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CEREMONY: The Separation/The Understanding

May 18th, 2015

Ceremony marks, by my reckoning, the second great Joy Division tribute band on the Matador roster. No matter, originality is highly overrated. Just ask, well, everyone except Devo, John Cage and the Sugarhill Gang. They play Union Transfer on 6/27 in support of The L Shaped Man (Matador), which drops tomorrow.

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BEING THERE: Jane’s Addiction @ The E-Factory

May 17th, 2015

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Photo by DYLAN LONG

Jane’s Addiction is plumbing its history — and the latent demon of nostalgia — by touring the nation, playing each and every track of its first studio album “Nothing’s Shocking,” the 1988 album that helped the band graduate from L.A. scenesters to legitimate international alternative stars. It’d be easy to say that Jane’s, at least this incarnation, has aged about as gracefully as the music industry itself, but that’d be a lie. What transpired on Saturday night at the Electric Factory was, in fact, a snapshot of a band — its historical record firmly rooted — gleefully returning the recorded work that help cultivate the loyal following that so resoundingly turned out to hear the now-platinum-certified album played in its entirety, a lack of smoke machines be damned. While time has dulled many artists, sullying their musicianship and singing ability, it’s not been a relevator to Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, percussionist Stephen Perkins and bassist Chris Chaney. If anything, Navarro’s frenetic and precision-focused playing is even sharper than his apex on his work with the band in the late 1980s and 1990s, while Farrell’s stage presence is just as dynamic and questing as it was on the inaugural Lollapolooza back in ’91. At Electric Factory, the band plowed through “Nothing’s Shocking,” hitting all the right notes with an energy and enthusiasm that was as boundless as the all-ages crowd (which skewed toward the 30s, 40s, mostly). From the shimmering streams of “Up the Beach” to the crowd singing along “sex is violent” on “Ted, Just Admit It” to the swirl of “Jane Says,” this is a band comfortable with itself, its music and its performance. Farrell remained engaging and defiant, demanding more “80s smoke” and, failing to get it, urging the crowd to smoke more weed to create it (they did) as he opined and lectured and fulminated on music’s crazy new dynamics and fleeting etherealness. But, as those realized, when a band’s got staying power, any such concern is muted, but not turned down. Not for Jane’s Addiction. Its got energy to spare, desire and drive. – MATT MOORE

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Being one of approximately three teenagers at the Electric Factory last night, I found myself surrounded by a mixture of kids attending their first rock show with their fathers at their sides, a slew of photographers wielding cameras with lenses which closely resemble the cost of my yearly college tuition, and drunken rockers left and right saluting the almighty Jane’s Addiction. The experimental metal band Sannhet first took the stage to warm things up with their eerie, 100% instrumental musical sludge. Strange filtered strobes bathed the trio in flickering light while their slow build ups continually exploded into epic and precise channellings of rage. They powered through a set that sounded like the soundtrack to a nightmare, filling up every inch of the air with lush yet hellish riffs, slipping in various loud samples and loops only to have them crushed underfoot by ridiculously loud drum fills. A full hour after Sannhet finished off their rampage, and a half-hour after the set was slated to begin, Jane’s Addiction finally took the stage and commenced their excursion through the Nothing’s Shocking, their iconic 1988 debut, from beginning to end. Farrell was beautifully animated, seemingly 20 years younger than his age in his energy, smile and voice. At one point, two babes in bikinis were suspended above the band, connected to the rope by suspension hooks seemingly pierced in their backs, evoking a sideshow-esque vibe that actually made the night that much more entertaining. All in all, Jane’s Addiction put on a performance worthy of a legendary band and made a lasting impression for all the kiddies who were brought out to dip their toes in the live rock & roll experience. — DYLAN LONG

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CINEMA: Apocalypse Wow

May 16th, 2015

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MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015, directed by George Miller, 120 minutes, Australia)

Buskirk AvatarBY DAN BUSKIRK FILM CRITIC Seconds into the heavily-lauded Mad Max reboot my heart slowly started to sink. Staring over the desert landscape Max nonchalantly stomps on an animated Geico-like gekko and pops him into his mouth. Despite all the advance press declaring the fourth in this series was going to be an old-school, live stunt-driven film it quickly becomes apparent that just like George Lucas, George Miller had found irresistible the possibility of controlling every inch of the frame with CGI. This layer of artifice is draped over the entirety of Fury Road and while it doesn’t suffocate the film, it prevents it from having the visceral “somebody’s really gonna get hurt” thrill of the earlier editions.

