Archive for November, 2009

26
Nov
09

gaby: Mega Shark and Giant Octopus Wish You a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Ok, ok, I know. I know I really dropped the ball on that whole Halloween thing. Because you know what? It turns out that when you watch a horror movie every day for a week, things happen like you hear a noise while you are showering with no one else in the house, and then you spend an hour sort of locked in the bathroom waiting for your roommates to come home, just on the off, off, off chance that, I don’t know, maybe that noise was the sound ax murderers make! When they are getting ready to start their ax murdering! you know! Also, I have recently gotten hella sick and then also had some…”personal stuff” that may have made me want to “lie down for days on end watching whatever is on Netflix watch-now and eating an entire thing of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish at a single sitting, but in a really overdramatic and self-pityingly childish way, like not like anyone died or I lost my house or anything.”

Anyway, I *do* want to quickly recommend a bloody but smart horror movie called “Severance”, a mesmerizing 80s pastiche horror movie called “House of the Devil” (though angry horror movie purists like me will get angry over the last few minutes of the film) and an amazing D movie (maybe even an E movie? does that exist?) called “Megashark Vs. Giant Octopus,” which stars a growed-up Debbie Gibson, and also Lorenzo Lamas and a few other guys. Let’s talk more about “Megashark”, shall we?

Debbie Gibson is the sexiest oceanologist in the world, even though she can’t tell a squid from an octopus just by looking. It happens! Sometimes I mean to pick up a book but I pick up a peanut butter sandwich because they are roughly the same size and shape! I enjoyed this movie so much, oh my god. Not to go on too much, but if you enjoy so-bad-its-good at all, you need to see this so hard. It is obviously bad on purpose, so if you’re a purist about that kind of thing, don’t see it, but otherwise, totally totally see it.

Plot: The megashark and the giant octopus of the title are frozen in an ice cap, which melts because of global warming (TOPICAL!), and then they just fight each other all over the oceans of the world because it is what they are made to do by evolution? (TOPICAL?). Debbie Gibson and some other guys who mostly all die have to chase it around in a little submarine and something something. But don’t worry, the world is saved! Oh wait, IS IT? This movie is just fucking fantastic.

Also, you’d think being frozen for a bazillion years, this shark would be hungry for food, right? WRONG! Oh man, don’t you ever get tired of being wrong? He is hungry for STEEL, and I do not think I am spoilering anything by saying he jumps up and bites a descending plane out of the sky (also because I included this clip at the top of the page), and oh, he also EATS A CHUNK OF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. I mean, that isn’t a spoiler, that’s basically the whole plot. The octopus doesn’t seem to be hungry, maybe because the people who wrote this movie are not totally sure how an octopus eats. So, to conclude this blog post, I basically cannot recommend this movie enough.

Ok, here is the other best part, in case you don’t wanna rent it:

Happy Thanksgiving!!

21
Nov
09

KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Best Records of 09: Horehound by Dead Weather

Photo 30THE DEADWEATHER

HOREHOUND

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Oh no! We are rolling closer to the end of 2009 and there are still a few records to review for Keep It On The Brownlowe’s “Best Records of 2009” list!

You know what? I am so sick of the press giving Dead Weather shit! Calling them a gimmick, an unimpressive super-group that is the creation of yet another restless Jack White alter ego. Saying their album sounds like it was rushed and not fully realized. Claiming their lyrics are hastily written without a shred of intelligence.

The sound of Dead Weather’s debut album, Horehound, is so tough if it were a person I doubt the faceless music critics would have the balls to chastise them so adamantly without fearing for their precious typing fingers!

Parts of the accusations hold some truth. Yes, the band formed spontaneously while the Raconteurs and the Kills were on tour together…. and they wrote and recorded an album in a matter of weeks – which at times is as carnal and uncognitive as deciding to take a piss in a back alley as a cop turns the corner, BUT, that is part of the charm of this record! It’s got all of the primal elements that make music exciting! It’s moody, it’s dark, it’s messy, it makes me wanna drink a pint of whiskey to hear and appreciate the beauty in the sound of broken glass…

It’s rock n roll at it’s very best in a day and age when we are told the true spirit of rock n roll is a ghost of the past.

“60 FT TALL”: Starting off with a stark rumble, the opening track of Horehound sounds almost like the band is warming up in the practice studio. Once the groove gets going, the listener’s attention is grabbed and propelled into a hailstorm of blues riffs and mercy begging shrieks from the lips of our femme fatale, Alison Mosshart.

“HANG YOU FROM THE HEAVENS”: Track 2 begins with a heavy drone and Jack Whites pouncing beat making. Alison comes with a voice that seems to point the finger at her culprit saying she doesn’t know how to treat you and wants to take you to the devil. Mid way the song strips down to White’s tribal premonition that will hang you from the heavens.

