[Video Link] A couple of weeks ago David wrote about this exciting new video series on the art of punk from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. This time, series producer Bryan Ray Turcotte looks at artist Winston Smith and his outstanding work for the Dead Kennedys. I just wish they would have focused more on the actual art! (Here's a great book about Winston Smith's art)
Two members of Pussy Riot have travelled to London under a cloak of secrecy to speak to the press about the plight of their bandmates in Russian labor camps. Laurie Penny was one of the reporters who got to interview them in a small, no-photos press conference:
These girls are young. Very young. For their safety, I can’t say how young, but imagine how young you think they might be. Are you imagining it? They’re about five years younger than that. When they arrived I wondered, for a second, who let a couple of moody work experience kids into a clandestine meeting...
And then there’s the cultural backlash - including sexist attacks on what Pussy Riot stand for. "The simplest example is the idea that there’s a [male] producer behind us, or that we must be being paid by foreign governments - nobody can imagine that women themselves are expressing their opinions!" says Schumacher.
"In the Russian mass media they're saying we're stupid girls, not able to think. Among the orthodox believers, in the media, they tell us to stay at home, do cooking, give birth to children," says Schumacher. "And Masha and Nadya are attacked for not fulfilling their roles as mothers." This last is particularly cruel, because not only is it the Russian state that placed Masha and Nadya in Labour camps far from their children, but both have been denied the usual clemency that allows mothers of young children to receive suspended sentences.
This jacket is a wonderful mystery to me; found upon the tumblrs, and seemingly sprung from the ether. Do you know where it came from?
I am overjoyed about the new video series, "The Art of Punk," from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. The project comes from Bryan Ray Turcotte, author of the fantastic art book Fucked Up + Photocopied and Bo Bushnell (Teenage Teardrop, Kill Your Idols). The first episode is about the icongraphy of Black Flag. Future episodes dig into BB pal Winston Smith's Dead Kennedys artwork and Dave King's Crass logo, which he wrote about earlier this year for Boing Boing. (LA Weekly)
Apropos of yesterday's post about punks in Myanmar, Rene from Nerdcore sez, " German Journalist Alexander Dluzak did a documentary about the Burma punk scene a few months ago, here's the trailer (with English Subs), he also sent me some pretty awesome pics for my blog which you can see here. They also did a successful crowdfunding campaign and the DVD should be out sometime soon.
I love this photo of a punk in Yangon, Myanmar (shown here, a downsized thumbnail -- click through to see the whole pic from EPA in the Telegraph).
An undated ad for a punk store in Newcastle offers batty punk tees for a mere £4.50 -- mid-1980s punk revival?
Jello Biafra and The Guantanamo School Of Medicine's new album, White People and the Damage Done, is an artifact from an alternate reality in which the Dead Kennedys never dissolved in acrimony, and instead kept on gigging and recording, getting tighter and tighter, angrier and angrier, and yet, somehow, never aging. Jello Biafra's lyrics are unmistakably his, but moreso -- more sarcastic, more trenchant, more unapologetically political than ever. His delivery is even more caustic than in the Kennedys' heyday, and the backing band (which is something of an all-star punk act, with alumni from the Rollins band, Digital Underground, Butthole Surfers and more) is hard-driving and heavy and relentless.
There's not a bad track on this one, but the real standout is Shock-U-Py!, an anthem about the Occupy movement, which you can hear after the jump. Don't miss the spoken word break in the middle.
White People and the Damage Done [Amazon MP3]
White People and the Damage Done [Amazon UK MP3]
In a great interview with the Guardian, former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra talks about Occupy, Obama, his break with the rest of the Kennedys, and his current band, Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School Of Medicine (whose existence I'd somehow missed!).
It's depressing how conservative people can be despite supposedly belonging to a supposedly alternative subculture.
Any alternative culture that inspires a lot of passion and inspiration is also in danger of being set in its ways, almost from the moment it's born. That even included the Occupy movement in some ways. It was discussed whether or not to participate in the electoral side of the system at all, which I thought was a good idea. Why not run people for offices and knock off some of the tired old corporate puppets in the primaries, like those lovely people in the Tea Party have done with the Republicans? But other people chose not to do that.
You've been involved with the Occupy movement. (2) The initial media storm around it seems to have died down …
I think that anyone who declared that Occupy was a failure was very much mistaken. I knew it would have a ripple effect, like throwing a big piece of concrete into a lake and just watching the waves ripple. In a way, Obama owes Occupy big time for saving his ass in the 2012 election. Occupy brought the issue of inequality and Grand Theft Austerity, as I call it, right to the forefront.
