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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Modern Satanism
Posted: March 5, 2020 at 6:05 pm
Were sitting drinking in a busy London pub, surrounded by goths and the oh-so-curious. Were not here to chat about The Sisters Of Mercy or Edgar Allan Poe, however. Were here to discuss faith and religion with the Global Order of Satan at one of their public meet-and-greets. Brexit and Trump turned me into a Satanist, Andy Diabolus, the co-chapter head explains. I do think that back in 2015 and 16 I was feeling a bit lost. I didnt know what was going on, so I needed some degree ofagency.
The GoS are self-described as an independent nontheistic rationalist Satanist religious ministry and they fell from heaven in 2016. They were originally the British branch of The Satanic Temple (as seen in the documentary Hail Satan?) but formed a splinter group in 2018. The split came after the GoS ran a campaign where they mailed upside-down crucifixes to Bavarian state buildings, a reaction to a law passed in June 2018 that mandated Christian crosses to be hung in the entrance of every Bavarian state building. The Satanic Temple didnt approve of this not because of its severity or blasphemous nature, but simply because they hadnt given it the greenlight.
The GoS have been building their very own global empire ever since, with chapters in Europe, Australasia and the MiddleEast.
Its a modern way to have a religion without necessarily having all the superstition, Andy tells us, citing the rebellious figure of Satan in John Miltons epic poem Paradise Lost as their main inspiration. What were doing is challenging this absolute authority. One of our major things is to challenge overbearing religions, you know? I dont mind if youre a Christian or Muslim, Im not here to stop that. However, if you go to my kids school and start pushing the bible on them, and start saying, Youve got to believe this, its the one true way, and so on, then you and I are going to have somewords.
Since the 1960s, Satanism in the USA revolved around Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible and founder of the Church Of Satan. This particular belief system, known as LaVeyan Satanism, was a mixture of Ayn Rands Objectivism a philosophy wherein doing things in your own interest is the most important tenet and good old-fashioned Occultism; incorporating sex, ritual and magic. Anton died in 1997 but the Church is still going, charging a devilish $255 to join. Since 2013, however, a group called The Satanic Temple have risen and garnered a lot of media attention with their non-theistic, leftist political message. Their biggest campaign, as covered in the aforementioned Hail Satan? documentary, was to erect a Baphomet statue next to a Ten Commandments statue that was set to be built at the Oklahoma State Capitol. The Baphomet statue was an embodiment of their goals around religious diversity and the separation of church andstate.
READ THIS: The 50 most evil songsever
In the UK, however, without a prominent and TV-ready prophet like Anton LaVey, Satanic sects have generally been more underground. The Order Of Nine Angles, for example, are an extreme, far-right group that have haunted the British fringes since the 60s. Andy refers to them as the Order of No Members due to their indefinite membership numbers and niche, complex worldview. He goes on to say that their ideologies, magick and their advocating murder, or culling, have no place in his group. Many members of the GoS wear masks in photos and have Satanic pseudonyms, for safety reasons rather than religious. That includes everyone includedhere.
The GoS are non-theistic, which means the followers dont actually believe in the Devil (or God) at all. So, why are they not justatheists?
Atheism is very much about what youre not you dont believe in this and that but Satanism is more like, We dont believe in God, but this is what we do believe and this is what we try to follow, Murchadh, a young member, explains as we sit with among other Satanists and drink red wine one evening in a north London flat. He refers to their pillars, which can be found proudly displayed on their website.
Among them are: Act with empathy, compassion, and wisdom towards yourself and others and, All people make mistakes. Allow them to correct those mistakes, as we seek acceptance in others over ourown.
These may seem surprisingly accessible and straight-forward and they are. The followers tell us that a battle for pluralism and religious freedom is at the heart of their movement, rather than any kind of sacrifice or sorcery you might see in late-night Channel 5 horrorfilms.
Political activism and community projects are part of their Satanism, too. Their presence at the anti-Boris march in December 2019 and their Get Home Safely campaign, are parts of their mission to rehabilitate the image of Satanism and attract like-mindedseekers.
As well as the serious stuff we do fun stuff, too, Andy insists, we go on weekends together, go to the pub together. Its not quite tea and biscuits its more cider and black (laughs).
As our conversation continues, things get a little stranger as Andy reveals, somewhat confusingly, that they actually do hold rituals and host what they call unbaptisms from time to time. He says that the ceremonies which borrow imagery and ideas from occult and pagan ceremonies are an important part of theGoS.
You do a ritual every time you cross a road, you look left, right and left again They are little ways of making yourself feel comfortable with the world, or declaring things, making statements, Andy explains. Were not conjuring demons, were not believing that by doing this we are cursing someone or are affecting other people in a certain way, its very personal, its for us. We use the trappings of [occultism]. We can use that power, that symbolistic power, rather than any sort of magical power. Its like your own personal psychodrama. He goes on to compare it to putting on a play and writing your own lines, explaining that self-affirmations are a big part ofit.
READ THIS: 12 of the most uplifting songs aboutSatan
The members we meet range from graphic designers to legal sector workers, spanning across a diverse range of ages. Some are ex-Christians, others lifelong atheists, but their connection seems as real and deep as any friendshipgroup.
Community is the important part. Meeting with people that have the same, if not similar, beliefs to me and then I dont feel alone anymore, Murchadh says, earnestly. He continues, telling us that he grew up as a Catholic and has now been a member of the Global Order for three years, joining when was 18 after losing somebody close tohim.
We cant help but wonder what role music plays in it all. Did everyone begin by listening to Slayer and drawing pentagrams on their schoolwork (like the rest of us) and then kind of, just, got carriedaway?
I started out at boarding school listening to Cradle Of Filth, who I still listen to, says Crawley, one of the members, smirking as she reminisces. I used to play it during my mums prayer meetings when I was about 16, full blast upstairs at home. There would be Gilded C**t just blaring out as the housemistress showed other parents through the house (laughs).
Despite their personal enjoyment of metal and gothic music, like Nightwish and Marilyn Manson, Andy insisted that they dont want to be gatekeepers nor let the GoS become some exclusive goth club. I find myself trying to compile playlists that arent your average thundering black metal, but theres a bit of industrial music, or Satanic doo-wop, or pop music or whatever.
Although theyre not hell-raising devil-worshippers, some of the members we speak with still make sure to separate their personal life from their Satanic social circle. Ive still got Christian friends so Im sensitive towards them, Crawley says. If I want to share something on my own private [Facebook] feed I might hide it from them. Andy echoes this, saying his Christian parents wouldnt be too chuffed if they found out and that he has rehearsed what hed say to them if they ever wereto.
Satanism is going through a renaissance of sorts, and the members we meet at the helm of it seem to be dedicated to cultivating its growth and evolution. Their dedication also stretches to providing a safe, welcoming place for atheists and agnostics that might want to hang out, make friends, have a drink and be part of positive change both personally andsocietally.
READ THIS: 10 of the most believably Satanicbands
As our night came to a close, we ask Crawley what shed say to anyone interested in the group. Send us a message on Twitter or email us, get in touch so we know that youre kosher, then come and meet us. Were not raving, blood-drinking lunatics, were normal, nice people, she smiles, sipping wine, the words Religion Sucks written across her T-shirt.
Despite what you may have seen on TV or in the newspaper, modern Satanism isnt built on a foundation of Lovecraftian rituals, witchcraft or occult practices; the real magic is found in the community that groups like GoS have built, and in their fight for a better, more liberal tomorrow.Hail!
Posted on March 3rd 2020, 11:30am
Posted: at 6:05 pm
Witches walk among us seriously. Pittchcraft is a blog written by staff writer Emily Pinigis about her life as a college student and practicing Witch.
In modern times Witchcraft is often portrayed as an evil and mythical practice. As a young Witch, I often find myself hesitating to identify publicly as such due to the inevitable comments that Witches dont exist. In fact, before I started this blog, there was only one person in my life who knew I was a Witch the Witch who introduced me to the practice. It seems that even today, people only think of Witches as the villains in Disney movies. While there are many secrets surrounding the practice, it is far more rooted in established religion than many people think.
A Google search of the term Witchcraft leads to various different definitions. Many of them relate to sorcery or exaggerated supernatural powers, while only a couple actually talk about the Wiccan religion. Even Merriam Webster defines Witchcraft as the use of sorcery or magic or communication with the devil or with a familiar. The definition is not entirely incorrect, though it leaves out all mention of Witchcraft as a real religious practice. The mentions of sorcery and devil worship are rooted in fiction as Satanism is a different religion from Wicca.
