Archive for September, 2006

Movie Merchandising vs. The Butterfly Effect

Jodie Foster as Princess Leia in Star Wars? Elvis Presley as Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy? Lucille Ball as Scarlett in Gone With the Wind? Groucho Marx in Ethel Merman’s role in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World? Judy Garland as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate? Alfred Hitchcock directing The Exorcist? Alfred Hitchcock directing Rosemary’s Baby? Sally Field as Alice in Friday the 13th? Meat Loaf as Bluto in Animal House? Holly Hunter in Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn? Orson Welles in THX 1138? John Travolta in Splash? Molly Ringwald in Blue Velvet? Richard Gere in Making Love? Goldie Hawn in Making Love? Drew Barrymore as Nomi in Showgirls? Bette Midler as Annie Wilkes in Misery? Ice Cube in Forrest Gump? Madonna in Breaking the Waves? Madonna in Brazil? The searchable, cross-referenced database shows you who almost was… but eventually was not cast in the roles of a zillion different films, and opens up a Pandora’s box of alternate cinematic universes.


How many Gods does it take to screw in a light bulb…? Just one.

When I first heard about Christian-based, politically conservative, “clean? comedians, I became fascinated. It all seemed so fantastic. I imagined that they were perhaps the bravest stand-ups in the world. Save for a handful of examples, today’s comedy mediums have been starved into a thin, garish, sexual-and-irony over-loaded raketentestgelände. Over-reliance on shock tactics and repetitious sexual innuendo have diluted and transformed a one-rich genre into a rigid, rule-based rocket-testing field, with performers firing off one shock blast after another to trigger gasps from audiences, who’s reactions become more and more robotic and disposable. How could a pro-Christian values, “clean comedy? type of performer even dare to compete in today’s meta-jaded media arena? What a dare!

A certain brand of comedy had always existed in church settings; from clown and puppet ministry troupes which flourished in the 1950’s and 60’s, to motivational youth speakers who used humor to communicate hard-learned life lessons to young minds in the 70’s, to bumper stickers that read “How many Gods does it take to screw in a light bulb? Just one…? of the 80’s. But some church performers began to mimic stand-up comedy styles that had become so exceedingly popular in the 80’s. Clown costumes and sock puppets became less of something they used in their act and more something they mocked in their act. The heroic “role model? of the shouting youth motivational speaker began to get replaced by the self-deprecating humor of a lone person on stage with a microphone making observational humor about maintaining one’s faith in the modern world. Communicating scripture-based messages gave way to “don’t you just hate it when? or punchline-style monologues, with the moral high-ground stance left to afterthought. In turn, some of these Christian performers started to get really good. Inevitably, 90’s innovators like Mike Warnke and Chonda Pierce branched out. Truly odd birds; they sometimes performed their acts wedged between the usual randy performers at rough-and-tumble comedy clubs, using the unique contrast within their surroundings as the root of their act. Later, performers like Donna East, Rick Younger and Kerri Pomarolli took the genre even farther into the stand-up world. More and more followed suit – but through the late 90’s, the idea never lasted beyond that of a trendy gimmick. “Clean? comedy nights at popular comedy clubs only lasted as long as the curiosity did.

But the movement made it’s own mark, and survived – if only by creating a massive subculture unto itself (much like Christian rock) rather than trying to constantly assimilate and possibly change the “real? world. Today there are whole nightclubs and festivals that cater to the scene, and the amount of acts that fall into the category of Christian-themed and clean comedy have reached uncountable numbers – spawning a whole industry of video, DVD and merchandise sales which sell through, and chains like Tower Records and Virgin. The proliferation of specialty cable channels which showcase “family oriented? material now feature weekly showcases of clean comedians, which have been embraced by popular ratings. The attachment that some sub-genres of “clean? comedy may have to Christianity might be only symbolic in some cases, but for the fans it remains crystal clear. The clown and puppet ministries? The humorous youth camp motivational speakers? They’re all still out there… if anything the emergence of a newer kind of Christian comedy genre has only helped them to survive. They exist as second and third stage acts at Christian comedy/music festivals, and their popularity as a more comfortable outlet for humor at older, more traditional, church-only events will probably never fade.