But after an overly-frenetic first third, this new chapter, the fourth and the first in (wow) 30 years, the film begins to find its traction. Fury Road mainly re-jiggers elements from the previous films but Miller, who has directed all the previous entries, finds himself game on delivering another engaging mixture of road movie, grotesque anthropology and legend making. With Fury Road, Miller has taken the series’ most iconic sequence, namely the big chase that concludes The Road Warrior, and stretched the auto stampede into an entire movie. Miller has obviously spent the last 30 years idly imagining new gags of motorized mayhem and Wily Coyote-type mishaps and you can sense his joy in staging them. But it is the film’s sporadic quietude and subtlety that give it it’s unique heft as an action film.

Max (played with restraint by English thespian Tom “Bane” Hardy) is enslaved in a skull-sided mountain by the aging tyrant Immortan Joe. (Hugh Keays-Byrne, “Toecuttter” from the original film) From there Joe leads a mass of slaves as their “father,” branding them and occasionally allowing them to scurry for a brief blast of precious water. As the film starts, a revolutionary has infiltrated the tyrant’s harem and has liberated his brides, hiding them in a tanker truck as they make a mad dash for the fabled “Green Place.” An incapacitated Max is part of the dune buggy posse in pursuit, although Max’s role is only to be a human blood-bag, manacled to the front of vehicle to provide steady infusions of fresh blood for the speed demon pursuers.

The fact that the revolutionary who leads this bride heist is a woman (Charlize Theron as Furiosa) is just the beginning of a feminist slant that makes for appreciably fresh ground for a blockbuster action flick. It is a bit disappointing that when the brides are introduced they’re all statuesque and runway-worthy but Miller is serious about having this be a woman-run revolution, with one ass-kicking woman reminding her male assailant “Men ruined the world!” before throwing him off the side of their speeding truck. Where other films would be happy just falling back on the “king and his brides” tradition, Miller lets us feel the reality that this is a group of women devastated by slavery and rape. (The Vagina Monologues playwright and feminine activist Eve Ensler was an adviser on the film) Whatever throwback appeal the franchise might have, it is refreshing that with this element, Miller isn’t lost in some old-fashioned sexist mindset. It may be Max’s name on the marquee but it is Theron’s quiet and soulful performance haunts this film with Hardy’s hesitant Max playing number one soldier to her commanding General. Turns out we do need another hero, we just need her to be a woman for a change.

Where the film’s opening charge seems a bit mindlessly manic, Miller’s concise characterizations give the concluding action a sense of meaning and purpose. By then Miller has also given us a cavalcade of villainous grotesques (with names like “the People Eater” and “Rictus Erectus”) to be violently dispatched in the most imaginative way possible. As Miller ultimately drives this parable to its conclusion, Fury Road’s clear plotting and steady wit make you hope that all those Marvel franchise kings are out there taking notes somewhere. While Fury Road’s success isn’t quite a return to CGI-free organic thrills, it still points to a post-apocalyptic future more hopeful than that promised by the dreaded Avengers Part Three.

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BEING THERE: Faith No More @ E-Factory

