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Last month, Billy Jam had asked me to help him with a remote broadcast on September 10th, to which I obliged happily, not entirely taking note where it was going to be. I put the date/time in my schedule and was going to get the details closer to the broadcast. I got directions emailed to me a day before the remote and the descriptions "treacherous", "fire trap", "sketchy", "caution", "down the cliff", and "deadly", were all within the body of this email. As was "X Ray Burns"... I thought to myself "this is either going to be a blast, or it'll be the last day of my life!" I packed my bathing suit and went headfirst into the broadcast that Billy titled "Dirty Jersey: Throw the Needle in the River": featuring Bill Rapp, Wheeler Antabanez, The Two Maks (Weird NJ), X-Ray Burns, Diane Kamikaze, DEMER, & Gentrified. All NJ aficionados, homeboys, homebodies, historians, hooligans or devotees, in their own way. If you haven't checked out the archive of the show, check this minute long YouTube blast for a taste of how the entire 3 hours went down - and literally almost washed down the river if it weren't for some quick troubleshooting by Liz Berg back at the compound.
Posted by dianekamikaze on September 13, 2010 at 04:18 AM in Art, Billy Jam's Posts, Comics, Diane Kamikaze's Posts, Film, History, Music, New Jersey, Photography, Radio, Science, Travel, Video Clips, WFMU in General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Drew Friedman is not just one of America's most well-known and widely respected illustrators, but his work is arguably the most identifiable. Having worked for counterculture bibles over the years like National Lampoon, RAW, Screw, SPY and Mad, Friedman has, in the past fifteen years, garnered mainstream respectability with onslaughts of work for Entertainment Weekly, Mother Jones, Newsweek, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, Time and countless others. Friedman has also published several entertaining books, including his two critically acclaimed collections of portraits titled Old Jewish Comedians. I spoke with Drew Friedman recently in anticipation of his new collection, an overview of those last fifteen years of mainstream respectability: Too Soon? Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010 from Fantagraphics Books.
Kliph Nesteroff: I heard that you were recently at a party with Albert Brooks. Had you met Albert before?
Drew Friedman: No, that was the first time. It was a recent party in Los Angeles and Albert was a guest at the party. I'm a huge Albert Brooks fan, dating back to the early seventies - seeing him on The Flip Wilson Show and Saturday Night Live, even Ed Sullivan. It was a treat to meet him. I'm not sure if he knew who I was, but I gave him a couple copies of my Jewish comedian books, which he enjoyed. He asked if his dad was in there because his dad had been a comedian called Parkyarkarkus. His father was actually named Harry Einstein and as a joke named his son Albert. Albert Brooks' real name is Albert Einstein, he changed it to Brooks when he became a comedian. I said, "No, your father died a little too young." His dad actually died on the dais at the Friar's Club in nineteen fifty-eight at a tribute to Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He died right on the dais right after doing his act, when Albert was twelve. This is all incidental. When I was talking to Albert at this party he said, "Drew, did you know that Harpo's ex-wife married Frank Sinatra?" I said, "No, it was Zeppo's ex-wife." He said, "No, no, it was Harpo's ex-wife." I said, "No, it was Zeppo's ex-wife. Look, we have Andy Marx, Groucho's grandson standing right here. Let's ask him." I said, "Andy, which one of your uncles married Frank Sinatra's wife?" He said, "Well, that was Zeppo's wife." That's why I love L.A. It's handy to have Groucho's grandson [around] when you need him.
Tony Coulter here, with another helping of digitally reconstituted audio/optical artifacts. As always, the analogue/physical originals, of the sounds at least, were acquired since abandoning the shores of Brooklyn eleven months ago. Material support this time 'round was provided by Cozmic Eddie, recurring guest host of KPSU's Psychedelic Renaissance.
And now ... jump in!
That's right, the August 2010 issue of Gentlemen's Quarterly magazine listed the Best Show on WFMU host Tom Scharpling in their 2010 Comedy Countdown. Scharpling is one of 37 people who are "never not funny," according to GQ! Click here to subscribe to the Best Show p**cast, and click here to catch yourself up on Best Show highlights with the Best Show Gems p**cast.
winter's night in the 1980s, somewhere between the ages of 7 - 9
years old, in the depths of the industrial North-East of England, I
switched on the television. Expecting the usual fare - a slice of
Cilla Black coaxing strangers into a spot of continental fucking, or
some old men running about in fields for Last of The Summer Wine, or
a cheeky chappy with his hand up a toy gopher's bottom apparently
conversing in screeches - imagine my surprise instead to see a
monocled man, lip-synching appallingly to some old, scratchy music,
accompanied by a small ensemble of besuited gents playing frying pans
and feather dusters, whilst interjecting on the left a big man
dressed as a Wagnerian maidens blows pursed-lipped raspberries,
grinning flirtatiously into the camera.
