Thursday, 30 December 2010
Local lens lady Ivy Lovell has very graciously ranked the first Four Corners show (which we took part in, along with Ancestors, Teenanger and Anagram) as the #1 Toronto Band Show of 2010! And this ace photographer knows from shows. Take a look yourself as she runs them down at her blog, Ivy's League Photos.
And if there was any doubt the Four Corners concept has taken the city by storm, witness the second show in what is hopefully a series: this January 14th at the Steelworkers Hall (25 Cecil St.), this time featuring Rituals, Sun Ra Ra Ra, Quest For Fire, and Lullabye Arkestra. Food at 9, all bands at 11. Six bucks.
Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Interesting video from the Australian Scarlet Alliance on what sex workers would like their partners to know. A voice we almost never hear, speaking here loud and clear:
"EVERY HO I KNOW SAYS SO is a response to the total lack of accessible online resources for people looking for advice on how to be a good date or lover or partner to a sex worker. We want to support our lovers to continue unlearning the internalized stigma against sex workers, especially in intimate relationships. We think that sex workers themselves have valuable advice and direction to give to people who get into intimate relationships with us."
Friday, 24 December 2010
Looking up roughies for a message board discussion on how porn is getting nastier, I discovered this fascinating "personal selection... (of) disturbing, extreme vintage porn of the 70’s and 80’s" -- featuring many of our favourites here.
From Dennis Cooper's always awesome blog.
Monday, 20 December 2010
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Just in time for Christmas, here's the first four tracks posted at The Missing Tapes - a collection of previously unheard songs (or previously unheard recordings of older songs) from the first real band I was in, The Starkweather Fix.
These songs are: "Can't Find My Mind" (a cover of The Cramps tune), "My Body Is An Eyesore", "Sonic Youth Bootlegs", and finally, perennial crowd favourite "Wet Blanket" (with the later 'big ending').
The Starkweather Fix - The Missing Tapes (first four songs)
If you like what you hear, leave comments at the site and needle Neeler Peeler to post more. I can only nag so much, myself.
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Monday, 13 December 2010
Some crappy backlit iphone shots now from our show last Friday at the closing of J Ryan Halpenny's retrospective Poster Show V (AKA "Sorry Everyone"). Also playing were Early Abstractions, The Soupcans, The 159 Manning Sacred Harp Choir, and Induced Labour. Here we see the genteel Mr. Halpenny himself, holding court before five years of handiwork:
It was our new drummer Gideon's first show with No No Zero, and he not only performed brilliantly, but was off the hook entirely during the set he played (just before our own) with The Soupcans.
We debuted a new tune called "Bite Me" and I was somewhat saddened when not a one set of jaws took me up on my earnest offer.
All the bands were fun to watch, there was a good vibe in the room, it was amazing to see Ryan's posters all together (he let me take this great one home at the end of the night), and Function 13 had lots of neat stuff to covet and consider as well as perhaps the nicest bathroom stalls I've yet to set mine eye upon.
Sunday, 12 December 2010
In the 1970s and 1980s there was a phenomenon of men appearing on film posters bearing what can perhaps be safely described as overtly dumb expressions. Particularly popular in the area of sex comedy, such posters typically feature a beautiful woman (seen head-to-toe), while about her on either side are the faces of 2-6 very average, even unattractive men who look as though they have lost all reasoning capacity, are in fact made fools, struck dumb by the beauty they see before them.
From Jack Stevenson's Fleshpot: cinema's sexual myth makers & taboo breakers --
"In the excessive content of the Italian sex comedy, the constructed nature of masculinity is revealed... the sexual space of [these films]... are so over-the-top in their celebration of heterosexual ideas that today they are almost parodies"
Are such posters, and their images of men as idiotic figures of moronic lust, conservative, retrograde? Certainly their brief popularity in mid-1980s Hollywood was historically tied to the height of consumerist Reaganism. Maggie Günsberg's Italian Cinema: Gender and Genre suggests much the same was true of Italy*; I don't know enough about Italian politics to comment on any equivalences there, but I do know such male expressions were stock comic relief in not only Italian but also Mexican sex comedy cinema of the 1970s.
Should we consider that such male-dominant, even macho, societies might be confident enough in their masculinity that said masculinity could be safely depicted as something foolish, fun, even brainless - silly slaverings to sirens, evoking not the handsome male of so many a standard cinematic artwork, the mutual attraction, or romance portrayed in so many 'rom-com' film posters, but instead a tongue-out sort of pig lust? Or is it the reverse, exaggeration masking deep insecurities? I don't know. Still, I confess when viewing these ridiculous faces, I can't help seeing something of value in them, however unattractive it may be.
"Lina Wertmüller established herself in the 1970s as Italy's most important female director. Her best works were all typical of the commedia dell'italiana genre: The Seduction of Mimi (1971); Love and Anarchy (1972); Swept Away (1974); and her previously discussed masterpiece, Seven Beauties . Wertmüller's comedies, filled with stock characters and presented with the typical vulgarity of traditional Italian slapstick farce, treated controversial political subjects, such as feminism, women's rights, working-class chauvinism, and the opposition of love and anarchy, with grotesque humor."