May 16th, 2015

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Photo by DAN LONG

Last night, I stood in the uncomfortable throng of enthusiastic attendees at the Electric Factory’s sold out Faith No More gig, the room alive with an ear-crippling volume from both the band and the voices around me. Faith No More, the alt-metal superstars whose appreciation and influence peaked in the early to mid-90s, were gracious and thankful for the positive reception from the crowd. Following an impressive and highly entertaining performance from the opening band, Le Butcherettes, (whose wildly charismatic DEVO-meets-Grace Slick frontwoman Teri Geri Bender who abandoned the stage at one point to shimmy, shuffle, crawl and dance through the audience), Faith No More opened to everyone’s immediate delight with “Motherfucker,” the first single from the band’s upcoming new release, Sol Invictus. Since last night’s set precedes the new album’s release, Faith No More leaned on their catalogue with songs like “Land of Sunshine,” “Caffeine,” “Everything’s Ruined,” “Surprise! You’re Dead” and “Epic,” drawing elated responses from the crowd. They also had a bit of fun with “Midlife Crisis,” holding back as the audience sang the hook and then launching into an unexpected rendition of “Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs before finishing the song. “I don’t care what New York says! You guys are cool!” spoke vocalist Mike Patton before then asking the audience to come up with insults for New Yorkers. Despite a sluggish rendition of “Evidence” from 1995’s King For A Day… Fool For A Lifetime, Faith No More fulfilled many an expectation, serenading us by disco light with Lionel Richie’s “Easy,” offering reverence to original FNM singer Chuck Mosely with “We Care A Lot” and finishing up their set with “I Started A Joke.” I certainly heard what I wanted to hear and it was clear I wasn’t alone. – SEAN CALDWELL

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BEING THERE: Lightning Bolt @ First Unitarian

May 15th, 2015

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Photo by MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

Skulking into the basement of the First Unitarian Church last night to see the sold-out show of noise-rock duo Lightning Bolt felt like more of a “Boys Only” club than most concerts usually do for me. Unsurprisingly, the guy to gal ratio was at an unhealthy 10:1, and that’s counting the begrudgingly-dragged-along girlfriends. Regardless, I can only assume that everyone there was a loyal and willing fan, seeing no issue with having his or her face violently torn off by Lightning Bolt’s signature machine-gun-meets-outer-space vortex of sound.  Getting the appropriately themed lightning bolt-shaped marks on my wrist felt like a real privilege, but forgetting to bring earplugs felt like my biggest mistake.

When Lightning Bolt finally took the stage, drummer and vocalist Brian Chippendale announced his goal of heating up the basement to 110 degrees, which was was met with a vigorous reaction from the crowd. Before starting, a minor adjustment was made to the stage setting —audience members were invited onstage to circle around the band if being in the overheated soup of dudes reeking of B.O. seemed less-than-enviable, which it was truth be told.  Once all fire codes were thoroughly disregarded and everyone present accepted the possibility of never seeing the light of day again, the show began. Chippendale tied the binds of his signature mask, which is something like a Mexican wrestling mask of cartoonish designs and eagle eyes, stitched together Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style. The proceeding sounds of the night could be described similarly. Perhaps equally as disturbing was the way Lightning Bolt blasted off fearlessly into “The Metal East” without hesitation, mowing down an entire audience that was more than happy to be annihilated. Within minutes, a structural collapse seemed inevitable judging from the shaking of the walls, and the air was thick with the sweaty man-mist rising off the steaming torsos of overheating fanboys.

Like the rippling sounds of Lightning Bolt, the exuberant audience moved accordingly, throwing some unstrapped concertgoers overhead to crowd surf, possibly trampling a few others who fell underneath, and otherwise throwing themselves around in a mosh pit. Others stood wide-eyed and beaming, pleased to be crammed hazardously into a basement and drowned out in sound during songs like “Snow White (& The 7 Dwarves Fans),” which endured without breaks for more than 10 minutes. All of this was natural for fans of Lightning Bolt, who wanted nothing more than to completely indulge in the overwhelming and unrelenting high-velocity tempo of the music. However, Lightning Bolt did not play without direction. The momentum of their set was quickly gained and maintained, making jolting percussion seem natural, and easily progressing through intricately zig-zagging guitar riffs. Chippendale’s vocals, wailing through a distorted telephone receiver attached to his mask, made it obvious that whatever feeling the crowd derived from listening to Lightning bolt, be it absolute rage or a rush of euphoria, was spot-on. – MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

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Win Tix To See Jane’s Addiction @ The E-Factory

May 15th, 2015

Nothings-Shocking

 

