It’s a momentous week for Coilhouse Magazine and Blog. Please be sure to check in often, as we’ll be making a lot of important announcements over the next few days. The first of which iiiis…
THE NEW PRINT ISSUE. It’s so close. Eeeee! Better late than never, right? We couldn’t have pushed through and gotten it completed, paid for and printed without the tremendous support our readers, contributors and friends have given us. Once again, huge gratitude to every single person who has helped out.
Today, we want to extend a special thank you to two volunteer videographers who captured footage of our big fundraising birthday party in New York City last August: Keith Jenson and Abigail Amalton. Keith and Abi have shot and produced not one, but two gorgeous video mementos of the event. Here they are:
“On August 21, 2011 Coilhouse left the cozy comforts of their west coast catacombs to throw an epic fundraiser at the Red Lotus Room in Brooklyn, New York for the release of Issue 6 (of their oh-so-beautiful print magazine) and to celebrate their fourth birthday! Over 300 people turned up to the Gemini & Scorpio-presented event for a dancey, glittery, silk/fire/trapeze/music-infused evening full of wonder and awe and love.”
Keith and Abi are sweethearts with quite the squee-inducing origin story! At the Ball, they told Mer that Coilhouse actually played a substantial role in bringing them together; when they first met, Keith noticed some of Abi’s Coilhouse schwag, and they bonded over their mutual appreciation for the site and the mag. (SWOOOON.)
Thank you so much for coming out and documenting that wonderful night, you beauties.
A few years ago, KXVO News (of Omaha, Nebraska) produced a video (sparing no expense!) called the “Happy Jack Pumpkin Dance”. Apparently, it aired without warning or explanation during one of their Oct. 31st broadcasts, and has since become a not only a local sensation (the playlist above includes not just Jack Pumpkin’s original appearance, but ensuing Christmas and Valentine’s day editions), but a viral hit as well, spawning several remixes and mashups.
Merry Goth Christmas, Halloweiners! May your day be full of boundless, wiggly, unitard-clad lurrrrve.
Australian graphic designer, illustrator, and artist Ben Brown creates portraits of well-known pop figures that combine “celebrity, junk culture, zombies and skulls in a graphically-charged visual extravaganza. Iconic images [...] burned in to our collective cultural psyche are given a new life… albeit as the living dead.” His Grace Jones portrait is especially badass.
“A well-known figure from the entertainment industry begins the series interviewing the person of their choice. The following week the interviewee becomes interviewer and chats to their chosen guest. And so on and so on. In January 2005, the comedian Stewart Lee interviewed Alan Moore (transcript available at Comic Book Resources). The next week it was Alan Moore’s turn to become the interviewer. His chosen subject was some one who had obviously been a huge influence on his life for over thirty years… Brian Eno.”
Unsurprisingly, it’s a fascinating and insightful conversation.
It’s the Friday before Halloween. Very exciting. In that spirit, the FAM has a Double Feature for your weekend. Today we present two films: one a horror movie and another a horror movie of a kind but both sort of forgotten classics that play to the man’s strengths as an actor.
First up is 1973’s Theatre of Blood directed by Douglas Hickox and starring Price and Diana Rigg. The rest of the cast is a host of distinguished British actors: Harry Andrews, Coral Browne, Robert Coote, Jack Hawkins, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, Joan Hickson, Robert Morley, Milo O’Shea, Diana Dors and Dennis Price. Price plays Edward Kendall Sheridan Lionheart who, by his own account, was the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day. Others are not so sure, especially a group of critics who give an annual award for such achievements, specifically the “Critic’s Circle Award for Best Actor”. When they give the award to another, Lionheart attempts suicide. He survives, however, unbeknownst to his detracters, and is taken in by a group of homeless meths-drinkers. Ridiculed throughout his career by these people and denied their highest honor, Lionheart, with the help of his daughter Edwina, exacts his revenge, murdering each critic, one by one. Each murder is based on the deaths featured in the plays of Lionheart’s last season of Shakespeare before his alleged death, many of them chosen to exploit the weaknesses of their victims, and the critics can be seen to correspond with the Seven Deadly Sins.
