In Observation of World Goth Day:

Happy horrorday, batlings! Shake ya cobwebs.

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(Or if you’re feeling more subdued, you can always just peruse the rather vast archive of Coilhouse posts tagged “Goth“.)

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Interrogation In Ukraine

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It’s still almost unbelievable to me that these photos by Canadian photojournalist Donald Weber aren’t staged. Lens culture’s Jim Casper describes being “stopped cold” the first time he saw them and I agree. They are terrifying, to the point of, again, seeming unreal. Worse still is Weber’s insistence that this is not a case of a small portion of the law enforcement community in Ukraine, it’s systemic. It is the way police are taught to question suspects:

I remember first being shocked at some of the methods, but my friend said to me, “Don, you must understand that these are their methods of policing, this is how they’re taught.” He then told me a horrifying story of his own arrest and subsequent interrogation while working in St. Petersburg almost 20 years earlier; this helped me understand the cultural and democratic differences in methods of policing.

The police I worked with were respected in their departments; they rose through the ranks and did the job required. I have my personal feelings of how and what they do, but then as a photographer I think I’ve said enough about that with my work.

What I strongly believe is that this is not a rogue set of cops; this is standard practice. It is what it is. It’s the utter terror of a wayward bureaucracy.

Beginning after his first trip to Ukraine during the Orange Revolution, it took Weber years to assemble this series of photographs, as most prisoners, understandably, declined to have the ordeal documented. The result is an unsettling look at unchecked, State-sanctioned power.

A Futuristic Ad on the Culture of Co-Opting

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Via Mike Estee, who writes: “the overt culture co-opting is perhaps the most realistic aspect of this futuristic Burning Man ad.”

In this Absolut Vodka commercial, bougie leather-and-feathers trustafarians congregate for a day at the dog races in the desert. Except that the dogs are mechanical, controlled through a Tron-like interface in which three DJs play bad house music. Still, the fashion is breathtaking, the expensive props are beautifully-crafted, and the robotic greyhounds are strikingly feral and majestic. So mute the video, put on a song by Birdy Nam Nam, and enjoy.

Ultimately, the video’s douchy atmosphere (and weird racial tension) ruins what could have been a timeless commercial on par with Campari’s artful, transgressive spot for Red Passion.

It’s interesting to compare this video to images that clearly served as reference. The the groundbreaking influence of Tiffa Novoa, which manifests itself in many of the opulent fashions featured on the Twisted Lamb blog, likely inspired the ad’s costume design. A recent video crafted by Sequoia Emmanuelle that features Auberon Shull dancing in the desert is on par, in terms of quality, with this expensive ad. Except that instead of selling a beverage, Emmanuelle’s video promotes a powerful performer, independent musicians and alt designers.

We’re getting so close to the point where we have the tools to outstrip the industries that co-opt us. For example, with the advent of the RED, the Mark II, and the upcoming Blackmagic Cinema Camera, producing high-quality film footage is becoming more and more affordable. Kickstarter is providing a way for people to fund independent productions on a larger scale than ever before. So even as this Absolut ad tries to be futuristic, in many ways, it’s racing towards becoming a relic of the past – a time in which production quality belonged squarely to large advertisers with vapid aims. The future can’t come fast enough.

Brené Brown's TED Talks: Vulnerability, Wholeheartedness, and the Epidemic of Shame

Brené Brown is a big-hearted, über-thoughtful Texan research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent a decade of her life studying the effects of “vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame” on the day-to-day human experience. Both of her TED talks have gone megaviral, for understandable reasons. She bravely asks her audience to parse and confront the following quandaries:

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How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

Here’s Brown’s first TED talk, from 2011, called “The Power of Vulnerability”:

Talk number two, from 2012, is called “Listening to Shame”:

Brown puts her finger on some extremely tender universal trigger points, and presses with gentle frankness. If you haven’t watched them yet, both of these talks are highly recommended viewing on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Blade Runner Sequel with Female Protagonist Announced!

Candice Guttmann at Tokyo Blade Runner. Photo by Gabi Porter.

Today, Ridley Scott announced that his upcoming Blade Runner film will be a sequel, with original screenwriter Hampton Fancher joining the project. The storyline is shrouded in secrecy: “the filmmakers would reveal only that the new story will take place some years after the first film concluded,” a press release stated today. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Scott announced that the film will “definitely” feature a female protagonist.

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Dances of Vice: Tokyo Blade Runner New York Comic Con Afterparty 2011 from Nishell Falcone on Vimeo.

It’s likely that filming won’t begin until 2013, so in the meantime, check out this montage from the Dances of Vice Tokyo Blade Runner party, which took place in New York last fall. The future-noir burlesque performances and fashion show are so ornate and inspired, you’d think you were getting a sneak peek of the sequel’s trailer.

Previously on Coilhouse:

Gilbert Gottfried Reads Fifty Shades of Grey

This video is spreading like wildfire, and it’s too good not to repost here. It’s Gilbert Gottfried reading steamy passages from Fifty Shades of Gray, an extremely popular erotic fiction novel about a BDSM love affair.