It may be hard to remember now but there was a time when Jane’s Addiction was the Guns N’ Roses of alt-rock, or maybe Guns N’ Roses were the Jane’s Addiction of metal. Either way, the Berlin wall between alternative and metal came tumbling down and there was no putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. Jane’s made it safe to wed soulful weirdness with total heaviosity and for a time — let’s say 1987, the year Nothing’s Shocking came out, to 1994, the year Kurt Cobain crucified himself with a shotgun — all seemed somehow right in the world. Commercial radio was not only tolerable, a somewhat disorienting but not altogether unwelcome development, it seemed to be tapped into the zeitgeist for the first time any 20something could remember in their lifetime. And then Jane’s frontman Perry Farrell invented Lollapalooza, a wonderfully eclectic, genre-fucking moveable feast of alt sounds and visions — lovingly referred to by its creator as a ‘Renaissance fair for delinquents’ — rolling from town to town seeding and watering the Alternative Nation. Lollapalooza proved to the major-label-radio-station-glossy-magazine-industrial complex that a mass audience could like grunge and rap and industrial and alternative without its collective head exploding. For a brief and shining moment, the lunatics were finally running the asylum. Twenty-five years later nothing is shocking, and for that alone, we salute you, Jane’s Addiction. (We’ve actually met the Jane that gave the band its namesake and we are happy to report that she’s feeling much better.) We have a pair of tickets to see Jane’s performing Nothing’s Shocking, their game-changing 1988 debut, in its entirety @ The Electric Factory on Saturday. To qualify to win all you have to do is follow us on Twitter, and then email us at FEED@PHAWKER.COM saying as much, along with your full, real name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

JANE’S ADDICTION PERFORMS NOTHING’S SHOCKING SAT. @ THE ELECTRIC FACTORY

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Q&A w/ Comedian John Mulaney, Ex-SNL Writer, Stefon Co-Creator, Couldbe TV Sitcom Star

May 14th, 2015


 
EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally published back in September of 2013, in advance of his appearance at Oddball Fest. Mr. Mulaney will be performing at the Merriam on Saturday, hence this encore presentation. Enjoy, and check back tomorrow when we will be giving away a pair of tix for the show. Why? Because we love you!

BY JONATHAN VALANIA As co-creator of the ever-popular Stefon (‘New York’s hottest club is…’) sketch on SNL, comedian John Mulaney is probably better-known for his work behind the camera than in front of it, but that will change soon. Last Friday we got Mulaney on the horn in advance of his appearance at the Dave Chappelle-starring Oddball Fest at the Susquehanna Bank Center tomorrow night. DISCUSSED: Dave Chappelle walking offstage in Hartford, writing for SNL, inventing Stefon, making Bill Hader break character and laugh on live national television, that status of his in-development sitcom Mulaney, co-starring Dana Carvey and Elliot Gould, dealing with hecklers, the secret of comedy and making mean old ladies he meets on the street laugh just because he can.

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PHAWKER: Thank you for coming on the blog today. I think you’re a really fucking funny guy.

JOHN MULANEY: Well thanks.

PHAWKER: And for a guy who couldn’t possibly be more Caucasian, you do a really good black, homeless HIV positive guy impersonation.

JOHN MULANEY: Thank you, I do feel very much in character when I do that. It doesn’t feel like a stretch so I’m glad it feels natural to you.

PHAWKER: Let’s just jump into my questions here: you’re doing three dates of the Dave Chappelle Oddball Fest, including Camden, which is the raison d’etre for this interview. Let’s just get to the elephant in the living room here: last night Chappelle walked off stage in Hartford, apparently because of hecklers in the audience being too loud, etc. What do you know about that? What’s the inside line you can give us?

JOHN MULANEY: I know zero. I am not on tour yet. I only do three dates and that’s the first I’ve heard of that.

PHAWKER: Oh really? You didn’t hear about this yet?

JOHN MULANEY: No, what happened?

PHAWKER: Oh, I don’t know if it’s that’s big of a deal. But yeah, it’s kind of blowing up the internet right now; you should check it out. I guess he just decided he didn’t like that the audience was too loud or too rowdy so he kind of just sat there and smoked cigarettes and pretty much did everything but his act until his allotted time was up, then just walked off.

