The 1985 World Face-Pulling Championship

In 1985 men and women from around the globe gathered in Mocrabeau, France to witness the nightmare fuel produced by human beings who can unhinge their toothless mandibles and swallow their faces. In the end, Herbert Kraft of West Germany was crowned the winner. Watching this clip, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that he stole it. The true winner should have been the unfortunate gentleman who appears at :20-:24 and whose demonic gyrations and twisted visage will haunt my dreams for months.

Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Speak

An intriguing historical artifact found floating on YouTube like driftwood. Helen Keller — inspiration to generations and inspiration for an entire genre of schoolyard humor — and her teacher and friend Anne Sullivan in a clip from 1930 in which they describe the way in which Helen learned how to speak. I’m always delighted when I find things like this as, many times, these people exist in a time that I feel is so far removed from my own that I cannot conceive of them actually existing in a real living, breathing form; which may or may not be due to an imagination stunted by an over-saturation of electronic media. It’s a fascinating little clip which pays homage to a woman who, even beyond her amazing circumstances, was a radical socialist, suffragist, and supporter of birth control, who was friends with the likes of Mark Twain and who worked tirelessly to champion the rights of both the downtrodden and the physically disabled.

Drifting Away With Headphone Commute


My favorite web discovery of the past couple of weeks is Headphone Commute. First of all, I love the name. It instantly conjures images of foggy morning train rides and late-night buses – hands in pockets, head in space, bobbing along to the music. From the “About” page:

Headphone Commute is an independent resource of candid words on electronic and instrumental music. The range of covered genres includes electronica, glitch, idm, drum’n’bass, breakcore, dubstep, trip-hop, modern classical, post-rock, shoegaze, ambient, downtempo, experimental, abstract, minimal and everything in between. HC is not associated with any artist, band, record label, promoter, distributor or retailer covered by the reviews. There is no hidden agenda behind these words. What you see is what you get. All that means is that we share our love for music because we want to – not because we have to.

A word of caution – this blog is is easy to get lost in upon first visit! Between album reviews, in-depth interviews with labels like Somnia and bite-size interviews with artists like Max Richter, on top of my favorite Headphone Commute feature – mixes available for download, it’s kind of impossible not to spend hours reading, researching and hoarding new music. It’s thanks to Headphone Commute that I found out about The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble and had my ears taken to their special place by this incredible Best of 2008 Modern Classical mix. I actually can’t recommended this one enough, especially if you’re somewhere that’s beginning to show signs of autumn. Stunningly beautiful, moody, inspiring. For more mixes see Intelligent Breakcore mix and Ten Favorite Mixes of 2008. Happy listening, comrades!


Cinematic Trailer for The Beatles: Rock Band

This went up all over the web back in June, but it’s too gorgeous not to be ‘Haused as well:

Directed by Pete Candeland, best known for his Gorillaz music videos. Produced by Passion Pictures. (Via Jhayne, thanks.)

Even if you’re not a fan of the Fab Four, or of Rock Band, you can still appreciate how absolutely breathtaking this animated trailer for the new Xbox game is. (Please, seriously, click that link and watch it high def.)


The Beatles: Rock Band has been in development by Apple Corps for quite a while. Conceived and created by George Harrison’s son, Dhani, in cahoots with MTV prez Van Toffler, and given a stamp of approval by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono, it’s slated for a Sept 9th release.

CH Mini-Makeover and Shoutout to Our Supporters

This is just a housekeeping post to let you know that the Coilhouse page has been updated. We’ve changed the look of the buttons at the top of the site, and added two new links. The first is a proper button for our shop (where shirts, stickers and Issue 03 are still available!) and the second is a link to our updated Coilhouse FAQ. The FAQ covers both the magazine and the blog.

We’ve also put up a FAQ for potential small business advertisers! This program was a hit in Issue 03, and we want to thank all the indie businesses who took the plunge and placed an ad. The advertisers we ended up with were very diverse, but all appropriate to Coilhouse; to give you a range, Issue 03’s ads included a music label, a shop of rare books, a company that makes Victorian-inspired clothing, and a gal who makes monster jewelry/soap. The PDFs of the final ad pages that appeared in Issue 03 can be found below:

As of this time, we’re ready to begin accepting ads for Issue 04.  The closing date for Issue 04 advertising is September 15th. This leaves you guys with some time to book an ad, but please note that ads are placed into the magazine in the order in which they were received, which means that the earliest-booked ads end up on the most prominent pages! So if you’re interested in advertising in Coilhouse, now’s the time to review the advertising FAQ and email Nadya if interested. Thank you!

