North Korea’s Hell March

Mmm. Military upskirt.

Earlier this year, North Korea let a bunch of international journalists in to document evidence of the country’s enormous, throbbing doom cock. Apparently the military parade was part of a campaign to establish Kim Jong-il’s youngest son as ruler-in-waiting.  This stunning slow-motion footage (shot on high end Canon60D and 1DmkIV camera with a smooth-tracking pocket dolly) was captured by UK Guardian reporters. Shortly thereafter, Galaxygamma came up with the completely unsettling idea of juxtaposing the “Hell March” theme from Command & Conquer: Red Alert with the Guardian’s footage.

Happy Black Friday, y’all! Wooo!

BTC: Wake and Bake Edition

Two Hipsters and a Bong:

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’s better than BIRDEMIC.

Grant Morisson: Talking With Gods

A few weeks ago, Meltdown Comics held a screening for Grant Morisson: Talking With Gods – a new documentary revolving around the life and work of iconic comics trailblazer, Grant Morrison. In this first ever feature-length film about him, Grant talks at length about the extraordinary circumstances spanning his life and career thus far. Intimate, endearing conversations with a horde of esteemed collaborators and friends are interspersed with Grant’s own stories, and feature Warren Ellis, Douglas Rushkoff, Geoff Johns and many, many more. Also spotted in the doc: Allan Amato’s Issue 04 photos of Grant and his wife, Kristan. SCORE.

At Meltdown, the end credits rolled to a standing ovation. During the subsequent Q&A, guest speaker Taliesin Jaffe generously shared a tale which some of us will be able to identify with all too well. He spoke of a young, goth Taliesin, deeply involved in ritual magic and in the process of finalizing his sacred toolkit. The remaining, pivotal piece was a wand, and for this purpose has had acquired a human femur. No ritual tool is complete without a proper charge, and for this purpose young Taliesin brought his human femur to a convention, laid it in front of Grant Morrison, and asked him to sign it. Which Grant did, after some deliberation.

I caught up with director Patrick Meaney to ask if he could share his most memorable experience from the making  of Talking With Gods.

Patrick Meaney: One of the most bizarre moments was watching the film with Grant himself, and participating in creating the next public incarnation of Morrison through his feedback on the film. It was totally surreal to go to someone and present them with ‘the story of their life,’ and then ask them to tell you what they think. We had discussed the idea that this film would, in a way, be his legacy, and would determine how people perceive him from here on out, so it was a big responsibility. Luckily he seemed happy with the final result.

In terms of bizarre magical correspondences, I wasn’t there for this one, but my DP, Jordan, was in New Mexico for a couple of days and wanted to get footage of a scorpion to illustrate one of Grant’s stories. On his last day there, he told the universe, “I want to see a scorpion today”. That afternoon, he was driving down the road and spotted something, stopped the car and there, waiting, was a scorpion. So, we got exactly the shot we needed.

Reviews of the film are popping up all across the ‘Wub – a bunch are collected here. More screenings are being listed here, you can watch one of the official trailers for Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods below, and the DVD is now available through the Halo8 store, and on Amazon.

Free Music for Ghost Smooching

Alas, most of us are too old to go door-to-door demanding Halloween candy. (Unless we’re chaperoning/living vicariously through wee ones, that is.) And not everyone who yearns to will get the opportunity walk in a big, fancy, life-affirming Dia de los Muertos parade like this one, or this one. But fear not. There are still plenty of holiday treats to be had.

photo by Tim Piotrowski

Firstly, Dark Dark Dark’s got two tracks available for FREE download (the original version and remix of their song “Daydreaming”) via NYLON. Nona Marie’s voice is tremulously lovely– the perfect entity to kick up autumn leaves and sip cider with.

Secondly, Beats Antique just threw a kooky, kitschy Halloween/AllSaints/AllSoul’s EP up on their Bandcamp page, also free! And you can watch the most recent installment of their ridiculously entertaining tour diary video above, as well as all of the previous chapters.

Thirdly, as a way of saying thank-you to their devoted fans, and to celebrate their 10th “Bandiversary“, the Dresden Dolls are offering their entire full-length album of live material and outtakes, A Is For Accident, for free download. Donations encouraged and appreciated, but not required. (Psst: there’s some violin you might recognize on the track above, titled “Will”.)