My world was changed. To this day I still trace everything I've created since back to that single, isolated moment of television. The lunatic behind this sublimely strange moment was not, however, the subject of this article. This was Spike Milligan, writer, comedian, manic-depressive, insider, outsider, nice man, nasty man, and so on.
Growing up, Spike was my hero. Irrefutably and unquestionably. He was the greatest artist in the world to me.
As I got older I began to realise that Spike was not “the greatest artist in the world”. In fact his work is patchy, often unpleasant in its racism, often severely unfunny. But it is usually, at least, interesting. And when it's at its best it touches those heights of the sublime, that extends beyond words into strange passion, that the best works of Lewis Carroll, or Lear, or Burroughs can reach.
But why am I rabbitting on about Spike Milligan in an article ostensibly about the late, great Frank Sidebottom?
A couple of years back, living quietly in rural Brittany, an e-mail hit my inbox from Mr Sidebottom. He had sent a mail out to every WFMU DJ, attempting to bag himself a live spot at the WFMU Record Fair or something suchlike.
Frank wasn't given a spot at the show, and later planned to turn up and gatecrash, a stage invasion!
He even advertised news of this surreptitious event on his website.
This is, undeniably, strange behaviour for a “normal human being”. But Frank Sidebottom, like Spike Milligan, was not, thank goodness, a normal human being, not governed by the same mores and social anxieties that put the majority of us into the sort of boxes Beckett's Unnameable writhes agonisingly inside.
When someone like Frank makes an untimely exit, a one-off who, whether you liked his work or not created something unique in the annals of art history (I don't believe it's unreasonable to speak of Sidebottom in this context – the division between “high” and “low” art is something made by the sort of institutions that I generally detest), it leaves a vast gaping hole in the world. I am not usually affected by the deaths of people I didn't know personally. Spike Milligan and Frank Sidebottom (also Peter Cook) have been the exceptions to that rule so far.
Frank's passing also feels strange because surely he couldn't die! He was part cartoon, wasn't he? Some kind of new species borne out of a passionate night of sordid and thoroughly enjoyable intimacy between Tristan Tzara and Max Fleischer, egged on by too many absinthes and the fires of Esquivel banging out of the Dansette.
What was it that Frank Sidebottom actually “did”?
It’s tempting to start this review with the whole life story of Yoshisaburō, later known as Utagawa Kuniyoshi, but you can read all that stuff on Wikipedia. And no images I can post can give you even a fraction of the experience of seeing his actual work, which you can do—and should do— until June 13 at the Japan Society.
The show is basically works owned by a private collector, Arthur
R. Miller, who’s donated the whole batch to the British Museum, so it may be
our last chance to see all these in one place without flying through volcanic
ash. The exhibit also includes some Kuniyoshi rarities from the Japan Society’s
own collection. There are a few collateral pieces—pages from Kuniyoshi’s
sketchbooks (!), original drawings from which the block carvers worked, and a
vintage fireman’s coat with a Kuniyoshi image painted on the back that reminded
me of those denim jackets with licensed characters like Yosemite Sam or Taz on
The show is basically works owned by a private collector, Arthur R. Miller, who’s donated the whole batch to the British Museum, so it may be our last chance to see all these in one place without flying through volcanic ash. The exhibit also includes some Kuniyoshi rarities from the Japan Society’s own collection. There are a few collateral pieces—pages from Kuniyoshi’s sketchbooks (!), original drawings from which the block carvers worked, and a vintage fireman’s coat with a Kuniyoshi image painted on the back that reminded me of those denim jackets with licensed characters like Yosemite Sam or Taz on them.
Ukiyo-e prints were inexpensive, mass-produced decorative images for folks who couldn’t afford paintings. Although most of Kuniyoshi’s prints were illustrations of popular stories or portraits of actors, he acquired a reputation as a subversive “political” artist whose real themes were hidden behind his ostensible subjects. Because of this, he was subjected to heavy censorship, which pushed him into creating works such as “Strange and Wondrous Immortal Turtles” (aka “Turtle Fun, Wonderful, Wonderful”)—a bunch of turtles with the heads of famous actors, heading for a cup of sake. WTF, right? But awesome just the same. Kuniyoshi's depictions of shadowy demons, spider monsters, giant skeletons, and octopus samurai continue to influence manga artists today.