All Tomorrows: The Birthgrave

“To wake, and not to know where, or who you are, not even to know what you are—whether a thing with legs and arms, or a brain in the hull of a great fish—that is a strange awakening. But after awhile, uncurling in the darkness, I began to uncover myself, and I was a woman.”

So begins Tanith Lee’s 1975 novel The Birthgrave, her first. I stumbled upon it some years ago, yellowing long out of print in a bargain bin.

I usually try to avoid revisiting authors too much on All Tomorrows, and regular readers will remember that I sang Lee’s praises for The Silver Metal Lover. But lately this column has been tracing the lesser known paths of fantasy and epic. No discussion of epic during sci-fi-fanta-whatever’s Deviant Age would be complete without delving into The Birthgrave.

It is a Sword and Sorcery epic, thunderously bloody and sensual in a way that would make Robert E. Howard pant. Yet it is also a deeper story of character and identity: a feminist work of a piece with the questions sweeping through its time.

For Lee’s (at first) nameless heroine awakes with nothing but questions, as the eruption of a volcano shakes her from a seemingly endless sleep with memories of hidden power, tragedy and a bottomless sense of guilt.

Driven to find answers, she runs into Übermensch types who try to turn her into the women featured on the covers of your average Sword and Sorcery tale— slave, figurehead goddess, concubine — clinging open-mouthed to the leg of some buffed-up conqueror.

But this is not their story: it is hers. As she survives (or buries) them all, as Lee sucks the reader into the elusive quest for power over one’s own life, she makes sure you’ll never see a dread sorceress the same way again.

Men of Mortuaries – The Calendar of Sexy Undertakers

At SocImages, illness Gwen describes ways in which morticians/funeral directors have sought to remove some of the stigmas associated with their profession:

In my Intro to Soc course I assign K.R. Thompson’s article “Handling the Stigma of Handling the Dead: Morticians and Funeral Directors” (Deviant Behavior 1991, v. 12, p. 403-429). Thompson looked at how those involved in preparing the dead for burial and planning funerals try to manage the negative perceptions they suspect much of the public has of them. Language was a major way they tried to do this–redefining themselves as “funeral directors” rather than “morticians” or “undertakers,” referring to dead people as “the deceased” rather than “the body” or “the corpse,” “casket” rather than “coffin,” and so on. The point was to try to reduce the association with death–to never blatantly refer to death at all.

They also tried to avoid what they felt were stereotypes of funeral directors. Some mentioned trying not to wear black suits, and one man went so far as to keep hand warmers in his pockets so his hands would be warm when he shook family members’ hands–a reaction to what he said was a belief that funeral directors have cold, clammy hands. Others lived in a different town than where they worked and tried to keep their careers secret.

In 2007, California-based funeral director Kenneth McKenzie went one step further to battle the stereotype of the gaunt, morbid mortician by releasing the “Men of Mortuaries” calendar. According to an Obit Magazine article about the calendar, the hundreds of applicants for the 2008 calendar were narrowed down by a mixed-race panel that included a gay older man, a gay young man, a straight older man, a straight younger man, a young straight woman and an older straight woman “to hear all voices.” McKenzie sold 20,000 calendars in 2008, and proceeds went to an organization McKenzie started to support women who, like his sister, were undergoing breast cancer treatment.

On a (kinda) related note:

Kittehs are from Teh Debbil*

The three hairs on the tip of a kitteh’s tail are Teh Debbil’s hairs, driving cats to prowl the night when all Lard-fearing beasts should be abed. And while all of The Lard’s blessed wee lambs lie asleep and dreaming of teh baby Jebus, underworldly Seitanic dreck like THIS is holding a Sabutt in the depth of the night, dontcha know. Such unholiness is presided over by The Debbil Himself in the form of a Grand Black Kitteh. Filth! Unclean!

*and apparently, so is After Effects.

