By any standard, I am not calling a Tea Partier a liberal. With the recent loss for Democrats in the recent midterm elections, the party is not only grieving, but is furious about this right-winged group. However, mostly going unnoticed, the Tea Party has some uncanny resemblance to another radical political party of the past: the New Left.

The 1960’s represent a time of rebellion and change. Through this, the New Left represented a social movement that was  anti-government and anti-establishment. Today, the Tea partiers represent a social movement that are also anti-government and anti-establishment. David Brooks explores the issues in his article, “The Wal-Mart Hippies

“There are many differences between the New Left and the Tea Partiers. One was on the left, the other is on the right. One was bohemian, the other is bourgeois. One was motivated by war, and the other is motivated by runaway federal spending. One went to Woodstock, the other is more likely to go to Wal-Mart.”

But Brooks also explains that the similarities between the two opposing groups are more frighteningly evident than we notice. For one, the Tea Party uses the same demonstrative tactics that the New Left utilized. Seen as militant and confrontational, you can see both groups in enormous rallies, taking the streets for public spectacle– but also for the outlandish public statements that are designed to shock American society. However, Brooks also states that these intentions are not accidental, stating:

“Dick Armey, one of the spokesmen for the Tea Party movement, recently praised the methods of Saul Alinsky, the leading tactician of the New Left.”

But the real similarity comes from the core beliefs and mentalities of the two groups. The New Left and the Tea Party both believe that man is born free and virtuous until the corruption of the elites come and poison this virtue. And it is this belief of innate innocence that Brooks believes is both group’s core motivation.

That “core commonality” provides for both parties to believe in big conspiracy theories that argue against governmental control. They both worry about being co-opted by “corrupted forces of the establishment” coming, and disrupting their ranks. And it is because of this that both parties have  a problem with authority. However also similar, neither party has a clear plan of what to do beyond destroying the establishment. They do not believe in a system, but rather “a spontaneous uprising of participatory democracy.”

And for this reason, both parties also set their selves apart from conservatives.

“The New Left and the Tea Party movement are radically anticonservative. Conservatism is built on the idea of original sin — on the assumption of human fallibility and uncertainty. To remedy our fallen condition, conservatives believe in civilization — in social structures, permanent institutions and just authorities, which embody the accumulated wisdom of the ages and structure individual longings.”

An interesting political commentary on 60’s political style- from two different extremes.

This post was a joint effort by: Gillian Shewaga, Megan Ganey, and Will Parsons.

The legend of the Vampire goes back centuries (mainly beginning in Eastern Europe) but was brought to life in Bram Stokers famous novel Dracula.  Depictions of the undead however can be found in medieval manuscripts and painting as beings awaken from death not to drink blood from young virgins, but to feast on the flesh of the living.  These stories originated in the 14th century during the height of the Black Death in Europe where bodies would pile up and for the first time many people began to witness the decomposition process up close.  Some of these bodies became bloated with gas from the decay of the organs leaving many superstitious minds to conclude that they had awakened and were feeding.  Blood oozed from the mouths of the dead which we now know to be a relatively normal part of the body breaking down, but again the people of medieval Europe became convinced that the person had reawakened and was drinking the blood of the living.

Stokers’ novel was a romantic piece of literature ripe for its time but shockingly the inspiration for Dracula himself was based on a 15th century Wallachian Prince named Vlad Dracula.  The name Dracula itself comes from his father who was inducted into the Order of the Dragon for his defense of Christian Europe against the Turks.  Vlad was one of the cruelest and most sadistic Princes in history giving rise to his nickname Vlad the Impaler.  It was said that Vlad dined with his impaled victims and drank their blood as they hung dangling and dying on steaks high above.


http://www.history.com/videos/dracula-fact-and-fiction#dracula-fact-and-fiction

Although Stoker never visited Transylvania the home of the mythical Dracula he used his imagination to create an icon symbol of darkness that would permeate the shadows of culture throughout the twentieth century and beyond.  Anne Rices’ Vampire chronicles of the 1980’s were a hit series that combined vampire culture with sexuality before anyone every heard of Twilight. Ever since, there has been a mainstream push for vampires in movies and TV shows in pop culture. The image of the vampire has changed so much, that it has penetrated its way into a vast audience. Now, everyone can choose the “type” of vampire they like: the cold-hearted killer, the over-sexualized predator, or hopeless romantic that is trapped in a cage of immortality.

