• Intricate paper cut style art made from leaves leaf cut out of a bunny family

    From grocery stores populated by anthropomorphic insects to an extraterrestrial encounter, each of lito_leafart's gorgeous paper cut style leaves invites us into a standalone narrative. The artist's bio shares that the creation of these cute and meticulous scenes is the result of channeling their ADHD into something positive.

  • An artist fights to reclaim his character from the alt right in 'Feels Good Man.' pepe the frog movie poster

    Pepe the Frog emerged into this world as a happy-go-lucky amphibian whose life's purpose was to get high and eat pizza with friends in Matt Furie's Boy's Club comic. But that was before the internet got a hold of him. In a nightmare so insidious you know it started on a message board, Pepe was co-opted and corrupted by internet trolls, transformed from a positive character into a white supremacist meme and iconic symbol of hate. A new documentary, Feels Good Man uses live interviews and animation to tell the bizarre story of one man's fight to reclaim the frog he loves from the dark forces who debased him. Catch one of four sneak preview screenings benefitting independent theaters and bookstores this weekend or watch it online September 4th.

  • This "Karen" Halloween mask will have every manager cowering in fear. Karen Halloween mask

    Leatherface with a chainsaw or Karen with a cell phone – who really strikes fear into the hearts of men in 2020? This latex mask sculpted by artist Jason Adcock captures the true horror underneath the haircut. Be sure to talk your partner into dressing up like the manager of Arby's for an unbeatable couple's costume this year.

  • A 30 year quest to contact aliens is actually a love story. John Shepherd with alien communication equipment

    A Michigan man transforms his grandparents' unassuming rural home into a module-stuffed control center dedicated to contacting alien life forms in the Netflix original, John Was Trying To Contact Aliens. Weighing in at under twenty minutes long, this short documentary nevertheless provides us with a powerful story of a life spent yearning for connection.

    Beginning in the 1970s, John Shepherd attempts to communicate with aliens by broadcasting "the universal language of music" into space from his grandparents' living room. Any extraterrestrials that had tuned in would likely have been grateful for his impeccable taste, choosing to send obscure Krautrock and Afro Pop over the airwaves rather than Top 40. As radio and electronic equipment increasingly begin to overrun the house (to say nothing of the huge signal tower on the front lawn), John's grandmother agrees to build an addition onto their home so that there is more space for John's obsession to flourish. The film uses archival television footage as well as recent interviews with John in order to tell his story: abandoned by his parents, gay, nerdy, isolated, and with eclectic musical tastes, it's no wonder to anyone watching why John is obsessed with making contact. And though John's quest to find aliens never comes to fruition, it does fill his life with meaning on his way to finding a deeper connection here on earth.

  • The Next World Tarot deck celebrates diversity in a dystopian future Next World Tarot deck

    In uncertain times, is it any wonder that more and more people are turning to astrology, tarot cards, and other New Age woo to find a sense of universal order? Cuban American illustrator Cristy Road (who, yes, legally changed her name in homage to a Green Day song) has created a tarot deck that embraces diverse representation by modeling the cards after her friends, comrades, and heroes: queer couples, the disabled, punks, BIPOC artists and activists, fat bodies, all defiantly populating a dystopian landscape.

     Cristy explains the inspiration behind her work. "My stories are about smashing systematic oppression, owning our truths, being accountable to the people and places that support us, and taking back a connection to your body that may have been lost through trauma or societal brainwashing,"

    The original set of cards are a traditional 4 x 6" tarot size that allows space for the artwork, but now there's a more affordable pocket-sized deck available, as well as a coffee table book edition from publisher Silver Sprocket.

  • Buy your own roadside attraction: Wigwam Village Motel #2 is for sale Wigwam motel for sale

    Cave City, Kentucky's Wigwam Village Motel #2, a registered National Landmark as well as a culturally-insensitive remnant of roadside kitsch, is currently on the market for $395K. That's 15 conical buildings for the price of one boring rectangular house – quite a deal. Built between the 1930s and 1950s, there was once several of these concrete teepee roadside motels providing a pit stop for weary families traversing the American highways. Now Wigwam Village #2 is one of only three survivors of that era. If you've been considering a lifestyle change, maybe this is the sign you've been waiting for.

