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Tag Archives: Kung Fu

But Is It Art? (No, It Isn’t Art)

25 Feb

February 25, 2017

This story comes from Midnight in the Desert, which is the site for the Art Bell Show. OH, sorry, which was the site for the Art Bell Show. Yep, Art unretired then retired yet again. But the site remains standing and the news remains odd. 

Once again, it is time for another installment of Mr. Blog’s ongoing battle with so-called “art.” Maybe we need another term, one keeping more in line with the political climate. Maybe we can call this “fake art.” Or how about “alt-art”? Read the article and we’ll decide.

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Abraham Poincheval is no stranger to daring performance art, but his latest project is probably the toughest one yet. The French artist will spend eight straight days sealed in a human shaped hole carved out inside a giant boulder. The purpose of this unusual performance – “to find out what the world is”.

On February 22, 2017, 45-year-old Poincheval was sealed in this carved out stone sarcophagus at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo gallery, where he will allegedly spend eight straight days, until March 1st. His temporary prison, a large boulder split in two with just enough room to fit the artist’s body in sitting position, and enough food and water to keep him in good physical condition over his eight days of isolation. His only connection to the outside world is a ventilation duct that keeps him from suffocating in the tight space.

“The purpose is to feel the aging stone inside the rock,” told media reporters. “There is my own breathing, and then the rock which lives, still humid because it was extracted not so long ago from the quarry. So there is that flow, that coming and going, between myself and the stone.”

Speaking for a moment as a scientist (yes, I have a degree in advanced scientifity from an online Turkish university) I must point out that rocks are not, technically, alive. But let’s take this loon’s statement seriously. If the rock was alive, then he must have killed it when he cut it in half and hollowed it out. Way to go, murderer.

The guy wants to “find out what the world is.” Is the inside of a rock the best place to do that? It may be the exact opposite of that. Caine from Kung Fu walked the Earth to find out about the world and who am I to argue with one of the most popular shows of the 1970’s? No one sat in a rock in any episode that I ever saw.

I was tempted to do some research to find out just who is paying for this nonsense, but quite honestly, I just don’t care that much. Frankly, I think this guy is trying to dodge either some creditors or an ex-wife. 

But back to the question at hand. The man will be living inside a rock for eight days. I’m sure people will go and look at the rock and flock there to see, well, absolutely nothing but hey, this somehow is called “performance” art. So is this art? Is this, by any stretch of the imagination, art? 

No.

I don’t think “fake art” or “alt-art” covers this. I prefer the good, old-fashioned “crap.”

See? Even these cartoon kids and their musical dog know.

See? Even these cartoon kids and their musical dog know.

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The Second Lives of Count Dracula

27 Oct

October 27, 2016

Lee Halloween

I love Hammer films, especially their Dracula series. Christopher Lee is perfect as The Count. He’s regal but animalistic. He’s noble but savage. He has a commanding presence and the aura of someone that not only will you obey, but someone you would never consider not obeying, even at the cost of your life. As it usually is.

The films are moody and atmospheric and even the lesser films are creepy and gothic. Lee played Dracula in seven of the nine Dracula films Hammer produced. Despite the title, Brides of Dracula did not feature Dracula, and I am not counting 1974’s The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires as Dracula was little more than a cameo.

Dracula is the Lord of the Vampires, king of the undead, and the greatest vampire scourge on Earth, according to the films. He’s been around for generations and shows no sign of stopping. The problem is, that despite the menace he projects and the reputation he possess, he doesn’t do much. Count Dracula spends his time on film on petty and minor pursuits, usually being his own worst enemy, and starting with the second film, unable to survive more than a few days before being destroyed again. He’s a bit of a failure who just gets by on his name and reputation. His best days are long behind him.

Film 1: The Horror of Dracula (1958)
This is an excellent version of the Stoker book, easily my favorite, and much better than the Francis Ford Coppola version. Dracula terrorizes the countryside, making victims of whoever is foolish enough to be unprotected at night, and is feared far and wide.

But look closely and you’ll see that he’s a hermit who never leaves his castle. Yes, he feeds at night, but returns alone. He has three vampire “brides,” but shows very little interest in creating more vampires. He lives alone and stays alone. Coffin, kill, coffin. Professor Van Helsing calls him a worldwide menace who could use his powers to take over the world, but he shows no inclination to do so. Yes, he is the scourge of Transylvania, but he’s really just a local menace, and if he didn’t need fresh blood he’s probably just stay in his empty castle all the time. He has books and other diversions in his home but shows no signs of using them. Even his move to London is out of laziness- the city is more crowded and victims will be easier to find.

dracula_prince_of_darkness_1968Film 2: Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
It has been 10 years since Dracula has been destroyed but the local villagers still live in fear. They won’t even go to church since the shadow of Dracula’s castle falls on it.

Dracula is resurrected by a previously unseen servant. He kills a traveler and mixes his blood with the Count’s ashes, bringing him back from the dead. After a ten year absence, Dracula feeds on another traveler, then instead of resuming his haunts decides to be petty and stalk the remaining travelers who escaped him. After failing to do much of anything, and failing at killing the travelers, Dracula is again destroyed (trapped under ice in running water) after only a day.

Film 3: Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
After a year entombed, Dracula is freed from the ice when blood from a priest’s wound seeps through a crack in the ice and touches his lips. Dracula returns to his castle and finds that a large cross has been placed over the doors. Instead of simply having his hypnotized servant remove the cross and return to his old ways, he spends the majority of the film hiding in the back room of an old bakery plotting the death of a young barmaid, niece of the Monsignor who placed the cross. After another day, maybe two, he is impaled on the giant cross.

At this point in the film series, Dracula has been resurrected twice, spent his time on petty and pointless revenge, and “lived” for a total of no more than three days since the end of the first film. He’s spent time hiding in a wagon outside a monastery and in a dirty basement room instead of his castle.

poster-dracula-has-risen-from-the-grave-teaser

Film 4: Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
At some point, possibly weeks after the last film, Dracula is brought back by a satanic ritual and immediately vows to kill the people who killed the man who resurrected him, despite not knowing the man. Again, he shows no interest in returning to his castle and instead his petty desire for revenge, which frankly should be beneath him, directly leads to his being turned back to dust at film’s end.

Film 5: Scars of Dracula (1970)
After an undetermined amount of time, Dracula returns from the dead when a bat regurgitates blood into his ashes, which have been inexplicably returned to his castle since the last film.

This film breaks the pattern of the last films and is closer to the first. Dracula has servants, creates more vampire brides, and, most tellingly, slaughters an entire village. This is the Dracula that had only been hinted at in the previous films. This Dracula is nearly invincible and no human agency can stop him. He is only destroyed when he is hit by a bolt of lightning.

Unfortunately, Hammer decided to move the franchise into modern times, taking the Count totally out of his Gothic element.

Film 6: Dracula AD 1972 (1972)
Film 7: The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
These films take Dracula out his usual setting but surround him with satanic cultists, which finally brings Dracula in line with his description as being an enemy of the world. Dracula takes on new identities, somewhat integrates himself into society, and generally acts more like a cult leader than a monster. However, this being the 1970’s that fits in with the era’s horror mold.

There was one final Dracula film. The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, which is mainly a kung-fu film bookended by short Dracula sequences. Why does Dracula move to Asia? Laziness. Things were getting too rough in England for him. So I guess this film was a throwback to the old lazy Dracula in the first movie.

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