Hello from the Dubai tourism board!

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Diz and Mil.

Friends, one of Our People is in serious trouble.

Mildred’s partner, Diz, has been arrested in Dubai for melatonin, an over-the-counter aid for jet lag. You can read the full story here, on Mildred’s LJ. I quote:

We kind of knew he would be profiled because he has long hair and looks oriental (they are very racist against Asians in Dubai, and ultra-conservative). He knew the score going in: prescription drugs are illegal, dress conservatively and detox for a week (even trace amounts of either illegal or prescription drugs in the urine are prosecuted as ‘drug smuggling’. I’m not joking). They found melatonin on him, which he bought over the counter in the US. Legally, you can even buy it over the counter in Dubai. They arrested him, anyway.

He was strip searched, forced to do a urine test and thrown in jail. In their search they dug into the bottom of his bag and came up with a few fragments of dirt, which they allege is hashish, which is totally outrageous. They also claimed that the melatonin was actually drugs, which was equally, clearly absurd.

The sentence if convicted is a blanket four years, with a minimum of six months in prison in one of Dubai’s squalid, third world facilities.

I can’t think of a less deserving person for this to have happened to, this being the guy who offers shelter to his friends, campaigns for animal rights and subscribes to daily_puppy. Diz’s drug test came back negative and the melatonin has been cleared, but the authorities are still detaining him over the clump of dirt, which they’re still testing. We are all hoping that, in the next week, Diz will be released with an apology and sent home. If not, we are ready to wage all-out media war to bring him home.

Travelers need to know the image of Dubai a safe, modern tourist destination is a mirage. I don’t care if they have The Hydropolis, I don’t want any of you going there. What happened to Diz can happen to anyone, and now we’re just keeping our fingers crossed as we wait for news.

Please see Mildred’s LJ post for further details about this story. Please read the post before asking questions. Thank you everyone for your support! A special thanks to Warren Ellis for helping spread the word.

Who else has seen SKYWHALES, damn it?!

Waaaaugh! Why didn’t anyone tell me about Skywhales? This is incredible. Have you seen it? What about you there, in the back, wearing the Dragonriders of Pern tee shirt? Ever heard of Skywhales? Yeah?

DAMN it. I’d never even heard of Skywhales until just now. What a huge, unsightly gap in my nerducation.

My old friend Adam Lamas and I were just wasting many precious hours of life watching cats have psychotic episodes on Teh YooToobz when suddenly he asked “wait, time out, have you seen Skywhales?” Nope, never heard of it. He made with the clickies and I promptly spilled bongwater wine all over myself.

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My manta ray is all right.

Completed in 1983, Skywhales is an animated short about a race of green-skinned humanoid aliens who live on a floating island in the upper layers of a gaseous planet’s atmosphere. To survive, they hunt enormous manta ray creatures in pedal-powered airships. As this fansite author puts it, Skywhales “is a window onto an alien way of life–language, culture, taboos… as complete a picture as a short film has ever painted, and its final revelations are nothing short of haunting.”

And how! The “boo bee boo boo bee” stuff is a bit grating at first, but hang in there. It’s epic, as Nadya would say. Uber, even. Circle of life. See it! Skywhales! (Sorry, I just really like saying that. “Skywhales!” While making jazz hands.) But seriously. It’s gorgeous and poignant and disturbing. Like your mom. With a mohawk.

Skywhales!


Skywhales! Directed by Derek Hayes and Phil Austin and produced for Channel 4.

Whatever Happened to Weldon Kees?

…But even here, I know our work was worth the cost.
What we have brought to pass, no one can take away.
Life offers up no miracles, unfortunately, and needs assistance.
Nothing will be the same as once it was,
I tell myself. –It’s dark here on the peak, and keeps on getting
darker.
It seems I am experiencing a kind of ecstasy.
Was it sunlight on the waves that day? The night comes down.
And now the water seems remote, unreal, and perhaps it is.

excerpt from “A Distance From the Sea”
by Weldon Kees
(born February 24th, 1914 – presumed dead July 18th, 1955)

A poet, a novelist, a painter, a jazz composer, a photographer, an art critic, a radio personality and a filmmaker, Weldon Kees wore many hats. Always dapper, always daring without compromising his accessibility, he was a true mid-century Renaissance man: the twitchy post-war poster child of avant garde America.

On the rare occasion that I meet folks with knowledge of Kees, it’s all I can do not to grab their ears and plant a big, wet one on ‘em. Despite his brilliance and polymathic output (perhaps in part because he’s hard to pigeonhole) Kees isn’t too well known outside of a small, devout cult of literati who seem to want to keep his legacy a secret. Personally, I wish his work would receive more wide-ranging attention.

Tesla vs. Edison – fight!

“Westinghouse and Edison were not friends at all. You can see why as the girls wind coils for the Alternating Current Westinghouse adopted from Tesla instead of Edison’s pet Direct Current.” – Goldenthrush on YouTube

I admit this post isn’t about a Voltron-style battle between Edison and Tesla, though I certainly wish it were. The Westinghouse Electric Corporation was an industrial giant founded in 1886. The company made itself known by being the proprietors of the first patent for Nikola Tesla‘s alternating-current transmission. In 1904, 21 short films were made by the company to showcase its various technological advancements – girls winding armatures, coil winding machines, steam hammers, assembling and testing turbines, etc. Parts of these films have been edited together into an exceptionally inspiring clip and set to music. The rhythm of industry at its finest – a superb way to begin the week!

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/UXxfh2NrlcI" width="400" height="330" wmode="transparent" /]

What’s Zo Wearing? January 27, 2008

This is actually what most of my wardrobe looked like for a couple of years – tons of thin layered basics. Things got so dire that I actually had to make a “no more buying basics” rule, which I observe even now.

