BTC: “Are You Fucking Kidding Me?”

I have a grudging chanteuse crush on Kate Miller-Heidke:

kate-millerheidke copy

Classically trained up the wazoo, this dainty blonde Aussie with golden pipes grew up and turned her back on the opera house in favor of becoming a pop star. It’s a bit difficult to explain why I like her so much. While her lyrics are sharp and hilarious, and I adore her voice, it’s impossible for me to actually sit through most of her songs. That slick, cloying, Dawson’s Creeky, top 40 adult contemporary bubblebath production treatment never fails to give me the green apple quickstep. Her website is arguably a ripoff of The Dresden Dolls‘. So far, she’s not doing anything Kate or Tori or Alison or Cyndi or Dolly hasn’t done better, or with more authenticity. But there’s a wit, warmth and mischief about her in her less affected moments that makes me sit up and take notice, and this morning, her Facebook  piss-take “Are You Fucking Kidding Me?” has me laughing out loud.

I’d jump to watch her performing solo in some small, out-of-the-way piano bar.

What’s Behind the Wall?

Bob Diamond, an NYC engineer-turned-urban explorer, really wants to know:

(Via Scott Spencer, mwah.)

The footage we’re watching aims to raise funds and support for The Tunnel, a documentary film project that could potentially solve one of America’s most notorious mysteries. Behind the wall in question may lie an overturned (but otherwise perfectly preserved) locomotive from the early 1800’s, as well as missing pages from the diary of John Wilkes Booth, naming all of the conspirators involved in Lincoln’s death. No one can know for sure unless The Tunnel’s production team is able to convince state and local officials to let them excavate, with the tape rolling. (No easy task, that.)


“At the heart of The Tunnel is a story that delves into mysteries, engineering feats, murders, and cover-ups. Some of the stories are completely true, some of them merely urban legends yet to be proven. Interviews with experts and modern day explorers will offer insight into the tantalizing traces of facts and fiction. There is no shortage of secret societies, bootleggers, pirates, mobsters, ghosts, and even Nazis in the Tunnel’s rich past and this story will shine new light on all the heinous details. One thing is certain – the tunnel is as much a physical place and place in history, as it is a doorway into a labyrinth of discovery.”

Tiny little hairs standing up on the back of your neck? Me too. Think it all sounds too juicy to be true? Maybe. Maybe not. Aren’t you dying to find out for certain? Put the word out. This is a film project worth supporting.*

Links of possible interest:

*That is, unless you’re a New York taxpayer whose morning commute takes you under Atlantic Ave, in which case, you’re probably screaming “NOOOOOOO!”

Friday Afternoon Movie: Dark Side of the Moon

No more meetings. Not one more. If you have to attend one more meeting today you’re going to scream. One more boring, monotonous PowerPoint presentation and you’re going to beat someone to death with their laptop. You’ll feel bad, sure; I mean, it wouldn’t be their fault necessarily, after all no one likes doing PowerPoint presentations — well, everyone except for Tim, that is, but he’s pretty fucking weird to begin with. I mean, remember that time when you walked into the break-room and he was standing there, whispering to the coffee machine and he didn’t even notice your presence because he was so intently whispering and so you cleared your throat and he finally realized there was another person in the room but he didn’t seem embarrassed or anything, just annoyed that someone had interrupted him, and he just sort of gave you a dirty, sideways glance which he kept trained on you for the endless seconds you spent deciding whether you really still wanted coffee, and until you finally backed out of the room at which point you could here him begin whispering again and you were fairly certain you heard your name and the word “whore”? Yeah, that was weird. — it’s just that, if you have to look at one more graph or here the word “actionable” again, you’re gonna snap.

Well relax. Meetings are over for the day. It’s time to chill out, put aside those thoughts of murderous rage, and just wait for that sweet, sweet weekend to roll around. In the meantime, why don’t you take a load off. Take off your shoes, maybe plug in that lava lamp that you got from your secret Santa last Christmas, because now is the time for The Floyd. This week we have Classic Albums: Pink Floyd – The Making of “The Dark Side of the Moon” or, at least, the shorter version for television. Not much to say about this one. It’s the story behind one of the great rock albums of all time as told by Those Who Were There. Containing a bevy of interviews, demo reels, and old footage it’s a journey through the labyrinthine inner workings of manufacturing an album. Bonus clip at the end with an extended look at the single “Money”.