  • Up The Blunx is a new comedy podcast for Black punks. Kevin Tit and Akil Godsey from Up The Blunx

    Up The Blunx is a comedy podcast by the Black punks, for the Black punks, and about a wide range of topics from cops to condiments. But if you're expecting each episode to stay on track, you've come to the wrong place. Though you might officially be listening to an episode about straight edge, the next thing you know, you're listening to a story about high school cafeteria mishaps and coal miners and have no idea how you got there. Co-hosts Kevin Tit and Akil Godsey have managed to recreate that unique brand of chemistry and hilarity that only occur when you're on tour and it's 3 am and you've been driving in a raggedy Econoline van all night guzzling cheap watery coffee to make it to your next gig. You might forget what you're laughing about halfway through because you're so delirious from sleep deprivation and too many gas station roller dogs, but you still know it's the funniest shit you've ever heard.

    Each episode of Up The Blunx also features a track by a Black punk band. If that's you, email them and submit a song.

  • This drive-through haunted house in Japan will "make your car bloody if you wish."

    If you're anything like me, you're already worried about how we're going to do Halloween during the pandemic. Distantly dispersing trick-or-treat candy via t-shirt cannon? Kids dress as the cast of ER in surgical masks or wear 6 ft. inner tubes around their waists? Most of us are still figuring this out as we go, but there's one haunted house production company in Tokyo who is already well ahead of the game.

    Kowagarasetai in Tokyo has created a drive-through haunt experience where, according to their website, "A large number of dead people attack your car. Can you beat the fear coming at you from all directions?". Visitors to the unique haunt drive in to a warehouse and honk three times to start the show. While ghouls and zombies attack the car, showering it with fake blood (by request), sound effects and the haunt's storyline ("This is a garage where a horrible incident occurred long ago…") plays through the car radio.

    The website proudly proclaims that the staff will "disinfect your car" and wash off the fake blood after the performance, but then in slightly smaller print below ("blood cannot be completely wiped off").  Show your true devotion to Halloween by staining your car in fake blood forever!

    In the U.S., there have been at least two "haunted car washes" (in Ohio and Texas, respectively) over the past few years. Here's hoping they ramp it up and create a drive-in experience as immersive as Kowagerasetai's and save the only holiday that matters.

  • Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis cosplayed as himself at Comic Con.

    While promoting his civil rights graphic novel series March at San Diego Comic Con in 2015, Representative John Lewis took the opportunity to cosplay as himself. He donned an exact replica of what he wore during the historic 1965 "Bloody Sunday" march in Selma: tan trench coat, tie, and backpack. His backpack contained books, an apple, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, just as it did back then, and he led a group of school kids on a march around the convention center. March illustrator Nate Powell confirms that this was all Lewis' idea:

    "He amazed us by his embrace of the community with comics and fandom, and in seeing way through our own cynicism. [He was] truly the greatest."

    The real origin story of how Rep. John Lewis became THE hit of Comic-Con.

    Photo credit: Nate Powell.

  • In Adrian Tomine's 'The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist,' success is measured in increments of humiliation

    What may be called success by some looks more like death by a thousand mortifying cuts in Adrian Tomine's The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist. Humanity's predilection to focus on our worst reviews and "should've-saids" is the guiding force in this autobiographical graphic novel chronicling a life devoted to comic art, for better or for worse (mostly worse). Every insult, shitty review, and awkward encounter has been meticulously catalogued and presented for further painful public scrutiny, from getting mollywhopped on the playground for loving Spider-Man too hard to getting snubbed at the Eisner Awards during his "boy wonder" cartoonist superstar years to every catastrophic book signing, flubbed interview, and ill-timed bowel movement ever since.