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Written by E. L. Leonard, the book started out as a Twilight fanfic titled Master of the Universe,  published under the pen name Snowqueen’s IcedragonOnce the book was reworked for publication, high schooler Bella and vampire Edward replaced with college grad Anastasia Steele and powerful business magnate Christian Grey, the novel became an overnight success, recently landing on the New York Times #1 bestseller list with major movie studios vying for the film rights.

From Katie Roiphe’s trollgaze cover piece on Fifty Shades of Grey in Newsweek:

If I were a member of the Christian right, sitting on my front porch decrying the decadent morals of working American women, what would be most alarming about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, what gives it its true edge of desperation, and end-of-the-world ambience, is that millions of otherwise intelligent women are willing to tolerate prose on this level. If you are willing to slog through sentences like “In spite of my poignant sadness, I laugh,” or “My world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed,” you must really, really, want to get to the submissive sex scene.

Roiphe’s piece is clever, but flawed in its premise that feminism is at odds with the type of sex described in Fifty Shades. “It is perhaps inconvenient for feminism that the erotic imagination does not submit to politics,” Roiphe writes in one passage. “Nope!” counters Maya in a well-written rebuttal on Feministing. “Really don’t care! I don’t want the erotic imagination to submit to politics. That sounds horrible. I’d like to create a politics that affirms the full range of the erotic imagination, though.” Well-put.

[via Paul Komoda / Aaron Muszalski]

Kickstart… the National Debt!

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Holy shit, Coilhaüsers. In under 24 hours, The Doom that Came to Atlantic City Kickstarter campaign featured yesterday on Coilhouse has exceeded its goal. Huge thanks to Cyriaque Lamar of IO9 for the signal boost that pushed the campaign over the edge. Together, we did it! (Frothing cultists, keep an eye out for announcements of stretch goals).

Looking for a bigger challenge? Megan Aram has been working with the Federal Government to come up with to Kickstarter our National Debt:


Hi you guys! Joe Biden and the rest of the gang here! :) We’re looking for some awesome people to help us Kickstart our dream project of having a functioning federal government! That’s where you come in: all we’re asking for is a little help. And twenty trillion dollars.

You can read more about the project here. Some sample prizes:


For your fairly useless donation to help the United States of America not founder under the multi-trillion dollar debt that we have amassed over decades of misspending and unnecessary wars that some may argue constitute war crimes, you get a tote.


If you donate $20, we will list you as an associate producer of the Government by carving your name into the Vietnam War Memorial. You can tell all your friends you’re a ghost because you died in the Vietnam War! You know – the righteous one!

Other prizes include a redesign of the American flag (“we will replace each star with your face. Unless you’re black, since the stars are white and it really makes sense for them to be as close to white as possible”), the state of Louisiana, or, for the highest tier, the ability to start any war you want!

Read more at Kickstarter: National Debt. ‘Murica, fuck yeah!

[via Tavi Gevinson]

Kickstart "The Doom that Came to Atlantic City!"

The street names are familiar, and remind you of childhood: Boardwalk, Park Place, Marvin Gardens. Long ago, proud businessmen arrived to this city with their carts, top hats and steam engines, looking to open lavish hotels and build their fortunes. You have other plans. Instead of building houses, your objective is to destroy them.

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You’re one of the Great Old Ones – beings of ancient and eldritch power. Cosmic forces have held you at bay for untold aeons, but at last the stars are right and your maniacal cult has called you to this benighted place. Once you regain your full powers, you will unleash your Doom upon the world!

There’s only one problem: you’re not alone. The other Great Old Ones are here as well, and your rivals are determined to steal your cultists and snatch victory from your flabby claws! It’s a race to the ultimate finish as you crush houses, smash holes in reality, and fight to call down The Doom That Came To Atlantic City!

The Doom that Came to Atlantic City is a collaboration between artist Lee Moyer, game designer Keith Baker, and artist/sculptor Paul Komoda (previously featured on Coilhouse… a lot. We need a “Paul Komoda” tag).  It may look like Monopoly, but the rules and game mechanics are different. The resources at your disposal are cultists, who keep you anchored to this world, and whom you sacrifice as the game goes on. The object of the game is to open enough Gates to tear the world apart.

You can help to bring this game to retail shops, game tables and “frothing cultists around the world” by backing this game on Kickstarter. Lee and Keith are currently two-thirds of the way there, and need your help in making the game a reality! In addition to the game itself, Kickstarter prizes include pewter Paul Komoda sculpted game pieces, art prints, an afternoon of gaming with Lee and Keith, monochrome Inkodye shirts, original concept art, and even a custom, playable Old One role card based on your likeness.

After the cut, a gallery of Paul Komoda’s figure designs, sculpts and commentary for each of the game characters: Azathoth, Yog Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Hastur, Tsathoggua, Ithaqua, Shub Niggurath, and Cthulhu.

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The Eagleman Stag

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Pardon the clipped, crass commentary but that’s what leapt from my mouth upon watching The Eagleman Stag, the 2011 BAFTA award-winning short film from Mikey Please. The stop-motion animation used here is incredible, with everything from the characters to the sets having been constructed using pure white foam, requiring a meticulous use of lighting to create shadows and, thereby, definition. The site for the film features a teaser of a behind the scenes look at how it was made. Even if the process underpinning the film isn’t something that usually gets you hot and bothered the film itself is still an utterly captivating, Existential study. Well worth eight minutes of your day, though Dr. Eagleman may disagree.