Holiday Greetings From Siouxsie and Friends

Having trouble getting in the holiday spirit? Burnt a batch of Christmas cookies for the fourth time in a row? Can’t find that perfect gift for great-aunt Mildred in the throng-flooded mall? Lamenting the tragic lack of traditional French Yuletide songs in your life? Fear not, cialis sale because Siouxsie and her cheerful band of merry-makers are here with a little ditty to remind you of the true meaning of the season: drinking so much that you can’t even manage to clash cymbals properly.

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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.)

A Wistful Video-salute to the Dark Side

From 1995 to 1997, Sleep Chamber was my lullaby. Perhaps due to my taking the band’s name a little too literally, Sirkle Zero was on repeat every night. Soon after, Psychic TV entered orbit and the floodgates ov darkness were officially open.

Psychic TV testcard, used at beginnings of videos, performances, etc. Also my desktop. Also, I’m putting this on a T-shirt.

Yep, nostalgia abounds with the resurgence of darque music [and imagery, and the accompanying, deliberately lo-fi videos], that’s been steadily creeping forth over the past couple of years.

The video-playlist ahead began to take shape because all this new gloomstuff is blowin’ up and the pioneers of dark/experimental/noise/etc. deserve re-visiting and acknowledgment more than ever. And because the music below has managed to remain visceral and electrifying and relevant as ever. Also, having all these videos in one place? AWESOME. A shamefully incomplete tribute, the playlist features Sleep Chamber, Coil, Swans, Psychic TV, Nurse With Wound, and MOAR. Add your favorites in the comments section to flesh this baby out!

David J: “The Punches and the Kisses”

Setting the scene: it’s a balmy late afternoon in downtown Los Angeles, summer of 2010. An amazing feature opportunity has suddenly presented itself, bringing Zoetica and I together for an impromptu interview/photo shoot at the Standard Hotel— a populuxe wet-dream of a place with Jenny Holzer art and an imitation Calder mobile in its lobby. Our esteemed subject has agreed to meet us for a drink at the Googiegasmic 24/7 Restaurant on the ground floor.

Photo by Zoetica Ebb.

Later in the evening, he’ll ride an elevator up to the swanky retro Rooftop Bar to DJ a killer set of “hyper lounge” for the likes of Sasha Grey, Mildred Von, the director of Lip Service, Miyu Decay, Andy Ristaino, Courtney Riot, and a slew of soused software convention-goers. But for now, he’s holding court at our corner table, and he’s got Zo and me doubled over in helpless fits of laughter. As our cackling reaches a crescendo, fellow patrons look up from their $20 cheeseburgers in confusion. Perhaps this pale, slim, soft spoken and immaculately dressed Englishman with the barest hint of a smile on his face isn’t the instigator they expected. One thing’s for sure: David J Haskins surprised the hell out of us! Delightfully so.

David J in the lobby of the downtown LA Standard Hotel. Photo by Zoetica Ebb.

As Zo sets up her next shot, I sip my coffee and ask the man who wrote the lyrics for Bauhaus‘ seminal song, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” if vampirism is, in fact, the secret to his youthful appearance. “I’m actually very wrinkled from the waist down,” he says. Hastily, I wipe up my spit take. “Don’t print that.” Zo insists that we should print that. “Oh, all right. You can print that.” A few minutes later, he launches into an anecdote about “the infamous pan-flute monkey” from Love and Rockets’ music video for ‘No New Tale to Tell’: “The handler put peanuts down all of the pipe shafts.” The idea being that the monkey would try to tip them out to eat and appear to be playing the flute. “Worked out pretty well. But when the little bugger wasn’t trying to get at the peanuts,” (David J’s voice drops to a conspiratorial whisper) “he was wanking. Endlessly. For hours. Hours and hours. And staring at us.” Zo does her best to keep the camera steady. “It was quite impressive, actually! And a little terrifying. No one wanted to go near the filthy thing.”

Giggle fits notwithstanding, professionalism prevails. Zo gets some great shots, and in of spite being uncharacteristically twitterpated (can’t be helped; I smoked my very first clove while listening to “Who Killed Mister Moonlight“), I’m able to nab an in-depth, thoughtful interview from a most multifaceted and influential progenitor of post-punk alternative culture.

David J, making mischief at the Standard Hotel’s 24/7 Restaurant. Photo by Zoetica Ebb.

