You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

archive for the 'Subculture' department

Suzanne Ciani Welcomes You To Xenon

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

My earnest admiration for pinball machines goes back about a decade, when I inherited a 1990 Data East The Simpsons. The backglass and playfield art are mesmerizing. Open it up and I am daunted by the viscera, and even now am only capable of jiggling the power supply to get things working again. The pinball renaissance has been underway here in Seattle for some time. Arcades have been popping up everywhere, hosting tournaments and serving ice cream (as in the case of the Full Tilts, who recently named a flavor “Mudhoney” after the local band) or beer (Add-A-Ball, John-John’s Game Room, Flip Flip, Ding Ding, etc.). We have a museum and a wonderful zine. I was bummed to miss out on the NW Pinball and Arcade Show earlier this month because I wanted to play an Orbitor 1 again.

I’ve always been drawn to Bally’s Xenon (1979). That art. That voice. Well, as Skill Shot points out in their May 2014 issue, that voice belongs to composer Suzanne Ciani, the first female voice ever featured in a game.

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The backglass from Bally’s Xenon. Music and sound by Suzanne Ciani, art by Paul Faris. Photo by Stefan Ulrich.

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The flyer.

Ciani is responsible for all of Xenon’s sounds, some of which she intended as the game reacting to the player. A short, delightful doco about Ciani’s involvement with the game:

Seek it out. Try the tube shot.

Vera Chytilova’s Daisies

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Finally got around to watching Vera Chytilova’s 1966 film, Daisies after it sat languishing in the Netflix queue. The fact that it was banned, and that Chytilova was the Czech New Wave’s only female director may be reason enough for some to give it a watch. Others will be tempted by the prospect of 74 minutes of two girls - convinced that the world is going bad so they should, too - dive headlong into self-indulgence, manipulation and destruction. But let’s face it. We like gorgeous things, and Daisies is filled with eyesweet symbolic imagery.



Part Nouveau and the Bleeding Cool Swipe File

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Came across Part Nouveau via Hint, which aims to give credit where credit’s due. Lilah Ramzi, a graduate student of fashion history, created the site in an effort to identify, “…anything within the creative field that borrows, reappropriates or is directly inspired by a work which preceded it”.

From “Arsenic and Old Lace”, which compares Edward Steichen’s photo of Gloria Swanson and Paolo Roversi’s photo of Tilda Swinton for Acne Paper magazine.


Towa Tei

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Thanks to Tokyo Fashion I was reintroduced to Towa Tei about a week ago. It was there that I saw/heard the new video for his song, “Wordy”. At first I was more impressed by the video than the song (by that I mean unsettled in a good way), in which it appears that a rave monster had a violent allergic reaction to all things phosphorescent and puked in a kigurumi party den:

But then the song got stuck in and started to soften my brain (does that make a song good?). I think that the leavening agent was Bakubaku Dokin singing the alphabet and getting stuck on “elamen, elamen”. So I looked up Towa Tei and found this 1998 collaborative gem with Kylie Minogue called, “GBI” (”My name is German Bold Italic. I am a typeface which you have never heard before….Let me adorn you. The bold design of you.”):

I say reintroduced because Towa Tei was a member of Deee-Lite, and I love Deee-Lite.

Also love this music video put together by Timotayo for Towa Tei’s “Ch. Galaxy”:

Expertly done.

The LA Ethos

Monday, May 9th, 2011

From my notebook. To be fair, though, most people here have been very friendly. Which is nice. (Excess yellowing is from a bad scanner at the local FedEx Office. Which sucks.)

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The city wears a slouch hat

Monday, August 16th, 2010

“Just feel that good clean power surging in from the dark…Ah, but listen to her! She’s driving in, she knows what she wants, there’s no hero or devil on earth that can talk back to her…Come on in, girl!” The man talks over his beloved sea to “The Voice”; both having isolated themselves out there, away from the City and its people. This is one of my favorite lines from “The city wears a slouch hat”, a radio play written by Kenneth Patchen with a score by John Cage. It was broadcast on May 31, 1942 by WBBM radio station (Columbia Broadcasting System in Chicago) and is the Voice’s surreal journey through the City, culminating in a message for humanity in a time of World War.

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“The city wears a slouch hat”, a radio play written by Kenneth Patchen with a score by John Cage. Cover art by Patchen.


Hipster Priest: A Quietus Interview With Alan Moore

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Bumped into a great interview with writer Alan Moore (but aren’t they all, though?) on The Quietus, which is coincidental because I am currently swimming upstream through Moore’s Dodgem Logic #3. It arrived by slow boat two days ago:

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Wraparound cover art for Dodgem Logic #3 (April/May 2010), drawn by Moore himself.

My reaction to The Quietus article’s title - referring to Moore as a hipster - was knee-jerkishly negative until I read through the interview and now understand the connotation: Moore as autodidact and not Fauxhemian (I prefer “Doucheoisie”):

[Hipsterism] used to be a fashion statement, but it was information as a fashion statement which is probably going to do you more good than the clothing you wear. I got an incredible education starting from the point at which I was thrown out of school. Now, I could probably hold my own intellectually with most people who have had university or college educations. And indeed some of them will have done courses on my books. So, despite the fact my ‘education’ ended at 16, I had hipsterism, which was wanting to be hip, and that led me to read this incredibly diverse array of books on science, mysticism, science fiction, literature, art… I would find out about these movements that I had heard about, and it’s given me a pretty comprehensive education. Now I am an autodidact, which is a great word… I learned it myself.

“Information as a fashion statement”? Can self-education be fashionable if it can’t be commodified; if it can’t be worn, drunk or tattooed on? (Interestingly, Moore is listed as a “Notable Autodidact” in the Wikipedia entry for “Autodidacticism”.)

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Look at THIS fucking hipster. Photo of Alan Moore from “Hipster Priest: A Quietus Interview With Alan Moore”.

Sean Dietrich

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

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The Space Needle as interpreted by Sean Dietrich

Couldn’t make it to Emerald City ComiCon and was informed I missed Sean Dietrich - one of my favorite artists/writers. (My husband came home with some of his original art so I didn’t totally miss out.) I met Dietrich three years ago at ComiCon and remember him being approachable and a pleasure to talk to. For folks in San Diego, he live paints in various clubs downtown. He’ll be painting along side My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult at the Beauty Bar May 26th.

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Beauty Bar flyer

Endhouse Angst

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

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I apologize for not updating the website more often, but for the past couple of months I’ve been working on a comic, “Endhouse Angst”. Hopefully my art will improve with time…

The Shanghai Gesture

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a big fan of designs coming out of Australia and the surrounding area because of their wearability. The s/s 2006/7 collection from New Zealand designer Kate Sylvester is a good example of this fine-tuned practicality. Inspired by the fusion of East meets West in Shanghai and Hong Kong, Sylvester’s “Young Ideas Go West” collection draws in part from the Shanghai Moderne culture of the 20s and 30s, complete with variations on the cheongsam.

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Kate Sylvester’s “Jade Dress”, s/s 2006/7