La Santa Muerta (Saint Death) Documentary

“Trailer for the documentary La Santa Muerte (Saint Death), directed and produced by Eva Aridjis, narrated by Gael García Bernal, distributed by Seventh Art Releasing. Film synopsis: In Mexico there is a cult that is rapidly growing- the cult of Saint Death. This female grim reaper, considered a saint by followers but Satanic by the Catholic Church, is worshiped by people whose lives are filled with danger and/or violence- criminals, gang members, transvestites, sick people, drug addicts, and families living in rough neighborhoods. “La Santa Muerte” examines the origins of the cult and takes us on a tour of the altars, jails, and neighborhoods in Mexico where the saint’s most devoted followers can be found.”

Whoa… the DVD was only officially released on October 7th, but quickly checking Amazon, I see the distributor’s already run out of stock! Hopefully they’ll have it back in, soon.

BTC: Beat Poetess Phillipa Fallon

Haven’t seen High School Confidential yet? It’s high time you did. (Double-decker pun intended, natch!) Directed by Jack Arnold, it’s a campy, unexpectedly sharp teensploitation romp that peaks with this adrenalizing scene:

The finger-snapping nihilist’s name was Phillipa Fallon, and that was her all-too-brief moment to shine.

Via the ever-entertaining CONELRAD webzine:

Approximately mid-way through the Albert Zugsmith exploitation film masterpiece High School Confidential (1958), an attractive, quasi-bohemian woman strides on stage at a coffee house and belts out a beat poem that provides a delightfully nihilistic snapshot of the Cold War—including references to the space race and atomic evacuation. The fact that she happens to be accompanied by Jackie Coogan (who plays a heroin kingpin in the film) on piano is, like, pure existential gravy. Predictably, the teens in the audience appear to be digging Coogan’s incongruous ragtime key work and disregarding the depressing content of the lyrics.

B-movie actor and writer Mel Welles (1924-2005) was the person most responsible for the hep jargon —including “High School Drag”— in Confidential. He was recruited by producer Zugsmith for help in this regard because, as Welles recalled for interviewer Tom Weaver in 1988, “I was an expert on grass in my day…”

Up until very recently, precious little was known about the sneering sex bomb “who so memorably portrays the hipsteress delivering Welles’ boptastic words.” But just last month, after years of sleuthing and compiling, CONELRAD began to parse out Fallon’s story on a separate site devoted to her life and times. Installments are still going up.

Melora Creager: Sweet Sister Temperance

For nearly two decades, Rasputina has been rocking out with some of the most unlikely instruments (cellos and the occasional banjo or harpsichord) and in some of the most fanciful and restrictive attire (tightly laced corsets and hoopskirts). They have paved the way for experimental cellists to break away from the traditional classical strictures and move toward a much wider audience. Melora Creager, the mastermind and directress behind the formerly ladies-only Traveling Cello Society, has long held a passion for Victoriana and is an avid huntress through the more peculiar annals of history.

Her wonderful lyrics are often about marvelously obscure subjects such as Snail-Fever, meltable aliens, and the egg-races performed by Easter Islanders. Rasputina’s seventh full-length album, Sister Kinderhook, is stuffed with melancholy gems about the perils of ocean-faring and little girls raised in birdcages. The tone and sound of the record harkens back to early days of Thanks for the Ether, the band’s first groundbreaking album. I had the opportunity to catch up with Melora and company over migas and coffee in Austin. Rasputina’s traveling retinue included not only some delightful new band members (Daniel DeJesus and Melissa Bell), as well as Dawn Miceli, whose documentary about touring with the band, called “Under the Corset” came out this summer. The star of the show, however, was no doubt Melora’s adorable new baby, Ivy – who appears to be a human incarnation of a Kewpie doll. Doll artist and photographer Christy Kane made some lovely portraits of mother and daughter, which we are very pleased to include with this interview.

CH: Over the past 18 years, Rasputina has evolved musically, but has also remained totally true to a beautifully anachronistic aesthetic, and to an experimental sound that has engendered a very devoted fan-base. As directress and songwriter, you never seem to waver from what inspires you. Has it been a battle to lead such an uncompromisingly iconoclastic band through the wilds of an industry which is so increasingly concerned with accessibility?
MC: I’ve always had faith – that to be true to my ideas & taste would help me win in the end. Even if it’s a victory in honor only. But win & victory are battle terms, it’s true. A band is like sports. I’ve been at this so long, that I’ve seen many trends come and go. Sometimes Rasputina is lumped in with them, but these trends always pass away. I keep faith that my best efforts are beyond fashion. Rasputina started on a major label, has grown steadily smaller, and has gotten more and more fun as it shrinks. I was raised in the industry to try to make hits, to try to get on the radio. It took a few years to get that out of the back of my mind. Maybe 5 years ago, I started to be free of it. It’s funny though, because think of all the weird songs I’ve made- you’d never know I was attempting hits!