My friends and relatives seem to have suddenly noticed this shift [or they think I look particularly uncomfortable] because this year I’ve received soft, thin layer items from both my dear friend Lumi and my mom. To be honest, it’s really kind of nice.

Kin Dza-Dza! 1986 Soviet Steampunk?

Ah, Soviet socio-political satire, ah Russian dystopia. Could anything be greater than a combination of both, in movie format? Unlikely, says Kin Dza-Dza! – a minimal and clever sci-fi masterpiece from the ’80s. Written and directed by revered director Georgi Daneliya, this film from my early years was only allowed to see the light of day thanks to its creator’s reputation. The plot revolves around the story of two oddballs who accidentally teleport to the mysterious planet Pluk in the Kin Dza-Dza galaxy. Fiddler and Uncle Vova unwittingly activate a device belonging to a hobo who claims to be an alien, and the fun begins.

Pluk’s inhabitants are a strange bunch; far advanced in technology, though scarcely evolved socially, with command of only a 2-word vocabulary. They look exactly like humans, have the power of telepathy, yet use a tool that divides all being into two groups – superior and inferior. Uncle Vova and Fiddler have many interesting encounters in store, and much to overcome if they’re ever to make it home.

Kin Dza-Dza! is rich with [not entirely subtle] critique of Communism and the poignant bitter humor I expect from Soviet Era films along with crunchy puns, rust, dust, and a Mad Maxy landscape throughout. Steampunk costumes and gadgets make appearances and are actually utilized in a way that makes sense! It’s a shame this Russian cult favorite isn’t better known – I deem it worthy of the pickiest sci-fi fans, provided they can get past the complete lack of any special effects.

Where are you, Sow?

Sow was a short-lived but prolific project of spoken word artist Anna Wildsmith, her once boyfriend Raymond Watts of Pig and several members of KMFDM. Among other gritty eclectic compositions on their 1998 album “Sick”, the title track stood out and forged itself into my brain. Wildsmith screeches, cries and whispers through some of the strangest lyrics you’ll ever feel forced to pay attention to. Appearing fully nude on all of “Sick” album art, Anna carries the theme over into the vocal tracks, too. Her voice, though beautiful at its core, is distorted into nerve-endings and vocal chords stripped raw – commanding, compelling and frail.

Sow only released two full-length albums: “Je M’Aime” in ’94 and “Sick” in ’98, but remains one of my favorites to this day. Since, there have been 3 newish tracks released through Euphonic Productions which can be heard here. Little is known about Anna’s current whereabouts. During a 1999 interview with Release magazine she was living in a primitive French village, writing and hoping [though not especially planning] to release more albums. If anyone knows what she’s up to these days, I’d love to hear about it.

Freyagushi: Ruffles Mixed with Bandages

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Photo by: Tatiana Guillaumet. Turbine jewelry: atomefabrik.

Everything that designer Freyagushi makes is a bit kinderwhore, a bit medical, and all pink. Many alt designers today try to present themselves as something more than what they actually are, embarrassing themselves in the process by doing things like erroneously adding the word “Couture” to the end of their business name. There’s no effort on Freyagushi’s part to look professional at all; she’s just like, “come into my zany world!” The result is honestly fun.

The designer is also the model in some of the pictures above (that’s her with the pink circuitry tattoo!). For her next trick she’s doing the Animal Hospital Fashion Show at the Torture Garden.

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Model: Ulorin Vex. Photographer: Russell Coleman.

I am the Eggman, Chocka DOOO BEEEEE

Storyteller du jour Si Spurrier just introduced me to the Mayor of Nightmare Town. Would you like to meet him?

Usually I have a lot of trouble finding common ground with the average YouTube commenter, but in this case, I concur wholeheartedly with dud8112084:

“If i ever see that thing ima blow its brains out with a 12 gauge.”

In the name of all that is good and wholesome, will someone please tell me who was working in ads and marketing over at Ferrero for the Kinder Surprise line in the 80s? Leprechauns? Crackheads? Seriously. I am confounded and terrified. Can anyone out there tell me where these demonic puppetmasters have gone? I must know.

Send any and all pertient information regarding the unholy Eggmaster to coilhouse@gmail.com.

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Please help. Please. The kinder eggs grow restless. They rustle and mewl in the dark oh please god help me I may never sleep again.

He Came From Outer Space to Save the Human Race


The freak shall inherit the earth.

Dear Mr Nomi,

We’ve never met, and your ashes have long since been scattered above Manhattan, so I guess it’s pretty weird for me to be writing you this letter. Then again, everyone always says you seemed to hail from another planet. Let’s pretend for a minute that you didn’t die alone in a hospital bed in 1983. It’s comforting to imagine that you simply returned to your home world and maybe, somehow, you can read this.

If you were still here, you’d be 64 years young today. No doubt your friends would be gathered around you at the piano to sing Kurt Weill and Chubby Checkers tunes. Perhaps you’d share some of your delicious homemade pastries with them and spend hours reminiscing about those hazy, crazy post-punk days in NYC.


Ruff and ready.

I wish I could fold time and space to sit in the balcony at Irving Plaza the night your brief, bright star ascended during a four night New Wave Vaudeville series. It was 1978. Up until then, you’d been supporting yourself as a pastry chef for well-to-do Hamptons types. They say that you emerged from the fog machine vapors like an alien from another planet, stiff and somber in a silver space suit and clear vinyl cape. My old friend Jim Sclavunos was there, manning the spotlight. He once told me that when you opened your Clara Bow mouth and sang, no one believed it was really you. The MC had to keep assuring the audience that you were not lip-syncing…