As with most religions, its fairly difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of the practice and the timeline is further confused in Witchcraft, where the practice may also involve worship of deities of other religions like Christianity or Buddhism. Some definitions of the practice even go so far as to claim that Witchcraft originated with civilization itself. Overall, the religion that is most commonly associated with Witchcraft is Wicca.
Wicca centers on pre-Christian beliefs that Magick exists within the universe and is practiced in such a way that honors nature and the elements. Wicca is also a Neo-Pagan religion, and most of the beliefs of Wicca are the same as Pagan beliefs, except without the same deities as Paganism. There are only two deities within Wicca the God and the Goddess. They are also sometimes referred to as the Horned God and the Moon Goddess.
On a very basic level, these two deities represent the masculine and feminine forces of nature and the universe. The relatively simple nature of the Wiccan deities is what allows for the practice to overlap with deities of other religions. When it comes down to it, Wicca is different from Paganism in that it allows for more religious freedom depending on the preferences of the practitioner. Paganism has strict deities that one must worship to be a Pagan. In Wicca, however, the deities need not be worshipped in such a way they simply exist as the opposing forces of nature. No matter the deities, the practicing Witch must always follow the Wiccan Rede, As it harms none, do as thou wilt.
The very first and perhaps most famous Wiccan was Gerald Gardner, a British occultist born in 1884. In 1934, he joined the New Forest Coven, a group of Witches who practiced their own Magick in a way diverged slightly from Paganism. Gardner went on to work with the teachings of Aleister Crowley another British occultist who dabbled in Witchcraft to found the modern religion Wicca. His practice began to spread from Britain into Australia and the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.
Gardners development of Wicca began shifting societys perception of Witchcraft into a more positive light. Throughout history before him, Witchcraft was seen as barbarous and often associated with devil-worshipping.
Gardner also began an era in which men could be seen as Witches. Prior to the official creation of Wicca, those being accused of Witchcraft as a blasphemous practice were almost solely women. A woman that stood out for being too promiscuous, intelligent or independent could be accused of being a Witch because she deviated from the expectations for women at the time. Men were rarely accused of being Witches, and, if they were, it was usually only if they were homosexual or flamboyant.
Witchcraft may have existed since the dawn of civilization, but it has grown and changed over the centuries. The creation of Wicca as recently as 1950 makes the entire practice very new and unknown to many people. As the definition of a Witch grows, and the societal views surrounding the practice become more positive, it is important that even those who do not practice Witchcraft understand what it means to be a Witch.
The media plays up the dark and mysterious history of Witchcraft, leaning into the supernatural elements, but it is important to remind society of practicing Witches and the very natural practice of Witchcraft. For many living Witches, it feels like an innate need to speak proudly of who we are and to educate those around us in the hopes that one day, Wicca will be normalized like every other socially accepted religion. That is precisely what I hope to achieve through these writings, if only to a small degree. I hope to normalize the practice of Witchcraft and bring more public awareness to Wicca as a legitimate practicing religion.
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Posted: at 6:05 pm
According to the people who claim to be his messengers on earth, God is pissed about rock music. From the moment that guitars, drums, bass and vocals were joined together, representatives of the major religions have decried the resulting music as blasphemy and have done their best to curb any chance young people have of enjoying it. Whether its burning CDs, rallying to government to shut down concerts, or just posting up outside of an in-store appearance with a homophobic slogan on a sign, those who claim to be Heavens messengers will always find a righteous way to attack an art form that inspires onlyjoy.
But while religion has disliked rocknroll as a whole for ages, certain artists have become the ultimate scapegoats of those doing the Lords work. These musicians have angered church-goers so muchwhether with insensitive quotes, satanic imagery, or the implication that they might occasionally have sexthat their work and/or live shows have been banned (sometimes, theyve even been held at gunpoint). For the sake of celebrating these rabble-rousers, we put together a list of those artists against whom religion has raised its torch and pitchfork thehighest.
Here are 10 artists whose songs, concerts, or very presence were banned by thechurch
For going on three decades, Marilyn Manson has been the ultimate scapegoat for religious groups. The shock rockers career is peppered with incidents of offended Christians trying to shut him down, including having his live show banned in South Carolina in 1997 and being banned from an Australia resort in 1999. Even the Church Of Satan wants to be distanced from him, having clarified his role within the church to a T so as not to have anyone think hes a minister therein. So divisive youre pissing off the sataniststhe shock rockers goldenring.
READ THIS: From spooky kid to hood goth: The changing faces of Marilyn Manson
The ol Bigger than Jesus line caused an odd speed bump in the rampant Beatlemania of the early 60s. In 1966, two broadcasters from Birmingham, Alabama, named Doug Layton and Tommy Charles went on a hardcore Ban The Beatles campaign over Lennons blasphemous quote, causing record stores and radio stations around America to burn their Beatles records and ban the band. The beef was squashed in 2010, when the Vatican officially forgave the Beatles for their hubris. Good looking out fifty years later,Rome.
There was something about Slayers brand of hard-hitting, blood-soaked satanic thrash that freaked out religious figures in the 80s like no other music. Slayer fandom soon became the ultimate symbol of an adolescence gone wrong. Pastor Bob Larson led the charge, making a big show of touring with the band and outing them as everyday metalheads. But it wasnt just in Americas sensitive midsection that the band were pariahs; their 2006 album Christ Illusion was recalled by EMI India after Christian groups protested. Its good to know Slayer remain universally feared by sensitive Christians all over theworld.
Of the bands on this list, Behemoth are one of the few who have fired shots back at the church. The Polish death metal bands frontman Nergal was charged with Blasphemy for ripping up a Bible onstage in 2007, for which he even went to trial (the charges were dropped). The band were later included on a list of bands who focus on murder and Satanism, which resulted in Behemoth being banned from Poznari in 2014. Of course, Nergal also trolled Christians and metal fans alike by making up a story about being ejected from the YMCA on tour, so the feud is stillongoing.
Lamb Of God
In the modern day, its important to remember that the church is a broad term, encompassing a wide spectrum of religions that perceive music as the enemy for no good reason. An example of this was Lamb Of Gods being banned from playing a festival in Malaysia after the Office Of Islamic Development of Malaysia became worried about the bands lyrics, specifically those of the Kiladelphia intro which contains lyrics taken directly from the Quran. The show was finally shut down because the bands shows were found to infringe on religious sensitivities, and because the promoter was receiving death threats. So remember, dont be close-mindedall religions have fundamentalists who are enemies of rockmusic!
The original heavy metal rabble-rousers, Black Sabbath were hated by religious authorities the minute they exploded onto the scene. The problem, of course, was that Sabbath werent satanists, and so their constant persecution felt especially plastic. There was one incident where we were due to play in a town and we got banned by the church, guitarist Tony Iommi recalled. The show was announced in all the papers for two weeks before we got there. The church managed to ban us. And then the bloody church burned down and we got theblame.
The Everly Brothers
One doesnt usually think of The Everly Brothers as the kind of band who the church would want to crush, but the pop-rock oldsters managed to get banned in Boston for their lovers lane anthem Wake Up Little Susie. The citys Catholics considered the song unseemly due to its sexual themes (even though the whole song is about two teens who didnt have sex). Its just a solid reminder that no matter how sensitive people get about music right now, back in the day you couldnt even talk about the idea of sex without bible-thumpers calling you aheathen.
Cradle Of Filth
Oddly enough, for all their devil-mongering and perversion, it wasnt Cradle Of Filths lyrics or shirts that got them assailed by armed guards and kicked out of the Vatican. The vampire metallers got in trouble in 1998 when they entered St. Peters Square while their keyboard player Lecter was wearing a priests outfit. Strangely enough it wasnt because I was wearing a tacky I love Satan T-shirt that Id just been given, or that our guitarist had a Jesus is a C**t shirt, Dani Filth told Kerrang! in 2019. It was that Lecter was dressed as a priest and apparently thats illegal there. Theyre a law unto themselves and they could have held us for the rest of our lives if theyd wantedto.
Of all the metal bands in the world, Sepultura feel like a weird one to think that God would hate; the band have an open-minded spiritual bent to them that so many other acts dont. But that didnt stop their Lebanon show from being canceled, with authorities accusing the band of insulting Christianity and being devil worshippers. The implied bigger issue, however, appears to have been that some members of the band had posed prominently in their videos around sites in Israel, which is reason to outlaw the band from entering the country (bands with Israeli stamps in their passports cannot enter Lebanon, for the record). The only real victims here were, of course, Sepulturasfans.
Greek blackened death metallers Rotting Christ certainly picked a name that sounds solely intended to upset religious figures. And while plenty of loudmouths have protested their shows, the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Esfirmenou really went all-in, getting the bands concert in Patras, Greece, canceled due to their offensive and satanic messages. Taking the accusation one step further, the monastery even implied that Rotting Christs unholy image was part of why Greece was facing a socio-economic crisis. Blaming a metal band for your countrys problems for playing death metalthe ultimate in culturalacrobatics.