“I CUT LIKE A BUFFALO”: A cocky jive featuring the band’s first duet between White and Mosshart. But it isn’t some lovey-dovey 70’s showcase type of duet. Instead it is raunchy, choking over itself like a broken record. Apparently, the lyrics “Y’Know I look like a woman / But I Cut Like A Buffalo” comes from an inside joke between the two when Mosshart told Jack his vocal range was womanly. The organ adds a crazed circus feel on occassion whirling around in a maniacal merry-go-round.

“SO FAR FROM YOUR WEAPON”: Alison Mosshart’s persona sort of intimidates me. Once she was an unassuming American teenager from Florida playing in a pop-punk band called Discount. Next thing you know, she is living in London having a music affair channeling the grimey NYC  ’67 underground with Jamie Hince in the Kills. Now she is the provacative front woman tangoing with the Jack White elite. She has this shit down though – with bullets in her pockets and studs at her heels. Singing with a confident sneer and a rope at her hands, the boys call back the words to her in from their love shock prison.

“TREAT ME LIKE YOUR MOTHER”: The beauty of vinyl records is that it really connects you to the music. Even when you have to turn it over and switch on the needle. Without it, the brilliant punch – the second wind – of “Treat Me Like Your Mother” wouldn’t be fully realized. Maybe I’m looking to far into the lyrical content but let’s say this song explores gender roles men are supposed to play. Mosshart challenges the norm to stand up like a real man and learn to shake hands and treat women like their mother. Meanwhile, White tries to figure it out and make out the manipulation. The song drives on forward with a deep growl. Though in the music video White and Mosshart are shooting each other with machine guns so…

“ROCKING HORSE”: The song starts out with a juicy surf guitar and calming ride cymbal hits and rim shots and then morphs into a shrieking duet between Mosshart and White that sounds like it could make it onto a Quinton Tarantino movie soundtrack.

“NEW PONY”: Swaggering forward and breaking it down in a voodoo boogey this song is one of my favorite of the album. Mosshart’s voice sticks straight through the heart and into the gut.

“BONE HOUSE”: Contrary to Tom Petty’s modest warning, Alison Mosshart chants, “I always get the things I want”. This seems to be true. From little beginnings, this lady came up from the South, dabbled in UK fame and now has returned to her homeland to work with – and become – an American superstar. Watch:

“3 BIRDS”: Blown out with reverb and taking notes from cult films about psychedelic surf zombies, this song provides a definite head change from the previous tracks. Ends with a sinister wail that may have it end up on the halloween holiday channel on muzak in 5 years.

“NO HASSLE NIGHT”: Hi Hat crashes in and then falls apart into a cesspool of feedback and rumble. The group gets it back together in this snarky jam.

“WILL THERE BE ENOUGH WATER”: This sleepy, Southern-gothic charm is a fantastic way to end the record. While the lyrical content may pine for the cliche line, “waiting for my ship to sail in”, the Dead Weather wonder if enough water will be there to keep them afloat. Something we all probably wonder about from time to time. This song feels like paddling through the swampy landscapes of the deep south with the threat of serpents swimming underneath the dark waters.

Yes…I think it is certain the album will be battling for the top 3 records of 2009 slot (currently in limbo with Yeah Yeah Yeahs “It’s Blitz”, Bat For Lashes “Two Suns” and The Dodos “Time To Die”).

MORE OF KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE’S BEST RECORDS OF 2009:
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21
Nov
09

Seven Inch Saturday…

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…Hazel – Blank Florida b/w Motor Sport Daredevils (1994)

I recently found this along with 2 other Hazel 7″s that I had never seen before, and now I think I have everything they released.  Hazel is one of my favorite Portland bands of all time.  They were a lot more melodic and spunky than most of the Seattle based label-mates on Sub Pop.  This 7″ looks like it was basically self-released, I doubt there were more than 1000 of them.  Oh, and these tracks were recorded by Donna Dresch, enjoy!

A: Blank Florida

https://gaycondo.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/hazel-02-blank-florida.mp3″

B: Motor Sport Daredevils

https://gaycondo.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/hazel-03-motor-sport-daredevils.mp3″

 

21
Nov
09

Paul: Betty Butterfield on the horrors of Wal-mart

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thanks Taylor!

19
Nov
09

26 Interviews: (E)nid Crow…

 The majority of New York based artist Enid Crow‘s  photographs contain little more than a tightly cropped  self portraits of the artist wearing different costumes and posing. Despite the seemingly simple and repetative nature of her work, Crow has managed to create a body of images that says quite a bit about American culture and politics.     

 

 

 

 

 

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Jon Miller: What initially drew you to self portrait photography?

Enid Crow: Around 1979, my parents sent me to the Wendy Ward School of Charm. I took classes from when I was eleven until I was about thirteen. In addition to learning things like how to answer the phone and good grooming, part of charm school is learning how to be a fashion model. This involved collecting photographs of good poses from magazines, going to the front of the class, and posing like the model in your photograph. Then we were supposed to get professional black and white photographs taken and start making fashion model portfolios. My mother seemed to think this was either a scam or totally pointless since I had a mouth full of braces and bad skin.

