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the beautiful destruction

Friday, October 28, 2005

OFFICIAL UPDATE [NOVEMBER]

OFFICIAL UPDATE
PICTURED: INDUSTRY-APPROVED "OFFICIAL UPDATE" IMAGE; KING OF COMEDY, DON RICKLES.

In an attempt to deepen the content and scope of this site, as well as centralize my writings, I've begun to assemble a PUBLISHED WORK archive. Located on the right hand side beneath the INTERVIEWS and ARTICLES links, you'll find an extensive and soon to be comprehensive collection of my work from the past 5 years. This work is comprised of features, profiles, interviews, and personal essays. I'm still debating whether or not to include the myriad of album reviews I've done (not to mention the tedious hours of scanning that would involve). The more I write, the more I discover that everything I do is interconnected in such strange ways. This is particularly true in the realms of music, art, and culture writing. So I felt this would be an interesting way to catalogue things, even if it's only for my own amusement.

*NOTE: The INTERVIEW SERIES returns in November with several new discussions.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

WHAT'S UP FATLIP?

FATLIP, THE LONELIEST PUNK
PICTURED: FATLIP, BACK FOR MORE.

WHAT'S UP FATLIP?*
Writer: MATTHEW NEWTON

In the candid documentary What’s Up Fatlip?, director Spike Jonze poses the Los Angeles emcee and former Pharcyde member this question: “Do you ever think about retiring from rap?” After knocking back a large gulp of Crown Royal, Fatlip, dressed in full clown suit and make-up, replies: “Every day.”

Fatlip (born Derrick Stewart) came up in the Los Angeles-area hip-hop scene of the early 1990s as a member of The Pharcyde -- a four-piece known for being the musical antithesis of hardcore West Coast rappers like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. However, after releasing two classic albums -- 1993’s Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde and 1995’s Labcabincalifornia -- the group parted company with Fatlip, citing a myriad of “personal differences” as the reason for the ousting. Seemingly unfazed by the cold shoulder from his former bandmates, Fatlip regrouped in 2000 to release the brilliantly introspective single “What’s Up Fatlip?” -- which spawned the Spike Jonze music video and documentary of the same name.

Now, more than five years later, Fatlip is finally releasing his solo debut, a 19-song offering titled The Loneliest Punk (Delicious Vinyl). While the album has a few minor blemishes in the form of lackluster tracks, the bulk of the songs offer a fresh-sounding Fatlip, clearly up to task and obviously pleased to be back where he belongs.


Cementing his return with not only a new album but a cross-country tour as well makes the candid words that Spike Jonze captured in his documentary that much more prophetic.

“With the rap thing, I think I’ve ran my course,” Fatlip said, adjusting the red rubber clown nose on his face. “I had my time basically. I would quit, but what else am I going to do?”


*Article originally appeared in the Pittsbugh City Paper:
[CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

MEDIA SWAP MEET | OCTOBER 30

LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG

MEDIA SWAP MEET @ THE MATTRESS FACTORY

October 30, 2005
6-11 PM, FREE

The Mattress Factory
500 Sampsonia Way
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
15212.4444
T: 412.231.3169
F: 412.322.2231
E: info@mattress.org

Free parking located in the lot at the corner of Jacksonia and Brighton.

Co-sponsored by projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE project and the Mattress Factory. Celebrate independent media at the Mattress Factory! This evening event features local zine-makers, book artists and cartoonists displaying and selling their wares, independent publications in a variety of formats, video animations and a new publication by Paper Rad, film projections, DJs, button-making, screen printing, handmade book-making activities, and more! For more information about the Bookmobile Project, please visit
www.mobilivre.org.

Participate in a celebration of independent media at the Mattress Factory!

This event features tours and an artist talk with projet MOBILIVRE/BOOKMOBILE project members, local zine-makers, book artists and cartoonists displaying and selling their wares, and independent publications in a variety of formats.

Activites include: video animations and a new publication by Paper Rad, film projections by Gordon Nelson of Jefferson Presents, DJs David Pohl, Steve Boyle, Castle Castle and Bad Seed, comic books for sale by
The Copacetic Comics Company, button-making with MF ARTLab, artist trading card activities with The Pittsburgh Book Arts Collective, bookmark-making with the Art Tech Altered Books Club of Greensburg, screen printing with Artist Image Resource, the Mister Roboto Project zine collection, graphic novels and activities with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-TEENS, audio editing with Pittsburgh IndyMedia/Rustbelt Radio, hero/villain mask making with SALT, and more!

