The Friday Afternoon Movie: “Until The Light Takes Us”

Fenriz of Darkthrone. Still via Black Metal Movie.

[Video removed in response to copyright infringement complaint. Buy the film here.]

Screaming and corpse paint on this entry of The FAM as we take a look at Until the Light Takes Us, the 2009 documentary directed by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell which details the goings on of a small group of individuals who took the Norwegian black metal scene and propelled it into infamy with vandalism, church burnings, and, eventually, murder. It specifically sets its sights on two of the individuals: Darkthrone drummer and producer Gylve “Fenriz” Nagell and ex Mayhem member and one man band Burzum creator Varg “Count Grishnackh” Vikernes who, at the time, was finishing out a 21 year sentence (the maximum under Norwegian law) for four of the aforementioned church burnings, as well as the murder of fellow Mayhem band-mate Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth.

The reasons for this decision are apparent from the start, as they are almost diametrically opposed to one another. Nagell continues to remain active in the scene, making music with Darkthrone and running his record label. He is also, seemingly, apolitical. Vikernes, on the other hand, is anything but. He waxes at great length about the ills his country and culture have suffered under the tyranny of everything from McDonald’s to Christianity. Indeed, of the two, he is far more charismatic. He is also the most problematic.

Critics have pointed out that Vikernes may have charmed his interviewers into complacency, and I can’t help but agree. Little is done to expand his views of Christianity, and yet it seems that most of those issues revolve around the fact that it is an offshoot of Judaism. It is also not mentioned that, for a number of years after his conviction, he identified as a neo-Nazi. (He has since created the term “odalism” to differentiate his beliefs, though those differences do not pertain to either racism or anti-Semitism.)

In a sense, then, Until the Light Takes Us serves much better as a history lesson, a snapshot of the early days of Norway’s burgeoning black metal scene. It serves little in the way of critique save to ponder how society has co-opted the scene, rendering it somewhat toothless in the eyes of its forefathers; and while this is an interesting diversion it is more observation than analysis. In the end, it could have used a more insightful vision. Aites and Ewell spent two years in Norway making this documentary and getting to know their subjects. It may have helped to get some distance.

Mer’s Birthday Bash! Today!

Today at 3 PM PST / 6 EST, in 20 minutes, join us at for a birthday celebration for our dear co-editrix Meredith Yayanos.

If you’re not familiar with Turntable, here it is in a nutshell: “being 16 and on acid in a Hello Kitty store.” It’s a new listening service in which a cute avatar DJ version of you either spins music for your friends or boogies down to other DJs spinning. As Mer wrote on Tumblr,

Over the weekend, I created “a semi-official Turntable room for Coilhouse. The party’s been jumpin’ pretty much around the clock, ever since, thanks to the participation of all sorts of lovely people from all different parts of the world: Australia, Canada, England, the U.S.A., Brazil, Czech Republic, New Zealand, you name it. It’s proving to be a wonderful way to listen to music, spin tracks, lounge and chat in real time with far-flung friends, and friends-in-the-making.  I have yet to experience a cozier, or more congenial notional space online.

To give you a sample of the kind of music you’ll hear in the room, check out the Space/Rocket/Cosmos/SciFi playlist. Over the course of 20 hours, the Coilhouse Turntable room’s roster of DJ’s cycled through all things space-related, from Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song” to Bikini Kill’s “Alien She”. Then, we went underwater with an aquatic adventure theme, from “God Walks on the Water” to “Aqua Boogie” to “Wave of Mutilation” (the UK Surf Mix, of course).

Today’s unofficial theme just may be “Birthday Suits”, though it’s Mer’s party and she can change the theme if she wants to.

The party starts in 20 minutes, at 3 PST / 6 EST, and lasts until 6 PST / 9 EST. See you all there!

“IT”: A Poem Confronting Trans-Hate

This is poet Kavindu “Kavi” Ade from Philly performing a spoken-word piece called “IT” at the Brave New Voices 2010.

The poem deals with gender identity and anti-trans hate (trigger warning!), hospital and watching Ade perform is an intense, emotional experience.

Amazing line: “they wanna paint you the color of smashed hymens.” Holy shit.

[via DarkSKIN]

Resonance: Where Sound Meets Geometry

RESONANCE from Resonance on Vimeo.

In the 11-minute clip above, mind a group of over 30 animators and sound artists teamed up to create short pieces between 12 and 20 seconds with the aim to “explore the relationship between geometry and audio in unique ways.”

The result is a series of warped, surreal sound visualizations. Twitching biomechanical amoebae, self-assembling fractal cubes, watery UFOs, motile blinking rubbery art-gallery showpieces,

[via raindrift]

Adventures In The Worlds Of G.P. Vallez

I could look G.P. Vallez’s work for days. Lush and strange, the art style is hard to compare, comprised of swirling patterns and geometric shapes. The subject matter, meanwhile, is like Lord Dunsany meets The Legend of Zelda — dream like visions of a grand quest. You can almost fall into these. They are packed full of little details, so I you like them, be sure to check out Vallez’s blog for larger images.

