Saturday, December 24, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pig (The Final Testament of Rozz Williams)

This film is something else, a true cinematic oddity. Rozz Williams, the leader of the early goth band Christian Death committed suicide in 1998. The last project he completed before hanging himself was a film short he made as a collaboration with a filmmaker named Nico B. (no relation to Nico of the Velvet Underground). Rozz Williams wrote the film, acted in it, and of course created the soundtrack It features Williams as a serial killer in the desert. It makes references to the Manson killings (the serial killer Williams plays cuts the word 'pig' in his the stomach of his victims, as Manson's followers did) and involves a lot of homosexual bondage. The film could in part be dismissed as sadistic fantasy, a sort of "torture porn" but he film is cryptic to say the least.. It's curious,in the film Rozz plays a murderer, but it was suicide, not homicide, that he committed-so far as we know, at least. There are of course heavy religious allusions throughout. That was always the pattern with Christian Death lyrics. Rozz was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition, the strong influence of which appears to have followed Rozz to the very end. There is something remotely resembling pattern to this film. You can't be too optimistic though. This is Rozz Williams at the end of his rope here, soon to be literally at the end of his rope. You could pull out the film theory or some psycho-analysis to play armchair psychiatrist, but Rozz was likely beyond the point of no return when he made this film. It's deranged. He wasn't faking it either. I highly recommend this film for first dates, family holiday gatherings, and of course, company picnics.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Response to the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions

I have to stay, I had an increasing interest in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in that in recent years. That's because they pulled in Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Iggy and the Stooges, Metallica- a few very decent artists. They try to juggle substance with record sales, but they end up coming up with questionable results. This year, they did exactly what I did not want them to do. They are set to induct the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beastie Boys, and Guns N'Roses, Laura Nyro, Donovan, and The Small Faces/Faces. Those acts were finalists chosen over nominees The Cure, Heart and a few others. The Cure I think were very good, if not the equal of other early goth bands like Bauhaus or Joy Division. Heart were sexy women that arose out of the male dominated 70's music now called "classic rock", that I can respect. Laura Nyro , Donavan and The Small Faces are the dregs of 60's hippy garbage. I can count the number of times I've heard Laura Nyro on the radio on one finger. I don't need to hear some sixties band that Rod Stewart ended up joining that's exactly what The Small Faces are. I am neither a leftist nor a user of illegal drugs, so I do not deify these people. The bands that weren't fecal matter fossilized from the 60's that they picked are bands that were overplayed on 80's to early 90's MTV. I recall it all well, but I feel no need to revisit Mother's Milk or Check Your Head. Guns N'Roses I suppose are alright. The Beastie Boys had their moments in a way. The Red Hot Chili Peppers annoy me at the mall. People bitch about this Lou Reed and Metallica album that was sparked by a performance at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame event, but if the members of the bands listed above start jamming at the induction ceremony that will be the worst music ever made. You want to hear Axel and Slash join on "Fight for Your Right to Party" with Flea slapping the bass? It could happen at the induction ceremony. Two bands that emerged in the same time era that annihilate the ones in the rock and roll hall of fame this year- one is the Cult and the other is Voivod. Guns N' Roses actually opened for the Cult at one point. . Voivod and the Cult in slightly different ways captured the correct way to go about creating rock, which is not so much to adhere too rigidly to a genre, but to synthesize a sound using something here from metal,here from punk, here from 60's bands, whatever works. That's where we get nice little genres like gothic metal from. The explication I've read of the Cult's sound is that they started as a goth band and then made the risky, then unfashionable move of looking back into late 60's/early 70's bands like Led Zeppelin and Free that we today hear on classic rock radio. Voivod integrated influences from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands like Venom and Motorhead with bits of things that were going on in punk, but their big hit was actually a cover of an early Pink Floyd song written by Syd Barrett. I'm thankful to say, I've recently run into early Cult and early Voivod that has been re-released or released in the last few years. I didn't know about it at the time, but in 2009 the Cult issued a box set edition of their album Love with three disks of demos, b-sides and live takes. This fall, Voivod released their original demo from their early days in Quebec, To The Death 84. The Cult's Love Omnibus Edition from 2009 is a must have. That has been one of my favorite albums since I was a child but listening to the collected b-sides and such, the better material they were working on may not have even been what made it onto the original LP. Lead vocalist Ian Astbury was obsessed both with the 60's counter-culture generation and with Native American culture, neither of which he belonged to, they had the strange ability to get away with it. I much prefer Cult to any of the hippy era bands like Led Zeppelin that they drew inspiration from. The Love Omnibus Edition has a little booklet that it comes with that has some details that I didn't know before. I wasn't aware that the Cult's drummer from their first album, Nigel Preston, was thrown out of the band because of mental illness or that the working title for "Phoenix" was "Stooges" because it sounded like a Stooges track. The track that really gets me is "Hollow Man". In the lyrics, the man who follows him each and every day with a gun in hand- is that himself? Is it the grim reaper? After Love they went into the studio working on a lengthy psychedelic album that was taking too long to make, the band being very into drugs at this point. The Cult used Rick Rubin as a producer immediately after he did the Beastie Boys' License to Ill album, and went for the very straight sounding electric guitar sound Rubin was using at the time. Their next album Electric I think only uses any guitar effect whatsoever on one track. I'd still listen to Electric, it doesn't have the nice lairs of sound that Love has. They started turning into hair metal, essentially. Love is really the album to get. To the Death 84 is a little bit of a different organism. This material is a very early demo material by Voivod, the science-fiction the meed speed-metal band from Quebec. It is recording of an early live performance, and includes many of the tracks that ended up on Voivod's first album, War and Pain as well as a few covers, two of them Venom songs. The recording quality is very lo-fi. You get a sense from this track what an aggressive beast early Voivod really was live. At this point the drummer wore a gas mask on stage, in keeping with the band's pre-occupation with life after a nuclear war. They moved way from there very early wall-of-noise approach in pursuit of something more technically sophisticated and futuristic. If someone come across a young band that know the Cult, Voivod and some of the other music I've referenced here well,I'd be sort of curious to know about it. I started being sick of people and their stupid bands when I was in my late 20's. That's when I would cross paths with a lot of utterly failed and pointless bands and musicians, especially in New York. The hipster music press is full of it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction committee is full of it. There are a couple good goth albums, a couple good metal albums, that's about it. Even that I get sick of periodically.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guest post by Mark Weikel: How to Flirt at Holiday Parties

