08:36 am
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Time slips in Maria von Hausswolff’s new video for Scanner’s ‘Spirit Cluster’
11.10.2017
08:10 am
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Scanner, also known as Robin Rimbaud, is a London-based experimental musician who took the name of his act from the quasi-legal radio device. He appeared on an episode of The South Bank Show in 1997, showing off the gear he used to pick up cell phone conversations and other circumambient signals:

Essentially, I mean, what we’re seeing here is a big aerial. It’s the kind of thing where they say, “Size doesn’t matter,” and you know, maybe it does sometimes. And I use this handheld radio device, called a scanner, which is where I inspirationally took my name from, and what it is is a long-range radio receiver.

It’s like, at home, if you have a domestic radio that goes from 88 to like 106, I think it is, this goes from zero to 1,000, and it just speeds through the universe of sound out there. It starts at the bottom of the scale. Around zero to four are things like hearing aids, microwaves, and so on. And you move through taxi drivers, trains, hospital paging systems, army bases, and so on. You move through aeroplanes—and these devices are commercially sold, so you can park your car outside an airport and listen to the aeroplanes going overhead. So, make of that what you will.

 

 
Since then, Rimbaud has collaborated on records with DJ Spooky, Mike Kelley and Alva Noto, played guitar in Colin Newman’s band Githead, and scored a ballet based on The Chronicles of Narnia, among other things. Anna von Hausswolff’s Pomperipossa Records is releasing the excellent new album Fibolae, Scanner’s first studio album of the decade, on December 1. Below, see Maria von Hausswolff’s brand-new video for the track “Spirit Cluster,” which seems to be set in the same temporally distorted dimension as the clip for Cabaret Voltaire’s “I Want You.” The director says:

The video is set in a recently burnt down apartment: a mysterious and uncanny world where energy is stuck in a loop of repetition and rituals.

Watch it after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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11.10.2017
08:10 am
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Shirley Temple’s brutal death metal rendition of ‘On the Good Ship Lollipop’
11.10.2017
08:08 am
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Shirley Temple, “America’s Sweetheart,” on the cover of the sheet music for “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” which sold over 400,000 copies in its day.
 
Shirley Temple, the curly-haired moppet who ruled the Depression-era box office, first sang her signature song, “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” in the 1934 movie Bright Eyes where it became a beloved, wholesome American standard.

This week, vocalist Dori Kreisz from Hungary! and composer/musician Andy Rehfeldt took that beloved, wholesome standard and rendered it brutal as all fuck.

Rehfeldt is also responsible for the death metal versions of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,”  “Jolene,” and “You’re the One That I Want” that we’ve written about before here at Dangerous Minds.

The dubbed video, using footage from Bright Eyes, really works because of Temple’s exaggerated expressions as she sings. 

If you can’t get enough of these, you can see more of Andy’s work on his YouTube Channel.
 

 

Posted by Christopher Bickel
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11.10.2017
08:08 am
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Behind the scenes with David Lynch on ‘Eraserhead’
11.09.2017
03:39 pm
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David Lynch and Jack Nance on the set of ‘Eraserhead’

I was reading a review of the new season of Twin Peaks in The New York Review of Books and came across an absolutely hilarious line about David Lynch I hadn’t seen before. The speaker is Mel Brooks, who (amazingly) hired Lynch to direct The Elephant Man on the strength of Eraserhead and an earlier short called The Grandmother. Brooks related that meeting Lynch in real life confounded his expectations: “I expected to meet a grotesque, a fat little German with fat stains running down his chin and just eating pork.” Instead he was confronted with a “clean American WASP kid ... like Jimmy Stewart thirty-five years ago.”

Looking for further context for the “fat little German” that never was caused me to go down a few Lynch wormholes dating back to the 1970s (the word wormhole is carefully chosen, because after all, this is also the man who directed Dune).