Here is an unbelievably long list of Christian/clean-comedy acts, which covers the entire spectrum from old school puppet and clown ministries, to edgy secular stand-up, and even surprisingly impressive youth-based avant-video Christian prank/comedy collective outreach collectives. There’s even a Weird Al-ish Christian comedy rock band who does God-themed parodies of popular songs; Apologetix. (check here to here mp3s of their covers of Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train,’ called ‘Lazy Brain,’ and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ called ‘Bethlehemian Rhapsody’). And here’s another; take a listen to Nick Alexander’s music (including a Catholic version of The Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ called ‘I Wanna Be Debated’). Here’s a lengthy, investigative piece on Christian Comedy, in the Washington Post, from 2004. Here’s a historic piece (or sorts) on the genre. Here’s a 2002 article from the Dallas Observer that’s pretty blunt, and way funnier than it’s subject (the bit about the woman doing the bad/weird squirrel act is great). Here’s the popular Bananas comedy show site.

However, throughout the genre’s growth – obviously not everyone has approved. The acts who seemed to work best initially were those who worked into their act the very frustrations of how living a life of faith awkwardly translated into their chosen profession, and the modern world at large. Some even poked fun at examples of the more extreme characteristics within the Christian world. In his 2004 act, Brad Stine poked fun of church groups burning Harry Potter books, noting “Here’s a good rule of thumb: If Hitler tried it – maybe go the other way.? Stine currently bills himself as “America’s conservative comedian,? and has written books with titles like Live From Middle America: Rants From a Red-State Comedian and Being a Christian Without Being an Idiot and A Conservative Unleashed. Indeed, our current political climate has hatched a sub-spawn of the genre; comedians who lean even farther from Christian or “clean? styles, and reach out into politically conservative-based material.

In the regular world of entertainment/news/whatever, there’s the “mainstream,? which is the easily definable and perfect; like the things you see on cable TV, news shows, at the regular movies, radio and big-name websites and stuff like that, things backed by corporations-for-profit mostly. Then, there’s an “underground? – the undefinable and open-ended; things on really obscure websites, way-indie film, most of the gallery art world, experimental music scenes, nutty cable access TV, avant local theater troupes, weird art prank stuff, sick fanzines, drug culture, parties, nightclubs, etc., things usually done with little backing and created just for the sake of ideas, and often done with a subtle defiance against the mainstream (you know the stuff I’m talking about!) Mainstream stuff usually works because it has funded, commercial backing and promotion that can create a synergy with goods of a certain quality. The underground stuff that becomes popular in it’s own realm is usually not because it has high sales marks or is bringing in “good numbers,? but because it’s just really good; it’s so screamingly funny that it makes you almost cry from laughing so hard, or it’s so ingenious that it hits an as-yet undefined truth and twists your mind and changes your perspective on things. The mainstream stuff, when it works right, can pride itself on creating “perfect,? lasting works of art that can change the entire planet’s consciousness in a blink. The underground world, besides being a rich world unto itself, can pride itself on almost always being the actual genesis of the concepts and ideas that get watered down and bubble up into the mainstream world. There’s a line (a squiggly line, but indeed a ‘line’) between the underground and mainstream that is crossed (both ways) only with obvious compromise. Smart mainstream performers who do appreciate the more extreme characteristics of the underground worlds know how to filter ideas out of it in a way so as not to alienate the massive audiences. But, not all mainstream performers appreciate the more extreme underground, they may find it to be “wrong,? politically incorrect, or even harmful. The mainstream has solid stability, but the underground has a thrilling aura of danger. The underground may have guts, but the mainstream has a quota to fill.

Do you know what the “underground? for the Christian and politically conservative comedy scene is? What their crazy/dangerous/not-ready-for-prime-time underbelly is? Extreme right-wing white supremacy groups, deadly anti-abortion militia collectives, Fred Phelps and his gang, crazy gory anti-abortion websites, rapturous end-of-the-world conspiracy websites, satan-is-everywhere conspiracy websites, neo-Nazi skinheads, scripture-screaming polygamy cults, anti-minority fascist groups with bombs, The American Family Association, The Army of God, Paul Hill, Timothy McVeigh.

