Bernard Stollman, founder of the influential, otherworldly ESP-Disk label, has passed away this week at 85. New York Times obituary. The independent label was home to blazing, provocative recordings from avant-jazz greats like Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, and Sun Ra, as well as underground rock outsiders like the Godz, the Holy Modal Rounders, and the Fugs. The label's discography is deep, strange, and still largely unexplored by everyone but hardcore music geeks (who tend to be highly passionate about it). From Stereogum: Remembering Bernard Stollman: 10 Essential ESP-Disk Albums.
The Online Legacy of a Suicide Cult and the Webmasters Who Stayed Behind. A short history of the Heaven's Gate Millenarian Cult and the (ex?) members who still keep the page running seventeen years after their last contact with the leader and members.
Harold Lash is an abstract painter whose works are wild and startlingly vivid. There are repeated themes of flowers and cities and ships and are often obsessively patriotic. I particularly enjoy his painting of Rittenhouse in Philadelphia, where he lives and works, and the colors of Girls Night Out strikes me as well. [WARNING: HUGE IMAGES]
The drawings of Ron Franciere circa 1962-1988 — "Ron Franciere was something of a mystery to me. Ran into many dead ends trying to find information on him. I posted some images on my website Bighappyfunhouse. I received emails that held a few stories of Ron and his life - but nothing ever lead me to contacting Ron Franciere. Then, I received an anonymous comment on my website."
A summer day, a dirt road, heat thick as steam from a boiling pot. Along the shoulder are verdant trees, shadows, the hum and croak and whistle and buzz of the woods. This is Clarksville, Texas, 1910. And here is Frank Jones, who will one day, decades from now, years after his death, be among the most recognized African-American self-taught artists.[more inside]
Master of Orion begat Master of Orion 2 begat Master of Orion 3 begat FreeOrion and a beautiful webcomic called Outsider, whose first chapter has just been completed.
Taichung’s Rainbow Family Village - this formerly drab neighborhood was whimsically transformed by 86-year-old veteran Huang Yung-fu's colorful artwork, becoming a minor tourist attraction and a popular location for photo shoots. And while most Taiwanese military dependent villages are scheduled for demolition, an online campaign won a promise by the city's mayor to preserve the painted village.
The Alabama Museum of Wonder. Butch Anthony has a word – a word which he concocted himself. A word which he designed to precisely describe his unique personal style of art and artistic discovery. That word is “intertwangleism.” [more inside]
Len Cella is a former housepainter from Broomall, Pennsylvania. He has been making short, stupid movies since long before Youtube (or indeed its userbase) was a gleam in anyone's eye. His dedication to his craft managed to get some of his Moron Movies on the Carson show. Moron Movies (1985) and More Moron Movies (1986) appeared on VHS, and have been popping up in discount bins ever since. Amazingly, they are not currently in print. You've heard of outsider music -- now enjoy a little outsider comedy. [more inside]
Wesley Willis's Joy Rides, one week only at Pitchfork TV. Dual-wielding a Technics KN and a microphone, breaking Chicago down to a vector space of magic marker; homeless busker, Napster celebrity, punk headliner and hellraiser: take your pick. The late Wesley Willis as remembered in Joy Rides.
Deep in the Heart of Jersey you'll find "Uncle Floyd" Vivino, roaming the streets of various towns and cities, kibbitzing with the locals. In Belleville. Nutley. Bloomfield Avenue and Ferry Street in Newark. Kearny. Cliffside Park. Main Street, Paterson. An abandoned lot in Paterson. What, you never heard of Uncle Floyd? [more inside]
With black velvet paintings of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Jack Abramoff, Phil Spector, Jon Benet Ramsey, Jesus and a Big Rig, Erik Estrada, Charles Nelson Reilly, Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher, and everyone's favorite physicist, Stephen Hawking, velvet paintings aren't just of Elvis, Unicorns, and Aztec Indians anymore.
Pearl Fryar just wanted to win Yard of the Month back in 1984. Today his Bishopville, SC garden may be the most original example of outsider art in Southeastern America, and a tourist destination in it's own right.
Hitotoki.org (Japanese for 'a point in time') is a "new literary site collecting stories of personal, singular experiences in Tokyo." If you've visited Tokyo, please consider sharing a part of your Tokyo experience at hitotoki.org. If you plan to visit Japan, please peruse what will be an interesting collection of personal stories of life in Tokyo.
It's BACK! Otis F. Odder (of The Bran Flakes and Comfort Stand Recordings is reviving his 365 Days project on the WFMU Beware Of The Blog! Hot damn! He opens it with the complete recordings of the Michael Mills Satanic Messages Radio Show and the complete Beatles Forever recordings (previously excerpted in the first incarnation). (Previously on MeFi)
Mr. Frank J. Stola (flash): a self-described professional musician who mangles any and all genres he attempts. Don't miss his take on instrumental fusion rock classical jazz, revolutionary country n western traditional, or heavy metal instrumental on CD Baby. Equally marvelous are his strange, minimal videos. And don't forget to pick up Mr. Stola's myriad products at his Cafepress store. Is he serious?