I spent about two hours just walking through this show, and it wasn't enough. I'm going back to see it again and to buy the catalogue. Admission to the Japan Society gallery is free on Friday evenings from 6:00-9:00, and afterward you can walk down the street to Menchanko-Tei and have a nice bowl of chanpon and some watered-down sake. But whatever you do, see this show. Really.
Thanks for reading my blogpost today, and may God bless.
When Dan Clowes went to Hollywood and started making movies with Scarlett Johansson and Steve Buscemi I wondered if he would ever do another serious graphic novel again. Its been a decade since David Boring came out in book form! But this week Drawn and Quarterly release the full length graphic novel Wilson. It was worth the wait. (click on images for larger size)
Wilson is an odd bird. He tries to befriend stranger after stranger in coffee shops and bars, and later in prison - but he really doesn't like anybody. Mostly he just talks to himself. Its a sort of introspective misanthropy. Clowes draws Wilson in a variety of styles, but Wilson's awkwardness and our discomfort remains constant.
The individual pages are all moments of one epic pathetic story. After his father dies Wilson sets out to find his ex-wife (who now has the tattoo "Property of Sir D.A.D.D.Y. Big-Dick" on her back). They hunt down their teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption. Wilson believes they can make it as a family. Huh. Check out the D&Q blog for the Clowes tour dates (he will be at the STRAND next Wednesday.
Chris Boarts Larson is always busy, and always smiling. She is the creator of Slug and Lettuce fanzine, a free quarterly publication that celebrated it's 20 year anniversary in 2007 with issue #90. Starting in NYC, Slug and Lettuce was the zine that took days and days to read because it was so packed with information, columns, reviews, comics and Chris' amazing live band photos. It always felt like an international zine, as her editorials were personal and relatable to those of us immersed in music in more than just a passing interest - not just a local scene report, although there was plenty of music reviewing throughout. It embodied the feeling of community in a scene that could be very disjointed, especially as the years went on. Chris is publishing out of Richmond, VA now and aside from having a life, has gotten a percentage of the photo archive online from her Slug and Lettuce personal vaults at slugandlettuce.net. The online site is searchable by issue -right now from issue #57- #89 spanning from 1998 to 2006, which I believe are her Richmond residency years. The site is searchable by issue or by band name, and she intends to chronicle the first 56 issues worth of photos, which is easily a few hundred, in the near future. At some point in time she aims to put the column archives up. Although the amount of photos is overwhelming to look at, even at this point in time, I will love the day when all those columns are back up. Check out the amazing photo of Louisville's Coliseum, at left taken by Chris from issue #85. S & L had the DIY attitude in every way covered, whether it was columns about vegan/vegetarianism, eco-punk, gardening, punk parenting or activism, I devoured each and every issue for years. The last time I saw Chris was when Amebix was in town in 2009, she was traveling to all of their shows and has contributed heavily to their website archive, check those photographs in this location. Her photography has always been amazing, and the effort to put these all online, which still continues is mammoth. She loves what she does, and it shows, year after year. Thanks Chris!
I love depictions of the beatnik lifestyle in popular culture of the fifties and sixties. Hilarious bastardizations appeared everywhere, in comic books, pulp paperbacks, LP covers, comedy sketches, film scenes, radio comedies and on down the line. That's why you should revisit the great website Like, Dreamsville and that's also why you should watch this fun Paramount cartoon from 1960.
Watching funny cartoons on the funny Internet can get in the way of important things like incessantly checking email and downloading ribbons of underground metal and free improv radio broadcasts and stuff. In fact, I had been so busy checking email and, uh, previewing CDs which I then deleted and ordered from Amazon that I totally missed out on Homestar Runner, just like the same way how everyone always knows about everything before me until someone said something about going to Crazy Go Nutz University and I was all "Wisconsin Tourism Federation?" I was soon set straight.
Homestar, a sort of emasculated Trix rabbit with a lisp is kinda funny, but I immediately took to this grouchy Mexican wrestler guy who guess what he does? It's so cool. He checks email ! So here I was watching this little Mexican wrestler guy that sounds like Jack Klugman and looks like an egg, but it was all like distracting me from checking my own email. But so then get this, I found it on DVD!