The holidays are upon us and along with merry activities such as decking the halls, singing carols, and emailing your extensive wish-list to Santa (after all, you’ve been extra good this year) comes the slew of events that have filled up your December calendar.

So if you’re single, RSVP-ed, and plan on doing a little festive flirting at a holiday art opening or lavish Christmas gala, it’s crucial that you know how it’s done. To have a blast at your holiday event and ensure that you aren’t left under the mistletoe knocking back eggnog all by yourself, check out the following tips for how to flirt:

Tip #1: Be realistic. If you embark upon your flirting adventures with the expectation that you are going to get a relationship out it, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Look at flirting as a way to have fun and meet new people…and who knows, maybe a flirtatious spark could lead to something more.

Tip #2: Be approachable. When it comes to flirting, we all get nervous putting ourselves out there. Even with butterflies, however, it is important to try your best to relax so that you come across as welcoming to prospects at the party. Think about it like this: Who would you rather approach? Someone who is smiling, laughing and having a good time? Or someone giving off unfriendly vibes and not socializing with anyone? Most likely you’d choose the former.

Tip #3: Keep your eye on the prize. As simple as it seems, making eyes at someone with whom you wouldn’t mind getting to know better can be a great way to lure them in. Studies indicate that you have to look at a person three times before they will approach you. Now, be careful not to be creepy when doing this…to let them know you are interested, try to lock eyes for just a few seconds then look away. If you look again and they are gazing your way, it’s a good sign.

Tip #4: Strike up conversation. Should you be scanning the room at the holiday event and notice a beautiful stranger admiring a beautiful piece of art, use it as an opportunity to swoop in and make your introduction. When you break the ice with harmless topics and common ground such as a painting or a sculpture at the party (your approach will depend on where you are), it can ease you into a dialogue so that you can possibly build a deeper conversation from there.

Tip #5: Read body language. Don’t let the hot toddies get the best of you—be alert and stay aware of your surroundings so that you can pick up on body language cues from eligible singles at your holiday event. Is someone exchanging looks with you? Are they flirting back with their eyes? Is their body or feet turned in your direction?

Tip #6: Listen up! As important as it is to talk to your new holiday friend, in order for the two of you to really hit it off, it is equally as important for you to actively listen. With whoever you’re flirting, let them know you’re interested by giving them your full attention and not getting distracted by what’s going on around you.

Tip #7: Go for the gold. If you find that the person you’ve been flirting with at your holiday event is someone you’d like to explore a flirtatious bond with further, don’t be afraid to let them know! Seal the deal by asking for their number or email address and if possible, see about arranging a date.

