Badass “Les Cyclopes” Performance by E. Comparone

Elaine Comparone is the Tony Iommi of Baroque harpsichord, and you’re about to get your face rocked off, Rameau style.

Via Darla Teagarden, who says, “imagine running through a house of mirrors in Greece circa 1927 after smoking hashish while wearing tiny shoes.” (Perfect!)

Comparone claims Rameau’s shredding piece of music was inspired by Homer’s Polyphemus. Other scholars suggest that the French composer was representing the BRVTAL brothers Arges, Brontes, and Steropes –Cyclopean blacksmiths who forged lightning bolts for Zeus– and that the insanely manic percussive runs are meant represent the giants busy at work, hammering and forging thunderbolts. Either way? MMM\m/ETAL.

Up and Over It!

Squee-inducing multiculti meme du jour:

[Bricey! Thank yooooo!]

Riverdance veterans Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding are taking the internet by storm with their Irish hand dancing, thanks to this video shot and directed by Jonny Reed. Their collective name is Up and Over It! There’s something so charmingly Keatonesque about their placid faces and frantically leaping limbs, isn’t there?

That ultra catchy song they’re dancing to is “We No Speak Americano”, a collaborative track by Yolanda Be Cool and DCup that heavily samples the 1956 hit “Tu vuò fà l’americano” by the lively Italian singer/pianist Renato Carosone.

Respect and Love for Marlon Riggs

A wee bit o’ cheer, courtesy of Marlon Riggs and the Institute of Snap!thology…

… that’s spurring me to write up an overview of something far deeper and more complex. This “Snap Diva” sequence is one of the more lighthearted scenes from Tongues Untied, a powerful independent film by activist/educator/filmmaker/author Marlon Riggs. The clip was sent to me earlier today by an old friend as an offhandedly affectionate “haaaay”, but it ended up triggering intense memories of watching Riggs’ films on PBS over a decade ago. I was bowled over by them at the time; I’m overjoyed to be reminded of them again.

Riggs died of AIDS in 1994 while still struggling to complete his final film, Black Is…Black Ain’t. An intensely personal, well-researched examination of the diversity of African-American identities, Black Is…Black Ain’t was completed by Riggs’ colleagues after his death, and released posthumously in the mid 90s. “His camera traverses the country, bringing us face to face with Black folks young and old, rich and poor, rural and urban, gay and straight, grappling with the paradox of numerous, often contested definitions of Blackness.” [via]

Riggs was a giant of public television during the late 80s and early 90s, and a truly inspiring force for positive change. Via glbtq:

Riggs’ experience of racism began in his segregated childhood schools but continued even at Harvard, where he studied American history, graduating with honors in 1978. He then earned an M. A. in 1981 at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he later taught documentary film courses.

Riggs first gained recognition for writing, producing, and directing the Emmy-winning, hour-long documentary Ethnic Notions (1987), which explored black stereotypes and stereotyping. The film helped establish Riggs’ career as a contemporary historical documentary producer.

But most of his later films and writings probe the dichotomy Riggs perceived between the strong, “Afrocentric” black man and the black “sissy” gay man. As a “sissy” himself, Riggs felt deeply his status as a pariah within the black community.

Tongues Untied (1989), Riggs’ most famous film, is an extensively reviewed and critically acclaimed documentary that met with controversy in conservative circles when it was aired on public television. Funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, it figured in the cultural wars over control of the NEA and the Public Broadcasting System.

Beats Antique’s “Blind Threshold”

Today, Oakland-based electronic/world music trio Beats Antique released their third album, Blind Threshold. Zoe Jakes, David Satori and Sidecar Tommy are pushing into uncharted sonic territory once again. Their new record is rich with contributions from various performers, namely our very own Mer, whose violin and theremin work is present on several tracks, including “Vardo“, “Rising Tide“, “Grandstand” and “Miss Levine“. That last song is a haunting tribute to the band’s friend Breanna Levine; she unexpectedly passed away a few months ago.

The 14 tracks on the self-released album include, in the band’s words, “vaporous violins and Danny Elfman-esque dementia; glitchy, laser-guided harmonica provided by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper; and two very different vocal tracks that range between restless pop hooks provided by singer songwriter LYNX, to the vibrant Eastern European folk melodies of New York vocalist Eva Salina. All wrapped up into an intricate collection of orchestral textures, heavy beats and sub bass. The new album was mastered by the great producer TIPPER with art and design by Andrew Jones and photography by Sequoia Emmanuelle.”

Preview the entire album below, and download it here.

Remembering Ana Mendieta

Tonight, I can’t stop thinking about one of the more influential, yet relatively obscure artists at work during the post-Happenings decade. Ana Mendieta:

From Ana Mendieta’s “Body Tracks” series, 1970s.

It’s all too easy to scoff at raw, bloody, chthonic feminist performance art these days. Hell, it’s all too easy to scoff at just about anything that whiffs of pussy power. After all, this is 2010! No need for histrionics, right? We’ve been liberated, reborn. We’re fierce and comfortable, right? We’ve seen it all a hundred times before… rrrriiiiiight?