READ THIS: The 50 most evil songs ever
Posted on March 1st 2020, 2:30pm
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AGNES PELTON was fifty years old when she left New York for the village of Cathedral City, six miles southeast of Palm Springs in the California desert. By 1932, a conspiracy of sun, sand, and settler-colonial ideology had made the state a mecca for visionaries and seekers, attracted by landscapes seemingly unspoiled by human intervention, temporalities seemingly unburdened by the past. In Peltons 1941 painting Future, obscure shadows part to reveal two stone towers. Suggestive of those that marked the towns entrance, they float just above the horizon and flank a distant lavender hill. Overhead, four little portals arranged in a cruciform pattern perforate the bleached sky. Pelton wrote that the work represented a kind of Pilgrims Progress. Through darkness + oppression, across a stony desert and through a symbolic arch is seen a mountain of vision, above which open by degrees, windows of illumination.
The first solo show devoted to Pelton in about a quarter century, Desert Transcendentalist opened last year at the Phoenix Art Museum (where it was organized by chief curator Gilbert Vicario) and on March 13 travels to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (where it will be overseen by curator Barbara Haskell). Its arrival in Manhattan has been prepared by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museums record-busting 201819 retrospective of Swedish painter and mystic Hilma af Klint, to whom Pelton will likely be compared. Both artists put their academic training to work in accomplished yet conventional landscapes, reserving abstraction to convey their vision of a reality beyond the material world. They also drew on overlapping occult sources and shared a decentered view of their authorial agency, seeing themselves as conduits for spiritual forces rather than as autonomous creators. Their contemporary reception has coincided with a surge of institutional interest in underknown women artists and with a broader cultural mainstreaming of astrology, witchcraft, and alternative spirituality (a phenomenon not overlooked at the Guggenheim gift shop, which stocked Ouija boards, tarot cards, and other esoterica during the run of the af Klint show). That said, Peltons organic language of evolutionary processes differs from the diagrammatic tendency of much of af Klints work, and each artist deserves to be considered on her own terms (one shudders at the prospect of cringey epithets like the Coachella Hilma af Klint). The comparison is nonetheless instructive. While af Klint and Pelton were steeped in the heady arcana of their historical moment, their contemporary reception is very much a symptom of our own, speaking to an exhaustion with the art-historical canon and a hunger for meaning outside the domain of empirical data and official institutions.
Born in 1881 to American parents in Stuttgart, Germany, Pelton moved with her family to Brooklyn when she was seven. Timorous, shy, and plagued by neurasthenic episodes and mysterious ailments, she grew up in the long shadow of the nineteenth centurys most notorious sex scandal. In 1872, free-love advocate, spiritualist, and presidential candidate Victoria Woodhullrunning on the Equal Rights Party ticket with Frederick Douglassrevealed that renowned pastor and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher was living in concubinage with Agness grandmother Elizabeth Tilton, who was married to a prominent newspaper editor and abolitionist. The ensuing adultery trial rocked progressive Brooklyn and ruined the Tilton family. Agness mother, Florence, was sent away to Germany, where she married William Pelton, the expatriate failson of a Louisiana plantation owner. He died when Agnes was nine, and Florence gave music lessons and took in boarders to make ends meet. From the time of puberty, Pelton recalled, I was much inclined to melancholy and tears, which was probably aggravated by being the only child in a household of deeply religious and perhaps unnecessarily serious people.
Pelton began her formal study of art in 1895 at the Pratt Institute. Among her instructors was painter and educator Arthur Wesley Dow, who espoused the Japanese value of notan (the harmonious contrast of dark and light) and encouraged intuitive expression over mimetic verisimilitude. In the 1910s, his students Georgia OKeeffe and Max Weber would radicalize his ideas in adventurous abstractions, while Peltons output from this timecrepuscular idylls of willowy maidens adrift in grottoes and wooded landscapesclung to the late-Symbolist manner of Louis Michel Eilshemius, Albert Pinkham Ryder, and Arthur B. Davies. These Imaginative Paintings, as the artist called them, were congenial to the tentative modernism then emerging in New York. They were exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show, among other venues, and attracted patrons including Greenwich Village salon-nire Mabel Dodge Luhan, who would expose Pelton to the desert when she invited her to stay at her estate in Taos, New Mexico, in 1919.
A few months prior to this trip, Pelton wrote in her journal that her Imaginative Paintings were beginning to feel insincere, not real. She wanted her art to reflect perfect consciousness and Divine Reality. As art historian Erika Doss points out in her contribution to the Desert Transcendentalist catalogue, these words were lifted from the writing of spiritual leader Helena Blavatsky. Famed cofounder of the ancestral New Age faith theosophy, Blavatsky held that the worlds many belief systems were based on an atavistic religion organized around a single, metaphysical Absolute. Synthesizing elements of Neoplatonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, and other traditions, theosophy aimed to elevate and enlighten humanity by retrieving this forgotten universal knowledge. Like af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and other moderns, Pelton was drawn to the creeds idealist teleology of human perfectibility, finding in it an exotic alternative to scientism, materialism, and mainstream Christianity.
When her mother died in 1921, Pelton, now forty, moved to the abandoned Hayground Windmill near Water Mill, Long Island. There she painted The Ray Serene, 1925, a gestural, Kandinsky-esque churn of psychedelic vapors and whiplash curves, designating it My First Abstraction on the back of the canvas. Two works from the following year cathect on the form of a luminous sphere, enveloped in a tornado of gesture in Being and embubbled by nacreous globules in The Fountains. In the latter work, the multiplying rondures and the yellow solar disk overhead suggest Blavatskys successor Annie Besants description of the cosmos as a mighty solar system, the sun representing the LOGOS and, coming outwards, orb after orb, each orb representing a plane of the universe. Cowritten with self-styled clairvoyant Charles Webster Leadbeater, Besants 1901 treatise Thought-Forms: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigation provided Pelton with a symbology of colors and shapes believed to possess transhistorical meanings. As scholar Nancy Strow Sheley noted in her dissertation on Pelton, her 1928 painting Ecstasy features the symbol of the curving hook, identified by Besant and Leadbeater with selfishness and greed. The artist explains in an accompanying poem that the cluster of yellow tendrils represents a blooming flower harassed by the ugly hook of darkness, the scythe-like form lurking near the compositions bottom edge.
The same year she painted Ecstasy, Pelton traveled to California for eight months and became immersed in a South Pasadena spiritualist colony called the Glass Hive. She sketched lotuses, symbols of self-renunciation, at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. The flower would eventually mature into the golden inflorescence presiding over Ahmi in Egypt, 1931, a delirious nocturne replete with a white swan, strange conical mountains, and swirling celestial activity.
On her return to New York, Peltons style, which had gurgled with Heraclitean flux and painterly incident, became more serene, hard-edge, and resolved. Symmetry, horizon lines, and landscape elements returned to her compositions, which began to suggest illusionistic depths and expanses. In Star Gazer, 1929, a pale-green chalice shelters a purple ovate form that evokes a schematic standing figure or budding flower. High above in the evening sky, a tiny six-pointed star represents Venus, a planet of antipatriarchal and anticlerical significance in theosophical cosmology. According to Blavatsky, Venus, the sister planet of our Earth, was sacrificed to the ambition of our little globe to show the latter the chosen planet of the Lord. She became the scapegoat, the Azaziel of the starry dome, for the sins of the Earth, or rather for those of a certain class in the human familythe clergywho slandered the bright orb by associating it with satanism.
Pelton labored to reconstruct her interior visions on canvas, realizing numinous tissues and lapidary volumes through successive glazes over months or even years.
The allure of the arcane was central to the af Klint cult that flourished across Instagram feeds last year, but the Swedish artists recourse to extrinsic systems of meaning posed a problem for some critics and historians. Taking af Klint seriously as an artist, in my view, actually requires us to take some critical distance from the mysticism that might have enabled her to make such innovative work, Briony Fer wrote in the Guggenheim catalogue. To focus only on the occult symbolic meanings of her work leads to an interpretive dead end. Like af Klints abstractionswhich Guggenheim visitors could experience on psychic tours where they practice[d] receiving spirit messages through select paintingsPeltons court para-aesthetic modes of reading that might open up meaning for some and close it down for others. In an effort to explore a wide range of possible responses to the artists work, Sheley showed the painting Challenge, 1940, to an expert in occult imagery, who decrypted the picture sign by sign, identifying the star flower as an indication of good character, the milky, pod-like form as a symbol of maternity unrealized, and each inky stipple as a cipher for a decision influenced by men in [Peltons] life. Such literal iconographic correspondences are, of course, anathema to modernism, with its emphases on subjective expression, self-criticism, and hermeneutic indeterminacy. For Pelton, the final significance of her art ultimately lay neither in the sensuous matter of the paintings themselves nor in any hermetic doctrine encapsulated within them, but in telegraphing between the phenomenal world and an empyreal nonsite at the edges of representation and consciousness. I feel somewhat like the keeper of a little lighthouse, Pelton wrote, the beam of which goes farther than I know, and illumines for others more than I can see.