Mark Weikel is a guest post author who enjoys writing on topics surrounding dating and relationships. In addition, Mark also contributes his work to a gay dating site where he offers advice for safe online connections in the gay community.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Paintings by Human Centipede 2 Director Tom Six

Just in time for Christmas! It was, I suppose, only a matter of time before this development came along. Some months ago, I discussed on here issues of censorship and the film Human Centipede 2. It would so happen to be the case that Human Centipede 2 director Tom Six is a painter, and his paintings have now surfaced on-line. Just as conservative radio host Michael Savage turned out to be a surprisingly good fiction writer this fall with his book Abuse of Power, Tom Six has proved himself to be a man of many talents with his paintings. If you've seen Six's films, the subject matter will not surprise you at all- fecal matter, venereal disease, Nazi Germany, and of course, people sewn together mouth to anus. One painting alludes to the "barbed wire" scene cut from the version of Human Centipede 2 released by IFC. The obvious response is that Tom Six does what he does merely to shock and offend. I don't know, he looks pretty fixated on this fecal matter to me… find more:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Eat Your Skin

I saw this gem of a film screen at the Sc-Fi Center in Las Vegas this weekend. Back in 1970 I Eat Your Skin (which was made years earlier but not released until 1970) screened as a drive-in double bill with I Drink Your Blood. William Powell at the Sci-Fi Center screened the two films together in the original double package they were shown together as. The role of the arts here in Vegas where I now live again is sort of interesting. It is only within the year that an "art" oriented coffee shop has existed at all successfully downtown. Any kind of an indigenous art world in Vegas is ver young. That being said, the Las Vegas premier of Human Centipede 2 around (also at the Sci-Fi Center) was pretty much a weekend long festival. I Drink Your blood I've written about elsewhere, so I won't go into detail about it here. I Eat Your Skin is much older, dating back to 1964 and filmed in black and white. I Drink Your Blood was quite clearly made in response to the Manson killings. I Eat Your Skin has nothing to do with anything. It also doesn't make a lot of sense. I am particularly a fan of the scene where a zombie holding a carton of explosives labeled "explosives" blows up a plane. The "plot" of the film revolves around a romance writer, his agent, and the agent's wife, who make a trip to an Island called Voodoo Island where a plantation owner and scientist are making zombies. The daughter of the scientist is a love interest for the romance writer. That makes the film sound like it makes a lot more sense then it does. There's a whole plot thread that has to do with the island natives wanting the daughter for a human sacrifice which goes exactly nowhere, because it turns out that it's her father and the plantation owner turning the locals into zombies. It doesn't all fit together at any point. It does feature a lot of Voodoo Island zombies running around with machetes. I am particularly fond of the scene where the hero points out - and this is well into the film- that the symbols on the altar are symbols used in Voodoo rituals involving human sacrifice. If you are about my age and remember Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the late 90's you are likely to recall a time when Les Baxter's "exotica" music and lounge music came back into style in a big way. There was the whole reissue of the Vampyros Lesbos soundtrack at that point, in the late 90's. This was about the time that bands like Stereolab and Air had resuscitated the Moog and DJ Spooky was a big deal. The soundtrack to I Eat Your Blood is full of campy lounge music like that. In general, I strongly approve of that general aesthetic of resurrecting cinematic and musical absurdism of the past. I Eat Your Skin must be seen to be believed. The whole film is so absurd I could hardly believe it was real. I think that there is a kind of merit to the approach of reviving things like I Eat Your Skin purely for their sheer absurdity. The zombie holding the carton of explosives labeled "explosives" is worth the price of admission itself. As with extreme metal sub-genres like death metal and black metal, it's become clear to me from blogging that the audience for films like I Eat Your Skin is actually gigantic. There's something there...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Michael Krebber at Greene Naftali

Michael Krebber at Greene Naftali (Contemporary Art Daily)

- Copyright 2008 - 2011 Contemporary Art Daily -

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: Into the Forbidden Zone by William T. Vollmann