Theatre of Blood was one of Price’s favorite movies, mostly because it allowed him to act in Shakespeare, something his long string of B-movie horror casting had kept him from doing. It did not seem to bother him, or many other people at the time, that it very much resembled The Abominable Dr. Phibes which had come out two years before, in which Price plays an organist who takes revenge on the doctors he blames for the death his wife, with the help of his assistant Vulnavia, using the Ten Plagues of Egypt as inspiration. Regardless of these similarities (each film is great in their own right) it is a pleasure to watch Price dig into his role as Lionheart, especially when he is acting out his scenes from Shakespeare before each gruesome murder. It also manages to be a fairly funny film, with each slaying taking on an air of absurdity. The sight of Price disguised as an effete, hipster hairdresser —complete with sunglasses and afro — being a particular highlight. In many ways this is the more traditional of the two performances featured here, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.
Our second film is more historical drama than horror movie, but it is, indeed, horrific. Released in 1968 and directed by Michael Reeves (who would die a year later, at the age of 25) Witchfinder General (renamed Conqueror Worm in the US to tie into Price’s run of Roger Corman directed Edgar Allan Poe adaptations) stars Price as Matthew Hopkins a real life witch-hunter who operated in the Eastern counties of England in the 17th century, during the English Civil War. With his sadistic assistant John Stearne (also a historical figure) played by Russel Roberts (whose voice was overdubbed by Reeves using actor Jack Lynn, as Reeves felt Roberts’s voice was too high-pitched) he travels through England extracting forced confessions from the accused in exchange for money and, it turns out, the sexual favors of the countryside’s young women. He makes a mistake, however, when he reaches Brandeston, Suffolk and executes the town priest, John Lowes, for conspiring with the Devil and takes advantage of his daughter, Sara (who Stearne later rapes), for Sara’s husband, Richard Marshall, a soldier in Cromwell’s army, is not the forgiving type.
Price is absolutely fantastic in this one. His depiction of Hopkins contains none of the hammy overacting found in many of his traditional horror roles and, as such, he comes off as truly evil. His performance was due, in some part, to his contentious relationship with the director. As originally written in the script, Hopkins was meant to be an ineffective leader, a buffoon of sorts. Reeves has Donald Pleasance in mind for such a role but was informed by American International Pictures that Price, their contract star, had to be placed in the role instead. Having rewritten the role for him, Reeves never got over it and made Price’s life as miserable as he could on set. The two clashed repeatedly throughout the filming and it was only after he had seen the finished film that Price realized what Reeves managed to get out of him, calling it “one of the best performances I’ve ever given.”
Despite the tension between the two men during the production, when Price saw the movie the following year, he admitted that he finally understood what Reeves had been after and wrote the young director a ten page letter praising the film. Reeves wrote Price back, “I knew you would think so.” Years after Reeves’s death, Price said, “… I realized what he wanted was a low-key, very laid-back, menacing performance. He did get it, but I was fighting him almost every step of the way. Had I known what he wanted, I would have cooperated.”
In the US, where it was released uncut with additional prologue and epilogue narration by price to establish the aforementioned Poe connection, (though without the added nudity meant for the German release), it made little impact, being shown mostly in drive-ins and grindhouses. In the UK, however, where 4 minutes were removed due to violence, it shocked critics, many of whom dismissed it as sadistic though, by modern standards, of course, it is fairly tame. It’s not particularly concerned with being entirely historically accurate, but it does manage to capture the paranoia that must have been present during that time and the hypocrisy that, no doubt, proliferated among those who rooted out so-called witches.
And here we are, dear readers, at the end of our Vincent Price-a-thon. A sad day. No doubt, there will be those who would have wished to have seen other films here, but there will always be another time for those; Vincent’s catalog is vast, after all. I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at his career. Until next time, then.
Our OWS correspondent, Kim Boekbinder, has sent Myles Boisen‘s own reportage our way. Myles, an Oakland-based musician and photographer, was one of thousands of citizens attending the downtown OWS protest there this week. Here are two separate collections of writing and imagery from him in one go– the first written/compiled after the worldwide headline-grabbing events of the 25th, and the second completed early this morning, PST. Feel free to repost/distribute any text or photos. Thank you, Myles! Kim’s next installment of “Occupy Everywhere” will be along shortly as well. –Mer
All photography in this post is by Myles Boisen, and was shot in downtown Oakland, CA between October 25th and 27th.