In their 1983 book Midnight Movies (which actually features Eraserhead as its cover image), J. Hoberman and Jonathan Rosenbaum include the following exchange:
 

Hoberman: I’ve never seen a scholarly article on Eraserhead, have you?
Rosenbaum: No. It’s funny–-it’s almost as if it’s too perfect. Maybe in order to have an academic cult film it also has to be unhinged. Except what we are calling “unhinged” and “cult,” they’re calling “classic texts.”

 
Perhaps it should not come as a surprise that an 88-minute industrial-surrealist art film that played a major role in catapulting its director in the ranks of internationally renowned directors was not tossed off as an afterthought. On the contrary: the movie took nearly five years to make, the director actually lived on the set of the movie, and through his force of belief in the project was able to inculcate an almost cult-like mystique among the stalwart crew, who were hardly getting paid anything.
 

Lynch applies makeup on the face of Laurel Near, preparing to shoot a scene as the Lady in the Radiator
 
As fans of Lynch, we are very fortunate that a man named K. George Godwin attempted to document as much as he could about the making of Eraserhead before the coals had gotten too cold. In 1982 he published a detailed account of the years-long shoot called David Lynch and the Making of Eraserhead, which is available for you to read online. Most of the pictures in this post come from that book.

Sometime in the mid-1960s, Lynch, having informally studied art at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C., and thinking of himself fundamentally as a painter, made serious plans to visit Europe for three years. Remarkably, he instantly felt out of his element in Europe and broke off the trip after just 15 days. He returned home. Lynch has said of this experience, “I didn’t take to Europe. ... I was all the time thinking, ‘This is where I’m going to be painting.’ And there was no inspiration there at all for the kind of work I wanted to do.”

Lynch had submitted his short movie The Alphabet to the American Film Institute for a grant, where it had won distinction because it was so unlike the other movies in that year’s grouping—in a technical sense, they could not group it with the other entries. He ended up getting grant money for a short, which was to become The Grandmother. After The Grandmother Lynch tried to get a grant at a new AFI-affiliated organization called the Center for Advanced Film Studies. He submitted a script called Gardenback.

At the same moment, a producer at 20th Century Fox expressed interest in turning Gardenback into a feature-length movie, the prospect of which ended up creating problems because the AFI had recently gotten burned on a student feature-length project In Pursuit of Treasure and was reluctant to fund a student for anything similar. Interestingly, Lynch’s scripts tended to be on the short side because of his own instinctive understanding to allow nonverbal “scenes” to stretch on indefinitely. AFI looked at his script for Eraserhead, which was only 21 pages long, and concluded that the final movie would be 21 minutes. To his credit, Lynch told them that he expected it to be much longer. AFI agreed to fund a movie lasting 42 minutes, exactly double the original estimate. (As mentioned, the final product would run 88 minutes.) The funding for the movie amounted to $10,000. Actually, Frank Daniel, the dean of the AFI, threatened to resign if the funding for the movie were to be rejected. Obviously, he got his way.
 

In a scene cut from the movie, Henry, searching for a vaporizer to ease the suffering of the baby, opens a drawer and finds vanilla pudding and peas instead
 
Amazingly, the initial projections for the shoot were for a few weeks, approximately six weeks. The shoot ended up taking more than four years. The movie was shot on some disused stables that belonged to AFI, where Lynch also lived. Lynch’s close friend Jack Fisk, a well-regarded production designer and art director who met Sissy Spacek on the set of Badlands and married her soon after, appears in Eraserhead as the Man in the Planet. He and Spacek donated money to keep the movie afloat, as did Jack Nance’s wife Catherine Coulson, who was working as a waitress. Coulson, a production assistant on Eraserhead, many years later achieved fame as the Log Lady on Twin Peaks. For a while Lynch supported himself by delivering the Wall Street Journal, which paid $48.50 a week.

