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Reviews

December 28, 2004;/h3>

{     Tara McPherson - Fine Art and Poster Prints     }    

It is hard to find words to describe how enamored I am of the work of Tara McPherson. It is absolutely dreamy.... There's something so ethereal and yet substantial about her vision, whether when considering her soft-focus paintings or the sharper lines of her poster-prints. That rather dreamlike quality extends even to the characters that populate her work, cartoonish creatures and well-drawn guys and gals situated in bizarre or abstracted surroundings. What ends up grounding the work and giving it impact is the implied narrative context- heartbreak, relationship woes, personal turmoil. As whimsical as her work may first appear, each piece seems to hold its own dark corner or bit of dramatic reality: Sad robots, wanton nyads, and glum young women stare out from her paintings and prints, imploringly. It is hard not to commiserate. TaraMcPherson.com offers up a rather large serving of the artist's collected works; from gig posters and fine art to sketches and commissioned illustration work. (including material gathered from covers for DC's Vertigo comic line) And once you've perused her drool-inducing pieces, you'll likely be ready to own one of your own. Thankfully, her online store is well-stocked with a variety of posters, fine art prints and other assorted goodies, all very well-priced. I know I'm gushing a bit here, but her gig posters are some of the finest I've ever owned. The lustrous metallic inks were a breath-taking surprise, as the online pics can only hint at how radiant these pieces are. The inky matte-black background of her Blues Explosion poster contrasts so starkly with the silken smoothness of the image overlay that you almost feel as though you're witnessing some kind of black velvet hallucination, and the metallic gold ink pops off the page like a skyrocket. Also impressive are the icy tones of her Death Cab for Cutie piece- the wintry landscape is further realized through metallic silver embellishment, and the coldness the piece exudes takes it's theme of distance and heartbreak to another level entirely.

     » TaraMcPherson.com

Reading

December 27, 2004;/h3>

{     Asian Cult Cinema     }    

From its humble color-photocopied beginnings as a smallish fanzine (originally titled Asian Trash Cinema) so many years ago, Asian Cult Cinema has evolved into an impressive and authoratative resource on the subject of Far Eastern film. Published quarterly, ACC covers a rather expansive gamut- from exploitation to martial arts, gore-filled horror to wacky sexual sci-fi, it's a damn-near comprehensive look at the current Asian film scene. They are also one of the few English-speaking magazines to really give Asian cinema its due, featuring interviews with legends like Jonnie To and Takeshi Kitano, red-hot directors Stephen Chow, and Danny Pang, and stars like Chiaki Kuriyami (of Battle Royale and Kill Bill fame) and Maggie Cheung. Whether you're looking to get the scoop on some rad kung-fu (before Tarantino buys the rights and you are forced to wait 2 years for a domestic release) or you just want to read some impassioned rants about the pros and cons of Japanese "pink" film, ACC has got you covered. Last quarter's issue 44 offered up a run-down of recent Thai cinema, featuring everything from the devastating and soon to be classic martial arts piece Ong Bak to the sleazy and sexy Five Sin Sisters, and providing an incredible overview of the burgeoning Thai film scene. The latest issue showcases the work of HK badass director Corey Yuen and cult madman Gaira, alongside regular columns from Max Allan Collins, Ric Myers and Dr. Stan Glick. The ACC website also offers import versions of many of the featured films, so you can see what you've been missing after you've had a chance to read about it.

     » Asian Cult Cinema

By Adam in Reading
Reading

December 22, 2004;/h3>

{     Giant - Manifestations     }    

Mike Giant is a renaissance man. Known world over for his bay area graffiti from the late 90's, hes also building a name for himself as a world reknown tattoo artist. And did you know he used to do skateboard decks for THINK? Hes also the man behind "skullz press" and is bascially the most amazing sharpie wielder any side of the Mississippi. Now for all the fan boys like myself, who have already been inked up by him, bought all his zines and posters and have been refreshing his artcrimes.org website for years, there is FINALLY a book showcasing his work from the past 10 years. The book is put out by Roger Gastman who put out Dalek's book as well as last year's "Morning Wood," so you KNOW it has to be good. I got my copy in the mail today. Hard cover with gold ink on the front, tons of color pages and some wicked craft paper inserts to boot. This is a must have. - Contributed by Dustin: DustinAmeryHostetler.com

     » MikeGiant.com (new site)
     » Skullzpress.com
     » Buy the book (and some posters!) from Graff Supply

     » Buy it...

