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Punk Voyager: when the punks launched their own space-probe

"Punk Voyager" is this week's story on the Escape Pod podcast, and it is fucking amazing. It's Shaenon Garrity story about punks at the twilight of the 1970s who are drunkenly outraged to discover that the Voyager probe has been launched with classical music records for aliens. They build their own Voyager probe out of garbage, razor-blades, beer cans and a surfboard some douchebag left on the beach, filled with all the most important human artifacts that they can find in their van. They forget about it as the 80s roar in, and then the aliens come to Earth and cockpunch Ronald Reagan.

Fuck yeah.

Punk Voyager was built by punks. They made it from beer cans, razors, safety pins, and a surfboard some D-bag had left on the beach. Also plutonium. Where did they get plutonium? Around. Fuck you.

The punks who built Punk Voyager were Johnny Bonesaw, Johnny Razor, Mexican Johnny D-bag, Red Viscera, and some other guys. No, asshole, nobody remembers what other guys. They were Fucking wasted, these punks. They’d been drinking on the San Diego beach all day and night, talking about making a run to Tijuana and then forgetting and punching each other. They’d built a fire on the beach, and all night the fire went up and went down while the punks threw beer cans at the seagulls.

Forget the shit I just said, it wasn’t the punks who did it. They were Fucking punks. The hell they know about astro-engineering? Truth is that Punk Voyager was the strung-out masterpiece of Mexican Johnny D-bag’s girlfriend, Lacuna, who had a doctorate in structural engineering. Before she burned out and ran for the coast, Lacuna was named Alice McGuire and built secret nuclear submarines for a government contractor in Ohio. It sucked. But that was where she got the skills to construct an unmanned deep-space probe. Same principle, right? Keep the radiation in and the water out. Or the vacuum of space, whatever, it’s all the same shit to an engineer.

Fuck that, it wasn’t really Lacuna’s baby. It wasn’t her idea. The idea was Red’s.

“Fucking space,” he said that fateful night. He was lying on his back looking up at space, is why he said it.

“Hell yeah,” said Johnny Bonesaw.

Punk Voyager

The Go-Go's, Pere Ubu, The Police, and dozens more live, c. 1982

Here are The Go-Go's performing "We Got The Beat" from the legendary 1982 film "Urgh! A Music War." If you're not familiar with "Urgh!," it's a UK performance film featuring dozens of excellent New Wave and post-punk acts like Devo, Dead Kennedys, Pere Ubu, Echo & The Bunnymen, Klaus Nomi, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Police, Gary Numan, Gang of Four, The Cramps, X, and many more. Please enjoy the entire film, viewable below, or purchase your own DVD-R here.

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Punk playing cards


The "Urban Punk" card-deck's up on Kickstarter, starting at $10. I especially like the face-cards -- the gas-mask kills me.

We viewed both the physical cards and traditional designs as a “washed out” concrete wall where the bits of stencil-style graffiti imagery are the energizing and vibrant pop. This imagery also alters the traditional court designs into the punk subcultures. The motto is to break out from the norm, be different, be unique.

New Release : Urban Punk Bicycle Playing Cards (Thanks, Scott!)

Purple and blue natural wigs

Old wig ads have some inherent comedy, sitting at the intersection of fashion, human tissue trafficking, and so forth. But when you throw in enthusiastic descriptions of the "head turning, naturally beautiful" wigs alongside elaborate purple and blue hairstyles, the internal contradictions really start to throw off sparks.

Revenge of the blue (and purple??) hair

Fugazi, the edits: an entire discography remixed down to one album-length study of rhythm and tension

Fugazi in action. Photograph by Glen E. Friedman.

Marc Weidenbaum at Disquiet writes about a new project of interests to all fans of Fugazi, DC hardcore, and cultural mashups:

"This guy named Chris Lawhorn has, with Fugazi's permission, made a full album in which every track combines four or more Fugazi songs into a new song, says Marc.

"Lawhorn focused almost entirely on the instrumental materials," he adds. "I think it's tensile and wonderful, and I interviewed him."

Check out both at disquiet.com.