The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers, a series of books adapted to the big screen, have received the most notoriety. Anyone from girls as young as nine to their grandmothers have dove into the forbidden love story. HBO adapted the Southern Vampire Series by Charline Harris into TrueBlood, an ultra sexed up version of the vampire genre. Whether it is the sex appeal, the fantasy, or the overwhelming chivalry, vampires have found their place in the 21st Century.

Fascination of the vampire comes from people of all ages, but specifically, the obsession is most predominate amongst young adolescents and teenagers. Many have questioned why this age group idolizes these super natural creatures, but the answer really lays behind emotional constraints.

Vampires represent certain aspects that young teenagers desire to have. The element of sexuality is the most obvious factor as frustration and control come into question. As adolescents start to undergo hormonal changes, they often look for some outlet to relate to- that is ideally away from the embarrassment of parents. The vampire, on the other hand, has been sexually portrayed as a being in full control by having a odd power over their victims, or opposite sex. Through this, teens grasp the idea that sexual relationships are far more effective, and less awkward,  if the other person shared the same desire.

But this same idea of control also applies to general situations. The pre-adolescent/ early teen years can be an extremely awkward time many kids. In contrast, the vampire is always confident because it knows it has the ability to control a situation; or to transform (into a bat) and leave the situation if needed. This unsaid sense of coolness, is something that teenagers would love to have- thus, making the perfect role model for unsure teens.

Furthermore, the teenager can also relate to the vampire in terms of feeling alienated and outcasted. A vampire struggles against immortality, sunlight, and a sometimes conflicting thirst for blood. The common teenager also has developed various addictions to cope with issues, including drugs & alcohol, to video games and social media. An extreme example is with the recent phenomena of “teen wolf” packs forming in High Schools. These groups of kids dress in Gothic attire, simulating the look of both vampires and werewolves.  Once labeled as “different”, these kids are now banding together as a support network.

KENS5 interviewed one member who stated “We’re not a gang at all, gangs are posers. They just want attention … The pack, like, we’re a family and we go to each other for our problems.”

Overall, supernatural figures such as vampires and werewolves represent something that is different, but in control; something that is an outcast, but is strong and feared. For these reasons, males too fall for the lure of the vampire, not just the stereotyped female longing for a romantic happy-ending.

Sunday

Peelander- Z – Black Stage, 1:40PM

On a lighter note, Peelander-Z is a super poppy-punk band that will put a giant smile on your face. Their story is that they come from the Z area of the planet, Peelander. As a “Japanese Action Comic Punk” band, each member dons a colored outfit and is named after that color (which is really the color of their skin, so they say). During their shows, there is a lot of rafter climbing, giant squid costumes and human bowling. Yes, human bowling. The highlight of my first Peelander- Z show was having the opportunity to jump on stage with them and play the tin can- which they give out at each show with a special Peelander- Z drum stick,  for fans to hit with them. Out of all of these, Peelander- Z is definitely the most kid-friendly, but does not lessen the enjoyment of their crazy antics.

Even if you think that you don’t like fire, alien blood, or human bowling- you will after these shows, and you’ll also be really disappointed if you miss any of these bands.