Twelves

{     Conversion Table.     }    

1. Humpty Hump = the Tony Clifton of Hip Hop
2. Gravediggaz = the Pro Wrestling of Hip Hop
3. Hip Hop Credibility Scale = Actors Who Become Rappers > Rappers Who Become Actors
4. What Scarface is to Gangsta Rap = What Blade Runner is to Nerd Rap
5. Lee Ronaldo = the George Harrison of Sonic Youth
6. What Staying Alive is to Dance = What Atomic Dog is to Funk = Vomit
7. the Donnas = KISS - Gene Simmons ' marketing savvy + boobs
8. What Sade is to black people = What PJ Harvey is to white people
9. Sade with an R sound + pronouncing Ralph Fiennes = imminent mental implosion
10. Vaughn Bode is to graffiti = William Burroughs is to turntablism
11. Francois Truffaut & Jean Luc Godard = the Paul McCartney & John Lennon of film
12. Jay-Z = the Joe Camel-est lookin Mother Fucker in Hip Hop

Toys

December 21, 2004;/h3>

{     Mori Chack's Gloomy Bear - Pandatone Variants     }    

Ahhhh, Gloomy Bear! So cute, so cuddly, so deadly. Longtime admirers of Gloomy already know the story- boy finds adorable little bear cub, raises cub to adulthood as his best friend, bear eventually realizes his true nature and shreds boy to bits. If rampant Disneyfication of Mother Nature is the joke, than Gloomy Bear is the harsh reality-flavored punchline. For a couple of years now, Mori Chack has been serving up his original Gloomy design in a plethora of variations- from Bloody Camo and Instictive colorways to the steel-plated robo-super-bear Kumakikai. The newest variants are rendered in a "Pandatone" scheme, and they just may be the cutest Gloomy Bears yet. The fella seen here has yet to make it to the States, he's the Bloody Gloomy Bear Standup in Black Pandatone. Standing around 12 inches tall, he's somewhat poseable (thanks to an internal wire-skeleton) and I'd smile and giggle the whole time he was disembowling me were I ever to actually run into him. There are a whole rainbow of smaller Pandatone plush colorways (pink, yellow, orange, green, red, blue, purple, and sky blue) already available in the US. I've got my fingers crossed that the black Pandatones will be showing up here soon.

     » Kid Robot gonna hook you up....

Art

December 17, 2004;/h3>

{     Art of Modern Rock - Paul Grushkin and Dennis King - prefaced by Wayne Coyne     }    

If you know anything about Crown Dozen, you know that we take our poster art very seriously. And if you know anything about poster art, you know how culturally significant it has become over the past fifteen years. Paul Grushkin and Dennis King have long realized the importance of postering: Grushkin is the author the genre standard Art of Rock, and co-author of several other highly regarded rock poster publications. King is an internationally respected authority on postering, graphics and screenprinting who boasts one of the largest private poster collections in the world. Together, they have compiled Art of Modern Rock, a massive tome collecting work from hundreds of artists that serves as a veritable cross-section of the new poster movement. Postering has long been viewed as the common-law marriage of art and commercial design, its wildly imaginative side balanced by its advertising-rooted ulterior motive (to get people out to see a show). The current scene challenges that notion, defining the worth of the work not by the band name attached to it, but by the quality of the material itself, with poster artists gaining the kind of notoriety usually reserved for the rock bands they help promote. As the community has grown, so has its inherent legitimacy- spawning gig poster conventions, independent merchandising and gallery shows- postering has become a way and a means for many emerging artists/designers. Art of Modern Rock celebrates the surge of creativity, new techniques and styles, and overall upswing in quality we've seen as the movement has grown. I actually bought a pair of white cotton gloves and slipped them on before perusing this 492 page hardbound monster. It bears a quiet authority belied by the loud colors and striking images contained therein, equal parts museum-level reference guide and super-sweet eye candy. It was hard not to drool directly onto the pages.

     » Art of Modern Rock
     » Order the Limited Edition Now!
     » Standard Edition, via Amazon.com

Toys

December 15, 2004;/h3>

{     Bigfoot by Bigfoot One     }    

My love for all things Sasquatch runs deep. It started early, fueled by that episode of The Six Million Dollar Man where Steve Austin dukes it out with Bigfoot (played by none other than Andre The Giant). After witnessing this colossal showdown, I read up on the creature, and my young brain soaked up the legends like a sponge. Eventually I happened upon a "Search for Bigfoot" documentary (documenting the paranormal was a huge fad in the pre-X-Files 1980's). The documentary produced no conclusive evidence as to the existence of the creature, but it allowed me my first glimpse of the infamous Patterson film. Shot on grainy 8mm at an incredible distance, the footage depicted a tall ape-like humanoid shambling through the wilderness. I was in awe. Though the film was later discredited, my passion for Bigfoot did not abate. I was fascinated by the creature, even stooping so low as to see the saccharine sasquatch comedy "Harry and the Hendersons" in the theater. Multiple times. And I watched the crappy TV show. *sigh* It was much later, at the age of 16, that I had my first encounter with the creature. I know this sounds completely insane, but I swear to you every word of what I'm about to tell you is true....