At one point I was obsessed with William T. Vollmann, but I hadn't read him in years until this week. I hadn't been following him closely for a long time. For one thing he's really into writing books that are hundreds of pages long or longer. His big thing about 20-25 years ago was having sex with crack addict prostitutes. He does have the distinction of writing the only novel I've ever read that made me vomit, which was The Royal Family. The Royal Family is a novel about crack whores that goes on for nearly a thousand pages, with a child molester as one of the main characters for good measure, such that a good portion of the book are scenes involving child molestation or kiddie porn. I think Vollmann likes crack whores way too much. If there's a new Vollmann book the sense I had was that it was either going to be a thousand pages long or or heavily involve this intense fascination he has with disease. That's a lot to ask of an audience. The statical information is very clear in showing that blogs that I've done that have attracted the most public interest are texts involving horror films and texts involving metal bands, in particular black metal bands. I'm more then willing to bend to my audiences needs in this regard, if that's . Personally, I am too fixated on the Human Centipede films and Michael Savage at this point to be datable. That is actually a very different inner insanity. For a long time I had more or less written Vollmann off, figuring he was partying with Genesis P. Orridge at Club Pervert Has-been over in the Magical Land of No One Cares. Incidentally, the reason that I always insult Genesis P. Orridge is that I figured out that posts get more hits because I do that. Vollmann's latest release isn't quite as bad as all that. Don't get me wrong, my appreciation for his work is still very much diminished, it just wasn't as bad as I thought. Into the Forbidden Zone was only released as an e-book and it's only 77 pages long. If he had put out another several hundred to a thousand page books, I wouldn't have read it. It's put out by a company named Byliner in the bay area that puts out shorter journalistic narrative in e-book format that only cost a few dollars. This is a good format for Vollmann to work in, as he has a tendency to get lost in the process of writing epics. I much prefer the stripped down Vollmann. In general, my view on wiring is that If you can't do it in 20 pages you probably can't do it in 200 pages Into the Forbidden Zone is basically an account of traveling through areas of Japan affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that followed. It is free of detailed descriptions of kiddie porn and AIDS symptoms. The threat this time around is radiation sickness and cancer, but Vollmann didn't come across people that were visibly sick and dying. What he describes is walking around disaster ravaged areas in Japan. The book does try to establish is that the Japanese government lied to the populace about the seriousness of the nuclear problem at first. Vollmann actually went into high risk areas with a radiation detector. Vollmann always seemed to have a death wish. He's always been sort of an extreme individual in that way, he's till somewhat of a fascinating enigma because of it. He's not fascinating for a thousand pages because of it, but he's still kind of a relevant figure. -W. Wheaton

blog paintings

this is stupid but one can see a bit more of the exhibition

Monday, October 31, 2011

Gothic Daydreams (Various Artists, Free MP3 album)

(Review By William Wheaton) The biggest and best surprise in music for me of late 2010-early 2011 was the Metalhit Free Download series from the on-line metal label Metalhit, which I've written about on here. That was six hours of definitive underground metal released for free on-line. This fall the biggest and best musical surprise comes thanks to the same individual. Mike Riddick owns both Metalhit and The Fossil Dungeon, which is not a metal label but rather a gothic label that's been around about ten years, and we have a free mp3 album of material from the Fossil Dungeon catalogue. For awhile I would have told you the best gothic playlist around was to be found by tuning into the station on Riddick here has put together a much shorter playlist of material, but it probably competes with what you would hear if you listened to an hour of the Doomed station. Doomed has a few problems, one being that they play the same sound clips from the original Halloween film over and over. Mike Riddick really has quite an ear, as evidenced by the bands he's found for his labels and by his own band, The Soil Bleeds Black. It could very well be that he owns the one of the best gothic label around these days and one of the best metal label around these days, which is an accomplishment. The only band on here I'd heard before is Mephisto Waltz who recall well from the 90's, their track on here is quite similar in sound to the track "Heaven or Las Vegas" by Cocteau Twins. Other bands on the compilation have more of a neo-classical or pseudo-medieval feel. Riddick's own band Soil Bleeds Black is like that. Caelum Bliss have almost a little bit of a metal element to their sound. A few of the songs sound more like that dance-oriented gothic music played at fetish clubs. "It's Time" by Butterfly Messiah is like that. Across the board,the compilation tends to focus on bands with female vocals, in particular bands that use female vocal harmonies. As you may have guessed, this is not musically revolutionary material. I won't pretend that is. If you go back to the In Goth Daze compilation put out by Cleopatra Records in 1994, and closed your eyes while it played, you might have difficulty determining which bands were 80's bands or 90's bands. It would be hard to place any of the bands on Gothic Daydreams as not being from the 90's or even the 80's without knowing otherwise. "I Don't Want You To Go" by Gifts in Secret on Gothic Daydreams sounds like something that might have played on college radio in 1984. This comes up again and again, but it seems veritably impossible for current gothic/industrial bands to surpass the kind of musical innovation that was taking place within gothic/industrial the 80's. I'm still uncovering obscure gothic/industrial bands of quality from the 80's. I hadn't even heard Brighter Death Now until this year. However, the music on this compilation sounds a lot better then some of the music being made now by gothic/industrial artists left over from the 80's. Psychic TV, a band from 30 years ago, has a new single for sale, which is a cover of a track by Can, a band from over 40 years ago. Some of this music is from ten years ago or more, and Mephisto Waltz has been around forever, but this music isn't as bad as dredging up Boyd Rice,Genesis P.Orridge or Sleep Chamber once again. That I can do without.