GWAR – Black Stage, 7:50PM

GWAR is one of the only bands that I can think of that have reached a realm of mythical proportions. They have been around since the mid-80’s and by now, have reached legendary status amongst fans of all ages. Donning elaborate costumes made of styrofoam and latex, the members are from a sci-fi, outer-space realm. GWAR’s story goes something along the lines of them being created centuries ago by the “Master of Reality” and representing all things evil as they ran around the universe (sort of like orcs from LOTR.) After arriving on earth, they claimed to have wreaked havoc by killing off all the dinosaurs, sinking Atlantas, and playing croquet in the middle of Stonehenge. Long story short- they were exiled to earth by their master and were not awoken until the 80’s- and now they are back for more! Their stage show usually includes the disembodiment of celebrities, politicians, and anyone else they can get their hands on. Fans typically attend shows in all white, thus getting their own personal “concert tee” from a GWAR experience. One thing I was surprised to find at my first GWAR show was that they make all the blood for their shows back stage by hand before each show. GWAR simply is one of those bands you have to see- just to be able to say that you saw George W. Bush’s head ripped off by a intergalactic soldier and came home looking like Christmas ( green alien goo and tons of red fake blood.)

Four Lions

November 8, 2010

Chris Morris’ new black-comedy, “Four Lions”, would normally have the country up in arms over its premise. However the film, full of witty one-liners that will make drinks shoot from your nose, seems to capture the satirical value of morons on a mission- even if they are radical jihads.

“Four Lions” follows a group of idiotic jihadists who are determined to fight a consumerist Western culture by becoming public martyrs in England. Through their journey they encounter accidental deaths, outlandish disguises, and even the occasional sing-along.  But instead of really prying into the ideologies of terrorism and political meaning, Morris has hilariously focused on the will and weaknesses of man- which allows for a equal platform that we can laugh at.

The lineup for Fun Fun Fun Fest this year is insanely good. Aside from all the great music you’d be hearing, there are a few acts that…kinda set themselves apart from your typical performers. These bands really know how to put on a show that will not only leave you excited and possibly covered in alien blood- but also with a black eye and/or a bloody nose. Think you’re game?

Saturday

Monotonix– Yellowstage, 4:30 PM

The first time I ever saw Monotonix was in a small warehouse show that was part of FXFU (a counter show to sxsw). I had no idea who this band was, besides the fact that they all resembled the 70’s style porn scene with long hair, gold chains, polyester & velvet, and a lot of chest hair. My friend leaned over to me and said “you see that guy right there, he is the lead singer for Monotonix… he is bat shit crazy.” REALLY, not knowing what to expect, we all gathered around in a circle around them as they played on the floor, a preference for the band, and slowly watched insanity unfold. Monotonix is the type of band that has steady drum beats and jimi-hendrix like guitar solos- but is paired with a rampant singer who is going to get in your face. There was beer being poured down his face, down his pants, and down the shirt of a girl standing in the front. Then there was a trash can that not only did the singer, Ami Shalev, jump into – but then he ‘canned’ another guy standing front of his face. Next thing I knew we started picking up drummer, Haggai Fershtman, who was simultaneous playing his hi-hat while being carried on his base drum. What ensued was a parade all the way outside as guitarist,Yonatan Gat, continued on with his deep riffs. Austin seems to love Monotonix, as the Israeli band has become notorious for their raucous shows full of fire, sweat, beer and hipsters.

You crazy old AD, you!

November 4, 2010

From newspaper, magazines, to the new frontier of the Internet- advertisements have always tried target a key demographic through their messages. Images used seem to reflect standards of the times and what is, or is not, socially acceptable.

The times certainly have changed, as you can see, with these old Ads that you will probably never resembled again.

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As we all know, American Apparel is no stranger towards controversy. After battling his way through numerous sexual harassment charges over the years, CEO Dov Charney may have finally reached the end of his handle-bared mustache with a newer problem: American Apparel is millions of dollars in debt ($120.3 million by the end of August, to be exact.)

An actual ad by American Apparel featuring Dov Charney

The start of the company’s financial woes began in early 2010, with an 18-month investigation into their production staff- which found that the majority of their employees were illegal immigrants. KABC reported that “The Los Angeles garment industry employs approximately 120,000 workers. About 67 percent are immigrants, many of which are here illegally and work for minimum wage.” After the immigration raid, American Apparel lost around 2,500 of their undocumented employees. This result has apparently disrupted AA’s production so much that they started losing money fast.

In addition, DailyFinace reported that the company is stuck in-between allegations “That American Apparel lied to investors about its hiring practices (citing the immigration action) and about its accounting problems, and through the accounting problems, about the company’s financial health.”