It’s hard to know where to begin with you! The range and diversity of the creative projects you’ve been involved with for over the course of your career is astounding. In addition to being a musician and a lyricist, you’re a visual artist, playwright … and more recently, you’ve even gotten into screenwriting?
Just in the last year, yes. I embarked on that with a partner, Don C. Tyler, and we have a fantastic chemistry.  So far it’s going very well, it’s picking up. We have a couple of different scripts in the works. I am actually contracted not to talk about the subject matter of either of them, sorry, but I can tell you they’re tangentially connected. And yes, I’ve written some plays. I was going to say I just finished my second play, but really it’s the third, because initially, I got into writing for the stage after creating this 12-minute play about punk rock called Anarchy In The Gold Street Wimpy. It had never occurred me to write one before, but my publicist, Versa Manos, was friends with this theatre company in Atlanta, Georgia, called Dad’s Garage. They were looking for submissions for a theatrical presentation of short 12-minute plays based on the idea of punk rock. She suggested I should have a go at it, and so I did. I thought, well, I was there, after all. Going to shows in 1976, when punk rock was full-on.

“Living the American Nightmare”

Awww, jeez. Rest in peace, Pete Steele. (Sorry to get a bit morbid, guys. Then again, it is almost Dia de los Muertos.)

Living the American Nightmare “is an independently made documentary shot in HD directed by PawL BaZiLe.” Its main focus is Myke Hideous, the relatively obscure artist and lead singer of Empire Hideous and the Bronx Casket Company who briefly filled in as lead vocalist for the Misfits in the late nineties, long after its best-known frontman, Glenn Danzig, had left the band.

Through various accounts from Hideous, in addition to a series of interviews with a variety of veteran musicians, from Danzig and Steele to Ramones mastermind Arturo Vega to Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, LtAN “tells the story of what it costs working class people to be musicians, and the pitfalls of success with no payoff.”

Myke Hideous portrait by Kyle Cassidy.

Judging by its teaser and trailer, the mood of the entire film’s gloomy but empowering. “The sacrifice to make a living as an artist is incredible, and we have a strong cast of guests in this film to explain misconceptions and realities. We’ve spoken to everyone from independent bands still [of] high school age, to Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of famers.”

According to admin on its Facebook page, Living the American Nightmare should be out by this year’s end, or early next. Rock on, fellas. Keep us posted, please!

Crowleymass, LOLeymass

“I’m a little teapot…” By Charles Krafft. As seen on LAShTAL.

Quiver and quail, Thelemites, for Τὸ Μεγα Θηρίον‘s whelping day is upon us. What better way to acknowledge the degenerate rice-cooker than with one of David Tibet‘s crowning musical/lyrical achievements, a magickal rap ditty called “Crowleymass Unveiled”?

File this one under the ultra specific hybrid category of “Can’t believe this actually exists/Can’t stop laughing.” Along with this. Also, this.

Full “Crowleymass” lyrics posted after the jump.

Jordan Catalan… Oh.*

Jared Leto’s always been just a little too-cool-for-school for my taste. I wanted to swat his My So-Called Life character’s laconic ass for being such a jerk to sweet grunge ingenue, Angela Chase. The slick, overproduced 30 Seconds to Mars pap he’s pumping out more recently makes me do the green apple quick step. But Helena SelfOblivion, the Russian cosplaying sorceress behind the following clip, well, she’s another story. If this young lady turns out to be underage, I’m going to feel like even more of a filthy old lech than usual, but it has to be said; this is huuhhhhHAWT:

Am I right? Teh hawt. Also? ADORBZ! (Be sure to watch to the end.) Her DeviantArt account is brimming with creative genderfuckhattery as well.

*Link and awesome pun courtesy of Ariana O.

Missoni Rising

Guest blogger Olga Drenda writes about war crimes and home-made drugs for a living, but it’s fluffy rodents who are her true love. She hails from the land of pierogi, supermodels and death metal bands, and is an editor at

Veteran of experimental cinematography and the main injector of Thelemic mysticism into the realm of film, Kenneth Anger, goes fashion. The director of Lucifer Rising and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome filmed a delightfully trippy promotional video for the renowned brand Missoni, starring members of the Missoni family who find themselves in the roles of shamans in rapturous visions.