Participating artists, projects and collectives include: The Big Idea Bookstore, SALT, Incredibly Thin, Unicorn Mountain, Castle Castle, Enclyclopedia Destructica, Jim Rugg, Mark Zingarelli, Tom Scioli, Jasen Lex, Paulette Poullet, Ed Piskor, Pat Lewis, Etta Cetera, Frank Santoro, Jessica M. Fenlon, Matthew Newton, and Poison Control. Artist David Pohl will play 78 records in the Museum's outdoor Garden during the event, and DJ Bad Seed will spin teenage rebellion records in the Museum Lobby.

projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE project is a touring exhibition of artist books, zines, and independent publications. Traveling by way of a vintage Airstream, the BOOKMOBILE visits community centers, schools, libraries, festivals and artist-run centers. projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE project explores the long-held tradition of bookmobiles as traveling libraries that promote the distribution of information. A traveling collection of 300 book works ranges from handmade and one-of-a-kind, to photocopied and small press publications. During Media Swap Meet, Bookmobile members will share the history of the project, and will discuss the ways that projet MOBILIVRE-BOOKMOBILE project fulfills its mandate of fusing community organizing and political activism with artistic production.

About some of the participants, activities and featured projects on display and for sale during the event:

Paper Rad

Paper Rad is Jessica Ciocci, her brother Jacob, and their friend Ben Jones. Since the year 2000 they have created a massive catalogue of self-published and self-distributed comics, magazines, videos, cassette tapes, hand-painted t-shirts, stuffed dolls, audio CDs, and records. They present on-line projects through an eye-popping website: www.paperrad.org. Synthesizing and reprogramming popular material from television, video games, and advertising, Paper Rad works in an exuberant, neo-primitivist idiom of their own invention. Paper Rad has exhibited and performed at galleries and museums around the world including the 2004 Liverpool Biennial, Deitch Projects, the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, and The Tate Britain. Most recently, they completed two music videos for Beck and created a massive cardboard castle for Philadelphia’s Space 1026. Earlier this year, Paper Rad was named one of ArtReview’s 25 emerging artists. They are represented by Foxy Production and their video work is available from EAI and Printed Matter. Half art book, half graphic novel, Paper Rad, B.J. and da Dogs intersperses photographs, drawings, prints, comic strips, and junk by Paper Rad with two graphic novellas ("Space Ballz" and "Alfe") by Ben Jones. The two novellas are comically surreal takes on friendship, love, spirituality, and outer space, while the drawings and graphics recall luminous pop icons straight out of a Nintendo game. Printed on three paper stocks in fluorescent inks, this book conveys the energy and invention of one of the most vibrant constellations of artists working today.

Poison Control / Young & Reckless / Matthew Newton

Young & Reckless is an uncoventional anthology of personal essays and outsider art documenting the bygone days of wild and out-of-control youth. Born from the subcultures of skateboarding, hip-hop, graffiti, heavy metal, hardcore, and the like, contributors share tales of theft, vandalism, sex, fistfights, and scrapes with the law— all told from an older and seemingly wiser perspective. Handmade and limited-run, Young & Reckless is the first publication from Poison Control. Edited by Matthew Newton. Poison Control is an independent publisher and production house. Nurturing what some would deem an unhealthy obsession with printed matter and subculture paraphernalia — zines, books, postcards, prints, record sleeves, and stickers just to mention a few — Poison Control's penchant for small press publishing and handmade, limited-run goods prompted its formation in the summer of 2004. With a rabid DIY work ethic and fresh creative approach — representing a raw and candid, outsider's perspective — Poison Control ups the ante in terms of literary and visual aesthetics. And with a diverse roster of projects slated for release in 2006, this bleeding edge operation plans to take full advantage of its insomniac behavior — toiling away while the rest of the world sleeps. For more information, please visit www.poison-control.com

Encyclopedia Destructica

Encyclopedia Destructica is a self-printed, hand-bound zine produced in Pittsburgh that collects work from artists’ and writers’ sketch-books/journals. The goal of Encyclopedia Destructica is to provide a forum for an ever-growing primordial dialogue between artists in Pittsburgh and other cities within the United States and abroad. For more information, please contact zine@encyclopediadestructica.com

Unicorn Mountain

Unicorn Mountain is a comic anthology, a literary journal, and a music compilation debuting August 2005. The first volume focuses on over 70 of Pittsburgh's underground writers, illustrators and bands. In addition to featured contributions from established artists, Unicorn Mountain is a showcase for exciting new talent; submissions are encouraged! For more information, please visit http://www.unicornmountain.com.

Incredibly Thin

Incredibly Thin is a framework, a sort-of glue. Incredibly Thin is a collective, hoping to produce, publish, inspire and expose the work of Pittsburgh artists, to help translate things of the mind into things of the hand. For more information, please visit http://www.incrediblythin.com.

Salt

Salt is a Pittsburgh-based journal that publishes non-fiction articles, comics, and design. Each issue is organized around a theme--past themes include pirates, monsters, robots, and cowboys. The Spy Issue was released in August and plans are underway for the Heroes and Villains Issue. Salt can be found at saltstories.com or send an email to saltstories@hotmail.com

Monday, October 10, 2005

DISASTER STRIKES BACK

Copyright 2005 Associated Press
Pictured: Survivors in Kashmir.