Pelton labored to reconstruct her interior visions on canvas, realizing numinous tissues and lapidary volumes through successive glazes over months or even years. She eschewed improvisation and seriality. With the exception of her last work, Light Center, a luminous egg form veiled in a purple penumbra (painted first in 194748, then again in 196061), she never repeated a composition. She did, however, draw on a consistent body of images that included orbs, urns, mountains, and, perhaps most important, fire.
In 1930, Pelton befriended composer and astrologer Dane Rudhyar (n Daniel Chennevire), who became her spiritual guide and sympathetic critic. Steeped in Bergsonian vitalism and Jungian analysis as well as theosophy, Rudhyar was a principal theorist of what he called humanistic astrology, which strove to reconcile star divinations deterministic conception of human agency with depth psychology. It was likely through him that Pelton, who had been fascinated by the eruption of the volcano Klauea when visiting Hawaii in 1924, became a devotee of Agni Yoga, a neo-theosophical discipline devoted to the cosmic, purifying energy of fire. In two works from 1930, she imagines its essence as incandescent heat, manifested as an acanthus of flames in The Voice and as a shaft of Promethean radiance in the formidably minimal White Fire. Fires in Space, 1938, one of her most visceral compositions, scatters twelve conflagrations across a field of unstructured darkness, flickers of illumination in the abyss.
If Peltons fantasias at times seem as much in dialogue with Disney as with Kandinsky, its not disparaging her to say so, any more than its disparaging Kandinsky or af Klint to note their engagements with occultism.
When Peltons landlord sold the Hayground Windmill in 1932, she headed for California. Two years earlier, writes Doss, Time magazine was already reporting a flourishing of cults, of religious novelties, and new fashions in faiths in the state. Initially planning on a brief trip, Pelton stayed for the rest of her life, seeking painterly forms through modes of heightened consciousness like trance, prayer, and meditation. In Messengers, 1932, her first Cathedral City abstraction, a blue moon rises over a desert horizon and progenerates a shimmering urn crowned by stylized palms, evoking the thatched structures of the areas indigenous Cahuilla people. Like the glassy vessel of Star Gazer, this central motif appears to levitate from the bottom of the canvasa transcendent motion Rudhyar described as upward rush or upward aspiration.
Peltons asceticism, spiritual intensity, and isolation from mainstream centers of cultural production might tempt one to romanticize her as a hermit. In fact, she made lasting friendships with her neighbors, hosted studio visits and art exhibitions, and continued to show her work in New York and other US cities. Through Rudhyar, she began a correspondence in 1933 with Raymond Jonson, cofounder of the Transcendental Painting Group, a circle of southwestern artists committed to carry[ing] painting beyond the appearance of the physical world. The same year, she lent fourteen paintings to an exhibition Jonson arranged at the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe. Also included was the work of OKeeffe, to whom Pelton was often and unsurprisingly compared. Pelton, likely aware that their overlapping social networks, shared inspiration in nature, and midlife relocations to the western desert might invite conflation, teased out the differences between them in her journal: [Her] source is not the [same] source as AP [Agnes Pelton] . . . they are not seen primarily inside, in the realm of Ether (as I call it). . . . The joy [of OKeeffes work] is her own subjective reaction, the joy of spreading its rebound over the canvas for her external eye.
Whereas OKeeffes biomorphic forms were overdetermined by the sexualized framing (one that the artist unequivocally rejected) imposed on them by her partner Alfred Stieglitz, Peltons work seems less available to carnal interpretations. She never married; her sexuality remains a matter of speculation, and her squeamishness on the subject reflected the Victorian attitudes with which she was raised. The physicality and violent thrust (per her description) of Seeds of Date, 1935, one in a series of commercial painting she made for a fruit farm in California, caused her some retroactive distress. Pelton resolved to avoid sexual imagery in her abstractions. When a form appears to have a phallic resemblance, she wrote, use the force it represents without the form. (For the most part, her sublimations were successful, with the exception of the conspicuously erectile Ascent [aka Liberation], 1946.)
Even in Cathedral City, one could not live on divine inspiration alone. When the death of an uncle, who for years had helped her out with regular checks, left her in precarious financial straits, Pelton began painting plein air desert scenes for the tourist trade. Letters to her friends speak of chronic illness, money problems, and creative frustrations, particularly the strain of balancing her commercial production with her abstractions. In 1932, she painted two mountain pictures, San Gorgonio in the Spring, a picturesque view of flowering cacti and a distant snowcapped massif, and Mount of Flame, a hieratic peak scaled by little tongues of flame, its summit erupting in a spray of white mist: a symbol of the transformation of heat into Light. To return to such abstractions after her landscapes, she once wrote, was like painting with a moths wing and with music instead of paint.
Was the boundary between picturing the material world and her inner vision as hard as Pelton imagined? Not so in Winter, 1933, a bizarre, almost clumsy sublation of abstraction and figure painting, with its poshlost doves foregrounding an astronomical pink corolla blossoming from the sea. The work epitomizes the alluring wrongness of Peltons paintings, which look like modern art but also like design, advertising, and pop culture. There is something distinctly Moderne in her line, her bulbous yet tensile contours, while her curlicues and fronds and wings are reminiscent of interwar textiles and wallpaper. The glowing ovoid form in Light Center could be a sconce on a bathroom wall; the swan in Ahmi in Egypt could have been cut out of a magazine. Her polychrome hazes suggest neon on a rainy night. To a contemporary eye, works like Idyll, 1952a desert landscape brightly detourned by two translucent parabolic forms that refuse to quite make sense either as objects in pictorial space or as gestural marksmight register as virtuosic exemplars of good bad painting, but the elements of badness dont collapse into kitsch, at least not entirely, nor do they make her pictures any less compelling as explorations of inner worlds and esoteric visions.
If Peltons fantasias at times seem as much in dialogue with Disney as with Kandinsky, its not disparaging her to say so, any more than its disparaging Kandinsky or af Klint to note their engagements with occultism. Theosophy is one of modernisms limit concepts; so is kitsch. (And these two limits might not themselves be cleanly distinct. With its baroque eclecticism and spiritualist trappings, theosophy, one might say, was already kitsch.) Peltons paintings are gorgeously weird explorations of these limitsperhaps none more gorgeous, weird, even destructive than Day, 1935, painted after her exposure to the geometric work of Jonson and the Transcendental Painting Group. A vertical rectangle, scandalously Euclidean and infilled with a cool blue fade, establishes itself on a misty starlit mountain, canceling its illusionism. Although this is the closest she would come to true geometric abstraction, writes the late Michael Zakian, who curated Peltons first retrospective in 1995, the central rectangle is not a pure, autonomous form. A flow of pearly, Peltonian fluid bursts from its side, concluding in plumes of filmy opalescence. The artist called the shape the fountain with the open door. Its negative metaphysics is an invitation inside, to the realm of Ether.
Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, March 13June 28.
Chloe Wyma is an associate editor atArtforum.
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Posted: February 4, 2020 at 11:49 am
Despite the fact that Halloween is long gone, witch season never ends, a subject The New York Times recently delved into in an article, When Did Everybody Become A Witch? But Paris has a long history of fascination with the occult, particularly in its Belle poque heyday, and there are still a few places in the city rife with witchiness and wonder. Here are some of our favorites.