     » StrangeCo
     » Buy from Ningyoushi's Workshop

Twelves

December 13, 2004;/h3>

{     I Love TV! - Early 90's Edition     }    

1. The Arsenio Hall Show
2. Get a Life
3. The Kids in the Hall
4. Liquid Television
5. The Ben Stiller Show
6. The Adventures of Pete and Pete
7. The Idiot Box
8. Twin Peaks
9. Batman: The Animated Series
10. Beverly Hills 90210
11. Ren and Stimpy
12. Northern Exposure

Art

{     Rockin' Jelly Bean - Naughty Cheer Headz Poster Print     }    

There is something truly transcendent about the work of Rockin' Jelly Bean. Perhaps it's just so provocative that it is actually capable of inducing some sort of psychic gestalt, triggering powerful brain responses on a subconcious level- the perfect blend of low-brow, pin-up and hot-rod. Or maybe it's just sexy as fuck. Either way, it's about time you took home a piece of the action. RJB's Erosty Pop! imprint has just unleashed scads of new gear, including the incredible poster print seen here. I wish there was a way to accurately convey to you how devastating this print is when seen in person, but we'd need a 37.7" x 24" plasma screen to even come close, and that still wouldn't clue you in to the more subtle details. That's right, this is one big-ass print, and there's so much richness to absorb- from the very texture of the inks, to the brightness of the pigments, and the contrasting graininess and smoothness of the lines and images. Printed on heavy stock in day-glo blacklight-responsive colors, this baby is a real kick to the gonads when seen up close and in person. Rockin' Jelly Bean masterfully captures a certain innocent sluttiness with his subjects (or is it slutty innocence?), and this print further explores that concept via the classic cheerleader archetype. At a mere $40, that's a lot of bang for your buck (pun fully intended) and if you act quickly you may be able to get one shipped out to you in time for the holidays. Who wouldn't love to wake up Crhistmas morning to find this beauty beneath the tree?

     » Erosty Shop!

Music

{     Rhapsody - Symphony of Enchanted Lands II The Dark Secret     }    

Can you see the little picture of the album art right there to the left of this text? Go ahead and double-click that bad boy and open it up. You see that? That's a motherfucking dragon swooping down over some motherfucking misty enchanted land, right there. The only thing that could make it any better is a soundtrack. How about a full symphonic orchestra replete with violins, flute, harp and cello? And why stop there- let's add scripted dialogue and theatrical sound effects, some baroque power-metal, the 50+ member Brno Academy Choir, and soaring operatic-rock lead vocals. And let's throw in a few guest spots by Christopher Lee kicking some seriously Saruman-esque narration. Then we'd have a full-on high-school RPG-D&D-SCA-LOTR cream-dream on our hands! Such is the vision of Italian metal-madman/composer Luca Turilli, come to full fruition. While Turilli is not solely responsible for the album's content, he is certainly the driving force behind it's epic scope and bizarre Tolkein-meets-Moorcock storyline. Here's a sample quote from the lyric transcription for the album's seventh track "The Last Angel's Call" "Seven wizards came from distant lands/to meet kings, dwarves, elves and dragonlords/Elgard's eye can see the fear of the world/it's the last dramatic angel's call" Yeah, it's like that. And what exactly does it sound like? Well, the band uses the term "Hollywood Metal" to describe what it does. If you're still having trouble putting all the pieces of this puzzle together, I suggest you visit the links below. The Rhapsody site offers a Quicktime video for the track "Unholy Warcry", but for real insight into the minds, hearts and music of Rhapsody, I suggest you visit the Press Pics section under the Galleries tab. The included photos will answer any lingering questions you may have....