    As a casual witness to Tomine's early career, I don't recall any of the empty signings or ostracism described in this latest graphic novel. To the contrary, I remember hordes of indie college kids with A-line bob haircuts, wearing mod parkas, looking so much like one of his characters it was pretty much cosplay, all of them standing in a huge sprawling line waiting to get a book signed. These were the same kids who probably listened to Modest Mouse and couldn't wait for the next Harmony Korine movie to drop. While some of these very same kids were likely spending their formative years experimenting with typical 20-something rites of passage, Tomine describes a coming-of-age experience spent either chained to the drawing table meticulously honing his craft or hanging out with grown-ass men (his true peers).

    This could have been another perpetually-kvetching cartoonist autobio in the hands of different artist, but two things in particular set it apart. One is the authenticity and excruciating attention to detail when recounting each horrific embarrassment. In a scene so unbelievable it must be true, Adrian and his date (and future wife) Sarah are seated next to a man in a restaurant who begins eviscerating one of Adrian's previous graphic novels to his partner, unaware that the author is sitting right beside him.

    As the man blusters on about "forced ambiguity" and other "writer's workshop bullshit," Adrian and his date change tables to escape, but they can still hear this guy ranting from across the restaurant. Finally, Sarah stands up to confront the man and Adrian has to beg her to stop. "Are you insane? I will literally die if you do that!" She relents and they ditch the restaurant and go out for pizza. Sitting across from her at the pizza joint, Adrian thinks "I'm going to marry this woman."

    Excerpt from The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cartoonist, Adrian Tomine Excerpt from The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cartoonist.

    And this is the other thing that elevates this book. A secondary narrative where Adrian becomes a husband and a father. It's quiet and understated but provides the emotional underpinning that drives this book forward.

    I basically lived in a garbage can throughout the '90s and I'm pretty sure I wasn't Tomine's target demographic back then. But time marches on, thank god, and this book is a fully-realized treasure, well-worth every humiliating moment that fueled it.

  • The "Singing Anus" from John Waters' Pink Flamingos has died

    There have been a lot of "singing assholes" in music history, but none can hold a candle to David E. Gluck. Using only his talented sphincter muscle, Gluck "lip synched" along to The Trashmen single "Surfing Bird" in one of the most memorable moments in cinema history (but still only runner-up to another notorious scene from the same Waters cult classic).

    While his parents were still alive and because of his career, Gluck insisted that he stay anonymous and the star behind this tour de force remained a mystery. Once his parents passed away however, he felt free to shed his cloak of anonymity and let the world know his true identity.

    From The Baltimore Sun:

    "When we had the 25th anniversary and 'Pink Flamingos' was shown in regular theaters, he'd go to the movies and when his scene came on he'd tap the person on the shoulder in front of him and say, "That's me," Mr. Waters said with a laugh. "I always considered that an act of domestic terrorism."

    David E. Gluck died of pneumonia on June 2 at the age of 70. His widow, Patricia Greisz-Fultz Gluck, gave her blessing that his previously uncredited role may be shared with the world.

  • MAD Magazine legend Al Jaffee retires at age 99

    Best known for his "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" and the ever-ubiquitous MAD Fold-In, cartoonist Al Jaffee has retired today at the age of 99, making him the longest working cartoonist in history.

    Jaffee began his career working for Marvel pre-cursors Timely and Atlas Comics in the early 1940s but settled into his lifelong position with the usual gang of idiots at Mad Magazine beginning in 1955. It 1964, he cultivated one of mankind's all-time greatest inventions: the fold-in. It was always a dilemma – how to fold it just enough to see the hidden image without ruining the entire back cover?

    Jaffee talks about the origin of his other most enduring gag series, Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, in this video from Heeb Magazine founder Jeff Newelt .

    Let's honor his life's achievements by making our own Fold-In and Snappy Answer tributes today.

    Q: Why did Al Jaffee retire?

    A: He decided to pursue his actual lifelong dream and become a stuntman.

    A: MAD Magazine reneged on his contract by neglecting to pick all of the green M&M's out of his backstage catering tray.

    A: He felt like waiting until 100 was just showing off.

    From The Washington Post:

    Jaffee said in a 2016 Baltimore Comic-Con session that hardship sharpened his humor. He was born in Savannah, Ga., but life grew rough during the six years of childhood he spent on a shtetl in his mother's Zarasai — what he called "the Siberia of Lithuania" — with food in short supply and no running waters or toys.