Civil War Veteran And His Wife

Unknown, ‘Civil War Veteran And His Wife’, hand-tinted collodion wet plate ambrotype, c1860s (via)

I don’t post vintage photos here very often (mostly because there are so many wonderful blogs devoted to them), but this one found over at Siege’s blog was too good to pass. You simply have to click here to see it in large format – there are so many incredible details! This looks like a still from a new movie – two talented actors, dressed expertly by a costume designer, captured by an in-demand photographer.  But no; it’s a vintage ambrotype from the Civil War era.

Just look at them. If this image doesn’t inspire you to start spinning tales, I don’t know what will. What did he do for a living? Did he ever fall off a horse? Did he like doing magic card tricks? Was he allergic to bees? How did he meet his lady, so stylish with her ruffled bonnet and black leather gloves? Was their marriage passionate? Did she have a good singing voice? Did she hate going to church?

Tell me a story about them.

Update! This post is officially getting the Coilhouse tag “Misinformation,” because Siege has uncovered some new facts. “A TinEye search result led to Google led to a post on A Database that lists this as ‘Veteran of Waterloo with his Wife’ c1850s:

“Bruce Bernard saw this unusual photograph for sale at Christie’s in the 1970s. It appeared in the Sunday Times Magazine where he was picture editor and in his book Photodiscovery, he later tracked it down for the collection. The medal on the man indicates him as a veteran of Waterloo.”

See also: Reliability of Wikipedia

Although it turns out this couple was from Europe, I still like Paul Komoda’s more American-sounding names from the comments: “Athanasius Scrimshaw and his good lady, Jerboa.”

For more on Coilhouse’s love affair with old photographs, check out The Tarnished Beauties of Blackwell, Oklahoma, probably one of my top 5 favorite Mer posts of all time.

Pizza Cutters By Frankie Flood

The outlaw biker image is a break from the conformity that has taken over America since industrialization. My machined pizza cutters draw inspiration from chopper motorcycles and attempt to reclaim the mythology and economic usefulness of the American worker as patriarch; translating machine or functional object into flesh and blood. The outlaw as defiant nonconformist, as well as social outcast, parallels being an artist who makes functional objects and being an individual who takes pride in the power of invention and skill.

A complex and deep way for artist and teacher Frankie Flood to say that he makes badass pizza cutters. These are pizza cutters that will punch you in the face if they don’t like the way you look at them. Pizza cutters who will ride off with that pretty young daughter of yours for a lifetime of reckless and terrible debauchery, never to return. These pizza cutters will fuck your pizza up, no goddamn problem, boy.

via The Daily What

8-bit Trip

I realize this video may not be for everyone. For instance Nadya, one of my esteemed editors, hates videogames with an all-consuming passion. She must be forgiven for this, dear reader. It may not be common knowledge but Nadya’s entire village in Russia was destroyed by videogames. It was only by chance that she and her family had been chosen that week to travel the 500 miles to the nearest town to procure the beets on which they so desperately depended. Upon returning and finding the village razed and their neighbors slaughtered, they decided to flee to the United States.

You’ll excuse me, then, if I geek out for a moment. 8-bit Trip is a stop-motion music video that pays tribute to that generation of videogames that dominated my childhood, using the building blocks that has hijacked untold hours of my free time. Created by two crazy Swedes requiring over 1500 hours of work, who knows how many LEGO and a chiptune soundtrack; it is a perfect storm of cloying nostalgia, paralyzing my brain with its sheer awesomeness.

Insectarium by Madame Peripetie

You know those insect-like Nina Ricci boots, recently immortalized in W‘s Bruce Willis/Emma Heming shoot? Above is a pair that makes those look like a pair of standard-grade Demonias. German company Kronier creates angular, futuristic shoes designed to challenge even the most poised high-heel connoisseurs. Recently, a pair of their shoes, along with other bug-like clothing from various alternative designers, was captured by photographer Madame Peripetie and model Jana Berlin in a shoot titled Insectarium.

More images after the jump!

Blouse: Dora Mojzes. Corset: Savage Wear.