     » MIGHTYRHAPSODY.COM
     » Luca Turilli Official Website

Music

December 8, 2004;/h3>

{     James Yorkston and the Athletes - Just Beyond the River     }    

Soft, dusky, and posessed of a snug campfire-glow warmth, Beyond the River is also one of the most sophisticated and accomplished acoustic folk albums to emerge from the currently burgeoning scene. The album's complexity is belied by James Yorkston's effortless (almost lazy) vocal delivery, and the simple instrumentation and harmony that are layered into each track. Kieran Hebden's very careful production of the album allows for an astonishing level of depth, lending a very organic and "live" sound to the work. This album also manages the near-impossible neo-folk task of sounding anachronistic yet genuine, sincere, and un-contrived. Avoiding pretense is surprisingly hard to do in this milieu, but Yorkston and company manage to sail right over it with rich, deeply felt hooks and cleverly relevant lyrics. To sound both timeless and contemporary is quite a feat, and this is perhaps Beyond the River's greatest achievement. Listening to the album, I can just as easily imagine myself sitting in a 19th century pub as a modern-day nightclub. Credit is certainly due to Mr. Yorkston, whose whimsical and self-aware lyrics thread easily through tunes that smack of tradition and a universal melodic appeal that his contemporaries in the genre seem to be missing. That's not to say that there isn't an element of the personal here, but it's paired with an accessibility and open-endedness that engenders a real sense of empathy in the listener. Yorkston refreshingly allows us intimacy and insight without the ego.

     » JamesYorkston.co.uk
     » Just Beyond the River mini-site
     » Domino Records
     » Buy Just Beyond the River

By Adam in Music
Music

December 7, 2004;/h3>

{     Immortal Technique - Revolutionary Vol. 2     }    

The most essential and critically important rap album released this year didn't come out on a major label. There's no MTV buzz-bin video to accompany it's debut single. It sure as shit won't be played on Clear Channel-sponsored radio or nominated for 10 Grammys. In fact, it's more likely to show up on FBI and CIA watch lists than it is to appear on mainstream media Top Ten lists. And that's just the way Immortal Technique likes it. Poet, pariah, prophet, parolee- Immortal Technique is many different things to many different people. While his militant mindset hasn't won him much of a popular fanbase, thousands of underground heads have heard the word and found common cause in Tech's tales of the disenfranchised. Revolutionary Vol. 2 has already sold an unprecedented number of copies for an unsigned record, especially given its anti-government, anti-status-quo flow. And that's the heart of the matter. Tech packs so much punch into each track, you'd swear it was Buy-One-Get-Three-Free day at the street-hop supermarket. There is so much going on, you'd be hard pressed to absorb even half of it the first time around. True tales of government corruption, the reality of the drug trade in the US, the conspiracy to hold the American public in a constant state of terror allowing for rampant military-industrial pillaging of this and other countries: These are just some of the themes addressed, and addressed so well. As Tech stacks metaphors he gets meta-referential, punning and cleverly commenting on brain-bombs he planted three lines back, bringing the whole statement back to the forefront or fleshing out the gaps you just found yourself pondering. It's the rap-equivalent of quantum physics, tiny brains and closed minds need not apply.

     » Viper Records (order Revolutionary Vol 1 and 2 here)

Reviews

{     Monster Children Magazine     }    

I'm a straight-up magazine junky. My habit was so bad at one point that I was spending more than 75 bucks a month to feed the need for fresh reading material. I have an addiction to high-gloss covers, moody photography and the written word- I love the idea that each slim volume is a cross-section of a cultural niche, waiting for me to explore its depths. My name is Adam, and I am a mag-aholic. I'd like to think that despite my little "problem" I'm a bit of a connoisseur of the magazine format. And I must tell you that they don't come much finer than Monster Children. Perhaps it's the magazine-meets-book binding, or the rectangular long-page format. Maybe it's the personable yet incisive content, or the invigorating photography and design layout. Truly, I love all these things, but it's something more too. I get the distinct impression that this publication is produced by people who truly understand my addiction. They've been where I am, suffered through the inferior material of other publications, always looking for something better, searching for that big score that will get them as high as when they turned their first page. When they finally realized that they were never going to find it, they decided to cook up their own. Issue 6 comes hard with coverage of the Beautiful Losers gallery show (including profiles of participating artists) and a spread dedicated to the photography of Tobin Yelland. This is all a bit of an evolutionary leap from the mag's beginnings as an Aussie surf and skate rag, but they've managed the transition smoothly while still keeping that core content intact. Monster Children has consistently featured some of the finest guerilla surf photography, and their love of the wave is sincere and profound. As they've grown, that sense of the genuine has stayed with them, and it spills over into everything they do. The Beautiful Losers piece is witty and candid, a refreshingly unpretentious take on one of the most significant gatherings of Pervasive Art ever assembled. It's this ability to walk the line between art and accessibility of culture that sets Monster Children apart from the magazine-rack pack.

     » Monster Children


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