So like, really, the whole nonlinear thing of the internet makes me nervous. There was this blob of episodes to watch and I couldn't remember which ones I'd already watched and I was worried about finding the ones I liked again and I was kind of freaking out, so the DVDs are cool for that because they're nice and orderly and stuff. Well, except for these bonus feature Easter egg things which you have to find and then you forget what you're doing and next thing you know you're missing your window for downloading another demo by another French black metal band.
So yeah, I got a couple of the DVDs, including SBEmail's 50 Greatest Hits which was of course the most economical option because they were the greatest and because it actually contained 50-five greatest hits, including "Radio" (see up above), a valuable episode on death metal and "Personal Favorites" which is like a meta sorta besta within the greatest hits.
In short, my live is richer now. I have begun faking a Spanish accent when writing emails, even though I'm not really sure that's what Strong Bad's accent is really. And my bandwidth is reserved for more important things, like tracking down Slits bootlegs. Now if only they could figure out a way to put emails on paper and bring them to my door.
Of the films I saw in the San Francisco Roxie Cinema's 6th annual Another Hole in the Head festival, two features stood out high above the lot: the Brazilian horror/comedy Morgue Story (Sangue, Baiacu e Quadrinhos), and the almost static, post-plague survival drama from Scotland, The Dead Outside (trailers viewable at those links.) These are two very different films, to be sure, but they share two significant common ingredients: an empowered, gutsy heroine, hell bent on survival (these chicks are neither skinny, nor do they shriek and fall down when running); and a visual and color palette that distinguishes the story immediately as its own universe. (Sadly, I left town the night the tantalizingly Mother's Day-esque Run! Bitch Run! premiered; anyone who's seen it should feel free to chime in with their thoughts.)
Morgue Story is a taut, clever and grisly horror comedy with an Evil Dead II-like dual sense of calamity and humor that leaves nothing off the, uh, slab. When Ana, a successful graphic novelist (who has nonetheless lost at love, and whose most famous character is a "living dead") ends up not-quite-dead in the morgue, she runs afoul of a sleazily efficient, God-fearing necrophiliac coroner. Also in the mix is a self-effacing cataleptic, who looks like Lux Interior's younger, paler brother and may just be an (albeit weak-willed) ally for our heroine. The three spar off verbally and physically as the English subs fly by, unpredictable shifts of power occur, and you find yourself reacting with equal measures of laughter and revulsion to the fairly graphic scenes of necrophilia. Everything is shot in grey, green and sepia tones, the washed-out institutional colors perfectly underscoring the essences of death, depravity and sickness. This is the only film I saw in the whole festival where the crowd immediately erupted in enthusiastic and unanimous applause at the conclusion. That tells me the world needs more necrophiliac comedies—or at least this one.
Come see The Dead Outside expecting buckets of blood and non-stop zombie action, and you will be disappointed. The Dead Outside is more the zombie-film equivalent of listening to your favorite Oval LP, which turns out to be not at all a bad thing. Moody and hovering, with an excellent soundtrack that veers from drony buzz into gentle piano melodies, The Dead Outside reads like a side tale to 28 Days Later if directed by Atom Egoyan. As with Morgue Story, the action here centers on an unconventionally attractive heroine, a hard-boiled, chip-toothed goth girl who's slaughtered her own family in order to survive, and is played with resonance by Sandra Louise Douglas (who seems destined to flash her violently blue eyes on bigger screens.) The danger in The Dead Outside is less in the infected that keep getting stuck in the barbed wire outside, than it is in the minds of the survivors who must live out the daily drudgery that is post-zombie-plague existence. Again, the expectations of horror purists may be let down here, and the film also loses minor points for dropping critical exposition to the lack of subtitles (it's been a long time since I saw Teenage Fanclub, and my Scots is rusty.) Though The Dead Outside does have a few scenes of seat-jumping zombie action, that won't be why you remember it. Its muted blues and greens, and matter-of-fact realism, tell a very atypical and understated horror tale.
P.S. - I'll be returning to weekly broadcasting on WFMU this summer, after a ten-year hiatus. Tune in for the premiere of My Castle of Quiet, Wednesday, June 24, at 8 p.m. ET.
In 1837 Paterson township seceded from Essex County, New Jersey. It became the silk production capital of the country when it was incorporated into burgeoning Passaic County. Paterson would eventually stake its claim to several pivotal figures of the 20th century and at one point or another they all called Paterson their home: Lou Costello, William Carlos Williams, Uncle Floyd, Allen Ginsberg, Bert Wheeler, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Prince Randian and today's blog topic hero--Mad's Maddest Artist, Don Martin.