La Maison de la Radiesthsie, or House of Divination, is the oldest (and one of the last) esoteric stores in Paris. You can buy wands, pendulums, and divination rods, starting in a reasonable 10 range, and working up into the designer realm. 22 Rue Godot de Mauroy, 75009
And of course, theres nothing better, when youre in the mood, than a good ol fashioned haunted house. Le Manoir de Paris has been putting up its trademark Legends of Paris show for almost a decade, featuring all kinds of creepy and gruesome characters from Pariss history. Keep an eye out for special events like their annual Halloween show, and a performance called Dark Night that occurs every Friday the 13th. 18 Rue de Paradis, 75010
A bookstore that refers to itself as a Librairie sotrique, Arc en Ciel is a place for anyone who needs an non-ironic crystal ball or tarot cards. Among the books, find anything on topics ranging from reiki and aromatherapy to yoga and plant care. They host workshops, seminars, and meet-ups for those inclined towards the spiritual and the occult. 3 Rue Jean-Mac, 75011
Brsilophile in Passage Jouffroy is a great place to find any kind of rare or exotic crystals you need to perform whatever witchcraft youve learned from your reading at Arc en Ciel. Loose beads, precious stones, and even an esoteric crystal collection should cover anything youre looking for, from rose quartz to tourmaline. 40 Passage Jouffroy, 75009
You might recognize the Church of Saint-Merri, because it sits right beside the Stravinsky fountain, and one of the more famous murals of the Marais. But this medieval church got some surprising sprucing up in the mid-1800s, when a Baphomet was carved above the entranceway. The demonic figure is heavily used in Satanism, and among the Knights Templar, and its accompaniment by a prominently-placed stained glass depiction of a pentagram makes this one curious church. 76 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004
For one-of-a-kind trinkets, statement pieces, and magic charms, try the office of Xenia Rybina, a Parisian witch, illustrator, and fashion designer come to France by way of Russia. Everything is witchcraft around [us] Rybina says in an interview with Messy Nessy Chic at her home/workshop in Paris, which she lovingly refers to as her coven. And with a snake named Seraphim and a cat named Lucifer, its easy to believe that everything is witchcraft around Xenia Rybina, whose berets embroidered with eyes and tiny, exquisite spider dolls have an effect at once whimsical and uncanny. Xenias work will soon be available in her e-shop. In the meantime, shes selling items via Instagram (DM her for prices).
Hidden in a backstreet of Montmartre, in front of the Hotel Particulier Montmartre (one of the most exclusive boutique hotels in the city), is a lumpy hunk of rock called the Rocher de la Sorcire, or Witchs Rock. The rock, and the entire passage, was named for the old woman who lived in the house, called la soucire, or the dowser. (In case youre wondering, a dowser is someone who uses a divination rod.) No one quite knows where it came from, but some believe it might still have some powerful magic inside. Passage de la Sorcire, 75018
Though the interior has been refurbished into a modern restaurant, the exterior of the Auberge Nicolas Flamel is the same simple stone facade that was built to be an inn in 1407 by Nicolas Flamel and his wife. This makes it the oldest stone building in Paris, a pretty impressive feat in such a well-preserved city. If the name Nicolas Flamel rings a bell, you might recognize it from Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. Both in the book and in real life, Flamel, probably the most recognizable name in the history of alchemy, was famous for allegedly creating a Philosphers stone, which had powers such as transforming ordinary metals into gold. 51 Rue de Montmorency, 75003
Featured image: Stock Photosfrom Vera Petruk / Shutterstock
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Posted: January 27, 2020 at 12:09 am
In a show that features magic, monsters, and mystical dimensions its important to make sure the protagonist is relatable to a regular audience. Fortunately, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina manages to have an everywoman as its titular lead. Despite her magical prowess, Sabrina still has to deal with typical teenage problems: juggling her school work, extracurricular activities, and her social and romantic life all while maintaining an afterschool job as Queen of Hell.
Okay, so maybe Sabrina isnt completely relatable, but she is still a compelling character, and the third season pits her in her most harrowing adventures yet. Previously, Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) and her cohorts managed to thwart Lucifers (Luke Cook) plans of creating a hell on Earth with Sabrina (who is his daughter) as his queen. The group manages to trap Lucifer inside Sabrinas boyfriend, Nick Scratch (Gavin Leatherwood) and together he and Lilith (Michelle Gomez)- who has been crowned Queen of Hell- go to the nether realm to keep the mortal realm safe.
The new season starts out with Sabrina and her friends venturing into Hell to save Nick, there they find the underworld in chaos, as the other demons are challenging Lilliths right to rule. To prevent an uprising, Sabrina accepts the throne as Lucifers rightful heir. However, she is quickly challenged by a prince of Hell, Caliban (Sam Corlett), and must find three unholy artifacts if she is to keep her crown.
In the mortal realm, the witches of the Church of Night have found that their powers are waning due to falling out of the Dark Lords favor. As they search for a way to restore their magic, a new threat, one older than Satan, has come to Greendale in the form of a carnival.
While the previous season kept the show exclusively centered on Greendale, Sabrina is finally ready to create a more fleshed out universe. Not only in locations (besides Hell, the characters also go to New Orleans and Scotland) but also in the mythos. Previously, the only cosmology has been between Christianity and Satanism, but now Paganism and Voodoo have been added to the mix. Not only does this expansion give this season dynamism, but it also raises the stakes. These new elements help put the characters in situations that become increasingly dire, and as a result, will have you binging the season in one sitting.
The returning cast is also evolving their performances, while still keeping their characters consistent. As always, Shipka is fantastic, imbuing Sabrina with spunk and sass underlined with true goodness. Admirably, she also leans into Sabrinas selfishness and saviour complex, giving the performance more nuance. Sabrinas aunts Zelda (Miranda Otto) and Hilda (Lucy Davis) are also growing in complexity. The previously fanatical Zelda is now lost without her faith in Satan but must lead whats left of the coven. Otto manages to keep Zeldas take-charge personality but underlies it with vulnerability. Conversely, Hilda has begun to assert herself against her sister, and Davis does a great job adding an edge (and even some nastiness) to Hildas sweet nature.
Out of the supporting cast, Michelle Gomez as Lilith is the clear standout. The word anti-hero is thrown around carelessly these days, but the duplicitous and morally ambiguous Lilith fits the bill perfectly. Its clear that Gomez relishes the role, giving a commanding performance that demands attention every time shes on screen. Gomez also plays Ms. Wardwell, who Lilith impersonated in seasons 1 and 2 but is now back. This could have been confusing, but Gomez gives both characters completely different body language and tonal inflections, creating characters so different that youd never confuse the two.
The biggest appeal for Sabrina is its ability to manage the balance between supernatural horror and teenage melodrama. Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is best known for his work on Glee and Riverdale, and he keeps the spirit of these shows alive while also injecting some truly dark stuff. An episode can feature court intrigue, scenes of sweet romance, child murder, and a frothy cheerleader routine all without any tonal dissonance. Its a bubblegum goth drama that manages to push the boundaries of camp without becoming overly ridiculous.
While previous season kept the show exclusively centered on Greendale, Sabrina is finally ready to create a more fleshed out universe.
Sabrina has also managed to integrate its more progressive elements into the plot more seamlessly than in previous episodes. The shows feminist leanings have always been a draw but often times the messaging felt didactic and heavy-handed. However, this season decides to explore rather than preach by having the Church of Night Coven search for a new religion. For all its posturing at being liberating, the Satanic Church was just as patriarchal as many Christian denominations; but with Satan out of the picture, the witches are left to search for a more equitable source of magical powers. This allows the show to explore feminist themes without feeling like an after school special.
The show also expertly handles its queer characters as well, most notably Theo (Lachlan Watson, who is nonbinary). While trans characters are gaining some prominence in mainstream media, trans men are vastly underrepresented. In this season, Theo is given a love interest with newcomer Robin (Jonathan Whitesell). Not only is this subplot incredibly sweet, but it is also devoid of any fetishization of trans bodies that so often occurs in mainstream media. Allowing a trans character to have a life outside their trans identity without ignoring it is refreshing, and we need more of it.
Production designer Lisa Soper has upped the ante in the third season. Greendale keeps its timeless charm with sets, props, and costumes that are a mix of mid-century and modern. The Pagan carnival adds to aesthetic by feeling like it stepped out of the late 1800s. Hell is also a mix of the gory and the gorgeous. While the infernal denizens are disgusting to look at, Hell itself is often beautiful. Most notably Liliths throne, which is shaped like a clawed hand, and the Shore of Sorrow, where the damned are trapped in overcrowded boxes to drown for all eternity. Who knew Hell could be so #instaworthy? The anachronism of the mortal realm and the beauty of the nether world help keep the more dissonant tones in the plot feel more consistent.
While Chilling Adventures of Sabrina may not be to everyones taste, fans of the series will be pleased with the direction it takes in its third season. As the series expands outside its original premise, well find ourselves in new territory in the fourth season, but as long as we have Sabrina with us, well be fine.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina returns for a third season of toil and trouble starting January 24th.
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Posted: January 17, 2020 at 3:44 am
Whats the deal with documentaries made up only of found footage? Apollo 11 and Amazing Grace have been on a great many lists of the best docs this year, and while their footage holds immense value, I like a little more craftsmanship and context in my nonfiction films. (It looks like the Oscar voters do, too.) I also like a sense of humor, as you can see from the list below.
