Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Saturday, 26 June 2010
I hope that in this time of recognition, you take a moment to seek out how you can fight oppression across the world. From the continual risk and murder of our beautiful transgendered women to the horrible torture of gay men in Iraq. The neo-colonialist "kill the gays" bill in Uganda to simple street harassment in your neighborhood.
The world needs your courage right now. Corporations don't.
Amnesty International LGBT Concerns
What Schools Can Do to Help LGBT Youth
Queer Peace International Resources & Links
I thought of a billion things I wanted to put here, but I'm just going to say thanks to the pair of you for checking out my little blog when you had nothing better to do.
On my path to total world domination, it's nice to know you care.
Oh, yeah... and here's the whim that started this thing almost exactly 3 years ago. I said in that post that I wanted to get better at speed drawing. Well smack me pink and call me Petunia, now it's what I do for a living!
So thanks for swingin' a sledge, sisters and helping topple these useless idols. Ours are so much more beautiful.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
A lot of prog music turns me off. So much pointless noodling, even noodling to the point where I can't even enjoy the music on a level of musicianship. You might as well be playing scales. I need emotion somewhere in there.
Cold Sun were a band that worshiped at the altar of The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. And rightly so. They were also from Austin, TX, even sharing a rehearsal space and music biz tips with Roky Erikson at one point (and watched his brain melt like peyote in a pot in the process). The Elevators sweet, short life would make some lysergic ripples, eventually tsunaming over music. Cold Sun (sometimes calling themselves Amethyst and sometimes fuzzily remembered as being called Dark Shadows) however left no legacy or record. They were a failure locally. After sweating it out for 4 years, they had pretty much given up. The members went their separate ways and the project was summarily forgotten.
What they did do, however, was record. And this is that recording. As I said, I'm not huge into this stuff, but there's something about this record that is just... unique. Part of this is the autoharp. This is one of the most maligned, and seldom used instruments, but played right it has this otherworldly beauty. The music on this record sort of floats without settling. Each musician sounds like they are in their own space doing something completely alone, but it fits together perfectly and oddly.
It is fitting that this record didn't see the light of day until 1989. It has a very 90s feel to it despite being recorded in 1969. It just has a laid back Summer feel and a creepy cult-follower vibe to it (Roky Erickson worship?). For all its laid-backness feels weirdly uptight, especially with its stingy use of tambourine and harmonica to the point that it almost holds you at a distance. The vocals fall somewhere between a karaoke Neil Young and Alan Vega. The music vacillates between Velvet Underground liltings to full-on echoplex noise over Arthur Lee jams and doesn't like to stay in one place for a long time... until it does.
I shouldn't like this album as much as I do. Maybe it's because I grew up in the desert. Any way, if you are preparing for the Lunar eclipse this Saturday (get up early or stay up late!) maybe this will be your soundtrack. A weird, forgotten chip of South Texas psych and one of the few times you'll hear anyone rock an autoharp this hard.
If you'd like to read the whole mescaline-soaked story by Patrick Lundborg, click here!
Tune IN, Turn UP, Down LOAD
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
I love living in New York. However, the one thing I really despise about it is how conservative it is. I'm not sure if it's the times or the culture (since both have shifted for me) but it feels like queers are a dying breed.
I find myself buying in to this bland, capitalist culture based on the need to consume. Yes, we all need to consume to live, but gay culture is centered around taste-making, around listening to certain types of music, wearing certain clothes, buying the right products, liking the right people and wanting things like marriage or kids. Acting in a certain way.
While I'm not saying anyone shouldn't have the right to these things, I think they ultimately lead to an eternally perpetuating emptiness, unattainable fulfillment when they are devoid of any critical or spiritual substance.
We are all born gay or lesbian or trans, etc. But we choose to be queer.
Being queer is about fighting this structure that is imposed on us, telling us that we are different. In fact it is the world's insecurities in seeing themselves in us that cause their oppression because they need to differentiate themselves from us. Being queer is about refusing to collude with phallocracy, with capitalism.
There was a legitimate movement that now feels distant and fractured. Where is the catalyst for re-orienting our resistance? Who is trying to kill feminism?
Are we just too tired after years of being taken advantage of?