A Taste of Tear Gas (10/25/11)
I first noticed the constant whine of helicopters at about 4 pm today. Checking the news, I learned that the Occupy Oakland camp in downtown Oakland had been cleared by police in the middle of the night, and a series of afternoon protests had been called in the nearby area. With plans in place to go downtown later that night, I searched the internet with a mix of curiosity and anxiety for news of what was happening.
A flurry of twitter messages at the www.occupyoakland.org site detailed a few non-violent marches snaking throughout the downtown area, all headed for the disputed encampment that had become known in recent weeks as “Oscar Grant Park”. An Oakland teacher’s brigade led the march. As phrases like “unlawful assembly” “tear gas” and “bring gas masks” began popping up in OWS feeds, I knew I had to head downtown – camera in hand – to see for myself.
Before heading out, I followed a link on the www.occupyoakland.org site that encouraged me to send an email to the office of mayor Jean Quan. In this missive I identified myself as a business owner, renter, and taxpayer in Oakland, as well as someone who supports the Occupy movement, and now regrets voting for our popular first-term mayor. I also pointed out that concerns about sanitation at the Occupy camp could have been efficiently and affordably dealt by allotting a few city resources, rather than calling out the costly full-scale police assault we are currently witnessing. Protests can also be directed to the OPD and Oakland City council members by phone or email through easily accessed municipal websites. Now would be a very good time to make your feelings known, via the internet or by showing up in Oakland to add your voice and support.
Walking by foot down a mostly deserted Broadway through downtown, there were no broken windows, no smashed cars, not even a single broken bottle. Wisps of smoke from a smoldering garbage can fire were the only evidence of anything close to a “riot”, at least until I arrived at 14th and Broadway to see the line of police and sheriffs in full riot gear, lined up behind barricades to prevent the re-taking of Oscar Grant Park.
A woodworker in Marrakesh creates a chess piece (a King, specifically) using a skew chisel, a bow lathe and his hands and feet. At one point it looks as though he has made some sort of error; one of the lines is askew, at odds with the rest. It is only a short time later that you realize that what he’s done is carved a free-floating ring! Simply astonishing. I’ve watched this video three times now and each time I am blown away by the man’s proficiency.
Created by art duo of Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, collectively known as Semiconductor, 20 Hz is a visualization of electromagnetic storms occurring in the Earth’s upper atmosphere as it is buffeted by solar winds. The data was gathered by the CARISMA radio array and interpreted as audio, making this an interpretation of an interpretation. The film itself is mesmerizing, the warbles and chirps causing intricate patterns to dance and echo across the screen — alien sounds come down from the cosmos and made visible.
Thomas Negovan of Century Guild is an incredibly brilliant and intuitive creative force whose latest curation, “Grand Guignol II: HÄXAN – Satan + The Women Who Love Him” opened to the public tonight (Saturday October 22nd) at the Century Guild salon in Chicago. The art –which, as you might guess from the name, focuses on dark femininity and the demonic– assembled for this group show is astonishing:
“Austin Young’s 1999 portrait of avant-garde diva Diamanda Galás; Georges de Feure’s 1893 Japonist conjuration of wickedness “Friends of the Devil in the Flesh” ; Gustav Klimt’s ultra-seductive “The Witch” (1919) ; and “Italian Art Nouveau master Adolfo Hohenstein next to modern Italian artists Malleus, painter Gail Potocki, and sculptor Stanislav Szukalski.”
Carlos Schwabe’s “Destruction”
(Un)holy fucking shit, right?!
Thomas says “This is far and away my favorite show I’ve curated. Ever.” As of this moment, he tells Coilhouse that most of the works are available, but they’re going to fly off the walls shortly, so if you’re in Chicago, you gotta go see this jaw-dropping collection of pieces brought together for one luxuriant, once-in-a-lifetime event. Incroyable.
Soundtrack is the song “Fantasy”, from DyE’s album TAKI 183.
Running internal monologue: Tee hee, this is naughty. I see tushie. Lookit those cartoon teens gettin’ all softcore in da pool. Aww, that poor girl doesn’t want to be there. Wait… whaaa? What’s that… w-w-what’s… what’s happening…. WHAAAA THAAA FAAAAAA… nnnnnNNNNNNAAAAAHHH. AHHHHHH, MY EYES. AAAAHHH. CAN’T UNSEEEEEE.