So, I made my own studio in the basement by taping white paper over the wood paneling and photographed myself with my mouth closed, copying poses of the fashion models in Better Homes and Gardens. That was the only magazine my mother subscribed to. When I was a drama student in college and grad school, I started acting as characters in the self-portraits and working with costumes more.

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  JM:  Your early series, “Disasters” features characters on the brink of, well, disaster. Their faces all share a similar look of fear, shock, and disgust. In contrast, your newest series, “Happy Workers”, is nothing but smiles and happy faces. Clearly, these images comment on disaster as well, but on a more subdued and personal level. What are your thoughts on this shift in the way your ideas are presented?

EC: After photographing all the tragedy in Disasters and in the midst of the financial collapse last year, I needed to photograph something to cheer myself up. So I photographed myself as people who still have their jobs. Granted the characters in my photographs don’t have health insurance and their 401(k) plans tanked, but at least they aren’t working in a child factory in China. America really knows how to treat its workers!

Seriously, in my pictures, I try to address social issues like sexism, homophobia, and the exploitation of workers. Often I think a strong way to get a point across about a painful, controversial topic is to use humor. So in that sense, I haven’t shifted too far from Disasters even though my facial expression has changed and I’m now using text beneath the photographs to help tell the story.

JM:  I love your “Faggots” series in which you and your real life partner at the time play the roles of queer men, in both graphically sexual moments as well as quieter and even mundane situations. Though you had been doing drag self portraiture as men for some time, this series seems to have developed later and contains the only overt sexual imagery in your catalog. What inspired these images?

EC: When I first came to New York City in 2000, I worked for an attorney who has an extensive photography collection of men loving, taken from the latter part of the 19th century to today. The International Center of Photography featured some photographs from his collection in a show in 2001. My boss would show me new pictures as they were sent to his office and I’d see them scattered around his desk when I delivered papers for him to sign. The subjects ranged from stiff studio portraits of male couples, men sharing beds in rooming houses, to beefcake pictures from 1970s porn magazines. So in my series, I tried to reflect the scope of the images that I saw in his collection.

JM:  Queer sexuality in art is almost automatically processed as transgressive and political. What were you trying to say in creating this work? 
 

EC: Faggots is my favorite series. Justin Duerr, my ex-boyfriend who plays my lover in all the pictures, helped me shoot some of the pictures in the Disaster series around 2005 and 2006. Justin is bi and he would get aroused and want to kiss me when I was dressed as a male character for Disasters. We decided scenes of us kissing as men would make interesting photographs themselves so we started our own series together and ended it just before we broke up in 2008 when I decided to grow my hair long.

The photos comment on issues that I care about very deeply—the arbitrariness of gender and homophobia. I don’t think there’s any need for me to get into a long soap box sermon about why those issues matter because this is, after all, Gaycondo. But briefly, being in love with someone who loves men, and knowing he could engage in certain social rites with me because I am a woman (like marry me or display my photo at work) but not a man he might fall in love with after me, is in my mind, one of the greatest social tragedies there is.

JM:  Any future projects currently being fleshed out?

EC: I am going to my parents’ condo in Florida in a week for a vacation. I am going to finish the Happy Workers series and start shooting a very short self-portrait series called Beauty Queens in tiaras and heavy makeup on the beach. In December, I am going to start shooting a series of portraits of vegans in New York City. I would also like to do a serious series of pigeon photographs. I love pigeons and I take a lot of snapshots of the cute ones I see on the street and the sick ones who I take care of in my apartment.

JM:  Pigeon photographs? That seems like a pretty grand departure from your regular aesthetic! What type of images are you planning on creating? 

EC: I am as fanatical about pigeons as Nikola Tesla, and these pictures will be like poems in their honor. I will take photographs of ordinary street pigeons loafing and flying and manipulate the images so that they are monochromatic and simple. Then I will take the individual, simplified versions of pigeons and use them as individual design elements, like the way the artist Tae Won Yu manipulates letters of the alphabet to make fancy designs. I have been doing this a little with pictures of pigeons I’ve found on the Internet, but I think the pictures will be better if I start from scratch with my own pictures. 

 But I am not moving away from self-portraits. Sometimes I just need a break to come up with a new idea. As I age, my face is getting saggier and more comic, so I think that the photos will probably get funnier and sadder.

For More: www.enidcrow.com

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26 Interviews  by Jon Miller

365 days.

26 interesting people.

1 alphabet.

16
Nov
09

Jon: Sylvia…

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I love love love that I have so many very talented people in my life. My good friends Andy, Taylor, and Matthew are the creators of the internet’s newest viral darling, Sylivia, 11 minutes of pure queer/jewish/geriatric comedic genius*.

*with just a touch of creepy/awkward Miranda July-esque style via Matthew’s off camera interviewer.

15
Nov
09

Paul: Music Video Monday…

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Kleenex – Nice




Got any good leads?

gaycondo [at] yahoo [dot] com

We Are In A Band!