It’s true: the grizzled “laureate of American lowlife” Charles Bukowski often used his sharp tongue to viciously lambast those close to him. But damn if he didn’t also pen some of the most uplifting and hopeful poetry of the 20th century. Here’s “The Laughing Heart” as read by another (decidedly kinder, gentler) grizzled laureate of American lowlife, Mister Tom Waits.
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
Memorial Day is almost upon us in the States, and we here at The FAM have chosen to begin our long weekend with sex, drugs, and violence, as is our wont. Today we present 1971’s Get Carter, directed by Mike Hodges and starring Michael Caine; quite possibly one of the greatest gangster movies of all time, British or otherwise. Based on the novel Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis — which took its inspiration from the “one-armed bandit murder” in the north east of England in 1967 — it tells the story of one Jack Carter as he weaves his way through Newcastle’s seedy underworld in search of the truth of his brother Frank’s death, supposedly due to a drunk driving accident. In his wake he leaves a trail of bodies and a river of blood.
There is an image of Michael Caine for many people, greatly influenced by The Cider House Rules and his role as Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, of a kindly, wise, and lovable older man with a cockney accent. For this audience Caine will be almost unrecognizable here. His Jack Carter is a ruthless man; death in a well-tailored suit. Carter’s rampage through Tyneside is relentlessly brutal culminating on a lonely, gray beach and ends on a note that takes the viewer completely by surprise, though the more astute will recognize the players from an exceedingly brief appearance at the very beginning of the film.
Get Carter is a highlight in a storied career and it remains one of my favorite movies. To be sure Caine has played many memorable characters besides Jack Carter, but few have had that kind of presence on screen. It’s a role almost completely devoid of pathos. Jack Carter is out for revenge, and he really doesn’t care how you or anyone else feels about it. All that’s certain is that he’ll get it, one way or another.
Crater Face by Skyler Page is an exercise in simplicity in every regard, from its story to its animation and Dan Deacon’s music. Despite this — or, perhaps, because of it depending if you’re of the mindset — it is completely engrossing, with an incredible sense of humor and melancholy packed into its four plus minutes.
Ellis Nadler’s fictitious deck of divination cards is a perfect combination of woodcut aesthetic and Hieronymus Bosch insanity; the tools of fortunetellers from some far-off, imaginary realm. Beautifully rendered they are the kind of work that begs to be made into a physical object.
Update: Reader Fritz Bogott contacted Mr. Nadler and posted his response in the comments:
“‘They are currently being made as a hand-printed fine art limited edition (details available later this year). However, due to great interest from people visiting my website I have now made them available to buy online as high quality digital prints. Just follow this link.’“
I think that any fan of David Lynch’s cult-classic television series Twin Peaks will agree that what the show’s legacy has really been lacking is a hip-hop tribute. Luckily, nerdcore rapper MC Chris has stepped up to the challenge, dropping an Autotuned ode to one of the most amazingly strange shows to ever appear on the magic picture box, presented here with fan-made video.
Good morning, loves. How was your weekend? I spent most of mine stumbling around the San Mateo county fairgrounds, gaping at the endlessly astonishing/inspiring/overstimulating 2-day geextravaganza that is Maker Faire. Still feeling a bit fried. Pleasantly so. Speaking of getting fried at Maker Faire, here’s a glimpse of what the ArcAttack! performances on the appropriately named “Tesla Stage” looked and sounded like:
Yes. That’s what a man in chain mail wrangling pure lightning looks like. His name is Patrick “Parsec” Brown. He’s ArcAttack’s MC. I sincerely hope that dude gets hella laid. That goes for ALL the guys on the ArcAttack crew. Way more groupie worthy than the average rock band, if you ask me.
Based in Austin, Texas, ArcAttack’s been developing their tech and stage shows for the better half of a decade now. For their astounding audio/visual displays, ArcAttack has invented a completely original DJ setup:
HVDJ pumps music through a PA system while two specially designed DRSSTC’s (Dual-Resonant Solid State Tesla Coils) act as separate synchronized instruments. These high tech machines produce an electrical arc similar to a continuous lightning bolt and put out a crisply distorted square wave sound reminiscent of the early days of synthesizers.
ArcAttack performing the Doctor Who theme song at Maker Faire, 2010. Photo by darthdowney.