Then again, what Alice Miller said about scorn holds a lot of sway: “Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one’s own despised and unwanted feelings.” In light of that assessment, whether one chooses to roll their eyes or not, Mendieta’s (earth-)body of work, and the circumstances under which she died, resonate as much right now as they did in the 1970s and early 80s. (Although, come to think of it, there were plenty of eye-rollers then, too.)

In any case, on the 15th anniversary of her mysterious death, I’m lighting candles for Ana Mendieta and wondering what comes next.

Better Than Coffee: Tollywood Megastar Chiranjeevi

Chiranjeevi’s Tollywood is a marvelous, magical, moustachioed realm that we’ve explored briefly on Coilhouse before. This morning, let us reopen the Telugian floodgates! We’ll start off with a particularly choice Chiru clip (via Dogmeat, thanks) and continue on with several more rip-roaring performances spanning the Megastar‘s illustrious career, featuring Chiranjeevi in cahoots with various gorgeous female co-stars… and a horse.*

*Hee hee. Saved the best for last.

BTC: Secos e Molhados/Ney Matogrosso


No doubt, if you are Brazilian, have kin from Brazil, or you’re just generally fascinated by the brief, impassioned revolution of Tropicália/post-Tropicálismos, you’re already familiar with Secos & Molhados. Otherwise, all you really need to know before you chug your morning smoothie is this: S&M were a scrumptiously plumed and glittering glam-rock trio fronted by a sexy sopraniño beast named Ney Matogrosso, and they were fuhhuhHIERCE. Enjoy a sampling of their performances –and a few of Matogrosso’s solo clips– below:

Bear in mind, those trio clips are all pre-Rocky Horror, pre-KISS, and pre-Nomi.


Florence and the Machine: “Dog Days Are Over”

First of all, just a quick announcement to say, we know we promised to post our 2010 Media Kit and some exciting news about Issue 05 here on the blog today, but, quelle surprise, it’s taking us a little bit longer than anticipated to tabulate the results of last week’s survey. Please do check back tomorrow for the stats and our big Issue 05 announcement. Also, warm, wet, sloppy thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. You’re wonderful. It’s been an honor to learn a little more about you. Especially your underwear habits. No, seriously. *filthy chortle*

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Damn, is Florence Welch one seriously glorious culture vulture in this video, or what?

Directed by Georgie Greville and Geremy Jasper. Edited by Paul Snyder.

From the production team’s official press statement: “Florence is the shamanic leader of a surreal orchestra where spiritual elation explodes into smokey psychedelic anarchy. Each musical element of the song is personified by a group of colorful characters that combine 60’s girl groups, Hinduism, gospel choirs, drum circles, paganism and pyrotechnics. Florence is a painted primal force of nature that whips a religious experience into a riot.” Yep. And those blue and gold Andorian Motown beehive girls definitely take it to the next level.

Major media outlets in the United Kingdom have been agressively touting Florence and the Machine‘s output for a couple of years now. More recently, Welch began capturing hearts around the world by touring internationally. Pairing her enormous voice with a rather intimidating bevy of musicians and couture wardrobe stylists, the art school dropout also exudes an earthy intelligence that’s both endearing and disarming. Currently, Welch et al are working on a second full-length album that she says is a lot heavier than their first record, Lungs.  “A bit more fuzzy, a bit harder. If the first album was animal and anatomical, I think this one is chemical and elemental.” She’s also touring the UK next month.

Just for contextual kicks, here are some more tidbits that the cultural grab bag style of “Dog Days” is either vaguely (or directly) reminiscent of:

Eugenio Recuenco’s String Diaspora

Issue 01 contributor Eugenio Recuenco recently updated his portfolio with a striking series of 12 images that span very different eras and cultures, all of which are united by one main character: the violin. The larger images can be seen on Recuenco’s site, and the full series can be seen here, after the cut.

In this series, the violin travels from the plains of Africa to an Indian bazaar, from an Elizabethan parlor to a pirate ship, from the hands of a white-clad nun to the laps of two conjoined Geisha twins. While it’s certainly a tribute to the universality of music, many of the images also seem to contain messages about culture, gender and inequality. In the image of Africa, the violins are represented as crops barely growing out of the parched soil. In the image depicting the Islamic world, one burqa-clad woman wearing black gloves points her violin bow accusingly at her fellow player, whose bare hands are exposed – a reference to the modesty police found in many countries in the Middle East, including Israel.  The American image seems to represent a two-party system orchestrating a rigid conformity. Interestingly, many of the images feature a visibly artificial background. In the Eskimo image, the sky is merely a cheap-looking painted sheet. The wallpaper in the Elizabethan image is stitched out of old rags. In fact, the images that appear to look the most “real” are the ones rooted in fantasy, such like the pirate, modern primitive, and fiddler on the factory roof.

BTC: Russkie Ragamuffin Rokk n Rollink


If there is indeed a heaven, treatment and Hasil Adkins and Lux Interior are hanging out together on some leopard-print porch swing up there, how much do you want to bet they play “rock, paper, shotgun” every morning to decide who gets the honor of guardian angel duty for this fella?