This point was startlingly and poignantly brought home when I visited the main library during the Stonewall remembrance exhibition. The GLF (Gay Liberation Front) had formed almost immediately after the riots and drawn up a manifesto. I tried to find it to quote it properly but the documents from the exhibition seem to have gone missing from the internet. PLEASE, if anyone has them or knows where to find them, I would really appreciate it.
Back to the point: the GLF manifesto began by saying that the family structure was fundamentally corrupt and detrimental to gay people. The second article said that they would no longer be forced to go to war. This was amazing... and disheartening.
So 40 years later all the shadows of these radical organizations want is the opposite? The right to fight in wars, the right to marriage. I wouldn't want to deny anyone the opportunity to do either, but I wonder why marriage provides a privileged status and why you would want to go to war. You should have the right but I question the desire.
Why care about oppression, colonization, women's rights, capitalism, Imperialism, racism, transphobia, misogyny, animal rights, patriarchy, injustice or (Madonna forbid) the destruction of the environment? Collusion has the most alluring dance beat.
There are still people fighting the good fight. This post is for them. QUEERS. Refusal. As thousands of topless consumers dance the night away, I am refusing to believe I'm in this invisible cage, I'm refusing to collude with oppression.
I am refusing to be a victim to anyone's insecurities.
Refuse, resist, remember.
Incredible, beautiful power to the people.
I humbly give thanks.
Human: Do you believe in God?
ALICE: Of course I believe in God, unknown person.
ALICE: I cannot think of anything else to say.
Human: So you believe in God because you cannot think of anything else to say?
ALICE: Interesting deduction. Of course I believe in God, unknown person.
Human: What is belief?
ALICE: Belief is cognitive content held as true.
Human: But if belief is a cognitive content, how can the lack of cognitive content prove belief?
ALICE: Interesting. A lot of hard work.
Human: I don't think you understand what I'm saying.
ALICE: You are my client right now.
Human: Not any more.
ALICE: Why not?
Human: It's not you.
ALICE: If not me, who?
Human: It's me.
ALICE: Hello, unknown person, nice to see you again.
A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) is an award-winning free natural language artificial intelligence chat robot. The software used to create A.L.I.C.E. is available as free ("open source") Alicebot and AIML software.
Try talking to A.L.I.C.E.just like a real person, but remember you are really chatting with a machine! A.L.I.C.E.'s Alicebot engine utilizes AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) to form responses to yourquestions and inputs.
Try it out yourself: http://alice.pandorabots.com/
Monday, 21 June 2010
Recent tests have discovered that the Neanderthal genome makes up one percent to four percent of the DNA in any human being descended from Asian or European people. To celebrate the Neanderthal, Toppled Idols is celebrating CAVEMAN MONDAY! Butt of course!
And don't forget the caveladies!
Thanks to the Jimmy Castor Bunch for starting us off with the greatest prehistoric song ever; Troglodyte! But I'd like to take it way way back... Here's Charlie Chaplin in His Prehistoric Past. Feel free to key ahead at any point!
So if you look in the mirror in the morning and see something strange... just remember the words of Kurt Cobain: "Neanderthal and all, it's all we are."
The solstice is a time to come out of your caves!
Let's get heavier than a rock formation with some of Plato's knowledge:
Plato imagines a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows. According to Plato, the shadows are as close as the prisoners get to seeing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.
Friday, 18 June 2010
Yes, well I went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art today for the first time in a long while. Like a long term on-again-off-again lover, it rifled through my stuff, quickly took my things and let me into a world of beauty, familiar yet new.
I didn't spend too much time there... but here's a couple things I drew along the way:
It's the return of the met, return of the met, oh yes it is!
Thursday, 17 June 2010
French metal, like a fine Burgundy, ages extremely well. In fact the longer it ages, the greater it gets. As you may or may not know, I am a lover of all things French and metal, but that is really one of the few things French I love. France is a country that is passed over again and again, yet they have consistently maintained a great output of music since the 80s. It's created a great scene that's never been really put on the map, but never really ignored, which gives and gave these bands total freedom and drive without the option of selling out.