Dee Dee Ramone gets a posthumous art show at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects

The Los Angeles Times reports that "The late Dee Dee Ramone will receive a posthumous gallery exhibition of his artwork thanks to street artist Shepard Fairey," at the Subliminal Projects gallery in Echo Park (Oct. 26 through Nov. 17).

Ronald Reagan collage art show by Winston Smith and friends

Bedtime Democracy Reag 50

This Friday at Grant's Tomb in San Francisco, "The Beginning of the End: Ronald Reagan's Legacy," a show of new and classic collage art by Winston Smith, Fast, Cheap & Easy Graphics, Ron Donovan, and Jon-Paul Bail. The event is one-night-only, tomorrow (10/5) from 6pm to 11pm at 50-A Bannam Place (tiny alley off Union Street at Grant in North Beach.) Below, two more of Winston's Reagan pieces from those oh-so-fun 1980s.

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World's tallest mohawk

A Tokyo fashion designer did a public appearance in New York's Washington Square Park in order to show off his 3' 8.6" mohawk, which has held the Guinness World Record for world's tallest mohawk since 2011. More from the Houston Chronicle

Forty-year-old Kazuhiro Watanabe (kah-zoo-HEE'-roh wah-tah-NAH'-bee) says he's been growing the hair for 15 years. He says to make it stand upright it takes stylists two hours, one can of gel and three cans of hairspray. He says he wanted to grow the mohawk to rebel against the conformity of Japanese society.

Man shows off Guinness' tallest mohawk in NYC park (via Neatorama)

(Image: downsized, cropped thumbnail from a picture by Guinness World Records)

We Got Power!: Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980s Southern California - exclusive photo gallery excerpt

G wegotpower
Jello Biafra as the president of the United States in Lovedolls Superstar, occupying an empty office adjacent to SST/Global, 1985. JORDAN SCHWARTZ

We Got Power! is a book of nearly 400 photographs taken for an early-1980s LA hardcore punk zine of the same name. The book includes new essays by Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks, Louiche Mayorga of Suicidal Tendencies, Steve Human of The Vandals, Tony Reflex of The Adolescents, and Henry Rollins, Chuck Dukowski, and Dez Cadena of Black Flag, and more. It also includes the complete color reprints of the We Got Power fanzine from 1981­–1983 and beyond.

After the jump, a gallery of photographs from the book (posted with the kind permission of the publisher, Bazillion Points Books).

There's also an exhibit in Santa Monica that will open September 8 at Track 16 gallery.

Buy We Got Power!: Hardcore Punk Scenes from 1980s Southern California on Amazon

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Pussy Riot's closing statement


Argument in the show-trial of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot -- who gave an unlicensed anti-Putin performance in a cathedral and now face harsh, Stalinist justice for daring to point out the spy-emperor's nudity -- has concluded. Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has given a tremendous closing statement, which is a masterful summary of Russian oligarchy:

The fact that Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of our powers that be was already clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyaev took over as head of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be used openly as a flashy setting for the politics of the security services, which are the main source of power [in Russia].

Why did Putin feel the need to exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetics? After all, he could have employed his own, far more secular tools of power—for example, national corporations, or his menacing police system, or his own obedient judiciary system. It may be that the tough, failed policies of Putin’s government, the incident with the submarine Kursk, the bombings of civilians in broad daylight, and other unpleasant moments in his political career forced him to ponder the fact that it was high time to resign; otherwise, the citizens of Russia would help him do this. Apparently, it was then that he felt the need for more convincing, transcendental guarantees of his long tenure at the helm. It was here that the need arose to make use of the aesthetics of the Orthodox religion, historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia, where power came not from earthly manifestations such as democratic elections and civil society, but from God Himself.

How did he succeed in doing this? After all, we still have a secular state, and shouldn’t any intersection of the religious and political spheres be dealt with severely by our vigilant and critically minded society? Here, apparently, the authorities took advantage of a certain deficit of Orthodox aesthetics in Soviet times, when the Orthodox religion had the aura of a lost history, of something crushed and damaged by the Soviet totalitarian regime, and was thus an opposition culture. The authorities decided to appropriate this historical effect of loss and present their new political project to restore Russia’s lost spiritual values, a project which has little to do with a genuine concern for preservation of Russian Orthodoxy’s history and culture.