And this is why Ann Coulter is the Lenny Bruce of the Christian, “clean,? politically-conservative stand-up comedy world.


Ebay: Futuristic Marketplace of Reflected Genitalia Photos and Goofy Pedophilia Art Scuffles

Brian Turner alerts me to a painting by Derek Erdman (inventor of the still unrivaled Kathy McGinty stunt), which he is was quietly selling on Ebay (with some nasty blowback). And all this time I was unaware that there was a mephitic cesspool …comment section on Ebay. Here is Derek Erdman’s site.

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Certain headlines really grab you. Like the iconic 1983 New York Post cover “Headless Body Found In Topless Bar,” or the timeless zinger from the front page of a 1935 issue of Variety; “Sticks Nix Hicks Pix.” This morning’s main Drudge Report headline was a nice A.M. wake-up (what, no flashing siren?), and really captured my mood (of late). “MYSTERY: TRASH BAG IN SPACE.” What was the story? Oh, some NASA space shuttle snafu where they thought they had spotted a UFO a few days ago… then they thought it was a vital piece of shuttle machinery… in the end it was a bag of garbage. I didn’t need to read it. But now that I haven’t, I wonder: really? Is it from a plane? Or maybe from a really exploded trash truck down on Earth – it’s contents projected outward? Or like maybe a trash bag from someone’s house? All the way out there in space? Jeeze, talk about taking out the trash. Don’t they want to go through it? It’s legal if it’s not on the owner’s property you know. This is exactly why Drudge is my morning computer start-up page. Mere inches below this declaration was the sub-head “Elizabeth Taylor fed to the sharks…” The story? Liz was in the scuba diving in the ocean I guess. To the right of that was a picture of Madonna from her recent concert tour with the headline “NBC To Air Live Madonna Crucifixion…” (oh if only!) All of these snaps and headlines were right next to serious, real-world news links. Drudge’s notoriety may be in post-ballyhoo limbo, but the muck raking/candy bag/closet-Warholian sensibility of his website is a window shop that still automatically re-polishes itself every 200 seconds.

Related? Here are some more famous and not so famous quotations about trash:

“Last night I dreamed that the whole world had blown up. Just blown into smithereens. But the weird thing was, nobody knew it had happened. They just kept wandering around on their own little chunk of debris floating out there in space, everyone isolated from everyone else, acting as if everything was normal.”
– Susan Berman, in Susan Seidelman’s Smithereens

“People say I’m extravagant because I want to be surrounded by beauty. But tell me, who wants to be surrounded by garbage?”
– Imelda Marcos

“I felt like a piece of trash. I felt dirty and I felt used and I was disappointed.”
– Monica Lewinsky

” I got 96 tears in my 96 eyes, I got a garbage brain, it’s drivin’ me insane…”
– The Cramps, “Human Fly”

“Well the main thing they can do is not go to the movies. It is an odd dilemma. On the one hand, film is the art form of the 20th century, undeniably … As Lenin said, ‘the most powerful tool ever invented to influence the mind of man.’ Undeniably the American art form, too. And yet more and more, we see films made that diminish the American experience and example. And sometimes trash it completely.”
– Charlton Heston

�??I know a man who doesn’t pay to have his trash taken out. How does he get rid of his trash? He gift wraps it, and puts in into an unlocked car.�??
– Henny Youngman

“If I had a bad performance in a particular leotard, I threw it in the trash.”
– Mary Lou Retton

“A guy walks up to me and asks ‘What’s Punk?’ So I kick over a garbage can and say ‘That’s punk!’ So he kicks over a garbage can and says ‘That’s Punk?’, and I say ‘No that’s trendy!”
– Billie Joe Armstrong

“I lived through the garbage. I might as well dine on the caviar.�??
– Beverly Sills

