The Art Of Opening Bottles

Bottle caps are a particular source of shame for me, being as they are at the center of a particularly awful incident. Upon a hot summer afternoon a few years ago, in search of a salve for my burning thirst, I walked into my local drugstore and approached the soda counter. The jerk was busy with a young woman and her daughter who, being all of what seemed to be six or seven, was having an issue deciding exactly what to order. Not wishing to wait for my refreshment, I walked over to the cooler and extracted a frosty bottle of pop. Upon returning to the counter I looked over at the woman who, now aware of my presence looked over and, smiling politely, apologized for her offspring’s indecision. Telling her not to worry, I took my newly procured bottle of pop, pressed the neck of the bottle against the edge of the counter and preceded to execute the Donovan’s Reef maneuver.

Why I chose to attempt such a feat is a bit of mystery to me, even now. It may have had something to do with the fact that the woman was fairly attractive and I did it in an attempt to impress her or maybe it was just that the gleam of the counter’s edge caught my eye, calling to me and I was unable to resist its siren call. It may have been both but regardless, as my hand came down to strike that bottle cap it dawned on me that I had never actually done this before and as my hand struck the bottle’s neck I thought that perhaps this was a bad idea and I should have at least practiced this, preferably in the privacy of my own home, before using it in public to impress attractive mothers, and as the bottle shattered and glass broke the surface of my skin I thought that these were all excellent thoughts.

Not My Future Boom Boom

I heard “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas while switching between radio stations in my car. The words “I got the that rock and roll, that future flow, that digital spit, next level visual shit” piqued my curiosity so I decided to listen to the rest. As the beat kicked in, I remembered sort of liking the Peas’ first album and dreamily wondered whether T-Pain and Kanye West have inspired an amazing new genre: cyber rap. Just as I was starting to smile at the prospect of a Funkadelic generation for the 21st century, Fergie’s brute battle screech crushed all my hopes of space-hop grandeur with just one verse: “I like that boom boom pow, them chickinz jackin’ my style, they try copy my swagger I’m on that next shit now”.

Still, I looked up the video when I got home – wanted to see what boom-boom-pow looked like. Observe:

Alright, I’ll admit that, with the exception of the cheesy gas masks and biohazard symbols, there is a lot to like about the visuals thanks to art director Norm Myers but… I can’t help but weep for the future if it is to be filled with My Little Ponies headphones and slang from the 80s. I like a little supersonic boom as much as the next guy, but until one of these Peas can be a little more specific about their zooming space shit I’m afraid I just don’t buy it. What exactly makes this song futuristic? Help me out. Until then I’ll try to avoid saying “You’re SOO two thousand and LATE” in my lexicon and look to the cosmos for answers.

Enjoy the uncensored lyrics, below the supersonic space-jump. Try not to get shat on.


I’m unsure what to make of Colin, the newish, ultra low-budget zombie film from Nowhere Fast Productions. When I say ultra low-budget I mean ultra. The entire cost of filming Colin was roughly $71.00, the most extravagant expenses, according to director Marc Price, were “a crowbar, some mini DV tapes and some tea and coffee – but only Tesco Value tea and coffee, not any expensive stuff.” He was able to convince actors and make-up artists to contribute their services in order to help flesh out their portfolios. Whether this was done using blackmail or blowjobs was not specified.

This same movie is set to explode at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, according to the Daily Mail, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out why from the, albeit brief, teaser trailer. The concept itself is interesting, a movie shown from the perspective of a person turned into a zombie, but to my eyes the sub-hundred-dollar budget shines through in a particularly ugly way. Part of me wonders if this is merely a case of critics enamored with process — the story of an unknown filmmaker with some chutzpa making a movie with limited resources — over product. Still, I’m eager to actually see the thing; far be it from me to ignore a zombie flick.

NYU Class Taught by Coilhouse Contributor!