Created in the signature Anger style, this multi-layered and otherworldly ad is a brave move in terms of fashion advertising as the Fall/Winter knitwear collection isn’t especially showcased, with the focus on visuals, instead.

The haunting soundtrack was recorded by French sonic artist Koudlam, who surprisingly fits here even better than classic occult troubadours, Current 93 or even Coil themselves might.

For those who miss a hint of ecstatic psychedelia in modern advertising, this is a must see. As a post scriptum, here’s another example of this re-emerging trend: in Chrissie Abbott’s ceramic design for Jaguar Shoes, you can find enlightened kitties of wisdom. Scroll down for cats! 93/93!

The Frantic Expressionist Art of Josef Fenneker

Nerven, Marmorhaus

There is a weirdly compelling sort of attraction to the exaggerated melodrama present in Josef Fenneker’s work.  Inky backgrounds of blackest shadows and murky, moody gloom provide stark contrast to bloodless facial expressions, vivid with violent emotion – whether delirious passion, or murderous lunacy – and it is not difficult to imagine oneself mesmerized, whipped into a maelstrom of sympathetic mania when confronted with such imagery.

Toten Tanz, Marmorhaus

Fenneker, a German artist in 1920s Berlin, “became the eye of the cultural and political hurricane that was Weimar Germany”.  A painter, graphic designer, and stage designer, he worked in a “mixed style, strongly tinged with expressionist characteristics”, and there is the foreboding of gathering storms and imminent, though decadent, doom in almost all his work.

Born in 1895, the son of a grocer, little of Josef Fenneker’s early life in Bocholt  is known.  Perhaps inspired by his uncle Anton Marx, a church painter and architect, Fenneker studied at the Arts and Crafts schools in Munster, Dusseldorf and Munich, and became one of Emil Orlik’s master-class students at the school of the Berlin Arts and Crafts Museum.

First employed by Berlin theaters – most notably the Marmorhaus, the “paramount movie palace of Germany” –  Fenneker designed numerous film posters, between 1919 and 1924.   A “ combination of Radio City Music Hall and Graumans Chinese Theater”, any film premiering there gained “instant prestige”. Thus, Fenneker was not just another movie poster designer, but THE movie posterist of his day, in whose hands the “art of the film poster arguably reached its zenith,” and in the postwar years he became “one of the most sought after designers of film posters. “  Fenneker went on to create stage designs for theater and illustrations for such magazines as Simplicissimus and Jugend.

Josef Fenneker died in Frankfurt in January1956 of heart failure. In the obituaries of the regional and national press, he was noted as one of the most important and most original German set designers of the 1920s and 1930s.  More than 300 works have been preserved from his vast oeuvre by the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin, several more of which can be seen below the cut.

A Decadent Parade of Outrageous Fancies: Alastair

Drôles de gens que ces gens-là

“Who is Alastair”, nurse wrote J. Lewis May in 1936. “No one knows; not even – it is hinted – Alastair himself.”

An artist, ailment composer, cialis sale dancer, mime, poet, singer and translator, Alastair was a fascinating and elusive personality, and perhaps best known as a gifted illustrator of the fin-de-siecle period.

Officially born of German nobility in 1887 to the family of Von Voigt, and later mysteriously acquiring the title of Baron, Hans Henning Voigt was an enigma. He claimed to be a changeling…the spawn of an illegitimate union between a hot headed Bavarian prince and a pretty Irish lass (and many of his relations later accepted this explanation of his origins). To his delight, “he was referred to as German by English writers, as English by German writers, and as Hungarian by French writers.”

Our Lady of Pain

A collector of characters, Alastair had a great gift for friendship despite his bizarre and capricious persona, theatrical behaviors, and perpetual unhappiness. Among those in his inner circle were Harry and Caresse Crosby; Harry, having heard of Alastair, believed him to be “the embodiment of all his fantasies, a creator of the most outrageous fancies”, and hastened to meet with him. Many years later Caresse recalled of the first visit, “He lived in a sort of Fall of usher House, you know, with bleak, hideous trees drooping around the doors and the windows… a blackamoor ushered us into a room where there was a black piano with a single candle burning on it. Soon Alastair himself appeared in the doorway in a white satin suit; he bowed, did a flying split and slid across the polished floor to stop at my feet, where he looked up and said, ‘Ah, Mrs. Crosby!’”