Monday, October 31, 2011

spooky stuff ii

what it is: more kids' halloween art
where i found it: shop windows in my neighborhood

is that kim jong il?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

spooky stuff

what it is: halloween kids' art
where i found it: my neighborhood

Every year the local elementary school holds a Halloween art contest, wherein local children paint on neighborhood store windows. Annually, there are some real masterpieces. Below are my favorites from 'ween 2010.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

hey, those are my friends!

what it is: internet dunk the clown
where i found it: all over, like a virus!

At several points I have had friends get skewered on the internet. Here are a few examples:

1) My buddies in the band Pigeons took a pretty run of the mill publicity photo. Admittedly they look a little uninterested or hung over. Commentors on this sight seemed to have had a real reaction to their eyeglasses, and somehow this devolves to the point of someone talking about hummus squirting out of my friend's ass. Go figure.

2) My friend Marc Orleans used to play a lot of guitar in the subway. Someone made a short documentary about him, posted it on youtube and he got more than 500 of comments within two days totally denigrating him and his existence, such as "you're the worst person ever", "get a job, honky", "weak bitch" and "kill yourself". I'm not saying the movie is great, but man.

3) This crappy supposedly black metal band Liturgy got a little documentary posted about them. They share a label with my friend D Charles Speer. Somehow in the comments Speer's sideburns got noted as being everything that's wrong with music today. I can no longer find that comment, but I do have to admit it's kind of fun to scroll through page after page of Liturgy bashing. But why do my friend's sideburns have to get thrown in with this dude's smiling idiotic philosophy? I bet there's hummus shooting out of his ass as he speaks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

mister ham

RIP the amazingly named Keith Ham, also known as Swami Bhaktipada

Aside from cultivating the Hare Krishnas of the East Village, he also founded a "Spiritual Disneyland" in West Virginia that included live elephants, golden temples and a swan boat. We partly have him to thank for all the Hare Krishnas that pop up in bad comedy movie airports, the incomprehensible (at least to me) Hindu infiltration of punk rock (see the Cro-Mags) and widespread cheap and/or $2 vegetarian meals at HK centers worldwide. Oh yeah, he was also incarcerated for trying to murder several devotees and selling unauthorized stickers of Snoopy.

Who would of guessed you could find "Spiritual Disneyland" in West Virginia?

stupid art

what it is: live birth as art
where i found it: mr. a. levy of atlanta, georgia 

Apparently some woman has decided to do a performance art piece that equals nothing more than delivering her baby in an art gallery. There's still time to check this out, as the child isn't due until early November. Here's the link if you're interested in learning more. Performance art almost always walks a line between what's acceptable and what's not, and often crosses the line between public and private: Linda Montano tying herself to her partner for a whole year, Marina Abramovic and her partner starting from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China only to break up when they reached the middle, etc.. Both of those ladies had some serious actions under their belts (kneeling naked in a museum with a loaded gun and razor blades next to you and telling the audience to do what it wants with your body) by the time they pulled those stunts. The baby woman's resume is probably less impressive. Clearly, she has not been through the process of delivery before. Birth is a beautiful, horribly harrowing, painful, and transcendentally gut wrenching experience (my wife knows this a lot better than I do). Would you really have wanted a gallery full of art assholes to see your placenta-covered screaming head emerging from your mom's vagina?

missus montano commits

missus abramovic finds a friend

Monday, October 24, 2011

sweet, sweet racism ii

what it is: a.c. update
where i found it: trying to entertain myself

Carrying over from yesterday's theme, I recently came to find out that after I stopped following or caring about the band A.C. they went through a neo-nazi phase. With a singer like Seth Putnam, who dedicated his life to being as offensive as possible, it's hard to know if this was serious or just pushing the edge as usual. It may not matter when you're willing to go so far into the ridiculous and surreal that you put yourself on stage in a wheelchair after a drug induced stroke for people to publicly mock and lash out at.

Despite all of this, I believe that the thing of most enduring value that Putnam left this world with is his list of song titles, some of which are included below:

Crankin' My Bands Demo on a Box at the Beach
You Keep a Diary
You Own a Store
Recycling is Gay
You Are an Interior Decorator
Pottery Is Gay
You Are a Food Critic
You Are Gay
You Live in a Houseboat
Windchimes Are Gay
No We Don't Want to Do a Split 7" With Your Stupid Fucking Band
You Look Divorced
I Noticed That You're Gay
The Word Homophobia is Gay
Don't Call Japanese Hardcore Japcore
Abomination of Unnecessarily Augmented Composition Monikers
Don't Offer Me Weak Drugs Or I'll Kick Your Fucking Ass
I Gave NAMBLA Pictures of Your Kid
I Got an Office Job for the Sole Purpose of Sexually Harassing Women
I Sold Your Dog To a Chinese Restaurant
Well, You Know Mean Gene . . .
Your Kid Committed Suicide Because You Suck
(this last one apparently a reference to Eric Clapton's son who fell out of a hotel window)

Here's a video of early A.C. in action. I think the "guitar solo" is my favorite part:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

sweet, sweet racism

what it is: prussian blue
where i found it: see below

As in yesterday's post, this is something I found on the Weirdest Band in World blog. Here were have two blond adolescent girls singing on their front porch in what looks to be an innocent pseudo-professional video. They cuddle with a cute little baby and giggle in a field while wearing Austrian Sound of Music style dresses. The only catch is that they're singing about white supremacy. Oh. I might not have picked up on it unless I was tipped off.

Apparently they've made a few albums, some of which included a Screwdriver (a sort of notorious skinhead band) cover or two. Nazi chicks sure have gotten a lot cuter since I was coming up.

