Chad Sell’s Drag Race Illustrated

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What bet­ter inspi­ra­tion could an artist ask for than a bunch of amaz­ing drag queens? They’re styl­ish, sexy, and sick­en­ing! My work cap­tures the fierce per­son­al­i­ties and per­for­mances of those fab­u­lous fake ladies in a clean, clas­sic style.’

With their larger-than-life pres­ences and glit­tery cos­tumes, the gender-bending stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race are the per­fect sub­jects for por­trai­ture. Illus­tra­tor and comics artist Chad Sell, best known for his his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Logo on RPDR web­comics, and his work on the upcom­ing iOS game Dragopo­lis,  pays awe­some, witty trib­ute to the ladies in an exten­sive series that cap­tures his favorite con­tes­tants’ finest moments.

Check out Chad’s work at www.chadsellcomics.com.

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Chris Burden, How Can You Get On TV

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In the 1970s, Chris Bur­den pro­duced a land­mark series of late-night tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials that blurred the worlds of enter­tain­ment, adver­tis­ing and con­cep­tual art. Appear­ing as idio­syn­cratic inter­rup­tions to the station’s reg­u­lar pro­gram­ming, Burden’s some­times shock­ing, some­times dryly humor­ous adver­tise­ments reveal how eas­ily noto­ri­ety and stature can be bought, manip­u­lated, and sub­verted through pop­u­lar media.

Writes Bur­den: “Dur­ing the early sev­en­ties I con­ceived a way to break the omnipo­tent stran­gle­hold of the air­waves that broad­cast tele­vi­sion had. The solu­tion was to sim­ply pur­chase com­mer­cial adver­tis­ing time and have the sta­tions play my tapes along with their other commercials.”

In this video, Bur­den shares the moti­va­tions and logis­ti­cal com­pli­ca­tions behind his four his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant ads: Through the Night Softly (1973), Poem for L.A. (1975), Chris Bur­den Promo (1976), Full Finan­cial Dis­clo­sure (1977).

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Prom It’s a Pleasure: Etiquette Film From1961

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The Prom It’s a Plea­sure is a well-produced color film that stars the 1961 Coca-Cola Junior Miss Pageant win­ner as the guide to a well-mannered prom night.

From the phone call ask­ing Junior Miss for the date, to the drop-off at the end of the night, this film details prom eti­quette for the curi­ous and uncouth teenager. It also explains that the boy should call his date’s mother before the dance to find out the color of her dress so he can match the cor­sage to it.

Whole­some six­ties movies often dealt with Amer­i­can morals, and this prom night film is a clas­sic exam­ple. At the high school dance itself, the film shows how to dance, how to ask some­one to dance, ways to ask some­one to dance, how to fill out a dance card, and how to nav­i­gate the refresh­ments, which con­sisted mostly of Coca-Cola, not sur­pris­ingly. In addi­tion to all the prom do’s and don’ts eti­quette tips, this film fea­tures great footage of a typ­i­cal six­ties prom.


RuPaul’s Can I Get An Amen

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The queens test their vocal abil­i­ties as they sing in RuPaul’s 1980s “We Are The World” inspired char­ity sin­gle. This Band Aid/USA For Africa-inspired par­ody is the lat­est viral video to come from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” star­ring RuPaul along with this season’s top eight queens: Alyssa Edwards, Coco Mon­trese, Jade Jolie, Ivy Win­ters, Jinkx Mon­soon, and Rox­xxy Andrews, Alaska, and Detox, aka “Rolaska­tox.” And they weren’t lip-synching for their lives, here: This singing was live.

This  awe­some faux charity-single does indeed have a lot of heart and humor and is actu­ally not faux at all, since sales of the bizarre song, avail­able now on iTunes, will ben­e­fit a very wor­thy orga­ni­za­tion: the L.A. Gay & Les­bian Cen­ter. Can I get an amen up in here?

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TV Party: The Sublimely Intolerable Show

Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party blew the dust out of New Yorker’s air ducts for four odd years from 1978 to 1982. The hour-long live, unscripted show took advan­tage of New York’s early-ish cable access world — a world man­dated by a deal that cable net­works could have their lit­tle monop­o­lies as long as the pub­lic was granted free access to a cer­tain per­cent­age of air­time. It’s a deal still going on all across Amer­ica today, and after watch­ing a lit­tle TV Party, you’d be a damn fool not to get involved. You see, TV can be fun, and you can make it! As for TV Party — essen­tially a show­case for what O’Brien and friends thought of as cool — it’s not for every­one. But those who like bizarro tele­vi­sion, the down­town New York scene of the day, or cult movies and TV with a cap­i­tal C (Liq­uid Sky or Robin Byrd’s porno talk-show, for instance) will get a seri­ous kick from this exper­i­ment in ‘social­ist TV’ — the TV show that’s a party, but it could also be a polit­i­cal party.