During the shoot, it can be fairly said that Lynch mesmerized his crew somewhat with his commitment to his artistic vision. Elmes tells of coming on board several months in because of the untimely death of the original director of photography, Herb Cardwell:
 

Everybody knew where everything was and what everything was and how David worked—what to do and what not to do. So I went into it the way I normally would, which is to, in a very quiet way, take charge of what needs to be done and to do it myself. In the case of Eraserhead I really had to do it myself because there was nobody else to tell to do it. We were doing a closeup of the baby and David had looked through the camera and lined it up and it was all ready to go. And I went over to the table and I moved this little prop over so that it was not hidden so much by something else. And Catherine turned to me and said, “Fred, we don’t move things on that table.” And I said, “Well, it’s just that it was blocked and I wanted to see it more clearly.” And she said, “Well, David has never moved anything on the table.” So I put it back. ... Heaven forbid David should see!

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.09.2017
03:39 pm
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‘Undercover of the Night’: That time the Rolling Stones got banned for ‘glamorizing violence’
11.09.2017
08:33 am
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How to stay relevant. It’s a question we all face at some point in life. Mick Jagger was thinking about staying relevant. It was 1983. Punk had come and gone. New Wave was still a thing. Electronica and the New Romantics were still fashionable. Where did a rock ‘n’ roll band like the Stones fit into the mix? Jagger was going through what Keith Richards calls “Lead Vocalist Syndrome.” The point where a band’s singer thinks he/she is bigger, better, and more important than the rest of the group.

Richards had quit heroin. He was clean. After years of fucking around, Richards was back and wanted to take up his fair share of the burden Jagger had been carrying. But Jagger had control of the Rolling Stones and wasn’t going to give Keith an inch.

“Shut up, Keith, that’s an idiotic idea,” was how Jagger dismissed Richards.

To keep relevant, Jagger was checking out the competition. He wanted to know what Bowie was doing, what Rod Stewart was doing, what was the latest tune played on the dancefloor at Studio 54, and which bands were snapping at their heels. He was chasing his own tail.

The best way to stay relevant is to be and do.

Jagger and Richards wrote their first song on a kitchen table. They didn’t care what other people thought or who they sounded like, it was their song—that was all that mattered. Now, the relationship between Jagger and Richards was fractious. It was falling apart. Jagger had control and he was taking the Stones where he wanted.

Yet, checking out the opposition, chasing the trends meant sometimes Jagger got it right. He was and still is a shrewd businessman—let’s not forget, he had been a student at the London School of Economics. He had also been very successful in taking the Stones in unlikely directions, like that time he pulled them into disco music with “Miss You.” But sometimes his ideas were as popular as that time Family Guy replaced Brian with the ghastly mutt, Vinny. Still, Jagger was always open to suggestions, always looking for something new, always wanting to be at the front of the crowd.

Jagger had read William Burroughs’ book Cities of the Red Night. It was the book everyone was supposed to be reading. It had received, at that point, the best reviews of Burroughs’ career. Which shows weird only lasts as long as it’s something new. Now Burroughs was an eminent grise living in a bunker in NYC hanging his used condoms out to dry on the washing-line.

Burroughs was the starting point for Jagger writing the song “Undercover of the Night” in Paris around late 1982. As he later explained in the liner notes for The Stones’ compilation Jump Back, “Undercover of the Night” was “heavily influenced by William Burroughs’ Cities Of The Red Night, a free-wheeling novel about political and sexual repression. It combines a number of different references to what was going down in Argentina and Chile.” Though he did deny he had “nicked it.”

The Burroughs’ influence is evident in Jagger’s lyrics:

Hear the screams from Center 42
Loud enough to bust your brains out
The opposition’s tongue is cut in two
Keep off the streets ‘cause you’re in danger
One hundred thousand disparu
Lost in the jails in South America

Curl up baby
Curl up tight
Curl up baby
Keep it all out of sight
Undercover
Keep it all out of sight
Undercover of the night

The sex police are out there on the streets
Make sure the pass laws are not broken
The race militia has got itchy fingers
All the way from New York back to Africa

“Undercover of the Night” is a classic Stones’ track. A brilliant vocal, a great guitar riff, and a memorable hook. It was Jagger’s song, as Richards later recalled:

“Mick had this one all mapped out, I just played on it. There were a lot more overlays on the track because there was a lot more separation in the way we were recording at the time.”