First and foremost, ArcAttack is all about putting on a show that is not just a concert, but an otherworldly experience. In doing so with the technology that we’ve created, we hope to inspire minds, the young and the old, to take up an interest in science, the arts, and their applications, to examine where they intersect, where they are going, and to re-examine the works of past researchers and performers such as Nikola Tesla and Delia Derbyshire in light of the ever evolving face of this amazing world. Maybe they’ll have as much fun as we have. But either way, we want them all to enjoy the show, and maybe, just maybe, be inspired to help to leave the world a little better than the way they found it.
Are you awake yet? Are you in love yet? Many more ArcAttack clips after the jump.
What do you guys think of this new 16-minute commercial that David Lynch created for Dior? Art-directed by John Galliano and starring Marion Cotillard, the film is rife with beloved Lynchian hallmarks: red curtains, an anxious woman in an empty hallway, and curiously gaudy hotel decor. Lynch told the Financial Times, “(Chanel) called me up and said, ‘Would you like to make a short film for the internet? You can do anything you want, you just need to show the handbag, the Pearl Tower and some old Shanghai.'” He added, “this falls between a regular film and a commercial. I liked that idea.” Lynch says that he didn’t know much about the Pearl Tower, but when he learned that the building’s architecture was inspired by a poem, ideas for the long-form commercial started coming to him (in fact, the film itself is based on a poem that Lynch wrote, titled “It holds the love“).
Lady Blue is the third chapter in Dior’s cinematographic campaign starring Cotillard; Lady Noirwas directed by La Vie En Rose‘s Olivier Dahan (really moody!), and Lady Rouge was a Franz Ferdinand music video (kind of boring).
Do you like this short, or do you feel like this could’ve been directed by the guy who made the trailer for David Lynch’s A Goofy Movie? I’d have to say “both of the above.” There’s a bit more repetition (or self-parody?) here than in his earlier commercial work – and even then, there was almost always a hint of that in his ads. I love the “Laura Palmer is Alive and Pregnant” commercial, for which, the legend goes, Lynch asked the actress (not Sheryl Lee, but looks like her) to take a pregnancy test, and then switched her result with a positive-testing one unbeknownst to her in order to capture a genuine reaction. Littering never looked more sinister than in his “Clean Up New York” PSA. He made fish rain from the sky, in reverse, to sell us… cigarettes. More David Lynch commercials (with appearances by Heather Graham, Gerard Depardieu, Michael Jackson and Bambi), after the jump.
Weirdness and misogyny this week on The FAM as we present 1987’s The Confessions of Robert Crumb produced by the BBC (which includes the wonderful Arena opening and song. Seriously, I love that intro.) Unlike 1994’s Crumb by Terry Zwigoff (which is seeing a Criterion release this August) Confessions is less concerned with Crumb’s bizarre family and more concerned with the man himself. In that regard it spends much of its time letting Crumb explore and contemplate his objectification of women and self-loathing, preferring to be a catalog of the man’s various fetishes, to merely witness a day in the life of a dirty old man.
Both documentaries illustrate how difficult it can be to separate the artist from their art. A great fan of his work I can’t help but cringe as Crumb displays his current wife to the camera, showing off her musculature as if he were trying to sell the viewer a horse. It is, perhaps, admirable that one would be able to be so honest with the world, willing to expose one’s Id to whoever passes by, and it has certainly worked out well for Robert Crumb. I just can’t help but think that those images made living, breathing flesh are not nearly as entertaining when not on the printed page.
Remember that racy 2008 Orangina commercial from France? Yes – that one. As described by the Todd Mueller, the Creative Director of the Psyop, the agency that produced the spot, the “Naturally Juicy” campaign was all about “raunchy naughty furriness”: animals dancing in burlesque outfits, spraying other with Orangina and riding giant bottles until they explode. The TV ad was accompanied by a colorful pin-up print campaign that included octopus, jellyfish and cactus women, illustrated by artist Antoine Helbert. In his personal work, featured here, Helbert continues the human-animal theme in a more nuanced, less gendered way. Some of these characters remind me of China Miéville’s Remade; people whose bodies are transformed through a mixture of grafting techniques and magic into hybrids of human, animal and even mechanical parts. [via Allie]
Simple and effective, Benjamin König aka Sperber’s illustrations are beautiful little vignettes and eerie portraits, many of them taken from fairy tales, all of them with a dark, creepy Edward Gorey veneer. I just love these, and it took all my strength not to simply put every single one behind the cut. He has a postcard set for sale that is seriously tempting me at the moment.