CH: Much of Rasputina’s inspiration appears to come from the hardworking and meticulous ladies of yore, who stitched and slaved away to create lasting things of beauty. You make and design the majority of your album covers and merchandise by hand, including the embroidery on the cover for your newest album, Sister Kinderhook. With the collapse of the traditional music industry as we know it, have you noticed more musicians getting motivated to be more DIY with their careers? What are your thoughts on the craft renaissance and the renewed appreciation for fancy handwork?
MC: With other musicians I talk to, of different levels of success, I don’t hear about labels anymore. Do they exist beyond Beyoncé? I really stay out of the whole music industry. I make my things as hand-made as possible. I use a cd manufacturer that’s here in my little town. I was looking through the craft magazine section at a book-store, and was shocked at how much material there was and how common advanced techniques are. That is a great thing that lots of people want to spend their time that way. I have heard that young people shun Facebook and prefer quilting & etc. Good.

The Friday Afternoon Movie: Secret Societies Primer

I’m fascinated by conspiracy theories. The machinations within machinations, the way they simultaneously complicate simple matters and simplifying the most complex world events, they are a monument to human creativity and imagination. It should be no surprise then that conspiracy theories have come up multiple times on the FAM. Indeed, only last week, we examined some breathless speculation on the veracity of claims that man has ever set foot on the lunar surface.

That, however, is tame as far as conspiracies go. The real money is in world domination, in the people pulling the strings. The Freemasons, the Bilderberg Group, Bohemian Grove, Lizard Men — this is the nexus of lunatic postulation. Therefore, as a service to those in the audience who are, perhaps, not as well versed in the affairs of the tin-foil hat crowd the FAM presents the History Channel special Secret Societies which functions as a great introduction into the mad, mad world and which features FAM favorite David Icke, making his third Friday appearance. Should this pique your interests, feel free to check out Jon Ronson’s Secret Rulers of the World which delves much deeper into all this weird and wonderful nonsense.

Gimme Pizza

It should be pointed out that this is, perhaps, not the best video to be watching first thing in the morning or, conversely, right before bed. The above is a clip from late 80s maudlin sitcom Full House, jumping off point for the careers of The Olsen Twins and the show partially responsible for convincing America that Bob Saget was not a perverted lunatic. Were that all it would not be here, of course (Zo’s obsession with the program and her unbridled lust for Dave Coulier notwithstanding).

What pushes this into true bizarro territory — and, hence, this post — is the fact that it has been slowed down by an unspecified number of degrees, an effect that one could be argued is overdone, but one that nevertheless is almost guaranteed to produce pure nightmare fuel. This point is made plain when the aforementioned clip turns to some of the program’s musical numbers at about 3:40, turning what appeared at first to be a bad acid trip into twisted, lecherous dreamscape. It’s really quite astonishing. And horrible. Mostly horrible.

Correction: It seems this clip is not from late 80s maudlin sitcom Full House and is, apparently, from some other, Olsen related venture. Apologies to Zo and all the other Full House aficionados amongst our readership.

Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”

Close on the heels of the announcement that filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki may be preparing a sequel to his 1992 animated film Porco Rosso, Roger Ebert posts some well-deserved, effusive praise of Miyazaki and his first masterpiece, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind:

Much of anime in the past 20 years has concentrated on a utopian future, filled with technological wizardry and innovation, which is abundant in Japanese culture. But Miyazaki tends to look back instead of looking forward, inward instead of outward, looking at treasures of futures past that might have been. Like most of his films, his timeline here isn’t technological, but pastoral, with people relying more on each other and the Earth.  He favors gorgeous green panoramas usually near blue bodies of water. He is in love with flight with his heroes soaring through the sky, representing our dreams of breaking through our limitations. We sense his hope in women more than men, believing them to be the key to humanity’s progress as opposed to man’s history of violence. These creeds and themes are held dearly and instinctively by the young and hopeful, and its Miyazaki’s ability to convey these naturalistic ideas through his visual imagination, which makes him unique.

Only Pixar has been able to rival Miyazaki’s creative energies in forming entirely new sights, sounds, and stories with each subsequent film. But Pixar is a collection of talent (all of whom pretty much worship him), while Miyazaki is a singular force. While even the greatest of directors have to rely on cast and crew to carry out their visions, Miyazaki pretty much IS the film. He might be the closest thing to the idea of an “auteur” which filmdom has.

Ebert has pointed his readership in the direction of Google Video to watch Nausicaa for free –and apparently guilt free– online. Hooray!

Previously on Coilhouse: