"I Haz a Catnip in Mah Head"

Pass the Cherry Garcia and load up OMGCATSINSPACE, because it’s time to “travel back to the Psychedelic ’60s with the new music video from Walter and the Wizards off the album Litter Trippin’…”

Via Si Spurrier.

Yep. This is an honest-to-pete advertisement created by JWT New York for the “revolutionary” Litter Genie® brand litter disposal system wot keeps ‘dem stinky cat pooz with their pesky mind-controlling brain parasites from harshing your mellow.

Thanks, Internet. No, seriously, thank you, for becoming even more insidiously infectious than T. gondii. That’s genuinely impressive.


The 1491s: Bastard Children of Manifest Destiny

Hollywood would have you believe that American Indians are a pretty humorless lot. Stoic, tragic, fierce, mystical, romantic? Sure. But funny? Somehow the notion never caught on and yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Though I was born too late to share a joke with my more culturally connected Mvskoke relatives in Poarch Creek, Alabama, I had the benefit of spending much of my childhood in an Ojibwa household where laughter reigned supreme. I never saw anyone cry over garbage being tossed by the roadside, but I’ve spent many evenings shedding tears of joy. Bawdiness and wit are, for many indigenous peoples, virtues which help hold communities together, ensure the survival of stories and traditions and offer healthy means to cope with frustration and heartache.

Perhaps no one sums up the native experience and debunks stereotypes more concisely or hilariously than the 1491s, an all-native comedy group that describes itself as “a gaggle of Indians chock full of cynicism and splashed with a good dose of indigenous satire.”

In the video below – set to a 1979 disco cover of the song “I’m an Indian Too” from Annie Get Your Gun – the 1491s tackle the ongoing obsession in pop culture with all things Indian, lampooning hipsters who sport headdresses and contrasting popular images of Indians with natives (and a few fans of native culture) at the Santa Fe Indian Market:

That’s yours truly at 2:06.

In other skits, presented after the jump, they poke fun at everything from “Twilight” to the Occupy Wall Street movement, cleverly highlighting its failure to incorporate the concerns of indigenous people.

Help Build a Hackerspace in Baghdad!

GEMSI’s 3D printing workshop in Baghdad with TEDxBaghdad

A Kickstarter project (currently in its last 7 hours!) hopes to foster innovation, learning and creativity in ravaged post-war Iraq. Bay Area-based maker Bilal Ghalib, the creator of GEMSI (the Global Entrepreneurship and Maker Space Initiative), is raising funds on Kickstarter to create a popup hackerspace in Baghdad.

As part of the initiative, GEMSI is collecting stories from “everyday superheroes” living in Baghdad who have used DIY hacks to solve problems in their neighborhoods. One such story, Murtadha Fills In, has already been published in comic form on GEMSI’s site. During the two-day hackerspace event, GEMSI will host skillshares, talks, and workshops structured around the collected stories. The stories will be also be published in a graphic novel available in both Arabic and English.

GEMSI workshop in Cairo during Maker Faire Africa 2011. Photo by Mitch Altman

“The challenges that Iraq faces are vast, but the solutions to those challenges are already inside the country,” says Ghalib in the Kickstarter video. Ultimately, Ghalib hopes that collaborative community spaces become more prevalent in Africa and the Middle East. In the Kickstarter project description, he describes his vision for Baghdad:

Imagine you are a young Iraqi student, just graduating college. Opportunities to work in the country are few, and working outside Iraq is difficult due to strict visa requirements. Your country still experiences violence weekly, while also facing many technical challenges characteristic of a developing country. You want to build the country, you want to share – but you feel isolated. You hear about a group of people who have an open space near the center of town where you can build almost anything. One day you decide to see what it’s about. There, you find others like you: looking at the world around them and thinking about how they can start creating solutions. They are creating open source medical devices, filling potholes in city roads, creating clean street initiatives, or making alternative energy products to fix the intermittent power issues of Baghdad. These are people taking initiative. They are looking to take ownership of their cities and build the change they want to see – serving their communities on the most direct level. At this open space, you have finally found a home to put your talents and energy to work. You’ve found a group you can trust, they are courageous, curious, and want to help you create a better future. You feel happy, you feel capable, you’ve found your people.

GEMSI’s Kickstarter campaign deadline coincides with YouTube disaster “The Innocence of Muslims” (a diametrically opposite example of American-made grassroots activism aimed at the Muslim world) and Newsweek’s incendiary “Muslim Rage” magazine cover (which has been deconstructed beautifully by Twitter).

It’s at times like this – when governments and news media fail on both sides fail to repair the damage – that we need to step up, use crowdfunding, set up our own workshops, and help one another. So – hackers of the world unite. Donate here.

Farewell, Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich – a poet, essayist, and activist – died today at age 82 from complications of  rheumatoid arthritis. As Margalit Fox wrote in Rich’s New York Times obituary, “triply marginalized — as a woman, a lesbian and a Jew — Ms. Rich was concerned in her poetry, and in her many essays, with identity politics long before the term was coined … She accomplished in verse what Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, did in prose.”

Unfortunately, like many other feminists from her era, Rich may have had her own blind spots when it came to gender identity. In The Transsexual Empire, an extremely hateful transphobic text from 1979 by Janice Raymond, she receives special thanks for reading the manuscript through all its stages and providing resources, creative criticism, and encouragement. However, years later, she’s thanked in FTM author Leslie Feinberg’s Transgender Warriors, and in Minnie Bruce Pratt’s S/He. It’s possible that her feelings towards transgender rights evolved, though there are no direct quotes to evidence this.

One of her best works is Diving into the Wreck – a truly weird story told by a lone explorer who goes deep underwater to discover something terrible. There are many interpretations: it’s a story about sex, self, mythos, and/or ego death. There’s a great reading of it by poet Anne Waldman.

Below is the third poem from her series Twenty-One Love Poems:


Since we’re not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we’re not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with a purer joy?
did I lean from any window over the city
listening for the future
as I listen here with nerves tuned for your ring?
And you, you move toward me with the same tempo.
Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer,
the green-blue wild cress washed by the spring.
At twenty, yes: we thought we’d live forever.
At forty-five, I want to know even our limits.
I touch you knowing we weren’t born tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other life,
and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.

Coilhouse Interview: Molly Crabapple Discusses Art, Occupy, and "Shell Game"

In September of 2011, shortly after launching a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, our intrepid chum Molly Crabapple locked herself into a hotel room in New York City for a week, eventually filling 270 square feet of paper-covered wall with her art. Yesterday, IDW published  The Art of Molly Crabapple, Vol #1: Molly Crabapple’s Week In Hell, a book chronicling the whirlwind project (with beautiful contributions from several more Coilhouse friends: photo documentation by Steve Prue, a cover shot by Clayton Cubitt, and a foreword by Warren Ellis).

Last week, Molly returned to Kickstarter to launch Shell Game, a crowd-funded art show about the massive ongoing international financial meltdown. For Shell Game, she plans to create “nine giant paintings about the collapses and upheavals of the last year, then rig out storefront like a gambling parlor and display them to the city and the internet for a week.” Shell Game is an experiment of sorts for Molly, who is keen to fund large scale, labor-intensive work without having to depend on wealthy collectors. This type of crowd-funding is, she hopes, “a way of finding Medici in the crowd.”

“The Great American Bubble Machine” by Molly Crabapple, the first of nine in her Shell Game series.

As they did with Week In Hell, $1 contributors get to peep at Molly’s progress through a backers-only blog with livestreamed painting sessions, and those who donate larger amounts receive incrementally impressive artistic rewards. With well over a week still left to go, the campaign has already raised well over 50K through backers small and large. DANG.

Today on Coilhouse, Molly Crabapple tells us more about the Shell Game campaign, and shares related thoughts about the nature of Occupy and the future of art… and vice versa.

Molly’s “Vampire Squid” stencil, as seen at various Occupy camps all over the world.

You’ve mentioned that, until 2011, you weren’t comfortable with making political art, that you were “afraid of being hypocritical, propagandistic or boring.” Can you tell us a bit about the specific thought process that changed your mind? Was there some particular catalyst, or was it a gradual shift in perspective?
I’m an essentially capitalist little hustler who likes Louboutins and who draws frivolous things, sometimes for very rich people.  For a long time, I felt this if I made “activist art” it was straight up radical posturing.  I didn’t want to win cool points on someone else’s movement.  So I’d donate money or sell work for charity, but hide any subversive thoughts in a whole lots of illustrative metaphor.  My thoughts started changing when I painted The Box in London.  Suddenly I was drawing straight-up parodies of the British class system on the walls of what would be one of the world’s most depraved nightclubs, while being given a privileged view of the student occupations by the unspeakably brilliant journalist Laurie Penny.  Suddenly avoiding politics in my art seemed like a cop-out.  Wikileaks, Wisconson, and finally Occupy Wall Street meant that upheaval was hitting America.  I had to engage.

Has there been any criticism thrown at you about your means of involvement? If so, how do you engage with that? 
I’ve had a few people call me an evil latte liberal or whatever, but honestly, who cares.  The idea that you have to be a vegan saint to care about having a vaguely just world is just a way of making sure no one does anything.

Bad Romance: Women's Suffrage by Soomo

Slick, thoughtful, and surprisingly moving, the following Gaga parody music video pays “homage to Alice Paul and the generations of brave women who joined together in the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1920.” (Sharing this feels like a good way to acknowledge International Woman’s Day!)

prednisone oral

It was conceived and produced by the Soomo Publishing group, a small team of educators and designers who create next generation learning resources that can be used as textbook replacements, or to supplement them. More info:

In 2010, Soomo Publishing launched a parody music video called Too Late to Apologize: A Declaration. The result was a viral hit and remains a popular teaching resource for history teachers and political science professors across the United States. The response was so overwhelming that Soomo decided to follow it up with Bad Romance: Women’s Suffrage.

[ via Katherine McKinley ]

Ed Sanders: Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts (1962-1965)

“Fuck You” Opening Party is tomorrow (Thursday, February 16th) from 6pm-9pm. Exhibition closes Thursday, March 8th. Boo-Hooray is open every day from 11am-6pm.

There’s a gallery space down on Canal St. in NYC called Boo-Hooray; it’s a splendid place dedicated to 20th/21st century counterculture ephemera, photography, and book arts. Tomorrow evening (Thursday, Feb 16th) is the opening night for their most recent exhibition: a comprehensive collection of publications from Ed Sanders’ legendary Fuck You Press, including a complete run of Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts.

Ed Sanders‘ an unofficial patron saint of the 20th century underground who has often been referred to as “the bridge between the Beat and Hippie Generations”.  More specifically, he’s a poet, singer, activist, author, and publisher. Any way you cut ‘n’ paste it, this man broke the mold and the mimeograph!

Boo-Hooray’s exhibition of fabulous Fuck You-ness will commemorate the publication of Sanders’ characteristically feisty, funny memoir, Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side (Da Capo Press).

Sanders shares a bit of history about his publication:

“In February of 1962 I was sitting in Stanley’s Bar at 12th and B with some friends from the Catholic Worker. We’d just seen Jonas Mekas’s movie Guns of the Trees, and I announced I was going to publish a poetry journal called Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts. There was a certain tone of skepticism among my rather inebriated friends, but the next day I began typing stencils, and had an issue out within a week. I bought a small mimeograph machine, and installed it in my pad on East 11th, hand-cranking and collating 500 copies, which I gave away free wherever I wandered. (…)

Fuck You was part of what they called the Mimeograph Revolution, and my vision was to reach out to the “Best Minds” of my generation with a message of Gandhian pacifism, great sharing, social change, the expansion of personal freedom (including the legalization of marijuana), and the then-stirring messages of sexual liberation.

I published Fuck You, A Magazine of the Arts from 1962 through 1965, for a total of thirteen issues. In addition, I formed a mimeograph press which issued a flood of broadsides and manifestoes during those years, including Burroughs’s Roosevelt After Inauguration, Carol Bergé’s Vancouver Report, Auden’s Platonic Blow, The Marijuana Review, and a bootleg collection of the final Cantos of Ezra Pound.

Other contributors to Fuck You included Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Julian Beck, Ray Bremser, Lenore Kandel, Charles Olson, Tuli Kupferberg, Joel Oppenheimer, Peter Orlovsky, Philip Whalen, Herbert Huncke, Frank O’Hara, Leroi Jones, Diane DiPrima, Gary Snyder, Robert Kelly, Judith Malina, Carl Solomon, Gregory Corso, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Michael McClure, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Gilbert Sorrentino, and countless others.

It was a ‘zine “dedicated to free expression, defying taboo subjects, celebrating sexual liberation and the use of psychedelics years before the Summer of Love. Sanders and his collaborators bridged the Beats of the Fifties and the counterculture of the late Sixties, and helped define many of the differences between the two—the latter building on the breakthroughs initiated by the former.”

The Fuck You opening party is happening Thursday, February 16th – 6pm-9pm. Sanders will be reading from/signing copies of his book. Exhibition closes Thursday, March 8th. Boo-Hooray is open every day from 11am-6pm.

New Yorkers! Don’t miss this! (And by all means, report back in comments.)

(Hat tip to William Gibson.)

“When you cut into the present the future leaks out.” –William S. Burroughs (b. February 5, 1914)

Yes. Hello. Feb 5th is the date of novelist William S. Burroughs’ birth. Coilhouse should really show the man some love. W.S.B. double feature, anyone?

First, The Cut-Ups, a mesmeric and disorienting experimental piece Burroughs put together with filmmaker Antony Balch (aided by multi-disciplinary art firebrand Brion Gysin and others) in 1966. Over the course of twenty minutes, it plays out in very much the same vein as Burroughs’ literary cut-ups, only with multiple sensory layers of headfuckery. (Read more about the film here / the generalized concept of cut-ups here.)

(Via Scott Spencer.)

Second, a clip from the 1983 documentary Burroughs, wherein the birthday Billy reads aloud and acts out the horrifically funny Dr. Benway passage from Naked Lunch. Co-starring Jackie Curtis as the nurse! (And check out this amazing photo of Gysin, Curtis, and Burroughs together. Dawww.)

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.”

“My work is about leaving the door open to the imagination.” -Dorothea Tanning (1910 – 2012)

Sleeping Nude (1954) by Dorothea Tanning. Oil on canvas.

And she did. Countless others have walked through that door behind Dorothea Tanning– fellow iconoclasts and creative powerhouses (many women, but surely, many not) who might never have pursued their work otherwise.

Her independence, her intelligence, and her centenarian resolve to lead an extraordinary life no matter what, should be as central to her legacy as her art and writings. Tanning died in her sleep last night at the age of 101…

“…and pieces of history die with her. Artist, poet, wife of Max Ernst from 1946 until he died in 1976, and (along with Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage, Lee Miller, Maya Deren, Remedios Varo, and Leonor Fini) one of a group of great women Surrealists, she was at the center of a movement that was a vicious mill for women. Among the surrealists, females — while ‘allowed’ to be artists — were often also relegated to the sidelines of neglected or beset mistresses, muses, and madwomen.” ~Jerry Saltz (for New York Magazine)

Birthday (1942) by Dorothea Tanning. Oil on canvas.

Her advice to younger generations: “Keep your eye on your inner world and keep away from ads, idiots and movie stars.”

Coilhouse Presents: Matthew Borgatti’s OWS Bandanna Remix Pack!

Photo, model and wardrobe styling: Numidas Prasarn.

Last fall, artist and maker Matthew Borgatti (previously on Coilhouse) released a snappy Guy Fawkes bandanna in solidarity with OWS in his Etsy Store. “This is the hanky code for revolution,” wrote Matthew. Perfect for protecting oneself from “sudden dust storms and outbreaks of authoritarianism,” the bandanna’s design includes tips for peaceful protesting, advice for dealing with pepper spray, phone numbers to call in case of arrest, and the words “Never Forget / Never Forgive / Expect Us” emblazoned on the corners. (The disclaimer reads, “all advice offered on this bandana should not be construed as legal council. Consult a lawyer in the event of any involvement with the law. If you cite a bandana as your legal council in court you will be laughed at by a man in a wig.”)

The bandanna quickly went viral thanks to BoingBoing, Reddit (featuring the best comment thread ever) and Laughing Squid. The mask was soon adopted by artists involved in the Occupy Movement, including Neil Gaiman and Molly Crabapple, as well as protesters nationwide.

Debuting here on Coilhouse under the Share-Alike Attribution Non-Commercial license, we proudly present the OWS Bandana Remix Pack! The zip file (1.7 MB) contains elements to remix as masks, prints, bandanas, and posters. Included are vector files with elements, stencils, and a copy of the full text on the bandana. “If you’d like to create your own Fawkes bandana,” writes Matthew, “I’d suggest cutting out a stencil on acetate and bleach printing.” Add your own layers, create new patterns and print as many as you want.

Click here to download the OWS Bandana Remix Pack! And do send us or Matthew the artwork, posters or fashion that results. We’d love to see what you come up with. After the cut, a brief interview with the maker.

Are you at all worried about the film studio suing you?
I am, a little, as I think I’ve got a solid case for the independence of this art from the works that it references, but can easily be shut down by the studio on a whim. I don’t have the financial weight to do anything but to submit to an injunction or C&D, as I can’t afford the kind of legal representation it takes to swat off Time Warner. Guy Fawkes has gone from a person, to a caricature represented in mask and effigy, to a comic book character, to a film character, to an iconic mask, to the face of an ambiguous entity, to a symbol for revolution and direct action for social change. How a single company could own all that baffles me.