�??Marriage is not just spiritual communion, it is also remembering to take out the trash.�??
– Dr. Joyce Brothers

�??To play safe, I prefer to accept only one type of power: the power of art over trash, the triumph of magic over the brute.�??
– Vladimir Nabokov

“I have found little that is ‘good’ about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think.”
– Sigmund Freud

“It’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people! They’re making our food out of people!”
– Detective Robert Thorn, in Richard Fleischer’s Soylent Green

“The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation and a contempt for the truth – are the reality of most people’s lives. Misinformation has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.”
– Carl Bernstein

“Religion deserves no more respect than a pile of garbage.”
– H. L. Mencken

“The best way to prepare to be a programmer is to write programs, and to study great programs that other people have written. In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and fished out listings of their operating system.”
– Bill Gates

“Romance is not trashy. There’s passion in romance. There’s imagination. There’s beauty. Besides, you can find some nice things in the trash.”
– Richard LaGravenese, from The Fisher King

“When you fall for the garbage man, you end up with the garbage, man.”
– Hole, “Berry”

“In Beverly Hills… they don’t throw their garbage away. They make it into television shows.”
– Woody Allen

“We need welfare and you can’t have my fucking shoes!”
– Holly Woodlawn, from Paul Morrissey’s Trash

“Trash Star Found in Trash Can”
– 1970 Daily Variety headline touting Holly Woodlawn in the film Trash

“Television’s perfect. You turn a few knobs, a few of those mechanical adjustments at which the higher apes are so proficient, and lean back and drain your mind of all thought. And there you are watching the bubbles in the primeval ooze. You don’t have to concentrate. You don’t have to react. You don’t have to remember. You don’t miss your brain because you don’t need it. Your heart and liver and lungs continue to function normally. Apart from that, all is peace and quiet. You are in the man’s nirvana. And if some poor nasty minded person comes along and says you look like a fly on a can of garbage, pay him no mind. He probably hasn’t got the price of a television set.”
– Raymond Chandler

“GEOLOGY, n. The science of the earth’s crust –to which, doubtless, will be added that of its interior whenever a man shall come up garrulous out of a well. The geological formations of the globe already noted are catalogued thus: The Primary, or lower one, consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners’ tools, antique statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors. The Secondary is largely made up of red worms and moles. The Tertiary comprises railway tracks, patent pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated citizens, garbage, anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.”
– Ambrose Bierce

“Remember you’re a star. Never go across the alley even to dump garbage unless you are dressed to the teeth.”
– Cecil B. De Mille

“There was a beauty in the trash of the alleys which I had never noticed before; my vision now seemed sharpened, rather than impaired. As I walked along it seemed to me that the flattened beer cans and papers and weeds and junk mail had been arranged by the wind into patterns; these patterns, when I scrutinized them, lay distributed so as to comprise a visual language.”
– Sinclair, in Philip K. Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth

“The Symbols of the divine show up in our world initially at the trash stratum.”
– from Philip K. Dick’s Valis�

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T.D.C.J. Last Statement List

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s searchable database of last statements. Offender information has case summary, and most have mug shots. The T.D.C.J.’s main government page can be found here. Their death row information page can be found here. The Memory Hole unearths a deleated public list of T.D.C.J. inmate’s last meals. A guide to Texas’ death penalty law can be found here.

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Man hangs American flag upside down in trailer-park he owns, to protest way illegal immigrants were handled there…

David Robinson, who owns a mobile home park in the small town of Stillmore, Georgia, posted the upside-down American flag outside as a sign of outrage and protest at the way illegal immigrant residents were handled in his hometown. On September 1st, federal agents conducted a highly publicized massive sweep on Stillmore, which turned it into a virtual ghost town overnight – swiftly breaking up families, and leaving one small child abandoned. Read the story here.

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The Video I Cannot Stop Watching

CNN’s coverage of Jesse Sullivan and his brain-controlled bionic arms is all about the hypnotic video clip. The technology that researchers used for Jesse’s arms stems from this research. Oh, and be sure and watch this video of the female thought-controlled bionic arm recipient (Claudia Mitchell), where she and Jesse high-five each other.