Creative Hairstyles from NAHA 2011

Ericka Brannon from the Make-up Artist of the Year Category

The 2011 North American Hairstyling Awards were recently announced, medical and this year the nominees are bigger and poofier than ever. Another year brings another crop of robot girls, try aliens, future flappers, mod androgynes, and obligatory hair-basket motifs.

Previously on Coilhouse:

Jacke Thompson, Avant-Garde Category

“The Greeks” by Is Tropical

WARNING: Extreme, toonish violence involving children.

I suppose that, on some level, I should be completely appalled by the video for Is Tropical’s debut single, “The Greeks”. It could be argued that one should not encourage the use of violence by children. That said, I love the absolutely crazed carnage of Megaforce’s video. With the help of animation by Seven, they’ve taken the Nerf gun battles of my youth and brought the imagined destruction to life. What follows is a series of firefights and faux drug deals gone bad, set to a frenetic dance club beat — a blood soaked crime spree in a world populated by kids who know that cool guys don’t look at explosions.

via Super Punch

BTC: “What is that ungodly thing?”

“We all saw it scrawled across the blackboard the second we stepped into Miss Lovecraft’s class…”

A  disturbing and darkly humorous commentary on burgeoning adolescence and coming to terms with “the other” that is the opposite sex, Craig MacNeill’s short film, “Late Bloomer“, devotes a horrific (and hilarious) thirteen minutes to the obscene revelations that stem from biological discovery.  Written and brilliantly narrated in true Lovecraftian style by Clay McLeod Chapman, this tale of a “7th grade sex-ed class gone horribly wrong”  chronicles the destruction of innocence in pulpy prose worthy of the old gentleman himself.

How to describe these grotesque mockeries of natural law? Clearly hovering at the edge of sanity, both awe-struck and terrified by the frenzied hormonal horrors to which he has become an initiate,  the film’s narrator recounts the events of that eldritch classroom in an eerie, quavering voice while a murky, droning soundtrack by One Ring Zero provides appropriate ambiance.  It is said that MacNeill was inspired to make “Late Bloomer” while shooting a documentary on the film’s writer; one cannot view the result without  imagining the horrors to which that pale, untried youth may have borne witness in the classroom.

The Friday Afternoon (Short) Movie: Jabberwocky

I will not, dear reader, attempt to convince you that I have any true comprehension of Jan Švankmajer’s 1971 short film Jabberwocky, for that would most assuredly be a lie. Comprised of stop motion animation and featuring a reading of the titular poem found in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, it is a film dense with seemingly impenetrable symbolism.

That poem is where the familiarity ends, the film beginning with a mysterious, moving wardrobe which opens to reveal a room that will change over the course of our journey, with the exception of the portrait of the severe, bearded man on the wall. There, we meet our hero, a child’s suit magically come to life. What follows is thirteen minutes of stop-motion insanity occasionally interrupted by the antics of a decidedly destructive black cat.

Ostensibly, Jabberwocky details the rebellion of a young man (the child’s suit) against authority or his father (the portrait) and, sure, that makes sense. What the intervening cascade of symbolism and weirdness actually means I cannot say. It is, however, certainly entertaining regardless.

Another Vietnam: Pictures from the Other Side of the Vietnam War

A surreal and haunting photograph taken in Cambodia in 1970, deep in the mangrove swamps of the Ca Mau Peninsula (this was an actual medical situation, not a publicity setup):

Photograph by Vo Anh Khanh © National Geographic Society

In 2002, it was included in curator Doug Niven’s Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side— the first ever exhibition of Vietnam War images by North Vietnamese photographers, presented at the International Center of Photography.

As a wire service photographer in Cambodia from 1991-96, I worked on occasional assignments in nearby Saigon. There I got to see firsthand images from the “other side.” On the same tree-lined street where American war correspondents had offices during the Vietnam War, grimy street kids now peddled war memorabilia, such as fake U.S. Army dog tags, Zippo lighters, and handmade black-and-white postcards of the conflict. While the images they sold were not very high quality, their existence suggested to me that more photographs must exist. Thus began the adventure of rediscovering lost Vietnamese-made war photographs.

During meetings with various communist officials over endless cups of bitter green tea, doors slowly began to open. Word spread that a young American was trying to collect and print photographers’ war negatives. Soon, everyone wanted to help. Entire archives were opened up, and tables overflowed with catalogues of images, both good and bad. One photographer brought me trash bags of dusty, curling negatives, none of them ever printed before. Another photographer kept his pristine film airtight in an old U.S. ammunition case, packed with roasted rice to absorb the moisture.

Ultimately, I was able to locate thirty surviving war photographers from all corners of Vietnam, as well as thousands of pictures by photographers who had long since died. The living photographers shared their stories with me, and I worked with them to edit and print their old film. From hundreds of such encounters, this exhibition emerged.

Another Vietnam is now available as a book, published by National Geographic Press. Visit Nivens’ site here.