Articles by Matthew Newton

Intermission

The Black Angels: “Black Grease” (2006)

“Black Grease” from The Black Angels‘ debut album, 2006′s Passover on the Light in the Attic label. The song is simple, a psych-rock droner marked by a full-blown guitar trance. Other highlights on the album include “Young Men Dead” and “The First Vietnamese War.” About “Black Grease,” one YouTuber sez: “This tune makes me want to strip naked and go…

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Art Department

The Mad World Of Al Jaffee

Back in October, The New York Times featured an interactive slideshow of Al Jaffee’s infamous fold-ins for Mad magazine, from the 1960s to the present. It was a supplement to this article, which examined the career of Mad’s longest-serving contributor. Jaffee turned 90 this past March, and he’s still churning out high-quality cartoons. Here’s to hoping old age will be…

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Cultural Notebook

The Furries Have Arrived

In what’s become an annual summer tradition here in Pittsburgh, the furries have arrived for Anthrocon. For those who are unfamiliar, “Anthrocon is the world’s largest convention for those fascinated with anthropomorphics, which are humanlike animal characters. We are a collection of artists, animators, writers, costumers, puppeteers, and just everyday fans who enjoy cartoon animals and their kin.” Let the…

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Communication Breakdown

Anti-Censorship Campaign Gets Down And Dirty

To make a point, the new anti-censorship ad campaign for Reporters Without Borders purposefully blurs the line between decency and reality: Vladimir Putin sleeps on the job engages in thoughtful self-examination; President Obama gives a reassuring pat on the arm to smiles while groping Hillary Clinton; and David Cameron calls on a reporter signals his explicit discontent.

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The Way We Were

Baseball Ruled When Cocaine Was King

Back when the Pittsburgh Pirates were world champs, they smoked in the dugout and snorted cocaine at post-game parties. Dave Parker (pictured) was one of the team’s big personalities of the time, surrounded by as much lore as teammate Dock Ellis: “In the early 1970s, as a member of the Pirates AAA minor league ball team Charleston (WV) Charlies, Parker…

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Adventures In Modern Music

Company Flow: “N2N Burners Lost Mix”

In rap nostalgia news, Company Flow (i.e., El-P, Bigg Jus, and Mr. Len) are reuniting for a show next month, their first in over a decade. According to the press release, it’s already sold out. So, no tickets for you (or me). Today, as a lead-in to the reunion, El-P released this lost mix of “N2N Burners” from 1998.

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Made You Look

The Secret Lives Of Nesting Dolls

Anatomical nesting dolls by Jason Levesque, for an exhibition at the Rothick Art Haus. (Source)

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Communication Breakdown

We All Lose When Creative Types Throw Gang Signs

An unknown staffer from BBDO Belgium “shows his set” during the Cannes Film Festival this week. Because, in case you didn’t know, the ad firm has a set. It all started here, when BBDO Germany was in recruitment mode and created a hood version of the Uncle Sam “I Want You” poster. Copyranter says it best: “You better watch that…

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Information Society

When Social Mapping Turns Macabre

Death in the digital age has become increasingly odd. On Monday, following the news of Ryan Dunn’s death in an automobile crash, the public began tracing his activity prior to the accident using the information posted to Dunn’s Twitter and Tumblr accounts. The detail that almost immediately went viral was a photograph of Dunn and friends at a Westchester County…

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Intermission

Harvey Milk: “One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong” (1996)

Harvey Milk‘s sparse and depressive cover of Leonard Cohen’s “One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong,” for the album Courtesy And Good Will Toward Men (1996). To be fair, the original version is no carnival.

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Information Society

Anatomy Of A Computer Virus

This infographic examines the nature and ramifications of Stuxnet, a “Microsoft Windows computer worm discovered in July 2010 that targets industrial software and equipment.” Some experts have called it the first weapon made entirely from code. In August of 2010, it was reported that variants of Stuxnet were used to target Iran’s uranium enrichment infrastructure. Last December Gary Samore,…

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Cultural Notebook

In Progress: Pharrell Williams Resource Center

Pharrell Williams is investing in the youth of Virginia Beach, his hometown, with a $35 million/30,000-square foot facility intended to nurture creativity. The space is slated to open in 2013, and according to ArchDaily, the center’s “treehouse [concept] aims to inspire future generations through architecture, providing a place where kids can escape and imagine.” With rap always acting as a…

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Cultural Notebook

An American Apparel Ad Without Controversy

Watching this latest ad spot from American Apparel is unnerving, mainly because you’re waiting for the action within the frame to deteriorate into awkwardness bordering on perversion. But this time around AA keeps it G-rated, and fairly well executed. Shot by Tony Kelly, a photographer whose helped the brand propagate its nipple-centric style as of late, the focus remains…

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Terrordome 2.0

An Online Chronicle Of Dogs Killed By Police

It’s by no means an uplifting topic, but a new website, Dogs That Cops Killed, is a fascinating look at the way law enforcement officials treat and react to animals in their everyday work. Conceived by founder Greg Karber, the site highlights incidence of police-on-dog shootings pulled from local and national news reports.

The content often becomes graphic, as seen…

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Video Vault

Future Shock (1972)

Released in 1972, this documentary is based on the popular and widely translated book “Future Shock” by noted American futurist Alvin Toffler. Hosted and narrated by Orson Welles, there’s a fairly sinister tone throughout, mainly one of paranoia regarding what’s to come. Given the film is nearly 40 years old, seeing the future from the perspective of the past…

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Communication Breakdown

When Political Attack Ads Intentionally Stoke Controversy

Earlier this week conservative political group Turn Right USA was hoping that a video featuring rappers, AK-47s, and stripper poles could tilt California’s special congressional election in favor of the Republicans next month. In the video — titled “Give us your cash, B–ch!” — and its accompanying website, the group claimed that Democratic candidate Janice Hahn increased gang violence in…

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Internet Cinema

The Crusader (2007)

In this short film directed by Gerard Monaco, Lee Philips tries to sue Warner Bros. for misrepresentation.

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The Great White North

Vancouver Riots Offer Violence, Young Love

Last night riots broke out in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins. According to someone who knows, the (sporting) frustration that boiled over had been years in the making. As often happens in these situations, the upset people wanted to break windows and scream, while those of sound mind attempted to preach…

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Communication Breakdown

Time Gambles On Apocalyptic Imagery

End-of-the-world hysteria may have died down in recent weeks, but that hasn’t altered collective fascination with the idea of a society on the brink of collapse, especially when marketing opportunities (and advertising dollars) are at stake. The latest players looking to cash in on fictional disaster scenarios are journalistic stalwart Time and video game maker Activision, who are collaborating to…

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Burn Hollywood Burn

Tracy Morgan’s Gay Problems

Tracy Morgan’s homophobia problem persists. Last Saturday he performed at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, and according to audience member Kevin Rogers, “the show was your typical hysterical dick, cum and pussy humor.” At least, until it wasn’t. “I figured at some point the gay jokes would fly and I’m well prepared for a good ribbing of straight gay humor,” Rogers writes.…

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