The Solid Gold Dancers

I had actually wanted to write a long, link-filled post about the Solid Gold Dancers, but Clinton McClung over at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog already beat me to it (and how!), pretty much grabbing the last word on everything I wanted to say. I have pubescent hormone-clouded memories of the Solid Gold dancers, and the show Solid Gold in general, it’s shifting hosts, it’s shifting floors with rotating walls with mirrored shapes and little lights attached to them that Marilyn McCoo or Andy Gibb leaped over as they opened and closed when the camera zoomed-in on a lip synching band on stage. The dancers were often featured front and center, but mostly existed as a weird, half-visible wave of limbs and hips undulating somewhere behind the music acts – sometimes a pair of eyes would peer out from the wave, perched atop a foil-covered cylinder. And the sequences of the show that counted down the music charts, with each song snippet getting it’s own 10-second dance routine by the dancers? Unholy (read: awesome). The Solid Gold Dancers weren’t the first interpretive dancers fusillading their posteriors to popular songs featured as a major part of a variety music show (The Mickey Mouse Club? Lawrence Welk? American Bandstand? Dance Fever? …or the countless teen music shows that populated daily afternoon local television stations throughout the 60’s?) but their existence is the most visible marker of that medium in it’s era. This was the easily-filled time gap in culture between the death of the disco, and the soon-to-be strict requirement of choreographed dance bodies becoming de rigueur in every single one of the zillions of early-80’s rock videos made during MTV’s initial global infestation (no doubt a period for the working professional dancer that was a renaissance… and probably dark age). The Solid Gold Dancers easily slid right in (no… sexily shimmied… crawled cat-like across the floor into…) to fill this gap. Post-disco meant way-post 50’s wholesomeness – but post 60’s and 70’s meant post-sexual revolution, so thrust tits and crotches in your prime-time face became the ho-hum rule, not a titilating exception. Hence The Solid Gold Dancers were ahead of their time and in their own limbo, in a way. I remember the Solid Gold Dancers achieving the same kind of notorious, dichotomic fame that The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and The Unknown Comic had. They were obviously very skilled, professional dancers, but they were bad, they were good at being bad and bad at being good… in their own world; parody-proof. Appreciation of them activated both hemispheres of your brain and hence made you feel smarter, which made watching Solid Gold a bi-polar delight.

In my town, most girls outwardly conveyed how eye-rollingly absurd they were, but also dug them in an love/hate ambitious kind of way (like secretly wanting to be on the high school cheer pep squad, but with the requisite backwash emotional loathing after-feeling). Girls who truly hated them 100% were also the type of girl that gay guys befriended and later became fag hags (and were also probably slightly chunky, wore black, had bangs and carried a metal TV show-themed lunch box as a purse – if you grew up in the 80’s you know exactly what I’m talking about). Gay guys’ appreciation was uncomplicated: they thought they were just awful (read: brilliant!). Of that demographic, there probably were quite a few gay guys who wanted to be one of the male Solid Gold Dancers in a very sincere, irony-free way, but we won’t analyze that kind of burgeoning male homosexual here (I don’t want to scare anyone). And straight guys’ appreciation? The All-American Male saw x-ray vision-style right through the silver spandex, sequins and braided headbands towards a very un-fussy appreciation: these girls were totally hot. The difference between how gay men and straight men saw The Solid Gold Dancers inhabited the same stretch between how gay men and straight men saw Debbie Harry (and later Madonna) at the time, it was the difference between human anatomy and what was covering that anatomy. Straight men saw past the adornment right into these women’s core, gay men could only see the surface.

The Solid Gold Dance Connection website is dedicated to documenting everything about the Solid Gold Dancers that you could ever want to know, especially tracking down where they are now, and interviewing them. The Unofficial Solid Gold Website does the same thing, and covers some of the history of the dancers the previous site misses.

This long list will tell you every host and music act that ever appeared on the show (although I think it’s incomplete).