When it came to making the promo for the song, the Stones approached Julien Temple who was the hip, young director with a fine resume of work with the Sex Pistols, the UK Subs (Punk Can Take It) and the promo for “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. He had also famously directed the Pistols big screen adventure The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle.

Temple soon discovered how difficult the relationship between Jagger and Richards had become:

“I wrote an extreme treatment about being in the middle of an urban revolution and dramatized the notion of Keith and Mick really not liking each other by having Keith kill Mick in the video. I never thought they would do it. Of course, they loved it. I went to Paris to meet with the band. Keith was looking particularly unhappy. He was glowering with menace and eventually said, ‘Come downstairs with me.’ My producer and I went down to the men’s room. Keith had a walking stick and suddenly he pulled it apart. The next thing I know he’s holding a swordstick to my throat. He said, ‘I want to be in the video more than I am.’ So we wrote up his part a bit more. That was Keith’s idea of collaboration!”

 
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Mick Jagger getting lippy.
 
The promo opens on a hotel complex. American tourists are having a good time grooving to the Stones’ music while militiamen patrol the rooftops and streets. Jagger as the journalist (white knight in a Panama hat and very bad stick-on mustache) watches as Keith and his gang of masked vigilantes or maybe revolutionaries or maybe death squad or maybe just a rock ‘n’ roll group on the spur of some internal wranglings (take your pick) sneak into the hotel and kidnap one of the hotel guests or rather kidnap Mick Jagger watching Mick Jagger on TV. Journo Mick watches kidnapped Mick being spirited away by Keith and co. who all drive off in what looks like a military vehicle straight past a bunch of soldiers kicking the shit out of people down on their luck.

Journo Mick makes his way to kidnapped Mick’s hotel room where he finds a woman hiding under the bed covers (ya see what they did there?). Anyway, one thing leads to another, and journo Mick and his girl under the covers watch an execution and then go off (via the police department) to rescue kidnapped Mick. A shoot-out ensues in a candle-lit church—nothing worse than what any five-year-old could see on The A-Team—and kidnapped Mick is saved. Poor old journo Mick dies from a bullet wound.

What it’s saying, what it’s actually about, is none too clear. It’s a dilettante’s take on Burroughs and the criminal activities of government’s and hoodlums in South America. At worst, it might make a viewer go, “Wow, South America looks a fun place to have a party.” At best, it would get the kids talking about politics and shit.

Jagger has sometimes been accused of being a dilettante. Maybe. To be fair, he’s more, as Richards said in his autobiography, “a sponge” who soaks up whatever’s going on and filters it through his music. Just what every good artist does.

The subject matter of the song and its accompanying promo was a rare outing into politics for the Stones. It was over fifteen years since “Street Fighting Man” but “Undercover of the Night” chimed neatly with the edgy political songs released by bands like The Jam or specifically the Clash and their album Sandinista! from 1980, which similarly dealt with the political turmoil in Chile and Nicaragua. The promo was banned by the BBC or rather the Corporation said they weren’t going to screen it, while the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) were nervous over its perceived violence. MTV was also angsty. It’s difficult to see why the sequences of so-called “violence” caused such concern, as both the BBC and the Independent Television Channels in the UK screened far worse with war films and westerns and TV detective series at peak times. It was more likely the political content—the suggestion that America was in some way sponsoring murderous dictatorships in South America—rather than any bang-bang, shoot-shoot, made “Undercover of the Night” unpalatable. But getting “banned” kept the Stones relevant in a wholly different way.

In 1983 Mick Jagger and director Julien Temple appeared via TV link-up on The Tube to promote the single and defend the video’s politics and violence. They were interviewed by a young presenter called Muriel Gray.