When women going out to male strip clubs became chic in the 1980s, I recall men's sexual stoicism quickly coming under the gun - women were whooping it up in these clubs, thrilled to finally be seeing men dancing naked before them, so we were told. These women were in touch with their lust, it was fun and healthy to be vocal and enthusiastic; by contrast, men sat sullen and silent at their own strip clubs, apparently bored out of their minds. What was wrong with them? Were the gyrations of naked bodies not something to be celebrated? Made merry over? Perhaps even get downright silly over?
I don't mean to excuse these goofy grotesques, but perhaps cast them in a different light, give them another context. As a young man growing up and focusing obsessively on anything that smacked of this mysterious magnet called sex, such posters (or late-night viewings of lusty Italian comedies on CHIN TV) conveyed that goofy, foolish, unattractive men, and sexy busty bombshells went together like a fork and spoon. I for one salute this lost ideal; we certainly can't all be George Clooney.
This 'lusty fool' type was not limited to the posters of such films of course but was in fact a mainstay character type of sex comedy, pre-AIDS; in Italy and latin countries, often an older man, apparently past his prime; in the U.S., a young man, eager to loose his virginity at any and all costs. In these films, certain aspects of reality are turned upside down: clumsiness and awkwardness are endearing, not off-putting. Physical comedy often serves to 'accidentally' undress a woman, there being no acceptable means to view the vaunted T&A other than voyeurism, cliche soft-focus romance, or frequently aggressive 'accidents' (at this time, that could include basically just grabbing a woman's top off). Private School is one such film featuring all three types of nudity, for anyone looking for examples.
* from a review of Maggie Günsberg's Italian Cinema: Gender and Genre --
"Chapter Two ('Commodifying Passions: Gender and Consumerism in Commedia all'italiana') is dedicated to the commedia all'italiana, and especially the relationship between sex and materialism. The Italian social context is brought into play here, with a discussion of the increased commodification of Italian social relations during the boom years (which coincided with the peak of the commedia). It begins by looking at consumerism and commodity fetishism within a theoretical framework marked by psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan) and Marxism (Baudrillard) and then explores how one commodity (the car) functions in a number of films, and the effect on gender relationships of the commodification of relations. It also examines the commodification of the female body (through its sexuality) and of the male body (through its labour power). The films which provide the focus for this chapter are Germi's Divorzio all'italiana, De Sica's Matrimonio all'italiana, and others, such as Audace colpo dei soliti ignoti."
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Eh, more properly a hatchet, I suppose...
Back in the spring, I did a couple of picture posts featuring Sexy Women With Axes. Some of these pictures were movie posters and, if I'd had this Girly poster (and a couple of variations thereof) at that time, I'd surely have included them there.
I could hold onto the pics in some file, I suppose, for a theoretical future third installment. I think they're quite glorious enough to merit a post of their own though; not only is the topmost poster aesthetically appealing in a Salome-esque sort of way, it has a bit of an interesting backstory all its own.
From the indispensable IMDB --
The original poster art for the film was an eerie black and white family portrait of "The Family," dressed in traditional British attire (six form uniforms for Girly and Sonny, a maid's outfit for Nanny, and a World War II era dress for Mumsy). Though this iconography would have struck a chord with British viewers, it was deemed that US audiences wouldn't understand the image. For the US release, the distributor commissioned a poster of an anonymous girl standing in for Vanessa Howard, wearing a cutoff skirt and clutching a... bloody ax.
Sadly, even a sexy anonymous girl with an axe didn't do the trick, and this Freddie Francis-directed horror died a death at the box office, becoming so obscure that, until released on DVD earlier this year, it was well nigh impossible to find.
And while I mention Freddie Francis, would anyone mind if I snuck another of his horror flick posters into this post? It really is such a great one, that of his film just prior to Girly - the mostly decent Dracula Has Risen From The Grave.
Friday, 26 November 2010
Mechanical Forest Sound is a Toronto-based blog focused on live music reviews of the, er, 'independent scene' (I know, I know) with an occasional MP3 from the gig in question. Last July's well-received Four Corners show at Steelworkers Hall is the subject of an extensive review released there today, and I'm happy to share links to the review itself as well as to a couple of tracks we played there ("Colossal Penetrations" off our forthcoming record, and "Eurosleaze" off our last album Rough Stuff).
Tracks are also available from the sets of Anagram, Ancestors, and Teenanger, and you can even hear an approximation of the finale jam with all four bands simultaneously playing The Stooges' "Ann". Mechanical Forest Sound describes the "quite excellent" sweaty, drunken chaos well, but rest assured a single MP3 hardly equates with the live quadrophonic onslaught that was the night itself.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
My birthday fun was shot down yesterday by the news that Hammer Horror legend Ingrid Pitt had just died. She's mentioned by name at the end of our song "Eurosleaze" ("Ingrid Pitt... that's the shit"), and there's been a rather fetching picture of her along the right hand side of the blog for a long time now, if not the entirety of its existence. In short, I was a real big fan of the lady. Her death comes as a sad and sorry surprise.
I have fond memories of seeing her in film after film as an impressionable youth, usually at the top of a staircase it seemed, half hidden by shadows, often with some obviously dark secret behind her eyes. Like so many of the actresses I have a thing for, she displayed a natural sense of humour (in her case, both onscreen and off) along with regularly displaying a naturally beautiful body. She was witty, intelligent (having written several books), and graced horror fans with a rare grace, vitality and respect.
Far greater than simply another Scream Queen, she well-earned the title Queen of the Vampires. I salute you, Ingrid Pitt - may your coffin be comfortable and undisturbed.