Mixed Media

Shepard Fairey Designs Gay Rights Poster (I Think)

| Fri Nov. 14, 2008 6:08 PM EST

mojo-photo-faireylove-sm.jpgVia Gawker, who rightly categorized this under "Things We Like" but couldn't help themselves from a subtle "fists up" joke, it's a poster in support of marriage equality designed by Shepard Fairey, whose red-and-blue Obama poster became such an iconic image in the presidential campaign that it inspired legions of imitators and parodies. I can't find any mention of it on Fairey's Obey Giant site, so I hope this isn't just a really well-done homage to his neo-propaganda style, but either way, it's pretty cool—as Gawker puts it, it's "butch," for once avoiding the same old triangles and rainbows we see on every gay thing ever. On the other hand, it's a bit, well, vague. Now, I recently complained to the esteemed MoJo editors about gay rights stories being ghettoized under the "Arts and Culture" section, so I'll try not to get too far into the politics of this here on the Riff, but some gay rights activists have said part of the problem with the (unforgivably disastrous and disorganized) No on 8 campaign was that their ads skirted around depicting actual gays and lesbians. The Obama "Hope" poster had, you know, an actual picture of Obama on it, but this one only reads "gay" if you, like most people I know, are already really pissed off about Prop 8. Maybe there could have been two hands, clasped? Also, maybe people could have done some of this before the election? Grumble. Deep breath. Anyway, nice work as always from Mr. Fairey. Click the "Continues" button to see it embiggened.

Update: Fairey has posted the graphic to his website, saying that "anyone who believes in equality and human dignity should be appalled that Prop. 8 passed." Right on, although Dave Gilson caught that the fist image was just recycled from an earlier "Obey" poster, with, er, its orientation changed.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Crank-Call Scandal Turns BBC Upside Down

| Thu Nov. 13, 2008 6:35 PM EST

mojo-photo-brandross.jpgAnglophiles out there may have already been watching this saga unfold with amusement (as we sip our tea), but it's finally reached the hallowed pages of the New York Times, so here's the story for the uninitiated. British comedian Russell Brand (far right), known to US audiences as a recent host of the MTV Video Music Awards, has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2 every Saturday night. On the October 18th episode, Brand and guest Jonathan Ross (near right) left multiple "lewd" messages on the answering machine of Andrew Sachs, the actor who played Manuel on Fawlty Towers, after being unable to reach Sachs for a pre-scheduled interview. Part of the messages' gist was that Brand had had an affair with Sachs' granddaughter, Georgina Baillie. While only a few complaints were received after the initial broadcast, The Mail on Sunday took notice eight days later, writing an article and a commentary piece calling the show "verbal sewage." Complaints skyrocketed, reaching nearly 40,000 within a week, and even Prime Minister Gordon Brown jumped in the fray, saying the episode was "unacceptable." The fallout was severe: Brand was suspended and then quit, Ross was suspended from his popular Friday night television show for three months, and two BBC executives resigned. So, what the heck did they say?

The Christmas Wars MMVIII: Attack of the Atheists

| Thu Nov. 13, 2008 4:52 PM EST

mock_interior.pngSeems like every year Christmas decorations in stores go up earlier. Even the Banana Republic across the street from Mother Jones' offices has installed its celebratory, yet demure, holiday displays well in advance. Appropriately, the "War on Christmas" is also getting an early start this year. Already a pro-atheist group, the American Humanist Association, has launched a literally godless ad campaign that's riling up the pro-Christmas soldiers at Fox News and other conservative outlets. The ads (seen left) are shamelessly posted on 200 secular buses throughout D.C. In addition, the American Humanist Association will post billboards in Lamb's-blood-red Colorado Springs and Denver that say, "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."

The congenial press contact for the campaign, Fred Edwords, says he will appear on CNN and Bill O'Reilly's show tonight. That promises to be interesting since O'Reilly prophesized that a lack of a properly Christian Christmas could lead society to embrace other "...secular progressive programs, like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious-based, usually." Instead of leading to gay marriage, O'Reilly would prefer Christmas lead to religious celebrations and the purchase of specialty, fleur-de-lis emblazoned doormats sold on his site which boldly proclaim "We Say Merry Christmas."

Bill O'Reilly isn't the only one worried about Christmas, though. The book publishing world is pinning its hopes not on a Jewish guy in sandals, but on a blonde British woman in pointy boots: J.K. Rowling. Her new book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, is reportedly the shining hope of what promises to be an otherwise rather gloomy time for Border's. Christmas will also be not-so-fun for folks at Hearst. And Morgan Stanley. And Viacom. Merry Christmas!

Never-Nudes Rejoice: Arrested Development Movie In the Works?

| Thu Nov. 13, 2008 3:30 PM EST

mojo-photo-arresteddev.jpgSo much good news! Obama wins, and now this—can the discovery that donuts are good for you be far behind? Some website called Collider.com has video of Jeffrey Tambor saying that an Arrested Development movie "is a go." Eeee! The details are sketchy but Tambor seems pretty confident, claiming that "when the writer and the director calls you it's a pretty good sign." Also, last night Keith Olbermann reported that David Cross has also confirmed he got the same call. It all seems so real, but maybe this is just a bunch of fake mini-actors meant to fool Japanese investors?