The Tube was the best music show on British television during the eighties. It was launching pad for a variety of young, sometimes unknown artists like the Fine Young Cannibals, Paul Young, and even Twisted Sister who earned a record deal after their appearance. Gray was one of the show’s three presenters, alongside main hosts Jools Holland and Paula Yates. Gray had been selected out of literally dozens, nay hundreds of young hopefuls who attended auditions to be one of the presenters on the show. Gray won out because she had the right kind of attitude, which probably stemmed from the fact her favorite hobby was “arguing—not even discussing” as Gray believed arguing was the best way to find out what a person is really thinking.

It was an awkward interview between Gray, Jagger and Temple. It was almost like a gobby maiden Aunt versus the naughty drunken Uncles. Gray later explained in The Official Book of The Tube, she “wanted Mick Jagger… to justify why he thought the violence in the ‘Undercover of the Night’ video was necessary, what his personal reasons were.” Unfortunately, it didn’t quite end up like that. Television interviewers have a difficult role. They are told by the producer what they have to extract from the interviewee. Their job is a one part sycophant, one part grand inquisitor.

Read more of Jagger and the ‘Under Cover of the Night’ interview, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.09.2017
08:33 am
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Tibetan Buddhist robots and Pauline Anna Strom’s space music star in ‘Ether Antenna,’ a DM premiere
11.09.2017
08:11 am
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Pauline Anna Strom is a San Francisco composer. Blind since infancy, Strom says she felt like “a loner and a heretic” growing up Catholic in the South. During the Seventies, she moved to San Francisco, where she heard Tangerine Dream, Eno and company on FM radio and was inspired to experiment with synthesizers and a TASCAM four-track. (DM is reliably informed that, despite all the other changes to the city, she still resides in SF with her long-lived iguana, Little Solstice.)

Strom’s music is not for the disco. At once soothing and disorienting, it’s her means of sailing in the timestream, conjuring up the frozen past and the (apparently) populous future. Her first release, 1982’s Trans-Millenia [sic] Consort, took its name from Strom’s time-traveling alter ego, according to the press materials for the new retrospective of her recording career (such is its futurity, it comes out tomorrow):

She believed that humanity was confined by its inability to access the people of the future, therefore suffering in a kind of group solipsism. Designing a world of music that rooted itself in all times but the present, Strom’s alter ego, the Trans-Millenia Consort, became a musical activist for triggering this state of heightened consciousness.

 

Pauline Anna Strom (photographer unknown, used with permission of Archie Patterson’s Eurock Archives)
 
Strom’s first LP has inspired a new film that also mixes the familiar unsettling and the unsettling familiar: Ether Antenna, set in Nepal. There are no human actors, only robots portraying incidents from the lives of Avalokiteśvara and Shakyamuni Buddha. A five-minute excerpt from Ether Antenna, set to music by Pauline Anna Strom, appears at the bottom of this post, and the director, Michael Candy, kindly agreed to answer a few questions by email.

It strikes me that the prayer wheel that appears at the beginning and end of Ether Antenna is a kind of robot, and that Tibetan prayer flags are automata, too. Why do we find machines in a 1,200-year-old religious tradition?

The idea of automata originates in the mythologies of many cultures around the world. It’s almost an obvious outcome of a technology-enabled civilization; as digital automation continues to penetrate our daily life, it’s easy to overlook the analogue counterparts and machines that have made modern living possible.

A few years prior to my residency, I traveled to Ladakh and spent a few weeks exploring the Indian Himalayas. One of the most striking things as a (foreign) engineer was to find ancient mechanical infrastructure still functioning and valid in society. It’s like, none of those complex folding walls, trap doors or snake pits Hollywood seems so fond of would ever function without a good amount of oil and snake food. But here, in this ancient mountain range, you can find and touch a several-hundred-year-old spinning drum embossed with text and with the flick of a finger have it praying for you; some even use water, wind or solar to complete their eternal journey clockwise.