It was also fairly logical that the Russian Orthodox Church, which has long had a mystical connection with power, emerged as this project’s principal executor in the media. Moreover, it was also agreed that the Russian Orthodox Church, unlike the Soviet era, when the church opposed, above all, the crudeness of the authorities towards history itself, should also confront all baleful manifestations of contemporary mass culture, with its concept of diversity and tolerance.

Olenska | Yekaterina Samutsevich closing statement at the Pussy Riot Trial

Disinfo Podcast interview with Henry Rollins

Matt Staggs, the host of the Disinfo podcast, says

Screen Shot 2012 07 26 at 11 06 18 AMI interviewed legendary punk icon, world traveler, and lecturer Henry Rollins, Rollins. He is intensely focused on creating a better world and a better America, and much of the conversation is devoted to that, but we also get into the overlap between his music career and his work as a humanitarian, his acting career and a few hilarious stories from the Black Flag days.

The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 18: Henry Rollins

How Henry Rollins gave up scooping ice-cream to be a full-time punk

Henry Rollins makes an appearance in the Big Think video series, explaining how he came to quit his job at the Haagen Dazs to sing for Black Flag. Jason Gots writes on Big Think:

That was 30 years ago. The years Rollins spent in Black Flag launched his career as a musician, writer, and performer. He seized the opportunity, ran with it, and numerous albums, books, films and tv shows later, he's still running. Rollins says of the Black Flag audition that he "won the lottery." Ok, the timing was lucky. But it was Rollins' energy as part of the DC punk scene (while working those day jobs) that earned him Black Flag's friendship, which got him the guest-spot, which got him the audition. And a less humble, hardworking guy might very well have burned out after a year on tour and ended up at rehab, then back at Haagen Dazs.

Instead, Rollins took calculated risk and decisive action at the right moment, then committed fully to making the most of the life he'd chosen for himself. And instead of resting on his laurels, he's continued to learn, grow, and reinvent himself. That's what makes him heroic. What Kahneman's studies don't tell us is which of those once-aspiring actors worked tirelessly to create, then seize opportunity, nor how many of those failed entrepreneurs picked themselves up and went on to succeed in other bold ventures.

Henry Rollins: The One Decision That Changed My Life Forever

HOWTO make cheap Louboutin knockoffs

British women are painting their shoe soles bright red to replicate that expensive Louboutin look. For your own Beckhampunk effort, use Duracoat 'Flame' or 'Show Stopper' and a size 4 brush. [Telegraph] Rob

PUNKS NOT DAD pays tribute to Monkey Boots

Dan writes, "Monkey Boots: The latest hilarious DIY video from the middle aged British punk band, Punks Not dad. This time dealing with retro footwear and a west side story rumble between punks and fans of Adam and the Ants in 1981. This video is introduced by sitcom legend Peter Bowles From to the manor born, who also provides a Vincent-Price-in-Thriller style voice-over."

'MONKEY BOOTS' by PUNKS NOT DAD featuring PETER BOWLES - NEW SINGLE OUT NOW (Thanks, Dan!)

Richard Kadrey and John Shirley at SF in SF this Saturday

The next SF in SF reading series on July 7 is a punk-rock extravaganza: John Shirley and Richard Kadrey, the guys who put the "punk" in cyberpunk, reading together. Kadrey, of course, has reinvented himself as a totally hard-boiled, awesome horror writer with his triumphant Sandman Slim series (I've just read a proof of the next one, and it's killer). Shirley's short story collection was one of the most excitingly mutated books of 2011.

Doors and cash bar open at 6:00PM
Event begins at 7:00PM
Suggested $5 - $10 donation at the door helps support Variety Childrens' Charity of Northern California
Seating is first come, first seated

The Variety Preview Room Theatre
The Hobart Bldg., 1st Floor -- entrance between Quiznos and Citibank
582 Market Street @ 2nd and Montgomery

July Reading – John Shirley & Richard Kadrey (Thanks, Rina!)