The Sub­limely Intol­er­a­ble Show aired Jan­u­ary 8th 1979, with O’Brien (writer, Warhol-ite and once New Wave gad­about) loosely hold­ing the reins — flog­ging the horse or let­ting it stum­ble down rocky inclines, how­ever he, his guests, audi­ence or callers saw fit. Aired in black and white, the night’s guests included Comp­ton Mad­dox and John Moses play­ing weird gui­tar tunes, Klaus Nomi singing opera, and Andy Sher­noff cov­er­ing the Beach Boys, (backed by Tish and Snooky of Manic Panic fame). Down­town direc­tor Eric Mitchell plays a clip of his movie Kid­napped while plug­ging the New Cin­ema The­ater, direc­tor David Sil­ver and Kate Simon do ‘White Peo­ple Talk About Reg­gae,’ and finally Deb­bie Harry, Chris Stein (also of Blondie and later offi­cial co-host of TV Party) and Richard Sohl help O’Brien with the viewer call-in seg­ment while pass­ing a joint.

Accord­ing to O’Brien’s TV Party web­site, David Let­ter­man once told Paul Scha­ef­fer on air that “TV Party is the great­est TV show any­where, ever,” and for those of us now corn-fed on the GMOs that are Two and a Half Men and their ilk, it’s hard to argue. The show thrives on O’Brien’s heart­felt dif­fi­dence (hard to man­age, true) and an anything-can-happen dan­ger­ous­ness that’s impos­si­ble to fake. It appears effort­less because in many ways it was, semi-professionals aided and abet­ted, and total ama­teurs did lit­tle things like; oper­ate cam­eras and run sound. In fact the first five or ten min­utes of Sub­limely Intol­er­a­ble have no sound at all, noth­ing but ran­dom pops (as peo­ple scurry to fix the prob­lem) and (also accord­ing to the TV Party web­site) Jean-Michel Basquiat typ­ing super-graphics like “Oh no! No sound! Fuck!” Top-notch scen­ester enter­tain­ment makes up for defi­cien­cies O’Brien encour­aged. Mad­dox and Moses’s pre-ironic ironic num­bers bub­ble dan­ger­ously, with O’Brien and Deb­bie Harry et al danc­ing in lab coats. Klaus Nomi’s unearthly soprano aria and equally alien demeanor are stun­ning and bizarre. Sher­noff is cool enough — while point­ing out how even the most insipid Beach Boys song comes with a super-sharp chord pro­gres­sion — and direc­tor Mitchell seems baf­fled and is baffling.

White Peo­ple Talk About Reg­gae rides a dan­ger­ous edge; the audi­ence mocks, Simon and Sil­ver seem defen­sive talk­ing about the ‘music of uplift­ment,’ and then a joint starts mak­ing the rounds. The joint stays for the ‘viewer call-in’ seg­ment which always closed the show. It’s emblem­atic of the off-the-rails genius of the show. Sure, the tech­no­log­i­cal aspects are junk, and per­for­mances or inter­views hit-or-miss, but let­ting uncen­sored live callers on the air is pure gold. O’Brien and crew are unas­sum­ing in their great­ness — they’re the cool kids at school who’ll actu­ally accept you (even though you know you’re a total geek) just because they’re self-secure — shin­ing as they wade through call after call ques­tion­ing their sex­ual prac­tices and eth­nic­ity. This stuff is not for the eas­ily offended, but it’s a tes­ta­ment to the power of a slick hand will­ing to let the chips fall wherever.

The first 10% of this show sums up what we don’t get on TV any­more. Tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties. TV Party was live and impro­vised, and this meant casual dis­as­ter. This early episode gets off to an artis­ti­cally ago­niz­ing start–the sound per­son is late, over­dos­ing on drugs or both. Or it was the bro­ken down equip­ment. Once the sound kicks in the show gets lively. Comp­ton Mad­dux, a droll singer song­writer, is backed up by Deb­bie Harry and Glenn; the unique futur­ist soprano Klaus Nomi does one of his post-modern arias; Adny Sher­noff, of the Dic­ta­tors, plays the Beach Boys’ “Be True to Your School” backed up by pom pom girls Tish and Snooky, the Manic Panic design­ers. Down­town leg­end direc­tor Eric Mitchell announces the open­ing of the now famous New Cin­ema the­ater and shows a clip from his film “Kid­napped” with Arto Lind­say, Dun­can Smith and Anya Phillips. Brit direc­tor David Sil­ver and pho­tog­ra­pher Kate Simon do the “white peo­ple talk about reg­gae” seg­ment. Blondie’s Chris Stein and Deb­bie Harry and the Patti Smith Group’s Richard Sohl drop in to smoke a reefer and take calls from all the cra­zies in cable land. Chris explains all this isn’t chaos, it’s art.


The Medium Is The Message: Marshall Mcluhan’s Full Lecture

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The writ­ing of the Cana­dian philoso­pher Mar­shall McLuhan, has entered pop­u­lar jar­gon like that of few other mod­ern intel­lec­tu­als. Is there another line that has been quoted – and mis­quoted – as enthu­si­as­ti­cally as ‘the medium is the mes­sage’?, which set one of the cor­ner­stones of mod­ern media the­ory. In it, he argued, users will focus on the con­tent of the medium, rather than the medium itself, ren­der­ing them obliv­i­ous to the changes – soci­etal, reli­gious, cul­tural, etc. – that such a medium brings.