After the jump: the long, Bluthian saga

XM and Sirius Merge (and Cut) Stations

| Wed Nov. 12, 2008 9:06 PM EST

mojo-photo-siriusxmmerger.jpgRolling Stone reports that the long-anticipated union of XM and Sirius' roster of music channels took place today, resulting in the elimination of some stations. The move had been expected since the companies' merger went through back in July, but it still took some listeners by surprise. Flagship stations like Sirius' Howard Stern channel and the Eminem-led "Shade 45" as well as XM's Bob Dylan and Tom Petty stations will remain, unsurprisingly, but say goodbye to Sirius' "Left of Center" (whose college rock playlist is now supposed to be covered by XM's "XMU") and XM's "Fred," "Ethel" and "Lucy," whose variations on the alt-rock theme are all kaput.

After the jump: hear a station die!

Top 5: New Music

| Wed Nov. 12, 2008 8:22 PM EST

mojo-photo-top5-1112.jpg

In this edition, blippy '80s-style electro bemoans unrequited love, swaggering rock offers brutal dishonesty, freaky beats reminisce about sugary treats, Portugal gives us the party jams, and in the biggest shocker of all, a hip-hop producer may enjoy marijuana.

1. Lo-Fi Fnk – "Want U" (from Kitsune Maison 6)
This track from the juggernaut French electro label combines a retro-rave piano line with deadpan neo-80s vocals for a sound that's somewhere between Madonna producer Stuart Price and Cut Copy, then, halfway through, it seems to de- and re-construct itself. Sure, as the lyrics say, "you can't make someone want you," but you can sure make them like your crazy tune. (mp3 from Ohh! Crapp)

2. Eagles of Death Metal – "Anything 'Cept the Truth" (from Heart On on Downtown)
These Eagles have always seemed like a junk-food dalliance compared to Josh Homme's other project, the meat-and-potatoes (and, uh, drugs) Queens of the Stone Age. The new album is a mixed bag and often descends into eye-rolling raunch-camp, but when it gets a little serious, it takes on the strutting groove of the Rolling Stones. (Stream at Last.fm)

3. Tobacco – "Hairy Candy" (from F***ed Up Friends on Anticon)
People call this kind of music "druggy," but to me it just seems awesome, although I've always said I may just be naturally stoned. Tobacco is apparently one guy, a member of Pittsburgh freaks Black Moth Super Rainbow (whose 2007 album Dandelion Gum is also great). Friends was recorded way out in rural Pennsylvania, and while its noodly synth melodies may owe something to Boards of Canada, this is gritty and organic music, a nature walk with a kooky 70s soundtrack. (mp3 from Penned Madness)

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Elton John, Tegan & Sara Weigh In on Prop 8

| Wed Nov. 12, 2008 6:30 PM EST

mojo-photo-tegansaraelton.jpgThe passage of California's Proposition 8, re-banning same-sex marriage, has inspired a variety of responses from music's out gays. While most have reacted with anger, some even threatening to withhold taxes, Sir Elton John is more practical. Gays and lesbians have often made peace with our lack of marriage rights by rejecting the institution itself, and John has taken this side, blaming Prop 8's win on "the word marriage" freaking people out:

"What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage… I don't want to be married. I'm very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership," said John. "The word marriage, I think, puts a lot of people off. You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships."

Okay, Elton, let me introduce you to Tegan & Sara.

Yes, You're Old: Nirvana Baby, Now 17, Reenacts Nevermind Cover

| Wed Nov. 12, 2008 5:52 PM EST

mojo-photo-nevermindguy.jpgI know your corns were giving you trouble and you just stepped on your bifocals, but here's another reminder of your rapidly advancing age: the wee tot whose wee-wee was displayed proudly on the cover of Nirvana's Nevermind album is now 17 years old, and he has recreated the famous photo, just to rub it in. Spencer Elden was just a baby when his parents were paid $200 to drop him in a pool for the up-and-coming Seattle band. The resulting image of the infant swimming hungrily after a dollar bill (coinciding with Nirvana's move to Geffen) has since become one of the most iconic in the history of recorded music. MTV News says it's "unclear" why Elden shot the new photo, although I think the subject of the photo itself might be a big hint. Elden's wearing dopey board shorts in the new photo, which EW's Popwatch blog says turns out to be "the difference between art and commerce," and they're right: naked, it would have been a kind of John-Lennon-In-Bed-With-Yoko statement, but instead it gives the impression some sleazy web site gave him 50 bucks, and he goes "okay, but I'm keeping the shorts on," and they go, "fine, just hurry up, we've got a Lohan story to cover." So the whole thing feels more sad and embarrassing than anything else. ...Or wait, maybe that's our gray hair that's sad and embarrassing.

Photo from splashnewsonline.com.

Still Rappin' For Obama

| Wed Nov. 12, 2008 4:44 PM EST

Seeing Party Ben's post on Jay Z's new victory rap, I thought I'd add a link to an NPR bit on how Obama energized (and cleaned up) some rappers. Apparently, some have moved from 'hos to po-li-ti-cos!

Get it?

See? I'm not a nerd.

TV on the Radio and Portishead Battle It Out for Album of the Year

| Tue Nov. 11, 2008 6:38 PM EST

Perhaps you aren't aware of it, but deep in the trenches of music criticism, there's a war being fought. With only a month and a half left in 2008, nerds around the world will soon be forced to choose an Album of the Year, and there are two major contenders: Portishead's Third, an utterly bleak comeback album that makes the band's earlier work look like High School Musical, and TV on the Radio's Dear Science, a step forward for a band of Gloomy Gusses who suddenly seem almost optimistic. In the interest of helping music critics and music-critic-wannabes, here's a helpful graph comparing different aspects of the two albums.