BTC: Tricker Hit Parade and the Hastening Heartbeat

The 2012 crackpots won’t shut up about Schumman Resonance and the earth’s racing heartbeat and how time is literally accelerating toward a zero point, at which time we will all apparently be escorted by luminous karmic god warriors from the 5th Dimension into a blissful, egoless Eternal Now paradise. (Weeee!) While the skeptic in me has trouble stifling her giggles, I have to admit something… I can’t help but feel like time really IS speeding up when I watch footage like this:

(This is another one of those times where turning off the sound and picking your own soundtrack may prove less monotonous.)

Wiki describes martial arts tricking as “a relatively new underground alternative sport movement, combining martial arts, gymnastics, breakdancing and other activities to create an aesthetic blend of flips, kicks, and twists.” There are no formal rules, no official regulations, no limitations whatsoever beyond those placed on a fit human body by gravity and centrifugal force. To a battered old gimp like me, it just looks impossibly fast and light. Some of these kids seem superhuman.

It’s not like I’m about to bust out a Mayan calendar or anything, but yeah. Is the human race –if not the planet itself– speeding up at an ever-accelerating rate? Food for thought while we sip our morning joe, grunt and crack our stiff necks, and hunker down in front of our computers for another physically strenuous day of farting around on the web.

Friday Afternoon Movie: Jesus Camp

It’s been a long, long day. When you haven’t been in meetings you’ve been at your desk alt-tabbing between solitaire and Excel, rearranging your budget so that you’ll be able to afford those sweet zebra-print seat covers you saw on Jalopnik the other day. Well, just stop it. You’ll never be able to afford them and Jalopnik was being ironic anyway. Also, anyone can win at solitaire if they pull one card at a time. Yeesh, have some self-respect. Close Excel and prepare for Friday filmage.

Today: Jesus Camp, a documentary about the now defunct “Kids On Fire School of Ministry”, a Pentecostal summer camp in North Dakota. It follows three children who attended the camp in 2005 where they are taught how to become part of God’s army. A lighthearted tale of willful ignorance and homeschooling, this is the film to show your atheist friends if you wish to see them become apoplectic and jittery with spittle-flecked rage. Or to pass the time while avoiding the siren call of compulsive spending.

Seriously, zebra-print isn’t going to make that ’89 Camry any cooler.

Mark Heap in Four Tet’s “Smile Around The Face”

Compulsively watchable, this simple video will give you a happy-sad feeling. It features my favorite British actor, Mark Heap. Heap got his start as a street-performing juggler, and many will recognize him from his roles in the shows Spaced (where he played Brian), Jam (where he played characters so demented, there’s a Coilhouse Jam appreciation post all of its own), Spine Chillers (as a gothic landlord with a dark secret), Big Train, Green Wing, Brass Eye and many others.  Heap is one of the greats of British surrealist comedy, co-writing many of his sketches and instilling his most memorable characters with a brilliant lunacy that seems to emanate from a very genuine place.

The music video above is not that new, it goes by very fast, and always puts me in a good, though vaguely wistful, sort of mood. A brief description of what you’re about to see, by music reviewer Ryan Dombal:

The entirety of the day-in-the-life short focuses on Heap’s head as he falls down bus stairs, see-saws with his toddler daughter, and finally sinks into a soothing bath. Ostensibly wearing a camera harnessed to his person (the same magnetizing technique recently employed to great effect by Pi director Darren Aronofsky), the whole thing is a fascinating face study with the middle-aged thespian’s worn creases and bluish bruises giving the camera gobs to work with. Heap manages to convey the heartbreak of a divorced dad, the workman’s daily grind, and, lastly, the song’s titular relieved expression with startling believability, making his nameless centerpiece a rare music video character worth caring about.

Perhaps this week more than others, seeing the red double-decker buses and London streetcorners in the background of the video adds to the mild nostalgia induced by this clip. See, everyone’s been asking me “Hey, Nadya! How’s London?” In a nutshell, the move fell through. To make a long story short: one day after I arrived to the UK, finally completing the relocation that had been carefully planned for more than a year, our London office was shut down (for economic reasons). I was forced to return the US. Luckily, my company was generous enough to offer a relocation package to any US city where we still had an office. I chose San Francisco. I’m excited. No use in crying over spilled milk, right? London will always be there, and one day I’ll return. In the meantime: Yay Area, here I come!

But back to the amazing Mark Heap. Enjoy the video! I’ve posted some more theatrical, fun and deranged moments from various points in Heap’s acting career after the jump.