1. Hail Satan? Evangelical Christians loyalty to Donald Trump in the face of everything has made Satanism look appealing like never before. This often hilarious film by Penny Lane (and, yes, thats her real name) profiles the Satanic Temple and their masterful acts of trolling by insisting that their religion be represented when state governments put up monuments to Christianity. The Satanists demonstrate how many Christians think religious freedom is only for them. Id join the Temple, but I think Id be out of place, because the Satanists seem much nicer people than me.
2. One Child Nation. No one in Wang Nanfu and Lynn Zhangs film will say that Chinas decades-long one-child policy was anything other than a shining success for the country. They do this even while they lay out plenty of evidence that it was a disaster that resulted in broken families and parents murdering their baby girls. Stories of women being dragged kicking and screaming to abortion clinics are told by the people who did the dragging. Its all framed through Wangs stories of raising her own children in America, a country she notes is trying to outlaw abortion entirely and take control of womens bodies just like the Chinese government.
3. Honeyland. This multiple Oscar nominee was supposed to be an informational video about beekeeping put out by the government of North Macedonia. However, Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanovs project grew into something much greater, starting with Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljumas breathtaking photography of the countrys mountainous rural areas. Turkish-descended beekeeper Hatidze Muratova initially welcomes the large Turkish family who moves into the trailer next door, but then they move into the honey business, too, and their bees kill all of hers. Hatidze is a compelling and funny character in this story of nature and bad neighbors.
4. Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blach. Gotta give props to a movie that informed me so much about a subject that I am supposed to be well-informed about. Pamela B. Greens film measures the life and times of one of the very first film directors of either gender and how the mostly male community of French film critics and historians tried to erase her from the record after her death. A host of movie celebrities make the case that she deserves to be recognized alongside her colleagues Georges Melis and the Lumire Brothers in the pantheon of film pioneers. Thats mixed with Guy-Blachs colorful life. She taught Lois Weber, the first American woman director, who promptly repaid her mentor by stealing away her husband.
5. Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened. Two documentaries about the ill-fated music festival came out last January, but Chris Smiths is the only one eligible for this list and has footage from every stage of the planning, such as it was. Watching this film is like having the fiasco unfold before your eyes, as Billy McFarland and Ja Rule think that if they just will their logistically complicated rich-people party to happen, it will materialize amid a cloud of likes on Instagram. If youre big on schadenfreude like me, this is vastly entertaining.
6. American Factory. This Oscar nominee starts with a Chinese auto glass manufacturer taking over a shuttered GM plant in Dayton, Ohio, and declaring theyll rejuvenate the area. Oh, but if you know the differences between Chinese and American capitalism, you know how this will end. Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert chronicle how it all comes apart, as American managers are replaced and workers chafe against new bosses who care nothing for workers safety or time spent with families. The CEO comes away embittered, saying Americans are lazy, incompetent, and mentally slow for wanting these things. Hes wrong theyre just not used to being treated like their Chinese counterparts.
7. For Sama. Waad al-Kateab begins her documentary by filming her baby girl doing baby things, as many mothers have done. Then a tank shell hits the building that shes in, and her husband asks on his daughters behalf, Mama, why did you give birth to me? Its a fair question as al-Kateab and co-director Edward Watts document raising a child in Aleppo, Syria, while its being bombed daily by Bashar al-Assads Russian allies. This Oscar nominee tells the story of this stupidly courageous couple whose love of their hometown makes them film its destruction for baby Sama, who grows up not even reacting to the sound of explosions nearby.
8. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal. Before gymnastics takes center stage at the Summer Olympics, lets remember that while Larry Nassar molested hundreds of little girls, the sports governing body did everything to protect this monster and nothing to protect the elite athletes whom he did his best to ruin. Erin Lee Carr finds plenty of blame to spread to the U.S. Olympic Committee, law enforcement, and Michigan State University. Her interviews with the victims so many victims remind us what it took to get the truth out.
9. Cunningham. Oh, look! This movie is playing this week at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (see: Night & Day). Alla Kovgans biography of the choreographer Merce Cunningham relies heavily on extensive footage from the mans interviews about his work. What really earns this film its spot on the list is its beautifully filmed performances of Cunninghams dances, restaged in forest clearings, highway tunnels, and other unlikely locales. Try to see this in 3-D.
10. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. You can pay tribute to the late American novelist by watching Timothy Sanders-Greenfields documentary that includes extensive interviews with the personable Nobel laureate before her death. Theres plenty of stuff about how this black woman forced her way into the white male literary canon by writing African-American stories, but youll also learn about her work as a book editor at Random House, where her work (with sometimes unlikely collaborators such as Muhammad Ali) was scarcely less groundbreaking.
Honorable mention: Alex Holmes Maiden A.J. Eatons David Crosby: Remember My Name Joshua Riehls The Russian Five Ed Perkins Tell Me Who I Am Midge Costins Making Waves: The Art of Sound in Cinema John Chesters The Biggest Little Farm Viktor Kossakovskys Aquarela Martin Scorseses Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story Jill Magids The Proposal Lauren Greenfields The Kingmaker Max Lewkowicz Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles Rob Garvers What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael Matt Wolfs Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project Andrew Slaters Echo in the Canyon Sydney Pollack and Alan Elliotts Amazing Grace.
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Posted: at 3:44 am
Arguably the worlds most famous metalhead, Canadian Sam Dunn is an anthropologist, former bass player in the metal band Burn to Black, and an award winning documentary maker. A man of many talents, Dunn is most famous for his documentary films based around heavy metal music. Most fans of heavy metal music are familiar with the work of Sam Dunn.
Sam Dunn was born on March 20th, 1974 in Victoria , British Columbia, Canada. In Metal: A Headbangers Journey, Dunn described the city as the land of the newly wed and the nearly dead. He called himself a banger, rocker, punk, skid etc. He developed his love for metal music during his time as a teenager in Victoria.
Sam Dunn studied Anthropology at the University of Victoria. He also obtained a masters degree from York University where his thesis was focused on Guatemalan refugees. .
The documentary film that brought Sam Dunn in public eye was Metal: A Headbangers Journey. The documentary was loved and appreciated by heavy metal fans all across the globe. It also received widespread critical acclaim and went on to win a Gemini Award for Best Writing in a Documentary. Sam Dunn also made the Grammy-nominated Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage and Super Duper Alice Cooper. The latter went on to win the award for Best Feature-Length Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. Sam Dunn continued working in the field of heavy metal and collaborated with vh1 to bring the biggest ever TV series on the history of heavy metal, Metal Evolution. Dunn served as the co-director and host for the show. It went on to reach #1 on VH1 Classic (USA) and M3 (Canada). Sam Dunn also co-directed the famous Netflix original series Hip-Hop Evolution. The show has gone on to become a great success and has won a Peabody, an International Emmy, and a Canadian Screen Award. In 2015, Sam Dunn also released Satan Lives, discussing the impact of Satan on popular culture.
This was the first documentary film released by Sam Dunn. It was released in the year 2005. Dunn co-directed it with Jessica Wise and Scot McFadyen. The film followed Sam Dunn on a journey which documented the origins, culture and appeal of heavy metal in popular culture. The documentary explored the most prominent and notorious themes present in heavy metal music: violence, death, religion and Satanism, gender and sexuality. The documentary also delved into some key traits and idiosyncrasies of heavy metals various subgenres such as thrash metal, death metal, black metal, glam metal, progressive metal and power metal. For the purpose of this documentary film, Sam Dunn even created a family-tree style flow chart which documented all the subgenres of heavy metal and their relationship with each other.
The Metal Family Tree from Metal: A Headbangers Journey
The film also discussed the various aspects of the heavy metal culture along with people such as DePaul Universitys Professor of Sociology, Deena Weinstein. She spoke at great lengths about the relevance and symbolism of the colour black and the true meaning of the testosterone fuelled hypermasculinity of heavy metal. Sam Dunn also attended Wacken Open Air, the most well renowned heavy metal festival of the world. He also spoke to Twisted Sisters Dee Snider about the PMRCs attack on heavy metal music in the 1980s.
Sam Dunn co-produced and directed Global Metal. The documentary was released in 2008. Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen embarked on a global journey to see the impact of heavy metal music all across the globe, especially outside of Europe and North America. The whirlwind journey featured Sam Dunn travelling through India, China, Japan, Indonesia, the Middle East and South America. Sam Dunn discussed some unusual metal scenes from the underbelly of heavy metal. Those scenes ranged from Indonesian death metal to Israeli Oriental metal and Chinese black metal to Iranian thrash metal, etc. The film showed a truly global community of metalheads who took the essence of heavy metal and added their own cultural twist to it. As it is in the West, heavy metal music also helps create a form of cultural expression for the people who are fed up in societies dominated by conflict, corruption and mass-consumerism.