It would seem this is the year of the perpetual disaster show. Is someone trying to tell us something? I'm not exactly the God-fearing type, but after devastating Tsunamis, hurricanes that drown cities, and now an earthquake in Southeast Asia killing more than 30,000 people, I'm beginning to think this is it. You know, like, the end. I'm just waiting for the four horsemen to arrive next. Or, better yet, the locusts. Holy fuck.

Friday, October 07, 2005

PHOTO DIARY FRANKFURT

FRANKFURT STREET ART
PICTURED: PIECE BY UNKNOWN ARTIST (EMAIL ME IF YOU KNOW THIS DUDE).

After looking through my several thousand photos (yes, thousand) from my trip to Germany, I realized that I took a ton of pictures of graffiti and street art. Now, I really hate the term street art, as the influx of people doing street art in the past several years has been huge and rather varied. Also, it's become extremely trendy to call yourself a street artist. And frankly, alot of street art is garbage. Anybody and there mother can go to Home Depot, buy a package of stencils and make "art" with it. However, to up the ante and make art that is both skilled and thought-provoking, that's an entirely different story. With that said, Germany is riddled with street art and graffiti, from small towns like Freiburg to large cities like Berlin. I took a shit ton of photos in every city I visited. So I've decided to post the best of the best online here, for your viewing pleasure. So let's think of this as a photo diary of sorts. I hope you enjoy.

FRANKFURT STREET ART

FRANKFURT STREET ART

FRANKFURT STREET ART

FRANKFURT STREET ART & GRAFFITI
PICTURED: STENCIL BY MOSH.

FRANKFURT STREET ART & GRAFFITI

FRANKFURT STREET ART & GRAFFITI

FRANKFURT STREET ART & GRAFFITI

FRANKFURT

FRANKFURT

FRANKFURT

FRANKFURT

FRANKFURT

FRANKFURT
Pictured: Mr. Newton stylin' in front of a 1970s mint green Chrysler... it just happened to be back in the courtyard w/ all this artwork.

FRANKFURT

FRANKFURT

FRANKFURT GRAFFITI & STREET ART

FRANKFURT GRAFFITI & STREET ART

MICHELLE VS. FRANKFURT FOUNTAIN Pictured: Michelle in front of the fountain by Frankfurt's opera house.

FRANKFURT GRAFFITI & STREET ART

MICHELLE VS. TOUREG Pictured: Michelle outside VW's KING KONG display.

MATT VS. HONDA Pictured: Mr. Newton posing by the Honda Civic he can't have (only available in Europe).

FANCY EATS IN FRANKFURT

Thursday, October 06, 2005

DANGERDOOM

DANGERDOOM

DANGERDOOM, the collaborative record from MF Doom and Dangermouse, arrived in my mailbox the other day. The record's titled The Mouse and The Mask. I've been looking forward to hearing this record for awhile, but was really worried it might be lackluster. Not for any particular reason, but mainly because collabo records often disappoint (each artist usually gets too watered-down in the sharing process).

Holy shit, was I wrong.

This record is fucking incredible. First of all, it's got an Adult Swim (Cartoon Network's mature programming) theme threaded throughout. Now normally, I would be opposed to such trite product placement, but the skits between the songs (which contain appearances by Harvey Birdman attorney at law, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Space Ghost, etc.) are hilarious, well-written, and well-planned. I'd go as far as to say that Doom and DM have given new life to "The Skit," a comedic/dramatic device which has been a plague on hip-hop albums for more than a decade.

Now let's mention the music. The production is top notch. Dangermouse, with all the hype surrounding his abilities, hasn't let the pressure or praise go to his head. Coming off his work on the Gorillaz Demon Days, DM continues to hone his skills as a producer. The standout tracks on the album are "Sofa King," with its melodic melody, brisk tempo, and rock hard kick and snare pattern, and "Old School" with Talib Kweli--which finds he and Doom waxing poetic over memories of Saturday morning cartoons and rhyming over boombox beats while snacking on a bowl of
cereal. Good shit, extremely good shit.

Lastly, there's MF Doom. For The Mouse and The Mask, his skills have somehow gotten better. He's already been one of my favs for sometime now, but this record, its theme, and his ability to spin tall tales have all been elevated. I hate the term "next-level shit," but it really fits the bill in this case.

If this site were a reputable magazine, and we had a rating system comprised of stars, mics, or some other gauge of quality, I'd give this bitch a five. It's that good. I'll go as far as to call it a classic.

PS: Due to the rampant influx of spam I've been receiving, the comments sections on some of my posts have been removed. Most folks don't really comment on here anyway. But if you have something you'd like to say, feel free to drop me an email.


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