Sean Murphy's Punk Rock Jesus is a rockin' comic about the Second Coming. It opens with a psychotically ruthless show-runner arranging to clone Jesus from DNA salvaged from the Shroud of Turin, implanting a foetus in the womb of a teenaged virgin, all for a reality TV show that starts with auditions for the part of Christ's mother. Gwen, the desperate teen who gets the part, is only one of the many memorable characters who make up the resulting set piece: there's Dr Sarah Epstein, a brilliant geneticist who's been promised funding for a carbon-fixing superalgae if she helps create the clonal Christ; there's Thomas McKael, an IRA soldier turned supergrass turned super-security director, and several others who come to prominence as the story unfolds (including Cola, a genetically engineered tame polar bear).
The story perks along for the first third, as the dismal life of Chris -- as the clone is called -- is run out on the screens of America, and in the high-security compound on an offshore island under constant siege from militant Christian fundamentalists who are torn on the question of whether Chris is the second coming or a mocker. Then there's a turning point where Chris becomes and adolescent and discovers some of the seedier truths about his life and the miserable existence his mother has been forced into all through it.
That's when Punk Rock Jesus is born. To a thudding soundtrack of vintage punk smuggled in on vinyl (CDs would set off the metal detector) Chris gives himself a mohawk, tears his clothes to rags, and surprises his minders by stepping out on stage and declaring himself to be an atheist. In the ensuing chaos, Chris escapes from the network and its evil representatives and makes his way to the drowned TAZ of lower Manhattan where he becomes the front-man for a "the last punk band in the world," the Flak Jackets.
And that's when the story really roars to life, becoming at once sillier and more serious, but avoiding some of the ponderousness of the setup. Serious questions of religion's role in society are raised; rock is bepunkéd; dressing rooms are trashed; the media is expertly dissected. It's a near-perfect rocket-ship ride through some of the best material from comics like DMZ and Transmetropolitan, with a healthy dose of radical atheism and geopolitics thrown in.
It's got pathos, laughs, rage and comeuppances, and awesome punk rock not-giving-a-fuck. What more could you ask for?
MONITOR was a short-lived Los Angeles art punk band that first performed on Halloween 1978. The group was part the experimental transmedia micro-scene of "Associated Skull Bands" like Nervous Gender, Human Hands, BPeople, and Boyd Rice's NON. Through the mail art network, MONITOR connected with DEVO pal Ed Barger who recorded MONITOR's self-titled LP in 1980. Writing for the Los Angeles Reader, Matt Groening (yes, that Matt Groening) said in 1981 that "MONITOR's debut album, a compendium of mutant amplified folk tunes is the best local release I've heard all year." Now, Superior Viaduct records has reissued that LP on CD with additional bonus tracks. Special note: the track "Hair" on the album was actually performed by The Meat Puppets at MONITOR's invitation. MONITOR: s/t CD
Here's Boing Boing pal Jasmina Tesanovic performing "Kepler Aria," with lyrics by Bruce Sterling:
"Kepler Aria," the Belgrade punk rock version, from "Ground Control: An Opera in Space
Mylutin and Bag of Dicks:
vocals: Jasmina Tesanovic
guitar: Milutin Petrovic
bass: Filip Cetkovic
drums: Vladimir Markoski
mixed by Vlatko Dragovic
Kepler Aria lyrics by Bruce Sterling
From Taylor-Ruth's Tumblr, a page from her fifth grade diary. She was unquestionably the most punk fifth grader she knew, and possibly the most punk fifth grader in history. If you're trying to place the chronology here, note that Taylor-Ruth identifies as an Indiana high-school senior (she's also a great cartoonist!).
Tomorrow night, I'll be interviewing Peter Hook, the legendary bassist for Joy Division and New Order, live on stage at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. Peter has a fascinating new memoir out titled Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division. As I previously posted, it's a well-written, deeply personal, informative, and quite witty story of four young men in Manchester who played their first gig in 1977 and went on to transform post-punk, dance music, and the aesthetics of alternative culture. The free event is fully-reserved, but I'm delighted that the JCCSF will be streaming it live online beginning at 7pm PST. You can watch it here at the JCCSF Arts & Ideas site.
UPDATE: I'm told there will be an overflow room at the event to watch the program via CCTV. It will not be streaming online.
"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.
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.