Sam Dunn has called Iron Maiden his favourite band of all time on many occasions. This 2009 documentary, co-written and co-directed by Dunn and McFadyen chronicled Iron Maidens 2008 World Tour in which vocalist Bruce Dickinson flew a converted Boeing 757 from country to country.
This documentary on one of Canadas most famous rock bands Rush, premiered on April 29th at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. It went on to win the Audience Award at the festival.
Sam Dunn went on to produce the biggest ever series on heavy metal music for vh1 Classic. The series, called Metal Evolution premiered on November 11th, 2011. The series was created after feedback about Metal: A Headbangers Journey. Some people said they wished that film was eight hours long, Dunn said. The 11 part series featured the following episode. The 12th episode, titled Extreme Metal, was released online through crowdfunding.
This episode features Sam Dunn discussing about the ultimate progenitor of metal music: Rock n Roll. Sam Dunn also talked about early blues musicians and their impact in the development of metals style.
2. Early Metal Part 1: US Division
Metal morning in America begins with the clank of cars and guitars and the burning of draft cards, Including the likes of Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, The Frost, Iggy & The Stooges and the explosive MC5 and of course KISS.
3. Early Metal Part 2: UK Division
The UK wasnt about to cede rock & roll dominance to America. This episode documented how early blues-influenced British bands cranked up the amps and used distorted guitars to give the first pre-metal sounds from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and of course Black Sabbath who most consider the first ever heavy metal band and are recognized for laying the blueprints of what became an entire genre of music. These bands tended to stay away from the label of heavy metal for a major part of their career and only called heavy metal a part of what they did. It wasnt until the arrival of Judas Priest that the term heavy metal was fully embraced and given a distinct look.
4. New Wave of British Heavy Metal
The movement began to grow and was spearheaded by the likes of Motrhead, Diamond Head and gained even more momentum when Iron Maiden began packing local clubs and later went on to sell millions of albums. The media and record labels could no longer ignore these bands and this became a major force in music that had to be reckoned with and was dubbed as the new wave of British heavy metal. Other notable acts which were part of this included Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang, Angel Witch, Raven and Praying Mantis. The NWOBHM bands started losing their popularity in the wake of the rising glam metal scene in America. The glam metal bands featured a more polished, mainstream friendly sound which the raw NWOBHM bands couldnt keep up with. However, NWOBHM did end up igniting the fire which led to the birth of the subgenre of thrash metal in America.
Sam Dunn made it abundantly clear that he loathed Glam Metal during his days as a teenager in the 80s. He even went on to compare Glam bands to boybands. In this episode, Sam Dunn met some key figures associated with the glam metal movement such as such as Mtley Cres Vince Neil, Dokkens George Lynch and Van Halens Michael Anthony. These former stars divulged their side of the story and revealed the attitudes, influences and decisions which dictated their lives and careers on L.A.s storied Sunset Strip. On the flipside, Dunn also interviewedScott Ian from Anthrax and Slash from Guns N Roses who discussed the reasons behind the vilification of glam.
This episode featured the subgenre of metal which took metal straight into its most extreme form and gave birth to some of the biggest bands in the history of metal viz. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax.
While grunge has widely been credited to fueling the demise of heavy metal from popular music, Sam Dunn still believes that it is associated with metal in some ways. Dunn discussed the impact of early metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin in the formative years of most grunge musicians. Also featured in the episode were the circumstances that led to the rapid decline of grunge.
8. Nu Metal
If hair metal was the antithesis of heavy metal purists in the eighties, that was delegated to nu metal in the late nineties. Likewise, if the keyboard was an instrument that such purists felt had no place in a heavy metal band, that disdain was now held by the incorporation of the turntable. Early influences came from bands such as Anthrax and their 1991 collaboration with Public Enemy, Faith No More, even thrashers whose riff-driven hooks were described as groove metal. Sepulturas Roots album was also credited as an influence on Nu Metal. This spawned the rise of a new genre of music influenced by two seemingly opposing forces: hip hop and hard rock. Nu metal broke ground and gave way to bands like Korn, Deftones, Rage Against The Machine, and Limp Bizkit. At the height of its popularity the show documents the unfortunate events that conspired in Woodstock in 1999 which included performances by Korn, Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit leading to nu metals decline soon thereafter. Yet the mantle has still been carried on by acts such as Linkin Park and Disturbed, among others.
9. Shock Rock
Unlike any other genre profiled on the show, Shock Rock is defined by its visuals and public image, not by its sound. The genres roots were traced back to Screamin Jay Hawkins and Arthur Brown. This episode focused on metals impact in pushing the envelope when it came to disturbing and horrific imagery and its place as Public Enemy #1 to conservative America. Shock Rock as we know it, started with Alice Cooper in the 1970s. It was made more (for the lack of a better word) shocking by early black metal pioneers Venom and Mercyful Fate (featuring the vocal histrionics of lead singer King Diamond) in the 1980s. The episode also discussed Marilyn Manson, who was made a scapegoat for the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. Slipknot and Rammstein are also featured.
10. Power Metal
Completely alien to the genre, Sam Dunn sets off to find out what its all about, and why its so unfamiliar to him. Dunn analyzed the difference between power metal and traditional heavy metal and traced the genres roots to continental Europe. Also discussed in the episode are the ties of Power Metal to Classical Music and the way in which power metal flourishes with metal festivals such as Germanys Wacken Open Air and Slovenias Metal Camp. Power Metal figureheads such as Yngwie Malmsteen and Kai Hansen were interviewed in this episode.
11. Progressive Metal
The series finale showcased the subgenre of progressive metal. This subgenre was heavily influenced by 70s progressive rock, which used textured sounds and intricate arrangements while incorporating the rock element in its own distinctive way. Modern progressive rock most often cites the influences of the percussive guitar-playing of Steve Hackett of Genesis, and the instrumentals of Yes. Progressive Rock came to the forefront with the Canadian band Rush which is profiled in one-on-one interviews with the bands 3 members, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart while on tour in Cleveland, Ohio. The nineties introduced the groundbreaking, innovative sounds of bands like Tool, Queensrche, Dream Theater, Mastodon, Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
12. Extreme Metal: The Lost Episode
Produced after the original series aired, this episode covers Florida Death Metal, Norwegian Black Metal, Grindcore, and other extreme subgenres. The episode was produced with the help of donations through IndieGoGo.
Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyens Banger Films has a Youtube channel Banger TV All Metal.
The channel features regular album reviews, subgenre discussions (Lock Horns) and contests such as Shredders of Metal. Sam Dunn and Banger Films are currently working on creating a Netflix style streaming service, which will specialize in streaming heavy metal related content.
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Fears Hampshire Horse Ripper has returned after 26 years and psycho culprit could be next Ian Brady – The Sun
Posted: January 14, 2020 at 4:58 am
A BLOODIED sheep corpse lies in a road, satanic symbols daubed on its side.
The gruesome discovery is the latest in a string of animal slayings that have sent shockwaves through the towns and villages of the New Forest.
Now leading criminal profiler Mick Neville believes it could signal the return of the Hampshire Horse Ripper, who slashed, mutilated and abused more than 30 horses in a similar area in the Nineties before mysteriously disappearing.
And in a chilling warning, the retired Met detective fears it could only be a matter of time before the psychotic killer moves on to targeting people.
Mick, 52, says: Evil and violent minds are drawn to satanic rites, so the police must take these attacks seriously before the offender decides to obtain his perverted thrills by attacking people.
The ewe, found this month in Cadnam, Hants, had been stabbed eight times and was left lying alongside a pitchfork and straw cross.
In November last year another sheep was brutally stabbed in the village of Bramshaw. A pentagram a symbol popular in the occult was spray-painted on to its fleece and the devils number of 666 was plastered on to the door of a church there.
Another sheep had its entrails ripped out in nearby Boldre. The symbolism has led many to believe the killings could be the work of a satanic cult.
Mick said: There appears to be a satanic element with occult symbols sprayed on the targeted animals. Even more bizarre is that many of these attacks, in 2019 and the earlier spate in 1992, have occurred on or around a full moon.
We know a full moon can affect those with psychological issues, such as schizophrenia, and can create violent or aggressive behaviour.
Many serial killers the likes of Ted Bundy and Ian Brady began their evil careers by hurting animals before moving on to people.
During the Hampshire Horse Rippers three-year reign, attacks grew increasingly frenzied. In August 1991, Welsh cob Daphne was sliced with a Stanley knife.
In October 1992, four horses were slashed and one was fatally stabbed during a single attack. The following year a horse was burned with acid and 28 others were wounded with knives and corrosive substances.
Horses belonging to Anita Jones, 67, wife of the late Monkees singer Davy Jones, were among the victims. One of her mares was sexually assaulted with a pole and another had its shoulder slashed in July 1992.