But since Sold Gold was a television show – no doubt YouTube can be relied upon to supply so many clips that it will categorically become torture if you try and watch every single one of them.

And just in case you skipped your medication this morning, try and swallow this clip of Andy Gibb and Marilyn McCoo introducing Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics performing “Black Leather Monster? on Solid Gold (yep!) The dancers are suspiciously absent, but make sure you watch to the end – where Wendy O. has a long, post-chainsaw chat with a rainbow-mohawked Madame (& Waylon Flowers).

But of course, once again, I find myself directing you to a post on WFMU’s blog, Clinton McClung’s link-filled history-sweep of The Solid Gold Dancers has it all.


Ann Richards (1933-2006)

Former Texas Governor Ann Richards died yesterday at her home in Austin, Texas at the age of 73. Here is the New York Times story. Here’s a condensed history of Ann Richard’s public life. Here are a bunch of Ann Richards quotes. Here are some more. Here can be found the transcript and entire audio of Richards’ historic, show-stopping 1988 DNC keynote address. Here’s an interesting article from LA Weekly. Here’s Ann riding a motorcycle. I love this photo. And this one. Here are some people sharing memories of meeting her. Here’s an interesting transcript of a 2001 Larry King Live interview. Here’s an interesting 2004 PBS Last Man Standing interview. Here she is in animated form. Here’s a fun Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Theaters promo from last year. Here’s more photos. Here’s everything else.


Brian Sloan’s highly unique WTC View

Brian Sloan's

Who would show up to check-out an apartment for rent in NYC, right next to “ground zero,” immediately during 9/11? The most relentless apartment hunters in the world, that’s who (I could have just said ‘New Yorkers’). Film director Brian Sloan’s (Pool Days, I Think I Do) charged new film WTC View takes it’s title from NYC apartment want-ad lingo, pre-9/11. Set five years ago in New York, lead character Eric has an apartment that faces the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, and is renting out half of it out. He unknowingly places an ad in the Village Voice looking for a tenant, which ends up running on September 11th, 2001. A gaggle of gawkers, talkers and potential takers surprisingly come knocking on the 12th – as he continues to show the apartment immediately after the fateful day. In scenes that almost remind me of that sequence in Apartment Zero (when all the of weirdoes visit a tense but renting Colin Firth’s Buenos Aires loft), those who are obviously seeking much more than an apartment share can’t help but look gaping-eyed out Eric’s apartment’s window at the “view,” asking all kinds of questions not about the rent or the laundry facilities, but about things like the accumulative velocity of human bodies jumping out of burning skyscrapers – veiled inquiries directed at Eric but meant for themselves. This acts as a launching pad for ensuing multiple character drama with some of Eric’s apartment seekers, and his friends. And hence, the sparse apartment and it’s windows become a blank slate for different people’s gut reactions to the events of 9/11, and the way the event stained and enriched people’s normally complex lives, friendships and relationships.

Simultaneously cozy and claustrophobic (the film’s characters almost seem to be protectively hiding inside the sub-let), the film’s camera never leaves the colorful apartment (save for outside the window, looking in at slowly stunned faces) until the end – and the “view” is never actually shown. Shifts in the time of day in the apartment play well – bright daylight switching to blaring night work lights from ground zero shining in through the windows on the dark walls (the most un-ignorable set piece; a red B-52’s ‘Wild Planet’ poster on the wall – which hilariously attains emotional weight as it haunts the drama). The film thankfully has spots of humor, some of it slightly warped – but anyone who lived downtown during that day will tell you that jilted things falling out of people’s mouths during those zombifying few days were nothing more than much-needed shock therapy.

The film has a stage-y, calm feel (think Hal Hartley), and Sloan wisely gets all the motion for the story out of sharp performances from an remarkably excellent cast, who carry the film. Indeed the film’s uncluttered feel came from the stage: it was initially a play which Sloan wrote and directed (and shares some of the cast).