    Jaffee said that his father, who was back in America, would send him comic strips, including "Dick Tracy" and "Little Orphan Annie." Young Jaffee, inspired and making do, learned to draw using a stick in the sand, impressing even the bullying kids in the shtetl. Yet such life also bred his distrust of authority figures, leading to his eagerness to poke a satiric stick in the eye of political and social leaders.
  • 'Super 8: An Illustrated History' Will Scratch That Analog Itch

    Both rookie filmmakers and analog die-hards alike will find something to love in Danny Plotnick's new coffee table book 'Super 8: An Illustrated History.' Newcomers will whisper a quiet "thank you" before tucking in their iPhones tonight after they're introduced to the laborious process that their filmmaking ancestors went through, from buying expensive film stock to processing by hand. Experience the dizzying highs and treacherous lows as the author recounts his own decades-long love affair with Super 8 filmmaking (see: Skate Witches). The glorious photos of vintage cameras and projectors that adorn this book will have even the most casual gearhead drooling and interviews with underground filmmakers who cut their teeth on Super 8 including Richard Linklater, Bruce LaBruce, and GB Jones will offer insights into the passion that drove no-budget artists in the pre-digital age.

    Super 8: An Illustrated History.

     

    Eumig Mark 610 D – Super 8 projector

    Braun SB-1 Viewer

     

  • "Dad, How Do I?" provides how-to videos for kids without dads.

    The Dad, How Do I? YouTube channel is filled with practical "dadvice" tutorials, everything from how to shave to how to change a tire to how to love yourself.

    Inspired by growing up without a father himself, the YouTuber created the channel in hopes that children without dads could find it and use it as a resource. There's even a bungled dad joke or two thrown in for good measure.

    Breathe in this wholesome content and find your faith in humanity restored, at least for an hour or two.

  • Staying "Fit for the Apocalypse" with punk icon Alice Bag

    Richard Simmons gave his heart to the world. It was no small feat to be an energetic & effeminate fitness celebrity in the homophobic '80s, and yet he still rose to prominence and encouraged self respect at every size many years before it was cool. Richard's videos didn't just have us grapevining for our lives, he encouraged us to get there by loving ourselves.

    But now that Richard has retired from the limelight to live a well-earned private life and we've long since worn out our VHS copies of Sweatin' To The Oldies, where to turn for that special brand of campy lo-fi cardio? What if you're not a hardcore exercise fiend trying to get into a titty flex contest with Terry Crews and are instead just looking for a fun way to keep that ass in motion while sheltering in place?

    Legendary punk singer and Violence Girl author Alice Bag's "Fit for the Apocalypse" workout videos on YouTube are a good place to start. Each episode is the length of a punk song, which isn't always enough time for a proper workout but, you know, just stream them all consecutively and jog in place while you scrub through to the action. After years of being punished by crappy club music in every spin class ever, this is the exercise soundtrack you've been yearning for. Squat and punch along to cool new punk bands like the Linda Lindas and Amyl & the Sniffers or lunge to classics like The Tissues. Along with standard aerobics moves like the grapevine, get ready for new Alice Bag signature classics like "The Hallelejuah" and the "Tit-sa." But like Alice says, "It's not about the moves. Exercise can help clear your head of noise and it should be fun."

     

     

    Other potential heirs to the throne of Simmons: Roryography, Ryan Heffington, and Pony Sweat.

  • A stop motion ode to quarantine made entirely out of toilet paper

    Animator Kate J. Miller has created a highly accurate ode to the shelter-in-place experience using our most precious commodity: toilet paper.

    "Two Ply Over The Cuckoo's Nest" is the grand prize winner of KQED's Homemade Film Festival. I worked on this festival, which was conceived as a way to inspire creativity and connection during shelter-in-place. Filmmakers were asked to submit a movie under 10 minutes long, created entirely at home. We expected a few entries, but, wow! We were hit with a cinema tsunami! A veritable tidal wave of amazing submissions. From an animated documentary about racism to a heavy metal ode to hamsters, there was really something for everyone. See for yourself here: