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MOVING VIOLATIONS PART TWO: GRAF ON THE GO

Posted by Billyjam, March 12, 2008 11:33am | Post a Comment
  
       

This is the second part in the "moving violations" series of photos of graffiti on moving objects: never trains, mainly trucks and taken in New York, California, and Amsterdam.

      

   
       

       

       

       

      
       

THE ULTIMATE ACT OF ANARCHY AND CAPITALIST REBELLION

Posted by Billyjam, March 11, 2008 12:02pm | Post a Comment

In Jerry Rubin's most famous speech, the one that the Yippie co-founder made in Chicago in 1968 during the Democratic National Convention,  he encouraged people to incorporate theater into their anarchy and stressed how an act such as throwing a bunch of cash money up in the air in the stock exchange and watching the pandemonium that would most likely ensue would be a much more profound statement than the stereotypical anti-capitalist protest of that era. 

Although they were not there in Chicago, USA in 1968 (they would have been only kids across the sea in Britain) it seems that the two founding members of the K Foundation, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, truly heeded the true meaning of those anti-establishment words uttered by the Yippie leader, and accordingly carried out a major public act involving throwing money away that would catch the public's attention and confuse most people with their destructive anti-capitalist act that the two carried out on the early morning of August 23rd, 1994.

On that day fourteen years ago the two former members of the successful British pop band KLF burnt      one million pounds sterling in hard cash bills (about two million dollars) on an island off the coast of Scotland. It took exactly one hour and three minutes for the cash  - in 50 UK pound note denominations, packed in suitcases - to completely burn up. 

The two unique (crazy?) individuals who undertook this unprecedented act of rebellion and/or performance art used the money they had earned from the profits of their successful hip-hop & sample based electronic-rock-pop group the KLF (formerly known as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, aka The Jams, and also for a short time The Timelords). They had deleted their entire back catalog of music in 1992 and then set up the K Foundation with the intention of subverting the art world - just as they had done with the music world.

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MOVING VIOLATIONS PART ONE: GRAFFITI ON THE GO

Posted by Billyjam, March 10, 2008 08:25am | Post a Comment
      

New York City subway cars of a bygone era, where graffiti started and was once most prolific, or freight trains in the US or passenger trains in Italy and other European countries where graffiti is currently commonly seen, are not the only types of vehicles or moving objects that graffiti can been found on.   Trucks and sometimes cars in cities are also quite common targets for graffiti artists to tag up. Generally these are commercial vehicles since the code (albeit not always a strict one) among graf artists is to exercise respect for private property - but to hell with businesses and city owned property, especially when you can get away with the illegal act.

Always fascinated with this aspect of graffiti done on moving vehicles - oft times really rushed tags since the truck or van is only parked temporarily for as short a stop as a traffic light - I have been snapping pictures of what I have named this "moving violations"  part of graffiti.  Taken over the last few years in various cities including San Francisco, Oakland, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, and New York City they include a broad spectrum of graffiti from some intricate pieces to some very basic and obviously rushed tag jobs - kinda like the one above on the truck with Santa Rosa plates parked in the Mission District of San Francisco.

One truck owner in Chinatown in New York told me that he had long stopped trying to erase the tags on his once white van that he used to transport garments all over the city in. Other vehicle owners said that they actually commissioned artists to paint their trucks because then they knew that most other graffiti artists out of respect would then leave the vehicle alone. This way at least they could pick the art themselves.  There are also some shots (including immediately below) of a graffiti'ed barge on a canal in Amsterdam, a city rife with graffiti everywhere, even along its waterways.

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WHAT IF TRAVIS BICKLE CAME BACK TODAY?

Posted by Billyjam, March 9, 2008 05:34am | Post a Comment

You know that part in Taxi Driver when Robert De Niro's Travis Bickle character utters those lines about wishing that "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets."  That eerily memorable bit from Martin Scorsese's landmark 1976 movie captured a totally different time in the history of New York City - a time when the city was bankrupt and grimy.  It was a time when the Bronx, which looked like bombed out Berlin (circa WWII), was visited by Ronald Reagan like a state leader visiting a war torn faraway land - except it was one of the five boroughs of America's main city.

It was a distant time that could be a hundred years ago, not just a few decades, considering just how very much New York City has transformed since then.  Today the midtown Times Square area of New York City (along & surrounding 42nd Street on Manhattan's West Side) is a radically different place than the one it was back in the mid-seventies; the area that was so effectively captured in Taxi Driver as Travis Bickle's cab crawled along in slo-mo, taking in every nuance of the rundown, scuzzy and scary area that was rampant with X-rated movie theaters, hookers, junkies, pimps, and street-wise con men lurking on every corner, ready to rip off gullible marks.

Today that same stretch of 42nd Street and Times Square is another world altogether, with the cheap eateries and strip clubs and X rated movie theaters replaced by back to back chain outlets like Starbucks, McDonalds, and of course the Disney stores -- hence the so-called Disneyfication of New York City that has slowly come about since the nineties -- a current trend in the US that is by no means limited to NYC.

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KINDERGARTEN ROBOCOP

Posted by Billyjam, March 6, 2008 08:08pm | Post a Comment


What if RoboCop and Kindergarten Cop were fused into one movie character? What would the result be? The above make-believe trailer, in which YouTuber Grecofabulous mashes up elements from both movies, giving an inkling as to what such a melding of those two Hollywood cop characters might yield.

And with Hollywood and sequels and spinoffs (think Alien vs Predator, aka AVP) anything imaginable is possible, especially when the tease of box-office success is not far off.  The above trailer also reminds me of how engaging Robocop, the culturally critical, futuristic action flick, made in 1987 and starring Peter Weller, is. It reminds me that I  must watch it again.

But I am also reminded of just how ridiculously funny (in a so-bad-it's-good way) Kindergarten Cop is - a movie that I already own since I bought it used on VHS for a few dollars years ago at Amoeba.   One of the great things about the 1990 "comedy" that starred Arnold  Schwarzenegger as John Kimble, is that it  is just chock-a-block with Arnold soundbites that were so popular as samples a few years back with soundboard prank-callers ("Who is your daddy and what does he do?" "I'm a cop, you idiot!"  "Shut Up!" "Stop it!"  etc. etc.) as evidenced in the clip below.

But perhaps more surreal than all of this Hollywood make-believe is the reality - something that I personally choose to block out of my mind at times -  that this guy (Arnold) is the current Governor of California. Yikes!   To me this fact is even more surreal than a  Kindergarten Robocop movie!

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