Attention all New Yorkers! Looking for something to do this summer on Wednesday nights? Frequent Coilhouse contributor Agent Double Oh No, aka Jeff Wengrofsky, is teaching a course this summer at NYU. The course is titled “The Postwar Avant-Garde in Downtown New York.” The course sounds amazing – I wish I could visit NYC for the summer, just to take it. Check out the description:

In the period from 1950 to 1980, New York City’s downtown art world teemed with freewheeling vitality. From the musicians of the postwar jazz scene to 1970s punk musicians jamming at CBGB’s, neighborhoods comprising an area smaller than most American towns produced many significant contributions to music, film, theater, dance, the visual arts, and the written and spoken word. In this course, we explore the history of lower Manhattan, experience some of this art and music, discuss the social conditions that nurtured creativity, and hear from a few of the people who were prime movers in these creative communities.

Jeff is a wealth of knowledge and insight – this course is not to be missed. There will be films, slides, things to read and places to explore. Guest speakers include two living legends of the avant-garde: Judith Malina, founder of The Living Theater and direct theatrical descendant of Brecht, and Andy Warhol superstar Taylor Mead.

The course runs from June 3 – July 22, and takes place every Wednesday from 6:20pm-8:40pm. Click here to learn more. You do not need to be an NYU student to enroll.

The Cruel Delights Of Cheng Fei

Like cherubs stuffed to their breaking point, Cheng Fei’s figures revel in vice. Their corpulent bodies, drenched in lust and gluttony, roil and roll on the canvas. Faceless, save for collagen plumped pornstar lips, their appendages have ballooned and bloated so that they are nigh unrecognizable. Incapable of seeing, hearing, or smelling they can only imbibe and consume, feeding their own, selfish desires. Some, their skins forced beyond the confines of their elasticity, split asunder, revealing a beautiful and ghastly store of jeweled offal; strings of pearly entrails; the digested result of their hedonism which, even in death, they claw at.

Cute and macabre they manage, mostly, to draw the viewer in while simultaneously repulsing them. They are undeniably repugnant, embodying as they do the most base facets of our society, culture, species, what have you; but they do it with a greeting card sensibility which is, perhaps, what makes them so effective. It’s an interesting dichotomy, regardless of the message.

All Tomorrows: The Changed Man

“Dread is that tension, that waiting the comes when you know there is something to fear but you have not yet identified what it is. The fear that comes when you first realize that your spouse should have been home an hour ago; when you hear a strange sound in the baby’s bedroom; when you realize that a window you are sure you closed is now open, the curtains billowing, and you’re alone in the house.”
-Orson Scott Card, from the Introduction to The Changed Man.

People change.

Once upon a time there was a talented young writer who explored death, horror and the future with uncommon vision. He had a rare talent for the fast-moving plot, the unexpected twist and the exploration of deeper philosophical themes, all in the same space.

People change, and not always for the better. In recent years, Orson Scott Card, who made his fame with brilliant works like Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, has turned his attention towards advocating for one loathsome cause after another. Dogma and fear have gotten the better of his creative talents. If you want evidence, read Empire. Hell, Warner Brothers has the rights, so it may soon be coming to a theater near you.

While Card may now deride much of the “New Morality and the Pill” era, his earlier work is very much of a piece with the glories of science fiction’s Deviant Age. In this edition of All Tomorrows, I’ll focus on The Changed Man, a slim volume released under that title in 1992 that happens to be contain the strongest single collection of Card’s early work that I’ve found (if you want the entirety of his short stories, including some other gems, get the massive Maps in a Mirror).

This column is less about the collection itself than some of the tales contained within. It’s about gems like “Eumenides in the Fourth floor lavatory,” “Fat Farm,” “Closing the Timelid” and “Prior Restraint.” Dread and the bubbling of the nasty subconscious are a theme, and these stories stand as a reminder of the writer Card was, and could have been.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia

Today is IDAHO, 2009. On this date not too long ago (1992), homosexuality was finally removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO). This year, in a gesture of pride and solidarity, hundreds of folks from 48 countries across six continents around the world participated in a video message produced by the Parisian IDAHO committee in conjunction with the Hong Kong-based site,

“Participants submitted videos in all of the world’s key languages, including Afrikaans, Arabic, Cantonese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tamil and even American Sign Language.”