Once the host of witches and sorcerers swoop in on salve-anointed broomsticks, the infernal rituals begin. The coven pays homage to their enthroned Debbil Kitteh, making offerings to him of unbaptized children and reading particularly noxious passages from Teh Hairy Pooter seriez. Each minion of Seitan must renew an oath of fidelity and obedience, shuffling past the felonious feline in single file to kiss his dingleberry-ensconced bunghole (some witches claim that he keeps a second face under his tail that looks like THIS). They then celebrate Teh Black Mess, lighting black candles from a flickering torch balanced atop D0OM KITT3h’s head, and turning their backs to the altar. The Sabutt feast commences. The flesh of hanged men, hearts of unbaptized children, Twizzlers, and a variety of unclean animals (like THESE) are then consumed.**

**Text reiterated vaguely from SnikSnak‘s entry on Cat Devilry.

(This post brought to you by muscle relaxants and the finest pipe-weed in all the Shire. Meow meow meow meow…)

Vigilant Citizen: Occult Website for the True Believers

Shots from the most evil airport on earth, as reported by Vigilant Citizen

At first, I hesitated blogging about The Vigilant Citizen, a site that exposes the Masonic/Illuminati symbolism present in everyday things ranging from pop stars to national monuments. The site had to be a joke, I told myself, poking fun at occult nuts the same way that Christwire pokes fun at religious zealots. I’m not so sure, though. It feels like too much research to be fake, and yet it feels too silly to be real (case in point: Lady Gaga, The Illuminati Puppet). Whether or not the site is faux, it’s attracted some true believers! As one commenter writes in response to the the Gaga post:

This is truly amazing im shocked. I believe god told me to check this site. I feel like a total fool I wad becoming a fan of hers. Im totally conviced that this is what she’s trying to convey.

So dive right in, and have an occultastic good time! My favorite article is a toss-up between Top 5 Worst 9/11 Memorials and Vigilant’s analysis of the Denver National Airport (part of his Sinister Sites series, which examines the architectural occultism of buildings from all over the world). In a style that reminds me somewhat of Weird New Jersey, the latter article gives us a spooky tour of the most evil airport in America, introducing us to the apocalyptic horse with glowing red eyes that guards the entrance, the airport’s nightmarish murals, the arcane symbols embedded in the floor, the gargoyle statues, and of course the Nazi swastika-shaped runway. All part of the impending New World Order! Enjoy.

[via Aaron Muszalski]

Friday Afternoon Movie: Snow White: A Tale Of Terror

It’s Friday once again and you are mere hours from another glorious weekend of coke and Thai lady-boys. Still, it might as well be days as summers are slow and your cubicle is, unfortunately, adjacent to Carol’s. This is unfortunate as Carol talks, ceaselessly, about her eight (yes, eight) Pomeranians; a torrent of gibberish spewed in an unyielding stream in your direction. All day it’s stories about anthropomorphized facial expressions, idiotic tricks, and unfortunate bowel movements punctuated by requests for you to look at a funny picture she took of one of them wearing a doggie sweater or galoshes. You wonder how Carol’s husband feels about living with a yammering pack of fur with teeth; maybe he too looks forward to cocaine fueled weekends. You also wonder how long until the little bastards get tired of those sweaters and revolt, rending poor Carol limb from limb.

There are better things to occupy your mind with than thoughts such as these. There are movies and I am here to help you drown out Carol before you turn to her and slowly, deliberately puncture your ear drums with a letter opener. This week, its Snow White: A Tale of Terror the 1997 horror movie based on the Grimm Brothers’s tale. Starring Sigourney Weaver, Sam Neill, Monica Keena and the greaser guy from The Shawshank Redemption, this is a bloodier and more realistic version of the classic tale, adapted most famously by Walt Disney (and less famously by Rammstein), by which I mean that no one spontaneously bursts into song. Despite its slightly over the top subtitle, it’s actually not that bad, bearing more of a resemblance to the source material than the animated film, by which I mean that there is a fair amount of violence while simultaneously lacking the dwarf spanking and drugs angle of Rammstein’s version.

Regardless of which is your preferred Snow White, watching Sigourney Weaver get her evil on has got to beat listening to the story about how dog #2 shit on the carpet yesterday, right?