Magic Highway USA

I suspect that when many Americans think of The Future, it looks like something envisioned by Disney; all moving sidewalks, flying cars, and abodes akin to The Monsanto House of the Future. “Magic Highway USA” doesn’t stray too far from these established tropes. There are still the flying cars and moving sidewalks but there are also truly fantastical items like giant machines that build bridges into the thin air underneath them out of quick drying concrete mixtures or machines the melt tunnels into mountains using The Power of the Atom. On the other hand, it also vaguely hints at devices very much like modern GPS units. And unsurprisingly, considering the mindset at the time, there are highways everywhere, vast networks of roadways crisscrossing the globe, enabling you and your family to drive through the Taj Mahal or up the Great Sphinx’s nose. A spiderweb of automotive activity, always on the move, never stopping. Welcome to The Future.

Via Paperwalker : Super Punch

“NERVOUS96” by Bill Domonkos (Original Music by Jill Tracy and Paul Mercer)

Happy Friday the 13th! A lucky day for us, to be sure– in addition to Ross’s regular installment of the FAM, Coilhouse is proud to present NERVOUS96, a new, suspenseful, next-to-silent retro sci-fi short by director Bill Domonkos.

Inspired by original musical seance recordings by longtime ‘Haus favorite Jill Tracy, and the deliciously spooky violin of Paul Mercer, Domonkos has taken vintage footage and repurposed it to present the tale of a frantic, lonely woman, increasingly overwhelmed by debt and uncertainty in a world where technology has become increasingly invasive, even menacing. His “complex chiaroscuro style marks a marriage between silent-era special effects master George Méliès and the digital age.”

“Single white female. Lonely, Seeking soul mate. Humanoid preferred…”

From the NERVOUS96 press release:

Known for his distinctive craft of manipulated archival footage combined with 2D and 3D computer animation, special effects, and photography, Jill Tracy fans best know Bay Area filmmaker Bill Domonkos for the multiple award-winning “The Fine Art of Poisoning,” and his collection of acclaimed videos for legendary masked band The Residents.

The Fine Art of Poisoning,” (set to Jill Tracy’s seminal song) has become a cult favorite, garnering praise from Clive Barker, Guy Maddin, writer Warren Ellis, and well-over 100,000 views on YouTube, and a recent screening at London’s famed National Gallery.

Domonkos was completely inspired by pianist Jill Tracy and violinist Paul Mercer’s “Musical Séance,” a poignant live project that employs the duo’s astonishing channeled improvisations. Domonkos meticulously crafted excerpts from actual séance recordings to create the emotional voice of the “NERVOUS96” character.

Here ’tis:

NERVOUS96 from Bill Domonkos on Vimeo.

(Click those arrows on the right to watch it full screen.) The musical score for NERVOUS96 is also available for download on Bandcamp. Congratulations to Domonkos/Tracy/Mercer on this sharp and toothsome indie triumph.

Evil Robot or Japanese Building?

Flickr user turezure recently snapped this menacing picture of the Humax Pavilion in Shibuya. Doesn’t it look like it’s just sitting there, biding its time, waiting to bust a move, Megatron-style?

The Pavilion was designed in 1991 by Hiroyuki Wakabayashi, who also designed the Nankai 50000 train series, seen above. The design theme for the train was Outdated Future, and indeed, there is a suspicious resemblance to the 1978  Cylon Centurian model.Wakabayashi’s other works include the breathtaking Uji Station and Maruto Bldg. No.17 in Kyoto. [via Battling Pink Robots]

Genki Sudo and World Order Present “MACHINE CIVILIZATION”

In response to last month’s horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and in an effort to rally people’s spirits, the music group World Order has produced this surreal and touching video, “Machine Civilization”. World Order is the brain child of Genki Sudo –a mixed martial artist, musician and choreographer– who had this to say [rough translation via Angry Asian Man]:

Many disasters are ongoing in Japan; earthquakes, Tsunami, and nuclear accidents. These unprecedented things may be able to change however from now. That’s why I expressed through World Order to convey some message to you on my own way. I see these accidents will become a turning point of civilization. I think the time of revolution is coming, where people in the world coexist with this planet against the system of modern society, economy and politics.

Any accident is neutral. Although we are straying around this deep darkness, I believe we can get through anything when each of us let go of our fear, and face things positively.

The world won’t change on its own. We do change one by one. That makes the world change. The darkness just before the dawn is deepest. So, we do rise up together to greet the brilliant morning truly coming for the human beings.


(On that note, big thanks to all who bid on the Coilhouse Care Package for Japan auction. You helped raise a donation of $122.50 to the Red Cross in support of disaster relief efforts.)