JOHN MULANEY: Oh wow. In Hartford? Oh I totally heard none of this…I was hanging out with the dog all day. I haven’t really been online, haha. So…

PHAWKER: That’s a pretty good alibi. How do you handle that situation? Do you have a standard response to hecklers? Like are you one of those, ‘I don’t come to where you work and slap the cock out of your mouth’ kind of guys?

JOHN MULANEY: What do you mean by heckler?

PHAWKER: I don’t know, people just shouting shit out in the audience. Things like that.

JOHN MULANEY: Do you mean people trying to ruin the show, or people who are trying to help advance the show.

PHAWKER: Let’s start with people trying to ruin the show.

JOHN MULANEY: I’ve never really encountered it. One guy…I had one guy, I have a couple memorable “you suck” type heckles. One of them was the guy in Tenneessee. He yelled very kind of eloquently, “Sir, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we’d enjoy silence more than the sound of your voice.”

PHAWKER: And your response was?

JOHN MULANEY: I had a very witty response. I said, ‘Hey, shut up!’
Read the rest of this entry »

CINEMA: Killing Drake

May 14th, 2015

Very impressive NYU student film about a college dude so obsessed with Drake that he goes Mark David Chapman on his idol to save him the ignominy of impending mediocrity. It’s a lot funnier than it sounds on paper.

THE FADER:
The premise of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, a short film about an obsessive Drake fan, is cribbed from a Biggie track off of Life After Death, but also from a long legacy of fans-turned-killers: “It’s almost like you’re nobody until somebody kills you,” the film’s unnamed protagonist paraphrases, before preparing a plan to murder Drake so that he can live forever by dying at his peak. The project, written and directed by NYU student Chris Cole for a final class project, turns the title of Drizzy’s latest record into a death threat, slowly revealed through a macabre monologue in which the fan in question intersperses Drake lyrics and references with stan-level insight about the rapper’s importance, and concludes that nothing would be worse than following up his Coachella 2015 performance with another letdown. MORE

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Win Tix To See Serial On Ice At The Merriam

May 13th, 2015

SERIAL Patron Saint Of Podcasting

 

Serial is/was like the Innocence Project meets Murder She Wrote for the McSweeney’s set, it is/was also the most popular podcast in the known universe. Now that season one has wrapped and the smoke has cleared and a Peabody has been won and the courts have been shamed into investigating the possibility that an innocent man was sentenced to life for a crime he may not have committed, co-producers/creators Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder have embarked on a victory lap/listening tour, that stops at The Merriam on tomorrow night, wherein they will discuss with bespectacled superfans what it was like to be at the center of a new media storm, what they would do differently if they had to do over, and what comes next. We have a pair of tickets see Serial Live @ The Merriam tomorrow night to give away to some lucky duck Phawker reader. To qualify to win, all you have to do is follow us on Twitter and then send a note telling us as much to FEED@PHAWKER.COM. Put the magic words JAY IS A LIAR in the subject line and include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed.

KIMMEL CENTER PRESENTS AN EVENING WITH SERIAL PODCAST CREATORS SARAH KOENIG & JULIE SNYDER @ THE MERRIAM THEATER MAY 14TH @ 8 PM

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CINEMA: Fear Of A Robot Planet

May 13th, 2015

issac-asimov

 

EmmaBaileyHeadshotBY EMMA BAILEY What does it mean to be “human”? What is it that separates our consciousness from all the other creatures of Earth? Is human consciousness quantifiably superior to the beasts of the field? We could go back and forth on this topic all day, but you don’t see birds debating Derrida or solving long division problems, and yet there is something exquisite about the Zen-like simplicity of their existence. Why do humans insist on complicating things?

In a blink of time’s eye, the dinosaurs became extinct, mammals came down from the trees, and mankind developed a unique and highly specialized Ex Machinaintelligence. While it’s true that other animal species possess a vast spectrum of extraordinary abilities, many superior to ours, none hold the capacity to create a mechanical counterpart, or “thinking” successor — a thought both awesome and chilling. No one illuminated the quandary of human/robotic relationships better than Isaac Asimov.