Anita told papers at the time: It was horrific. Now if I hear the slightest noise outside I send the dogs out thinking it might be the horse lunatic. In response, Hampshire Police launched Operation Mountbatten, named after one of the horse casualties.
Ten-year-old Mountbatten was found by owner Robert Broderick, 81. Her neck, genitals and hindquarters had been slashed before she died of a heart attack.
Roberts wife Flora, 82, this week told The Sun the recent animal killings have brought back painful memories. She added: I saw news about the recent at- tacks and they just keep happening. I hate talking about it, even now.
At the time, the police said the attackers had come when it was dark a few nights before the killing and fed Mountbatten to get her used to them being there. Then on the night she was murdered they sneaked down and did horrific things to her.
Police issued a photofit of a suspect. But before they could close in, the attacks halted in 1993, as inexplicably as they had started.
Police expert Mick believes the 26-year gap in crimes may point to the ripper having spent a lengthy spell in prison or having left the area to join the Armed Forces.
He said: The attacks from the 1990s do bear similarities to the recent attacks sharp instruments used to attack horses, cows and other animals. The police need to look at why the attacks have restarted after some 25 years.
Has the offender been in prison? Did he or she serve in the Armed Forces and has now returned to where they offended as a teenager?
While attacks in the Nineties were mostly horses, this killer has moved on to different types of animals. It could be that hes targeting smaller cattle because hes now an old man, or simply because thats what he has easy access to now.
There is certainly a sexual element to the killings. The culprit is seeking a thrill. Wendy Maughan, 60, owned the latest sheep to be killed.
She said: The offenders must have a knowledge of livestock to do this and there is quite some intent and planning involved. It is sinister.
Farmer Andrew Parry-Norton, 51, who found the ewe, said: It looked as if it had been dragged into the middle of the lane. It was very creepy.
Its starting to get worrying in terms of putting animals out in the forest. A police spokesman said: We are looking into all lines of enquiry at this time and would link together similar crimes if the evidence allows us to.
Hampshire Police launched an investigation in January last year after six mutilated goat carcasses were discovered within a 20-mile radius.
One had its tongue cut out and another was found in a Tesco car park with its ear sliced off. Fears of a satanic cult tally with the New Forests historical links to the occult.
The religion of modern witchcraft, known as Wicca, was founded in the village of Highcliffe, Hants, in 1939 by eccentric archaeologist and nudist Gerald Gardner.
After the Government repealed laws making witchcraft a crime in 1951, Gardner gained fame through the panic caused by his book Witchcraft Today.
He defended himself to Richard Dimbleby on BBCs Panorama, insisting Wicca was not an excuse for sex parties, despite its naked rituals.
Hants Police have called in the Police Pagan Association (PPA) to investigate whether the latest round of animal violence could be linked to witchcraft.
The group, made up of 200 Heathen, Shaman and Druid officers within the police force, look into suspected ritual killings and animal attacks. The PPA believes the latest sheep killing is not linked to the occult, but rather to a mentally unstable individual.
Sgt Andy Pardy said: Whilst the pentacle, or pentagram, is used by Wiccan Pagans to represent the five elements, it is not unique to Paganism, being also used in satanism and occultism.
Having previously been involved in other investigations into the mutilation and harming of livestock, the suspects are usually not found to be affiliated with any religion or belief.
The actions instead are usually due to the mental health or antisocial tendencies of the offender. Animal campaigner and nature presenter Chris Packham, 58, lives in the New Forest. He has urged locals to watch out for unusual behaviour.
He added: Lets hope whoever is perpetrating these things makes a very early mistake and is apprehended really quickly.
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But one New Forest local, who did not want to be named, echoed fears the livestock slayings could lead to human deaths.
He said: People are saying that someone killing animals could be practice for murdering humans. Thats the next step.
No doubt New Foresters will be bolting their stables and their own doors until the killer is caught.
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Posted: December 6, 2019 at 2:45 am
NEW FOREST, Hampshire, England A recent spate of animal killings and vandalism have been reported this month as taking place in the New Forest in Hampshire.
The village of Bramshaw has been witness to occult markings spray-painted on the church door and a sheep was stabbed, daubed with purple and green pentagrams and left in a local field. A heifer and two calves were also stabbed and are currently in the care of local vets.
This is not the first set of attacks on animals in the New Forest this year. In October, a horse was found stabbed to death in a field in Walkford Lane, Walkford, near Christchurch.
Map of New Forest [Source: Google Maps]
Throughout the region, animals are owned by local farmers but are allowed to wander freely, particularly the New Forests famous community of ponies in addition to cattle and sheep. Thus, gaining access to animals is not difficult and much of the area consists of woodland or open scrub. Although there are villages, towns and isolated houses throughout the New Forest, much of it is still secluded and, at night, badly lit.
Because of the symbology used, the recent incidents have given rise to local concerns about a Satanic cult. The occult markings in question were the number 666 and an inverted cross.
The sheep were discovered by dog-walker Judy Rudd, who is reported as saying It was very unpleasant some people think its sinister.
Her husband says: I think its reasonable to say its not just lads messing about. Its unnerving weve lived here for 40 years and theres been nothing like this before. Its related to something other than simply a desire to injure animals its either witchcraft or whatever. Its rather worrying.
A farmer from Bramshaw, whose cow was knifed and needed veterinary treatment, added: Im very concerned for the welfare of the animals and the people out there in the forest. Its quite scary to know somebody is going around doing this. Why injure and kill animals and put symbols on them?
Tony Hockley, a resident and the chairman of the New Forest Commoners Defence Association (CDA), has expressed concerns regarding these incidents to the wider community, pointing out to The Independent that this is a relatively small rural community.
Any harm to New Forest livestock hurts everyone. We all depend upon the vocational commitment of 700 local people to turn livestock out to graze the landscape. Most have just a few animals, and there are only 200 sheep in the whole of the New Forest. It is devastating to lose one in this way, and it is the sort of thing that will make commoners give up. If the grazing goes then the accessibility, culture and biodiversity go too, Hockley said.
Image source: The Scotsman
The vicar of St Peters, the Rev David Bacon, said that the incidents, which occurred between November 16 and 20, could be a result of witchcraft or black magic. It could just be kids but I dont think it is, given the context. Theres been witchcraft round here for hundreds of years the New Forest is well known for witchcraft and black magic and this has obviously gone up a level.
People who are not conversant with the practices of contemporary Paganism cannot necessarily be expected to draw a distinction between the way in which this spiritual path is often misrepresented in the media, and how it takes shape in real life, which is why the educational efforts of organizations such as the Pagan Federation must continue to push back against inaccurate and potentially damaging stereotypes.
The New Forest is, indeed, known for its history of witchcraft. Gerald Gardner founded modern Wicca here, claiming that he had based it on the practices of older covens, and New Forest villages such as Burleigh are now known for the number of Witchcraft shops and Witch-themed businesses. Tony Hockley of the CDA comments upon this but says, The New Forest, like many rural areas, has a historical association with Witchcraft so that draws some people and some of the local shops trade on that but its normally more about fairies.
As readers of The Wild Hunt will obviously be aware, Wicca does not undertake animal sacrifice. Moreover, Satanic groups in the UK tend to be largely urban and revolve around political activism rather than any form of religious practice. Both groups are opposed to this kind of cruelty and vandalism, and Pagans obviously do not use symbols such as inverted crosses, although they do use pentacles and pentagrams. However as is not uncommon in these cases the local Pagan community and Satanic activist groups risk being associated with this criminal activity.
New Forest, Hampshire Image credit: Robert Linsdell, St. Andrews, Canada Wikicommons
Simon Wood, from the New Forest clan Pagans of Ytene and a former member of the PPA before retiring from policing in 2016, said: There are lots of clans in the New Forest but discrimination against Pagans is still widespread.
The pagan community of the New Forest have expressed dismay and revulsion regarding the recent attacks, and have called upon the assistance of the Police Pagan Federation, part of whose remit is to work with local law forces and endeavor to provide accurate information about Pagan practices.
Comments by the general public beneath an article on the animal attacks in the Bournemouth Echo showed some awareness of the difference between Witchcraft, Wicca and Satanism, with, in addition, an emerging consensus that the animal attacks and vandalism are more likely to have been carried out by someone who has no particular spiritual affiliation and who is simply criminally minded or unwell.
The Hampshire police have asked for anyone who might have information to contact them directly.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has also requested that anyone who has information should come forward. Sergeant Andy Williams, of Hampshire Constabularys Country Watch team, says, If you have any information that could help our enquiries, then please call 101, quoting the crime reference number 44190416137.