(World Order link via William Gibson. Arigatou gozaimasu!)

Farewell, SGM. (Free Nils Frykdahl/Coilhouse PDF!)

A glimpse of the Helpless Corpses Enactment film shoot. Photo by Meredith Yayanos and Gooby Herms.

Click here to download a free Coilhouse Magazine PDF: Lives Transformed Through the Power of Confusing Music: Nils Frykdahl on Art and Kinship.

With solemnity, gratitude and a touch of sorrow, Coilhouse must acknowledge that Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, the most gloriously unclassifiable American band currently in existence, is about to call it quits. After a dozen relentless years of composing, recording, touring and performing some truly jaw-dropping music, the Oakland-based vanguards will play four final shows later this week in California: one in San Diego on April 7th, one in Los Angeles on April 8th, and two in San Francisco, both on April 10th (the evening show sold out, so they added a matinee).

Throughout the late nineties and all of the aughts, the legendary DIY road warriors of SGM crisscrossed the continental United States two, sometimes three times a year (and later on, toured Europe). Arriving at venues like a cheerful doomsday circus in their beautifully renovated vintage Green Tortoise bus, the curators entertained audiences with everything from puppet shows to Butoh dance to passionate readings of Italian Futurist manifestos. Flustered reviewers and reluctant converts, determined to pigeonhole SGM, labeled the avant-garde act as everything from neo-RIO (Rock in Opposition) to avant-prog metal, to grindcore funk theater, to, in the words of one concertgoer, “Satanic Anarchic Viking Shit”. But none of these descriptors come anywhere near encapsulating the band’s eclectic sound, style, or ethos. Not even close.

SGM on tour, 2009. Photo by Olivia Oyama.

The quintet has penned lyrics inspired by the Unabomber, James Joyce, madness, stroke-stricken baby doctors, love, death, cockroaches, and the end of the world. They have employed strange, esoteric contraptions from various folk traditions as well as several homemade instruments, such as the Viking Row-Boat, the Wiggler, the Spring-Nail Guitar, and a brutal, seven feet long piano-stringed bass behemoth called The Log. They have developed stage shows with stark lighting and elaborate costumes, sporting tooth black and spiked leather gauntlets and bonnets and bihawks and military khaki and antique lace nighties. They have sung lilting post-modern folk melodies. They have delivered face-melting blasts of pure, untrammeled metal.

They have rocked harder, more intelligently, and with more unabashed strangeness than anyone else around.

They will go down in legend.

Take comfort in knowing that these final shows won’t be the very last we’ll hear/see of them–the band has a comprehensive live DVD compilation in the works, as well as short film called The Last Human Being, and a final album. (We’ll be sure to announce all of those here when they’re released.)

Photo of Nils Frykdahl by Mikel Pickett.

In honor of the band, and to give our readers another peek at the variety of stuff we cover in the print magazine, Coilhouse is offering this free PDF download of our interview with Nils Frykdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (as well as Idiot Flesh, Faun Fables, and several other acts) printed in Issue Three, summer of 2009.

Frykdahl is a fascinating artist with a lot of delight and wisdom to share. That goes for all of the curators of SGM, truly. (Nils, Dan, Carla, Matthias, Michael, Shinichi, Frank, Moe! et al: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Lots of love, and best of luck with all of your future endeavors.)

Click here to download a free Coilhouse Magazine PDF: Lives Transformed Through the Power of Confusing Music: Nils Frykdahl on Art and Kinship.

Book Printing Circa 1947

Encyclopedia Britannica Films presents this fascinating look into the arduous and protracted task of printing a book in 1947, cialis at least when compared to the process as it is today. Also interesting to note the nigh complete lack of workplace safety guidelines, allowing a man to cut copper plates on a table saw without the need for cumbersome safety goggles.

Via Core77

John Murray Spear Builds a Machine God

A depiction of the New Motor. Artist unknown.

Ah, the 1800s were a simpler time. Before that whole Civil War mess, America was in the throes of the Second Great Awakening, with the Northeast so thoroughly scorched by religious fervor that a swath of New York was dubbed “the Burned-over district.”

Amidst this, Spiritualism was all the rage, too, so it didn’t initially attract much notice when John Murray Spear, a middle-aged Universalist pastor in Massachusetts, claimed to be receiving messages from dead men. Sure, it was somewhat strange that instead of talking to a deceased relative for comfort, he claimed that a “Band of Electricizers” made up of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and others, had chosen him to bring a messiah into the world. But, in a twist fitting a new era, this savior was a machine, one that would, Spear relayed, “revolutionize the world and raise mankind to an exalted level of spiritual development.”