I have'nt done too much research on this. My guess is that their parents are neo-nazis and have presented an all white world as a wonderfully idyllic place to their young daughters.
I will admit that this got me thinking about the possibility of an all white world. When I envision purely white places the first things that come to mind are: that guy* that kept his own daughter as a chained sex hostage in Austria, Scandinavia having the highest suicide rate in the world and, of course, angry and ridiculous (though often awesome) Norse black metal. I also think of Poland, where (at least in the late 90s) the park benches were full of drunk guys by 8AM and stayed that way all day. I also remembered this great compendium of "stuff white people like" (e.g. picking their own fruit, sea salt, bicycles).
*link to the unbelievably titled Guardian article "Light out. Rape. Light on. Rape. In front of the children. Birth. Death. Rape."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

sort of unsettling sights and sounds

what it is: gangpol und mit
where i found it: see below

I found this on a blog called the Weirdest Band in the World. A lot of the bands found there are only moderately weird or interesting, but there are a few I can't quite get my head around. This is one of them. The concept sounds awful - two European dudes who make robotic keyboard music and simplistic, but detailed computer animated videos to go along with it. The more you watch, though, the better it gets, ending up to be quite psychedelic and violent, but kind of festive at the same time. HERE is a link to a bunch of their videos. Definitely worth watching on full screen. If you've just taken some drugs and are looking for something to do, this could be an interesting choice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

d.i.y. intoxicants

what it is: homebrew
where if found it: richmond, va

I first discovered brewing my own beer when I was 18. While there were few stores that would sell me beer without a fake id, there was a home brew supply store nearby that never batted an eye when I purchased equipment or ingredients: I guess there's nothing illegal about selling plastic buckets and bags of grain to a teenager. I've been brewing semi-regularly since then and it's fun, cost effective and relatively safe. Most batches have been delicious and I've only gotten poisoned once and had bottles explode twice.

For some reason supply stores are very few and far between in NY, so I rely on a couple of websites. Austin homebrew is a good little store that I've been to in person and never had any bad luck with when ordering by web. I also like Midwest, which is more extensive.

If you like beer and science projects this might be for you.

raw materials
more boiling

into the bottling bucket from fermenter
end product

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

bronx bark beetles

what it is: bark beetle patterns
where i found it: wave hill, the bronx

These patterns are made by bark beetles as they burrow under tree bark, killing off the tree in the process. Sad for tree, but great insect art. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

puzzle master rex

what it is: rex parker does the ny times crossword
where i found it: google, i think

I've been doing the New York Times crossword off and on for about 15 years now. I usually still can't get past Wednesday (they increase in difficulty throughout the week), but I try. When I'm stumped on a clue or two I might ask someone or I might google a single word. When I get really desperate or have no fucking idea about anything I turn to this guy. How does he get even the hardest puzzles done so fast and have time to research/provide great information about each clue and make hilarious and weird commentary*? Even when I go though stages of not doing the puzzle or don't even try on a Friday I still get sucked into the vortex of his sight, where there's always weird links and unusual stuff to erase any time you might have to do something productive, meaningful or important.

*footnote - possible answers:
Perhaps he is a savant:

Or a dork:

Or perhaps he grew up under a totalitarian regime and was forcibly trained as a child to be an indentured virtuoso:

Monday, October 17, 2011

i am not going to the phillipines

what it is: horrifying
where i found it: mr. k khanily of bay ridge, brooklyn

Please watch from start to finish.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

baby priest

what it is: sad wings of destiny / sin after sin
where i found it: the tour van

mister halford

You probably have some preconceptions about Judas Priest. Maybe you envision Beavis and Butthead singing Breaking the Law, the funny little documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot, or images of Rob Halford in leather gear riding a motorcycle on stage. While each of these things has it's value, what you should really be focusing on are their second and third albums, Sad Wings of Destiny and Sin after Sin.

This material precedes the fist banging, dumbed down, cartoon like band they would become. The compositions are exceedingly complex (but never sound forced) and the guitar players are ablaze and flowing with more riffs and ideas than you can shake a stick at. The thing really to hear here, though, are Rob Halford's vocals: highly operatic, endlessly surprising, never grating. Sometimes their sheer extremity makes me laugh, but there's really no precedent for the way he bats you from side to side with vibrato, echo, harmonies, shrieking, guttural blues howls and lyrics inspired by everything from Jack the Ripper to old ghostly men. 

This is metal before any template existed. Some parts sound like Queen, some like prog-rock. There's a Joan Baez cover and, a weird fugue, some heavy shuffle, and surprisingly angular rock twists/turns. You can hear a hundred omens fortelling of future bands to come. There's also a lot of thinly veiled sublimation of homosexual lust (e.g. a song about pick up spots on Fire Island*, and a song called Island of Domination), but this is before Halford came out of the closet, so everyone thought it was just super macho.

Like early Scorpions (see that earlier post), I first heard this stuff in the tour van. I'm not providing any download link because this is pure album rock, never meant to be listened to on any goddamned iPod.

*footnote: other popular lyrical references to Fire Island include the following:

When the gay messiah comes
He will fall from the star of Studio 54
And appear on the sand of Fire Island's shore
- Rufus Wainwright

Don't go in the bushes
Because someone might grab ya or 
Someone might stab ya.
- the Village People (referring to what might happen on Fire Island in the throes of a Funky Weekend)

power to the people

Friday, October 14, 2011

mysterious portals

what it is: doors that i am sort of hesitant to enter
where i found it: around town