"This was painted by a person with a rare and severe mental disorder. He was constantly seeing his own fantasies all around him. He also had a certain phobia..." (via Digg). The image is an imperfect reproduction of a particular postcard dated 1972. A blogger (in Russian) claims his psychiatry professor found one aspect of this eerie painting that reveals the patient's disorder. Allegedly, only one of his students in the past 15 years has figured it out. The psychoanalytic mystery has piqued the interest (in Russian) of the online community. A number of supplemental hints from the professor and thousands of guesses later, the case remains unsolved. Skeptics have already decried the mystery as a traffic-boosting hoax, but a few signs still point to its authenticity. Most notably, the artist's reproduction of another classic painting contains the following note: "transferred in 1990 from Moscow mental hospital."
An American troubadour pays tribute with a Steve Irwin death song, while the Australians blokes insist that stingrays must pay!!!
Ramsey Kearney was a teenage country music prodigy nicknamed the Dixie Farmboy, a rockabilly singer with the Jimmie Martin Combo, a songwriter for Brenda Lee, and a producer of the most cloying Elvis tribute single ever recorded. Kearney would have almost no connection to alternative music whatsoever until John Trubee, a notorious crank phone caller and sideman for Zoogz Rift, found an ad in the back of the Midnight Globe tabloid from Kearney's Nashco Records label, a song-poem company offering to put his words to music for a small fee. Trubee sent his own disturbing LSD-fueled lyrics to Nashco, but to his surprise, Nashco accepted the lyrics after taking a $79.95 fee from Trubee. Kearney tweaked the lyrics slightly in order to avoid a lawsuit from Stevie Wonder, but the end product was the cult classic novelty song, Blind Man's Penis. (more inside)
Whether you love it or hate it, Ulillillia City is a fascinating site by fascinating person. It's a meticulously annotated, categorized and laid out record of one man's entire mental life: his colour coded daily life, his dreams (over 400!), his fears, his video game ideas (including the supernatural olympics), his unique personalized mind game, his extensive tips 'n' tricks, how he processes and listens to music, and far more...
Pasaquan: Eddie Owens Martin, pot-smokin', homo hustlin' New York transplant, son of a Georgia sharecropper falls ill, sees visions, "becomes" Saint EOM, spends 30 years turning homestead into grand work of art, commits suicide, languishes in semi-obscurity...
A new documentary is about to be released about Daniel Johnston. Johnston is the mind behind Hi, How Are You?, a basement tape which has enjoyed a cult following since not long after he distributed it to strangers in the streets of Austin, TX. Despite a constant battle with mental illness, he has managed to assemble quite a discography as well as creating artwork. More on Johnston here and here. [ (not much) More Inside.]
Mingering Mike is the soul superstar you've never heard of.
J.P. Dinsmoor fought in the Civil War and had two children in his eighties. He was a die-hard Populist, the first resident of Lucas, KA to go electric and when he died he was mummified. Somewhere in there he had time to build The Garden of Eden, discussed in "What's the Matter With Kansas" and contrasted with this wingnut.
And they're both called Populists.
And they're both called Populists.
Rummage Through The Crevices (Musical Curiosities, Obscurities and other Unearthed Treasures) is "a weekly community radio segment (Friday mornings, 2SER-FM, Sydney, Australia) devoted to offbeat and outsider music, less travelled paths of global pop, interesting re-issued treasures, music-sharing activists, notable and unusual online mp3 repositories, etc. This webloggy thing is its online companion."
The eccentric art of Lewis Smith - a man who lived alone in the woods with no amenities, at age 60, he began drawing all day, every day. His themes included muscular and wrestling women drawn on brown paper bags, and diner scenes drawn on cracker boxes. He drew or painted on every surface including the walls of his home and his barn. If he were alive today, he would probably be amazed to learn that many of pencil and crayon drawings sell for upwards of $1000.
Harry Stephen Keeler has been called one of the strangest writers who ever lived. He has also been called the Ed Wood of Mystery Writers. His plots are labyrinthine, convoluted, insane, built on coincidences. There's a Harry Stephen Keeler Society. His works are now being re-printed. And, if you're feeling brave, you can read many of his works on-line. Keeler created, and was seemingly the sole practitioner of, a genre he called the "webwork novel." This is a story in which diverse characters and events are connected by a strings of wholly implausible coincidences
Outsider Music. From a mailing list, here's a concise description of what is really more an idea than a genre, per se. The Hip Surgery Music Guide has some info on the essential artrists of the phenomenon. If you wanted to stretch the definitions of the form you could include, some better-known artists as well. Unspoiled genius in the rough or merely crude freakshow appeal? The answer I believe is somewhere is somewhere in between. But in an age where most music is either a copy of what is currently popular or a revival of what used to be popular, Outsider Music is a place to go for a "Wow! What was that?" musical experience.
The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, as caused by the Child Slave Rebellion.
The story recounts the wars between nations on an enormous and unnamed planet, of which Earth is a moon. The conflict is provoked by the Glandelinians, who practice child enslavement. After hundreds of ferocious battles, the good Christian nation of Abbiennia forces the 'haughty' Glandelinians to give up their barbarous ways. The heroines of Darger's history are the seven Vivian sisters, Abbiennian princesses. They are aided in their struggles by a panoply of heroes, who are sometimes the author's alter-egos. The battles are full of vivid incident: charging armies, ominous captures, alarms and explosions, the appearances of demons and dragons.Details within.