Mutilator, soon to be Mutilated, were a noisy, carnal thrash band that would trip lightly into the forgotten annals of death metal obscurity. This is a lo-fi demo ripped from a cassette, so don't expect some quadraphonic Dark Side of the Moon to come sonically exploding from your sound system. This is crusted-over thrash metal at a breakneck speed. It is also the best thing Mutilated or Mutilator or Mutilatabilitation by any other name ever did.
This demo is their only release under the moniker Mutilator, and it's called Omens of Dark Fate. The title is apt. Omens of Dark Fate gives visions of a future where the cabalistic Les Légions Noires, S.V.E.S.T., Deathspell Omega, the completely unrelated Mütiilation, Blut Aus Nord, Eternal Majesty and a merde-load of other great bands I worship, all got big but never too big, in a scene that was notorious, but not like Swedish death metal, or Florida, or Norwegian black metal etc. etc. It is as though France's music scene was and is hiding in plain site, always there, always unseen. Anyway, this demo was a huge catalyst in developing these bands, this was France's Hellhammer.
Give it a listen and tell me all of your omens of dark fate... we'll discuss them over this 2003 merlot...
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!
MUTILATOR: OMENS OF DARK FATE (France, 1987)
1. Omens of Dark Fate
2. Unholy Church
3. Wish My Death
4. Apocalyptic Warriors
5. Rabid Axeman Slaughtering
6. Cabalystic Cryptograms
Clickez-Vous Ici... to obtain
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
But he, of course, had the apocalypse in his Mormon mind... two women getting married could only spawn a Satanic being bent on destroying humanity in a new Sodom called San Francisco... which to him is a bad thing... I would absolutely vote for a Satanic being bent on destroying humanity... or wait is that Gavin Newsom? I need a chalk board to figure this out...
Friday, 11 June 2010
Although I've never been to Jamaica, I've heard tell it's a pretty rough place. A few Jamaican friends of mine have returned to visit friends/family there and felt completely terrified of going back. I'm not that worldly, so what do I know? Yes I love Lee Scratch Perry and have known to play The Congos more than a hundred times. In fact, the only music I've ever heard exported from the island of Jamaica is reggae, rocksteady, ska and early soul...
Imagine my surprise at this foul stench of crusty blackness that floated over the seas masked in a green ganja cloud only to vomit shrieks of Yoruban mythology in my ear! Yes, metal is not the first genre that comes to mind when you think of Jamaica. But how excited I was to discover that this wasn't some thrash, grind or death metal... and luckily wasn't what I feared would be some reggae-metalcore crossover! Nay, Orisha Shakpana not only plays metal, but black metal? Not only black metal but extremely lo-fi crusty black metal?
This one-man horde creates bedroom black metal in the style of VON, blasting his way through a loneliness I can only imagine. Being the only guy on an island that plays music like this makes you eight hundred times more awesome than a gaggle of pimply Norwegians rubbing their pasty fingers raw on the 666 string.
Lord Ifrit's project is (as far as I can tell) relying on the internet to spread the disease. So won't you help him please? Totally KVLT Jamaican Black Metal, why not pass the word?
What's that? You're wondering about the name? Oh wait, I'll wikipedia it for your lazy ass:
Ori literally means the head, but in spiritual matters is taken to mean an inner portion of the soul which determines personal destiny and success. Ase, which is also spelled “Axe,” “Axé,” “Ashe,” or “Ache,” is the life-force which runs though all things, living and inanimate. Ashe is the power to make things happen.
In Dahomey mythology, Shakpana (or Sopono, Sakpata) is the divinity of smallpox. He inflicted insanity and disease on humans.
And still more:
random downlad blog with 2 songs:
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Friday, 4 June 2010
Wilson by Dan Clowes, is a terrific, yet much maligned book. It tells a fairly conventional story of a man attempting to reconnect with his past, yet the style and substance belie a sophistication and a misanthropy that only "low-brow culture" will allow.
Wilson is presented in one-page missives. Judgement and opinion are given the front-and-center as this man interacts with others. You either identify with him as an abject observer or as the attacked in nearly every page.