Those who already knew anything of the man might have figured he had simply snapped. Spear’s outspoken views on abolition and women’s rights, among other topics, led a number of churches to drive him out, and, in 1844, after a particularly vigorous denunciation of slavery, he was beaten and left for dead in Maine.

A picture of Spear, and the title page of a tome of the Electricizers’ revelations.

He recovered, and, in 1851, with the Electricizers’ plans dancing in his head, quit the ministry. Two years later, he began his work on the machine, with a result stranger than fiction.

Rosie the Riveter: A Collection of Flickr Tributes

PhocalPoint | Sarah Jake | Kate O’Brien / Drea Morsby | Stacey Lynn | Katacha | Tiffany (TLP Photography)

Last week, Geraldine Hoff Doyle, one of the inspirations for the character of Rosie the Riveter, died at age 86 in Lansing, MI. Doyle was just 17 years old when a photographer for United Press International snapped her photo at the metal-pressing plant where she worked. The photo was subsequently used by the U.S. War Production Coordinating Committee as reference for a poster titled “We Can Do It!” Lansing was oblivious to her fame until 1984, when she came across a reproduction of the poster in a magazine. Doyle’s daughter, Stephanie Gregg, told the Lansing State Journal, “she was very kind and generous. She lived the ‘We Can Do It!’ life every day.” The image was originally aimed to encourage women to enter the workforce in support of the war effort, but became an image of empowerment for the ages, inspiring, as Marina Galperina writes in her Rosie tribute post at the Animal NY blog, “a legacy of posters, merchandise, motivated females and countless internet doppelgangers.” Galperina has posted a selection of her favorite Rosie images from Flickr, and invites others to do the same. More “We Can Do It!” girls on Flickr right this way.

Kelly Docheny

The Bunnies of Okunoshima Island

Between 1929 and 1945, Okunoshima Island (located in Takehara, part of the Hiroshima Prefecture) was a chemical warfare production site for the Imperial Japanese Army that produced over six kilotons of mustard gas. Mainichi Daily News reports that Okunoshima was even “once erased from the map of Japan for security reasons. […] The poison gas produced at the site took the lives of many people in China and other battlefronts, and former facility workers are continuing to suffer from health ailments caused by the gas.” The moldering husks of the Imperial Army’s power plant and other long-abandoned facility buildings remain standing to this day. In 1988, The Poison Gas Museum was established on the island “in order to alert as many people as possible to the dreadful truths about poison gas.”

Photos of the abandoned Imperial Army poison gas factory on Okunoshima Island via Wiki and JulieInJapan.

But now, Okunoshima Island is becoming better known as “Usagi Shima” (meaning Rabbit Island), a “bunny paradise” where robust leporids numbering in the hundreds roam freely and fearlessly. According to the Mainichi paper’s reportage, it’s believed that the rabbits were first introduced to the island in 1971 when an elementary school in Takehara dumped several of the animals there after being overwhelmed by the responsibilities required to keep rabbits at school. However, many other sources state that the rabbits of Usagi Shima island are direct descendants of lab animals (upon which the Imperial Army’s poisonous gases were tested) set loose by factory workers at the end of WWII.

In either case, the original bunnies of Okunoshima and their successive generations of offspring appear to have thrived in their predator-free environment, grazing on wild greens that grow in abundance all over the island, and accepting food from an ever-increasing stream of enchanted human tourists. The Kyukamura Okunoshima resort hotel located on the island has recently seen a steep increase in visitors to the island thanks to the spread of knowledge of the island via the internet “Many visitors […] are bringing their cameras to take photographs of the rabbits, next year’s zodiac animal, for their New Year’s greeting cards and personal blog sites.”

Photo via aPike.

Blogger Julie in Japan sums up the island’s appeal very well: “Okunoshima has a great message of peace, a chilling history, adorable rabbits, incredible abandoned buildings to take pictures of, and a lot of nature with no crowds. For those reason, I’d recommend going there.” Although, chances are there will be more crowds now, due to the increase in press. Hopefully all of this attention won’t upset the bunny balance!

(Story via my own dear Bunny, natch.)

EBM (Electronic Baby Music)

Happy Solstice! Whether the sun is coming back to you today, or moving further away, now is an opportune time to dance in honor of the polarity of light and darkness, death and life, joy and strife, asperity and mildness.

Preferably with DIE ÜBERBABIES:

Song is “Die Lüge”, by DAF. Thanks, DJ Dead Billy

*oontz oontz oontz oontz oontz oontz oontz oontz oontz*

(And then there’s this.)