Sloan’s idea might have been too clever for it’s own good if it hadn’t actually happened to him. Sloan actually did live downtown near the twin towers, and placed an ad online to the Village Voice before going to bed on September 10th. In reality, the apartment was un-showable because it was in “the zone,” but the showings of the apartment immediately after the area was cleared, and the subsequent conversations Sloan shared with the array of strangers who came to look, became the inspiration for the script.

This unique film was screened at major festivals, but never had a theatrical release (the original play was part of NYC’s Fringe Festival), but is indeed out on DVD, and available from most renting stores that have a hearty selection of indies, and is also rentable from Netflix. Highly recommended. Everything you need is at the WTC View film site. Here is Brian Sloan’s main site.


Hot Rats, Flaming Pigeons

Spicy Rat Meat With Chili Paste (with Rat Heart and Liver Topping)
1/4 cup fish oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups of dried red chili peppers
4 long green peppers
8 large bay leaves
1/2 cup holy basil leaf
1 tablespoon salt
4 chopped garlic cloves
4 rats
initial preparation:
With a mortar and pestle place the 1-1/2 cups of dried red chili peppers, and begin to mash until a red paste is achieved. Add a tablespoon of water to make moist. Chop garlic cloves. Place bay leaves in a small bowl of water. Roll two bay leaves at a time and then thinly shred and place in dry dish. Do for all 8 leaves – two at a time. Place holy basil leaves in a small bowl of water. Dice long green peppers. Do small cross sections so look like wheels and place in dry dish. Skin 4 rats. Clean and place heart and liver in separate bowl.
cooking preparations:
Place oil in a wok over an open flame and heat. Place rats in a grate, and lightly cook over an open flame on both sides until medium cooked. Do not cook well done. Mix red chili paste with hot oil and stir well. Finely chop rats on a wood chopping block over and over until makes a smooth ground meat texture. Be sure to chop all the bones well. Add chopped rat meat to the red chili paste and oil and stir well. Add diced green peppers and stir well. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Add whole liver and heart and sir in. Add holy basil leaves to mixture and stir in well and let cook for another 5 minutes. Be sure not to burn the chili paste – add a little water if necessary to keep moist but not runny. Add chopped garlic cloves. Add shredded bay leaves and stir in and cover and let simmer for 5 minutes or more to let all the flavors mix well. Serve with cold beer.

Flaming Pigeons with Pineapple

1/2 ripe pineapple
4 pigeons
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup pate
4 tablespoons brandy or rum if preferred
course sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup pineapple juice

Peel, slice and dice pineapple. Wash and dry pigeons. Into each body cavity put 1 tablespoon pate and a piece of pineapple. Close cavity and rub pigeons with salt and pepper. Melt 1/2 of the butter in a heavy casserole and brown the pigeons. Do not prick the skins. Flame with 1 tablespoon brandy or rum (heat, ignite and pour over pigeons). Serve with white wine.


John Lurie’s Paintings

Musician/Director/Artist John Lurie’s online gallery of paintings: the titles are half of it. Pictured above; First You Blow Us, Then We’ll Let You Go. More on John Lurie here, and here.

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Vampires at the Factory, Zombies at Studio 54

From the Factory: Andy’s long lost, blood-sucking film muse: Vox, her film stock mysteriously confiscated by the CIA! Her 15 minutes forever cursed! Late-night screen tests, gorgeous male corpses discovered in rooms, rooftop chases, turtlenecks, wigs!

Or… Studio 54: secret underground hatchery for lobotomized ghouls! Liza and Steve’s soul-sucking zombie disco fiends hidden in coffins in a basement VIP room, allowed to covertly devour the flesh of non-VIPs in exchange for immortality! Every word of it is true!

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Banksy’s altered Paris Hilton CD

race to the bottom of the pile

what?Evidence of one of the 500 Paris Hilton CDs that artist Bansky altered the sounds, song titles, images and bar codes of (and then switch-a-roo’ed with real ones in shops – where they sold) has surfaced on this side of the Atlantic via the web. Here’s a Flickr gallery of pictures of the contents (thanks Megan!) Still waiting on audio clips of the changed music, I’ve heard it’s on Soulseek but I can’t find it (if I do I’ll link it here). Hands down, best rejuvenating P.R. stunt for (the initial limp sales of) a debut CD …ever! Banksy’s official site here.