In his short story collection I, Robot, Asimov attempted to codify “Three Laws of Robotics”, which were intended to govern the behavior of intelligent automatons. As robots integrate further into our daily lives, the importance of such laws is increasingly called into question. With drones in the sky, automated appliances in our homes, and other robo-beings running important systems across the world, it’s clear that we’ve already ceded control of much of our lives to the machines. True artificial intelligence may still be several decades away, but as robots move further from mere human-helpers and closer to mankind’s sentient mechanical counterpart, we find ourselves at a crossroads.

A fear of thinking machines is rooted deeply within our culture, and the risks of super-intelligent computers have been explored by a number of sci-fi writers. But again it was Asimov who laid the groundwork for our contemporary understanding of the human/robotic convergence. Asimov’s laws, as the John W. Campbell anecdote goes, flew in the face of the prevailing winds of robot fiction. Prior to the 1940s, robot stories essentially copied Frankenstein: Scientist builds robot, robot runs rampant, sad ending follows. Asimov identified the presence of a more profound sense of alienation from our robo-brethren, a terror ingrained in our own hard wiring.

A number of current films play on his original ideas – Chappie, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ex Machina and the upcoming Terminator: Genisys all explore human fears of AI Chappie-Movie-Posterrun amok. Ex Machina, perhaps most expertly, delves into the complex emotions that arise when one encounters an intelligent (and attractive!) humanoid. Invoking the effect which psychiatrist Ernst Jentsch termed “the uncanny valley,”  the film probes the instinctive revulsion we have when robots look like us and mimic our thought patterns, without actually being one of us.

Indeed, the film explores concepts of self-awareness, sexuality, attraction and manipulation via the stunning android Ava, whose capacity for “intelligence” is constantly under scrutiny. Living with her creator in a massive, fairytale research facility, she is the focal point of his fascinations and a vehicle through which he intends to study the (male) response to a gorgeous, albeit synthetic, life form.

Ex Machina marks Alex Garland’s directorial debut, and he arrives on the sci-fi scene with a fully formed vision. An appropriately chilling score and impressive lead performances “flesh out” the story, which looks to the future while simultaneously referencing great AI movies of the past. In the film there are echoes not only of Asimov but of other pictures that point to eventual rise of AI and its threat to humanity. In the film we cannot fully recognize Ava as one of our own, and yet we project our desires onto her anyways. We can never know if she is more human or more machine, and in the end it might not really matter. The shocking final scenes leave viewers scrambling for clues – possibly even searching for traces of the cold, unfeeling, and even robotic components of their own psyche.

Chappie and Avengers: Age of Ultron also telegraph our fear of an AI planet.  Chappie tells the story of a police-bot, whose unique wiring imbues him with the capacity for free thought. Naturally, as the only member of the robot police squadron with a human “brain,” trouble follows him as he develops from a child-like droid into an “adult” robot. Die Antwoord’s Ninja and Yolandi bring street cred to the film as futuristic gangsters, Hugh Jackman rounds out the cast as a gritty urban villain (con mullet). Ultron’s nefarious super-droid leaves audiences with a clear message: smart AgeOfUltron copyrobots mean danger, danger Will Robinson. A cut-and-dry depiction of a robo-baddie, he isn’t much deeper than his chrome exterior, even as he pummels the Avengers with dark jokes. It’s a popcorn AI flick, but what it lacks in profundity it makes up for in tight costumes and giant explosions.

There is no doubt that our instinctual terror towards AI stems from a genetic memory of the struggle between the Neanderthal and the Cro-Magon to move from Alpha Human to Beta Human 1.0. Somewhere down the evolutionary line it made sense to recoil in fear from near-humans, whether that meant a sick or dying (read: old) person or another form of life altogether. A collective fear of AI persists, driven by a host of primal drives and desires that operate beneath the subconscious. Hollywood will of course continue to capitalize on these fears. Before we start monster-fying our new AI overlords, we would do well to remember that today’s robots began as human dreams, the dreams of apes that evolved  past the point of too smart for their own good. As Asimov’s laws indicate, if we want to stay on top of the machines, we will need to call upon everything that helped us build them in the first place.