McLuhan, of course, was per­fectly aware of his sta­tus as the thinker du jour of the media age, the man every­one liked to quote over din­ner but hadn’t both­ered to read – for proof, just watch this clip from Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

But what does “the medium is the mes­sage” really mean? Mcluhan him­self tries to explain just that on this lec­ture recorded by ABC Radio National Net­work on 27 June 1979 in Australia.


David Cronenberg’s Videodrome

The pres­i­dent of Civic TV Chan­nel 83, Max Renn, is always look­ing for new cheap and erotic movies for his station.

When his employee, Har­lan, decodes a pirate video broad­cast show­ing tor­ture, mur­der, and muti­la­tion called “Video­drome,” Max becomes obsessed to get this series for his channel.

He con­tacts his sup­plier, Masha, and asks her to find the party respon­si­ble for the transmission.

A cou­ple of days later, Masha tells that “Video­drome” is real snuff movies. Max’s sado-masochistic girl­friend Nicki Brand decides to travel to Pitts­burgh, where the show is based, to audition.

Max inves­ti­gates fur­ther, and through a video by the media prophet Brian O’Blivion, he learns that that TV screens are the retina of the mind’s eye, being part of the brain, and “Video­drome” trans­mis­sions cre­ate a brain tumor in the viewer, chang­ing the real­ity through video hallucination.


Max Capacity: Net Necromancer

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Glitch video/GIF artist Max Capac­ity work pushes the grainy VHS cut-ups and early home com­puter bit con­straints of 1980s cyber­punk into the dig­i­tal realm. Net­work Awe­some and Radosaur Pro­duc­tions inter­viewed him for Tumblr’s Sto­ry­board effort. “Max Capac­ity: Net Necro­mancer

We love the work of artist Max Capac­ity. I will ven­ture here to say that his ani­mated GIFs are post­mod­ern, com­bin­ing in them glitch artpixel art, movies and stuff I can­not even start to describe. The fact that he uses the name Max Capac­ity is prob­a­bly not a coin­ci­dence as he has a lot of work to show up for. I can spend hours jump­ing from his Flickr site to his Tum­blr site to his YouTube chan­nel check­ing out his uni­verse of pro­lific cre­ation. You have to visit Max Capacity’s sites.

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TV Party The Documentary

In 1978, two rev­o­lu­tion­ary trends emerged in New York City, pub­lic access cable TV and punk rock.

These two phe­nom­ena came together spec­tac­u­larly in Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party. O’Brien recruited his pal Chris Stein, the gui­tarist of Blondie, as his co-host, fel­low Fac­tory kid Wal­ter Ste­d­ing as leader of The TV Party Orches­tra, and under­ground film direc­tor Amos Poe as direc­tor and the rest, as you’ll see, was history.

Hip­sters tuned in to fol­low the antics of the TV Party gang and such guests as Iggy Pop, David Bowie, P-Funk’s George Clin­ton, The Clash’s Mick Jones, Kid Cre­ole, Klaus Nomi, as well as per­for­mances from acts like Tuxedo Moon, the Brides of Funken­stein, Alex Chilton, and more.


Animated GIFs: The Birth of a Medium

GIFs are one of the old­est image for­mats used on the web. The GIF graph­ics file for­mat was invented by Com­puServe in 1987. Through­out their his­tory, they have served a huge vari­ety of pur­poses, from func­tional to enter­tain­ment. Now, 25 years after the first GIF was cre­ated, they are expe­ri­enc­ing an explo­sion of inter­est and inno­va­tion that is push­ing them into the ter­rain of art.

Please watch the fol­low­ing episode of Off Book, fea­tur­ing inter­views of Christo­pher Price Edi­to­r­ial Direc­tor at Tum­blr, Patrick David­son from Meme­Fac­tory, a group that gives pre­sen­ta­tions about inter­net memes, Pamela Reed and Mathew Rader from REED + RADER, mostly ded­i­cated to fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy and Visual Graph­ics Artist Kevin Burg with pho­tog­ra­pher Jamie Beck cre­ators of Cin­ema­graph.

We love ani­mated GIFs here at ‘The Remains’ and we con­stantly see amaz­ing exam­ples of cre­ative and inspir­ing GIFs in sites like Tum­blr where they are spe­cially pop­u­lar, but we par­tic­u­larly like the work of artist Max Capac­ity. I will ven­ture here to say that his ani­mated GIFs are post­mod­ern, com­bin­ing in them glitch art, pixel art, movies and stuff I can­not even start to describe. The fact that he uses the name Max Capac­ity is prob­a­bly not a coin­ci­dence as he has a lot of work to show up for. I can spend hours jump­ing from his Flickr site to his Tum­blr site to his YouTube chan­nel check­ing out his uni­verse of pro­lific cre­ation. Watch some sam­ples of his work below:

Ok, lastly we want to leave you with one last video from PBS Off Book. A 25th Anniver­sary GIF short Mashup set to 8-bit Dubstep.