UPDATE: Here’s a rapidshare’d link to the one 40 minute track (ceaseless, banausic) on the CD and here’s also a video (thanks to Rene & everybody else!)


Ghost Islands

(aka; ‘Gunkanjima’), the abandoned island in the East China Sea, near Nagasaki, is the reigning (known) king of ghost islands. Here is Hashima’s story/history, here is the short version, check out this mind-blowing b&w photojournalist’s gallery, here’s another extensive photo gallery, and another one (tied to a public-access project), here’s a Swedish video documentary from 2002, click here for a zoom-able satellite view (island is squared-off dot in center, use magnifying tool on left), here’s a street map.

Ballale (aka; Ballalae, Ballalai or Balalai), in the Pacific Island area above notorious war location Bougainville. This one time air strip island is now a graveyard to dozens of plant-covered WWII plane wrecks, hundreds of former POW grave sites, and an abandoned small city of people that populated it during the war. Now it’s an elusive destination for war history buffs. Extensive history, aerial photos and list of identified aircraft wrecks on Ballale, report on war crimes on the island, apparent 2006 documentary on the island.

Palmyra (Palmyra Atoll) island in the North Pacific is an uncategorized but incorporated territory of the United States. Roads and airstrips were built there in WWII, but are now overgrown and unusable. A group of about 20 researchers and scientists now inhabit the island’s modest dwellings. In 1974 a bizarre double murder took place on the island, which is still a creepy mystery. The complicated case was turned into a book, and film. Many believe the barren island itself is cursed. Extensive history of Palmyra here.

Kandholhudhoo, a Maldivian island near the Arabian Sea, had it’s populated cities destroyed (but somewhat still standing) by the deadly Tsunami of 2004. It is now permanently deserted. A shopkeeper remembers the island (a few photos), Small report of recent visit.

San Borondon (aka; ‘The Eighth Canary Island’). Existing perhaps as pure legend in the Atlantic ocean somewhere west of Europe, this Eden-like (and reportedly populated) oasis has been reported as early as the second century by geographers and shipsmen. Earnest expeditions to pinpoint and land it have gone on for centuries (and still even now), but attempts are always thwarted by coincidental natural circumstances. Sightings may be Fata Morgana, an optical illusion due to light refraction at dawn and dusk. San Borondon’s legend/history, odd Spanish language site with old San Borondon-related photographs, oh… here’s the explanation of the previous site.

An extensive list of many other ghost islands can be found here.

Above screen capture from original Scooby Doo TV show, episode “A Night Of Fright Is No Delight”

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Heavy Metal Rest Stop Parking Lot

actually, not gayI ran across the “Gays in Metal” article from the current issue of Decibel magazine (thanks to Jockohomo) and found it to be interesting, weirdly glam-less and full of strangely contrasting little nuggets:

“The political climate and the war are big focal points in hardcore [metal] right now, as opposed to a bunch of ‘I’ll break your face, you fucking coward liar motherfucker’ songs.” says former Botch bassist Brian Cook.


“Another issue I have with metal is that long hair looks really awful on guys,” says Cook. “I definitely prefer the straightedge, shaved-head jock types. Then again, I do like the fat-dude-with-a-big-beard-and-tattoos look too. Kerry King is totally hot.”

Decibel quote-checks that girl from 1986’s Heavy Metal Parking Lot who says she’d “Jump his bones” if she was in Rob Halford’s presence (her Baltimore accent pronouncing bones, ‘bewns’) before a long interview with Halford; “I think everyone knew that I was not going to go out there and start every performance with ‘Hi, I’m Rob Halford the metal god, and I’m a gay man’,” he says.

Here’s a link to the “Gays In Metal” article. More articles on headbangers with balls who like other headbanger’s balls can be found here, here and here (and rebuttal here). Gays In Metal (dead?) Yahoo group here. Jim says that this Billy Squire video is one of the gayest things ever – he’s right!