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CONTEST: Win Tix To See Ministry @ The TLA

May 12th, 2015

Cover Up

 

Here’s a chance to re-live your gloriously misspent goth youth. Ministry, decadent avatars of the Skinny Puppy/NIN/Front Line Assembly school of bummer EDM for bad people, play the TLA tomorrow night with Laibach and we have a coupla pair of tix to giveaway to some lucky recovering goth/Phawker reader. To win, all you have to do is send us an email at FEED@PHAWKER.COM and share some mildly embarrassing personal factoid (Example: “I actually liked the first Ministry album, back when they still sounded like pussies”) or anecdote (“The jocks at school used to call me ‘Flock Of Seagulls’ and it hurt my feelings”) from your goth days. Here’s a classic — and frankly unbeatable — example that a Phawker reader sent us when we gave away Skinny Puppy tix last year and first asked readers to share their mildly embarrassing memories of their gloriously misspent goth youth:

I swear this is true. I wouldn’t make it up. I consider this a proud life moment, though most people I share it with shudder with revulsion. Maybe my values are fucked. Or maybe everyone else’s values are fucked and mine are rock (no pun intended (see below) solid.ministry

So… One late night (into early morning) during the summer of 2001 (I THINK; the dates are hazy for reasons which will become apparent) I smoked crack with Al Jourgensen (pictured, right), a locally famous dominatrix, and two decidedly infamous local crackheads. In Austin, Texas.

During the course of the 6+ hour (and $600+ costing), uh, ‘party,’ Mr.Jourgensen did not speak a single word. Only grunted. A lot. Quite Menacingly.

So there you go. We are shocked — SHOCKED, I tells ya — to learn that Al Jourgensen was allegedly involved in the consumption illicit substances back in the day. But live and learn, right? We don’t expect you to top this and, just to be clear, we certainly don’t advocate smoking crack. Send your anecdote to FEED@PHAWKER.COM along with your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and gothspeed!

MINISTRY + LAIBACH PLAY THE TLA WEDNESDAY MAY 13TH

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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

May 12th, 2015

Sally Mann Hold Still

 

FRESH AIR

listen

Photographer Sally Mann is fascinated by bodies. In the early 1990s, she became famous — or notorious — for her book Immediate Family, which featured photographs of her young children naked. Critics claimed Mann’s work eroticized the children, but Mann says the photos were misinterpreted. “I was surprised by the vehemence, I guess, of the letters and the dead certainty that so many people had that they understood … my motivations and feelings and who my children were,” Mann tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “People feel like they understand the children just by virtue of looking at the pictures but … those aren’t my children. Those are photographs of my children. They’re just a tiny, tiny moment slivered out of time, a 30th of a second.” After those photos, Mann moved on to what she describes in her new book, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, as “deeply personal explorations of the landscape of the American South, the nature of mortality (and the mortality of nature), intimate depictions of my husband and the indelible marks that slavery left on the world surrounding me.” Mann’s work has included a series of photos of decomposing bodies in a University of Tennessee forensic anthropology research facility and photos of her husband, whose muscles are withering from muscular dystrophy.

RELATED: Sally Mann’s Exposure

RELATED: Provocative, enigmatic and violating taboo, the work of photographer Sally Mann comes swathed in so much controversy and innuendo that it is easy to forget that she is producing some of the most compelling and indelible images of our time. Likewise, because of her decision to focus her camera on her own children, it’s also easy to forget that Mann is a concerned and protective mother. A traveling exhibition of Mann’s latest work, which opened Thursday at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, should both dispel and raise anew the nagging allegations of child exploitation.

Mann began photographing her children in 1984 as a way of balancing the demands of her art with the responsibilities of motherhood. “I was very committed to the idea of being a parent who stays with her children,” said the 41-year-old Mann, during a recent telephone interview from her home in Lexington, Va. “On the other hand, the children provided me with such astonishing, revelatory images that I would have had to have been in a strait jacket not to take those pictures. The children just seemed so vital and creative in the way they play-act.”