At some point in the 21st century an obsessive genius/knucklehead spent too much time compiling the only database that matters. This link is especially for those who need to know right now what the Batmobile with a flat tire sounds like.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Drew's work, he was the creator of WFMU's semi-grotesque mascot, the Old Codger, contributed illustrations for our Crackpots & Visionaries cards, and designed a WFMU t-shirt and bumper sticker. Drew and his brother Josh Alan once guest-hosted for Kaz on WFMU in the 1980s, as well.
Dave the Spazz calls Drew "one of the funniest stipple cartoonists of the '80's and '90's is now one of the funniest illustrators of the 21st century. His work is as hypnotizing as Basil Wolverton's at his best. Drew Friedman is the Albrecht Dürer of liver spots."
My "Awesome Internet Images" folder has been filling up lately thanks to these sites.
Designer Logan Walters loves him some Wu Tang, but hates him some Wu Tang album cover art. And so he dipped into the history of Blue Note and is working on remaking all the Wu Tang albums in that legendary style. (Via Animal New York)
The University of Nebraska library offers up an online archive of government produced comic books. This includes everyone from Charlie Brown to Captain America to Wonder Woman and Superman pitching various public service announcements. But it's the lesser known projects that really grabbed my interest: WISHES & RAINBOWS, a trippy kids story from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; THE STORY OF BANKS, in which a group of hippie teens learn how to use a bank; the EC style drug scare comics HOOKED and TEEN-AGE BOOBY TRAP; and the truly lame superheroes SPROCKET MAN (he rides a ten-speed and carries a giant gear shift) and RAY CYCLE: RECYCLING SUPERHERO (he's from Connecticut). (via Slog)
If you like to make fun of your childhood self for loving
computers, Star Wars, and all things nerdy, you can put your own
photos up for all to see on Dork Yearbook.
More embarrassing than an airing of your kiddie laundry is the world of Awkward Family Photos. Take a break from Mother's Day and see what some truly uncomfortable family situations are like via the site that kicks the Olan Mills love up a notch.
The best one of all is NSFW, and therefore, after the jump....
1 Tamar - My little locked groove contains all the music I'll ever need.
2 Getachew Merkurya & The Ex, Alemayehu Eshete and Mahmoud Ahmed with Either/Orchestra, Extra Golden - Damrosch Park August 20 - Great music, great crowd, great day, great weather, great energy, great caesar's ghost!, great job, Brian, Liz, Scott, Irene, Diane, Tony, Ken and everybody who made it work so well.
3 Et Cetera Et Cetera (Long Hair)/Joakim Skogsberg Jola Rota (Tiliqua)/Ishikawa Akira & Count Buffalo Uganda – Afurikan Rokku no Yoake (Tiliqua) - Three amazing records take their great leap forward
and land gracefully.
4 Cecil Taylor/Tony Oxley - Village Vanguard July 17 - If No. 2 had not occured, this would have been the best performance I saw this year. In my mind second is often an honor.
5 Haris Eisenstadt Guewel (Clean Feed), Pandelis Karayorgis/Nate McBride/Curt Newton Betwixt (Hatology), Mary Halvorson Dragon's Head (Firehouse 12) - Yes, I am cheating a little here but these three are difficult to separate in my mind, since I like each one more each time I listen. There is some very tasty jazz being released currently.
6 HexLove / Faulouah Free Jazz From Slavery LP (Weird Forest) - "fun lil' mindfook, innit?"
7 A Power Greater Than Itself - George Lewis - This book offers tips on how an organization, in this case the AACM, can retain its dignity and its purpose from conception through the succession measured in various increments known as people, time, community. If both people and time meet the organization's definition of “good” then the combination should beget successful relationships/community. Success being a term best measured on an evolutionary scale; toss the "are" in revolution and live the "will be". Relationship/community provides the key to “will be”; success suffers the loss of "will".
8 ICP Orchestra - Abrons Art Center September 6 - Go see them. Their new CD Live at the Bimhuis on the ICP label also belongs on this list.
9 Huutajat - PS 1 September 14 - There are several current performers/groups I do not think I will get the chance to see live for any number of reasons but on Sunday, September 14, 2008, my favorite large chorus of shouting men took over the courtyard at PS 1, thereby eliminating one from the list I'd most like to see dwindle to nothing (hint to booking agents: Pascal Comelade would eliminate another). If I was a church, they would be my choir.
10 What It Is - Lynda Barry (Drawn and Quarterly) - Possession of creativity with intent to distribute: an oblique strategy of encouragement and therapy.