However, AA has had a chance to have its audit withdrawn if financial clarity was reported for the second-quarter (which ended June 30th) by November 15th. After threats of the company being delisted by the American Stock Exchange, American Apparel FINALLY turned in their second-quarter results today.  And of course, the results were not good. NYMag reported “Losses totaled $14.7 million, while sales fell 2.4 percent. Last year in the same period, American Apparel reported an income of $4.5 million. For the first six months of the year, losses totaled $57.5 million as opposed to $6.1 million last year. Sales for the last six months, however, are up 1.7 percent.”

So not only are operation costs killing American Apparel, they do not have any money to pay back the $94 million dollar loan they took out last year from Lion Capital (which they agreed to pay back by Jan. 31, 2011).

As the debt keeps stack up, AA seems like it cannot pull itself out from under. The company released a press statement stating, “Losses were likely to continue through at least the third quarter…These factors, among others, raise substantial doubt that the company will be able to continue as a going concern.”

Erin Gibson, for the Huffington Post provided Charney with two humors solutions to his problems:

Option A:
Stop letting your dick make business decisions
You made a lot of tee shirts hot hipsters love, and by doing so, you’ve hit the pussy jackpot. But think about this: The money it takes to buy these girls blow and put them up in a Silverlake loft will wind up costing your consumers a lot of time…. time spent in the future trying to feel okay in shirts with cute buttons and lace, decorated with a fucking swallow on a birch tree that’s too short and was too expensive to fit so badly.

Option B:
Keep letting your dick make dick decisions and hire someone to run your business.
This option allows you to park your sailboat in any consenting dock and when you want to keep her around someone who has your money can tell you “NO”: Cause apparently you doing whatever you want makes you a bad business man. Let me put it in terms you’ll understand -when your business goes away, so does the pussy. So fix this! I wanna wear my 50/25/25 tees in a nursing home, you asshole.”

Though many do not actually like American Apparel as an image, many do like the way their image looks in the clothes they produce. But unfortunately, it looks like both v-necks and jaded employees will now both be solely found at Urban Outfitters.

Feliz Dia de los Muertos!

November 3, 2010

The first time I ever saw the music video for Die Antwoord‘s “Enter the Ninja”, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or be slightly disturbed. Graffiti, money signs, and an in-your-face attitude did not pair well with a rapper who resembled Vanilla Ice, and acted like Jonah Takalua (from the mockumentary show Summer Heights High).

However after watching their video, I had a sudden urge to watch it again. Not only did keep having urges to watch it, I kept hearing it in my head. I couldn’t tell if I actually liked the song, but I could not stop singing it in this odd sounding, pseudo-Japanese accent I had tried to replicate.

But Die Antwoord (meaning “the answer”, in English) is not a joke, they are serious- and they are getting a lot of attention. Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, members include Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek. They call their style Zef, which is South African slang for something that is trashy, yet stylish and modern. In an article from The Guardian, Die Antoord has defined Zef style as being “associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you’re poor but you’re fancy. You’re poor but you’re sexy, you’ve got style.”

Off the bat, they may seem outrageous but both critics and fans seem to be eating them up. Overnight they gained millions of fans, including District 9 director and fellow South African, Neill Blornkamp, who sent the band an e-mail expressing his love for them. Adding to the list, “David Lynch loves their videos so much that he invited them round for coffee…David Fincher wanted to cast singer Yo-Landi Vi$$er as Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (she turned him down).”

Since then, Die Antwoord has been hitting the festival circuit including a set at Cochella, sharing a stage with Aphex Twin at LED Fest, and most recently with M.I.A. at the NYC Hard Fest.

The single “Enter the Ninja” now has over 8 million views on YouTube and features Leon Botha, who is one of the world’s oldest survivors of progeria. See for yourself if Zef style just another trend, or if Die Antwoord will hold a solid place in hipster hip-hop.

As for me, I’m enterin’ the ninja- and I am stealing one of those awesome sweaters for myself.