Mann’s latest book, Immediate Family (Aperture; $35; 44 pp.), is a powerful and intensely intimate series of photos that capture her Family Matterschildren, by turns frolicking and brooding, against the palpably humid Southern Gothic backdrop of her homestead in Virginia.

The children — Emmett, 12, Jessie, 10, and Virginia, 7 — are naturals, staring down the camera, at times lamb-like, recumbent and sleepy-eyed and at other times hostile, contemptuous or anguished. But always fragile; the scrapes and scuffs that all children incur — a bloody nose, a cut above the eye, chicken pox — are chronicled by Mann in a manner that is distressingly graphic. The little scrapes are amplified by Mann’s camera into near-mortal wounds; they become both metaphors for the traumas of childhood and grim reminders of the menace of the adult world that surrounds them.

With her impeccable sense of mood, layout and lighting and an almost literary grasp of narrative and allegory, Mann tears aside the veil of cutesy sentimentality that is often cast in front of children to reveal the psychic territory that children wander. It is a place of beatific delight that is both mysterious and seraphic, yet prone to outbursts of internalized violence.

Mann photographs only in the summertime, so many of the photos in the book and exhibit find the subjects deep in the woods, swimming or near water, and consequently, unclothed. The nudity has, unfairly it would be noted, raised questions of exploitation and the specter of child pornography.

To Mann, it is a dirty mind that sees a dirty picture. “Pornography is a picture of a crime, of an evil deed, a heinous act. None of my pictures are that,” she said, adding that she never usually answers such questions because it would give them credence. “Pornography is solely for the titillation of the viewer, which is not what I do. I see those reactions to my work as people projecting their own insecurities, fears, anxieties and desires onto my work. Apparently, I’ve struck something that runs very deep. But I can’t be responsible for others’ interpretations of my work. I can only protect my children from them.”
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SUMMER FICTION: Perfume Paper

May 12th, 2015

Lead off single from, Himalaya, the splendid sophomore LP from Philly-homeboy-turned-Brooklandian Bill Richinni’s Summer Fiction, due out June 16. This is how God intended the electric guitar to sound. They play the Boot N’ Saddle on June 20th.

PREVIOUSLY: Summer Fiction is the new nom-de-rock for South Philly bedroom pop autuer Bill Ricchini who has recently returned from a five year hermitage of domesticity, home-improvement and crock pottery with a self-titled debut full of rumors and sighs and fallen lovers outlined in lipstick traces. Breezy, bright and eminently tuneful, Summer Fiction picks up where Ricchini’s previous releases — 2002’s Ordinary Time and 2005’s Tonight I Burn Brightly — left off. Lush with deftly-turned nods to Burt Bachrach, Brian Wilson and Ray Davies, Summer Fiction is pure pop for the kind of now people who sleep with copies of Village Green Preservation Society and Pet Sounds under their pillow in case of a fire. Check out this groovy-cool video for the album’s catchy lead-off single “Chandeliers MORE

PREVIOUSLY: The dot com meltdown and subsequent layoffs have created a new leisure class of young people. And while many in this jilted demographic may spend their days shuffling freshly updated resumes like a Vegas card dealer, a precious few see unemployment as a gift. “I welcomed it as an opportunity to do something with my life that I really wanted,” says Bill Ricchini, who lost his job at verticalnet.com in Horsham over the summer. What Ricchini really wanted was to be the next Brian Wilson, or at least Elliott Smith. And Ricchini’s debut disc, Ordinary Time–a beatific, hushed-pop song cycle that details a history of amazing letdowns–finds him in the right neighborhood. (PW‘s Joey Sweeney recently declared Ordinary Time one of the best albums of the year in a 2001 pop music wrap-up for Salon.) A self-described “heart-on-my-sleeve guy going through some shit,” Ricchini says he lost his girl, his job and ultimately, his way, in the space of just a few short months. “The album is about being 27 and asking yourself, ‘Where do I go from here?’” he says. MORE

SUMMER FICTION RECORD RELEASE PARTY @ BOOT AND SADDLE JUNE 20TH

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