Abe Kogan performed as a human cannonball from 1946-1980. He still dreams of flying.

Marilyn Manson has finally decided like so many other celebs to endorse his own product. The rocker was instrumental in developing his label of absinthe. And yes, its true that certain brands of true absinthe are now legal in the US. It is also absolutely false that absinthe will make you go looney more than any other type of spirit. That was all actually a giant smear campaign created by a threatened wine industry in France during the early 1900s.

 

Oliver Ackerman is the singer and guitar player for A Place to Bury Stangers. The band has generated indie-cult status. In addition to playing very loud music, he is the creator of Death By Audio. Several years back, Oliver had the idea to sell his custom guitar FX pedals that he had designed for his himself. This fruitful experiment lead to something bigger. The very studio where he was working became something of a collective artists space that curates shows and provides bands with rehearsal and recording space. Picthfork has done a feature on Oliver’s brainchild.

Dede Kosawara, 37, has been referred to as the “Tree Man of Java.” Dede is covered in bark-like warts caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This common virus is generally easily cared for. However, in Dede’s case an immune system deficiency has rendered his body unable to fight off the infection. Due to his inability to use his hands, he could no longer make an income and his wife left him. With no other choice, Dede began to make a living as part of a freak show.

The brighter side to this story is that Western doctors have taken an interest in his case and have begun to surgically remove the growths. Already 4 lbs of growth have been removed from his hands. More importantly, his spirits are high.

(Please be aware that the above links lead to rather disturbing images.)

Doug Aitken is a renowned multimedia artist who has worked with video installation, sculpture, and photography.  In 2006, he published Broken Screen: 26 Conversations. The book compiles conversations with artists in which they discuss their desires to work outside of conventional linear narrative forms. Aitken engages his fellow artists—including Werner Herzog, Ed Ruscha, Robert Altman, Kenneth Anger, Claire Denis, Amos Vogel, and Alejandro Jodorowsky—in discussion, as opposed to critical interviews. Below are some choice quotes:

“I almost feel like the process of filmmaking is a performance itself. The act of filmmaking becomes an extension of the performance on-screen.—Matthew Barney

“…I got fired again and again because people like Jack Warner, the cofounder of Warner Brothers, would say, ‘who has actors all talking at the same time?’ Well I haven’t had many experiences in real life where people don’t talk all at the same time. People don’t wait around for each other to shut up before they speak.”—Robert Altman

“…the notion of a beginning and an end is a rational formulation that I don’t use anymore. For me, life is not continuous. If I have a beginning and end in one of my films, its not a real beginning or end. These things don’t exist.”—Alejandro Jodorowsky

 

At the young age of 30, photographer Ryan McGinley has firmly established himself as one of the most celebrated fine art photographers of his generation. His current series entitled, I Know Where the Summer Goes is on display at New York’s Team Gallery until May 3rd. For this project inspired by nudist magazines from the 60’s & 70’s, McGinley hit the road with a group of models for the summer. Having shot 4000 rolls of film that resulted in 150,000 images, McGinley edited the show down to 50 photographs.

Controversial animation director Ralph Bakshi is best known for his cult classic Fritz the Cat. If you aren’t familiar with his work, think Robert Crumb as a filmmaker. Bakshi is also credited with elevating rotoscope animation techniques to new levels with his version of The of Lord of the Rings (1978) and American Pop (1981). The truth is that Bakshi is a rebel. He is literally the Cool World to a more mainstream Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

In recent years, Bakshi has spent the better part of his time working as a painter. He will be in attendance on Thursday April 17th for the opening of his work at the Animazing Gallery.

German photographer Walter Schels and his partner Beate Lakotta have created a collection of photos contrasting portraits of the dying with their image just after passing. The series entitled Life Before Death will be on display at London’s Wellcome Collection from April 9 - May 18. 

Value your internet freedoms; and do so by staying abreast of the net neutrality wars that are taking shape. Damian Kulash Jr. is best known as the singer for OK GO. The band has become poster children for the idea that success can be generated through the internet. This is exactly why Kulash was asked to be a witness for the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust task force. He wrote an op-ed for the New York Times talking a bit about the topic. This issue is not going away folks.

If you don’t know of Michael Pollan, perhaps you have heard of his critically heralded book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. And perhaps this interview will persuade you to pick up the book. Pollan has a fantastic way of articulating the importance of understanding where our food comes from, and how our food affects our society socially, culturally, politically, and economically.

 

The people behind the success of American Apparel are no dummies. They have created what seems like an overnight clothing empire. They maintain a progressive work environment that provides educational opportunity and fair pay to their employees. Their simplistic stylish clothing is made from good quality materials and is manufactured entirely in the US. However, their CEO has made public his interest in orgies and the use of “the camel-toe” as a means to advertising (thanks Terry Richardson). I didn’t realize the extent of his silliness. The company is being sued by Woody Allen for using his image in a billboard campaign; apparently they didn’t even bother to get his permission first.

 

Controversial photographer Joel Peter Witkin is best known for his sepia toned images. Often employing the use of cadavers and societies “freaks” for models, his photos are created with painstaking detail. For the most part his work has been celebrated by the fine art world in museums and galleries by audiences with a taste for the macabre. Fashion designer Alexander McQueen, tipped his hat to Witkin’s odalisque when he created a filmed homage to show off his Spring/Summer 2001 collection.  I never would have expected to find Witkin’s work in a NY Times fashion spread, highlighting designs by the Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren and of course McQueen. This feature dates back to 2006.


Photographer Carrie Levy began to win applause for her work at a very young age. Her photos have been displayed in countless exhibitions around the world. She has published her work in several prestigious collections and produced a book including a documentary series on her family’s coping process from her father’s incarceration, entitled 51 Months. Levy has launched a beautiful gallery of her images. She also happens to be one of my favorite people in the world. Her collaboration on the design of the site with Mandy Brown, another one of my favorite people (& better half) proves that simplicity is key when displaying work.