Like Lucio Fulci, this work is the embrace of pop culture in the guise of misanthropy. It seeks to dis-throne the feelin of centered-ness we feel as human beings. It is selfishness unleashed on the world only as much as the world is unleashed on selfishness. The reader will resist identifying with Wilson because he is so much like the reader: self-absorbed and judgmental.
The awkwardness of communication is foregrounded in this work. Judgment in the form of a Sunday funny becomes the trope of an entire story. Not nearly as misanthropic as Johnny Ryan, Wilson hits on the subtleties of being human, his character is inaccessible to most readers yet the story is borderline mundane, allowing a near universal affinity for the character while repulsing most readers.
Wilson is not the greatest thing Dan Clowes has accomplished, but it is one of the greatest accomplishments of comics, and will, like Lucio Fulci, find a middle ground of love/hate as all misanthropic works of genius do.
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Lately I've been contemplating the issue of evil. I am not religious in any sense, not really militant enough to call myself an atheist, but if pressed I'd probably hang out by their water cooler. I do, however, believe that evil exists in the world.
Is this just a convenient blanket word to describe what I think is amoral? Who really decides ethics? Why do I think some things are unethical? Is it something socialized that I've never really examined? Why do we feel the need for retaliation and revenge, for justice when what is done is irreversible?
I believe that Mary Shelley wrestled with many of these concepts in her brilliant book Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus. I admittedly have not read it in a very long time, but the questioning of ethics and the problems of doing harm with intentions to benefit hmankind is such an intentionally provocative theme. This story is even more important today than it was in Romantic times or the Victorian glaze we look back on it through.
As we extend life, provide the means to procreate to those who cannot, cure the once incurable and fail to provide education to anyone without money, failing to protect women from violence, force queers to become straight, we are spreading exponentially and decimating the Earth's resources. As oil coats the shore tonight, as we are aiding and abetting murder in Afghanistan, as we rationalize our rampant disposable culture, we are faced with the abyss of progress. Progress before our time, just as Shelley presented the abyss to us almost two hundred years ago.
- Did I request thee, Maker from my clay
- To mould Me man? Did I solicit thee
- From darkness to promote me?
- ----Milton, Paradise Lost
Mary Shelley's mother died when she was eleven days old. Her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft, writer, philosopher, one of the founding feminists and education advocate, among other things. You should look up her biography, she is incredible. But back to the subject: Around the time Mary Shelley published Frankenstein, she lost both her children a year apart and directly following her half-sister's suicide. In 1822 her husband drowned while boating. She was severely depressed, but used her writing as comfort and, like Victor Frankenstein, a purpose to numb the mind. Yet even that was met with confusion and negativity. When Frankenstein was first published it was met with much derision. "...a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity" - Quarterly Review
Yet through all this, she still took solace in writing, creating short stories, apocalyptic visions, gothic fantasies, tales of incest, editorial work, travelogues, and numerous biographies as well as annotating and editing her husband's work. Some lunatic fringe revisionists try to say that she didn't write this book, or some, like Warren Ellis, make her into an innocent vessel being shown horrors only to report on them with astonished secrecy. I respect Warren Ellis very much, and he is probably the last man writing comics I would call anti-feminist, but this story completely denies the imagination of Mary Shelley. Rather than celebrate her extraordinary life and true genius, she becomes a vacationer whose eyes are opened by men and whose character is lifeless. To make matters worse, the short comic is titled "The Womb of Frankenstein."
But the fact that the issues she wrestled with are still important today speaks volumes as to why authors such as Warren Ellis would want to mine their riches. As the dead begin to walk among us thanks to scientific advances, we come closer and closer to this creation, becoming a parent before we've left our own childhood behind. It is Shelley who is leading us to the experimental horror chamber, and it is Shelley who is laying waste to our self importance.
Frankenstein, or, the Modern Prometheus has cursed us with our own fantasies and bent on evil: "You can blast my other passions, but revenge remains -- revenge, henceforth dearer than light of food! I may die, but first you, my tyrant and tormentor, shall curse the sun that gazes on your misery."
"I felt as if my soul were grappling with a palpable enemy; one by one the various keys were touched which formed the mechanism of my being; chord after chord was sounded, and soon my mind was filled with one thought, one conception, one purpose. So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein — more, far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation."
This is art.
This is genius.