Nowadays you can’t catch a taxi in Kathmandu without a plastic solar powered prayer wheel whirling away on the dash. For me, these are simple machines doing man’s spiritual bidding—to pray; ether machines keeping you connected to the cloud, from a time when people actually knew where the cloud was.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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11.09.2017
08:11 am
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‘Woodshock ‘85’: Richard Linklater’s first short film featuring a young Daniel Johnston
11.09.2017
08:02 am
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By the time we got to Woodshock we were half a dozen strong…
 
Before it became “The Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin, Texas was home to an alternative music festival known as Woodshock. A quip on the “Aquarian Exposition” of a similar name, the punk rock beer-bust was first held in Waterloo Park in 1981. Fourteen local Texan bands played for over six hours, which was interrupted by a massive sprinkler raid indicating the park’s curfew. The event’s inaugural poster was designed by a pre-Jesus Lizard David Yow, who desecrated the classic Woodstock dove by flipping it upside-down with XX’s in its eyes and a toe tag. Peace and Love, my ass.
 

 
In 1983, the event moved to Hurlbut Ranch in Dripping Springs, located in the hills just outside of Austin. The site had once hosted events like the 1972 Dripping Springs Reunion, initially dubbed the “Super Bowl of Country Music” until low attendance proved it to be a massive commercial failure. Willie Nelson, who played the Reunion, was inspired by the event and hosted his first annual 4th of July Picnic in Dripping Springs the following year. Unlike its site predecessors, Woodshock would bring with it a different element from the Texas music scene: the punks, freaks, and weirdos that, as the popular local bumper sticker says “Keep Austin Weird.”
 
The uneven dirt roads that led to the Hurlbut Ranch made Woodshock a festival that was nearly impossible to get to. Some could say its inaccessibility was a blessing in disguise, as isolation and expanse, in addition to access to legendary watering holes, encouraged a certain free-form insanity that in ways mimicked the spirit of Woodstock itself. This must be what it felt like to take the brown acid.
 

 
Woodshock 1985 included performances by local (and otherwise) musicians Daniel Johnston, Texas Instruments, Dharma Bums, the U-Men, Glass Eye, Cargo Cult (fronted by Biscuit of Big Boys), The Reivers, Poison 13, and the festival’s unofficial mascot, The Hickoids. Several of the groups were part of Austin’s growing post-postmodernist, or “New Sincerity” movement, considered to be reactionary to the ironic outlook of punk rock and new wave. David Yow’s Scratch Acid appeared on the original Woodshock lineup, but didn’t perform until the following year for reasons unknown. What really set 1985 apart from previous and future years, however, is the short film that was created by a local filmmaker named Richard Linklater.
 

 
Running at just seven minutes long, Woodshock is a 16mm satirical homage to the hippie movement at Woodstock and the experimental psychedelic films of the era. Linklater, who would go on to direct such celebrated Hollywood films as Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, and Boyhood, was a film student at Austin Community College at the time of filming. The short was the first ever to be completed by Linklater, along with co-creator and future collaborator, Lee Daniel. The two would later recreate the landscape of Woodshock in the “Moontower” party scene of 1993’s Dazed and Confused.
 
Similar to Heavy Metal Parking Lot, which was released in the same year, Woodshock is a documentary short about the music fan and not the music itself. Rather than focusing on the bands of the festival, Linklater focused on the revelers, the fucked-up weirdos fried on acid and drunk off Lone Stars. Despite its punk rock notoriety, Woodshock ‘85 was about the moment and the thrill of it all.
 

 

 

 
The only musician featured on-camera was outsider artist and proud McDonald’s employee, Daniel Johnston. Here the unknown 24-year old musician can be seen during an awkward exchange where he promotes his tape, the infamous Hi, How Are You. It was around this time that Johnston began to receive some national acclaim, although it would still be years away until Kurt Cobain wore a Daniel Johnston t-shirt. Ironically, this would not be the last time Johnston would solicit his demo tapes in a Richard Linklater film. The director’s first feature length, 1988’s 16mm experimental masterpiece, It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books, also boasts a brief Daniel Johnston cameo.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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11.09.2017
08:02 am
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