Unfortunately, you can’t actually watch the video (or anything else) on the official site right now because they’re experiencing a big ol’ DDoS attack that hit the site approximately 48 hours ago, shortly before various global IDAHO celebrations were set to begin. Coincidence? Um, no. spokesperson Kenneth Tan, who spoke to Pitch Engine earlier today, says that “this is a well-timed, well-orchestrated assault by a large botnet with tens of thousands of PCs sending requests to our site. Engineers with our Internet Service Provider remarked they have never seen an attack of this intensity before.”

Okay, who else is getting REALLY effin’ sick of irony? Thankfully, has been able to upload and share the video on many other sites. Ooo! AND… via Calpernia Addams’ Twitter, I just found out that (with a nod to the weekend’s worldwide IDAHO celebrations) France has just become the first country in the world to officially depathologize transexualism as a mental illness. Woot!

Two steps back, three steps forward. Let’s keep on dancing, shall we?

1stAveMachine: Manipulating Time, Space, Biology

Manhattan-based 1stAveMachine produces lush, hyperreal short videos that glisten with bleeding-edge CGI. The clip above, a music video for Alias made in 2006, is considered their breakout masterpiece: a succulent garden of bio-electronic cyberflora. Describing the clip, director Arvind Palep told CGISociety, “we were looking at a merge between synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and what could spawn from them.”

Since that clip, 1stAveMachine, helmed by Palep and Serge Patzak (the former turned down a job from Industrial Light & Magic to join the startup), has produced short commercials for the likes of MTV Japan, Samsung and HP. But no matter how corporate their clients roster becomes, 1stAvenue keeps it weird, inviting comparisons to Chris Cunningham and Patricia Piccinini. Consider the below ad for Saturn, which 1stAveMachine describes as “a haunting hyper-sexual and stylized vision for the future”:

Shown above is the director’s cut, which features a naked lady. NSFW!

There are many more clips to be seen on 1stAveMachine’s site. Some favorites clips and image stills, after the cut. [via Paul Komoda]

The Dolls Of Lena And Katya Popova

The profile for Lena and Katya reads, in part, thus:

Lena & Katsya Popova, beautiful sisters, are new wave in Russian doll scene. Their early creations were proportional figures as shown this album, but their recent series as ‘Fashion MOON’ and ‘SKIN’ are quite unique and aggressive in deformed body.

My ignorance of a “Russian doll scene” should come as no surprise. That is, while I am aware of Russian dolls in the form of matryoshkas, I was unaware that there was a scene. Of course, this may have more to do with the connotations that I attach to the word “scene”, meaning that “Russian doll scene” makes me think of imposing, babushka-wearing Barbies looking disinterested at a trendy dance party. This would be wrong.

Looking beyond my own linguistic hang-ups we have the sisters’s actual work, and I can’t help but be drawn to it. The more traditional lamps are beautiful, their voluminous dresses lit up from within, belying their spindly frames topped by ivory faces. However, SKIN is a completely different animal all together. These are stunning, foregoing the traditional doll trimmings in favor of displaying fully that alien body-type, elongated just beyond the point of believability, clad in Westernized tribal chic.

It’s some impressive work, retaining the cuteness of a child’s toy while simultaneously functioning as modern sculpture. Plus, I can easily imagine them looking bored while listening to, say, Lady Gaga.

Issue 02 Sold Out!

…aaaaand, that’s it. They’re gone, folks. Issue 02 is no longer available for sale on this site. Many thanks to everybody who bought an issue at the last minute.

For those of you who just missed it, our friend Cassandra at Wildilocks in Australia is selling 6 copies of Issue 02 and 6 copies of the coveted, limited-edition Issue 01! Cass originally bought these from us at retail price when they came out, pretty much just to support us. Thank you, Cass!