Search Results for “"Cult following"”

February 20, 2012

Ren & Stimpy

ren and stimpy

log

The Ren & Stimpy Show, often simply referred to as Ren & Stimpy, is an American animated television series, created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi for Nickelodeon. The series focuses on the titular characters: Ren Höek, a psychotic chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a good-natured, dimwitted cat. The show premiered in 1991, on the same day as the debut of ‘Rugrats’ and ‘Doug,’ the three of which comprised the original Nicktoons. The show ran for five seasons on the network.

Throughout its run, the show was controversial for its off-color humor, black comedy, toilet humor, sexual innuendo, and violence, all of which contributed to the production staff’s altercations with Nickelodeon’s Standards and Practices department. The show developed a cult following during and after its run. It was pioneering for satirical animated shows like ‘Beavis and Butt-head’ and ‘South Park.’

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February 13, 2012

Camp

plastic flamingo

kitsch

Camp is an aesthetic sensibility that regards something as appealing or humorous because of its deliberate ridiculousness. The concept is closely related to kitsch, and things with camp appeal may also be described as being ‘cheesy.’

When the usage appeared, in 1909, it denoted: ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical, and effeminate behaviour, and, by the middle of the 1970s, the definition comprised: banality, artifice, mediocrity, and ostentation so extreme as to have perversely sophisticated appeal. American writer Susan Sontag’s essay ‘Notes on ‘Camp” (1964) emphasised its key elements as: artifice, frivolity, naïve middle-class pretentiousness, and ‘shocking’ excess. Camp as an aesthetic has been popular from the 1960s to the present.

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February 6, 2012

Cult Film

john waters by abel macias

A cult film, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a highly devoted but specific group of fans. Often, cult movies have failed to achieve fame outside the small fanbases; however, there have been exceptions that have managed to gain fame among mainstream audiences. Many cult movies have gone on to transcend their original cult status and have become recognized as classics; others are of the ‘so bad it’s good’ variety and are destined to remain in obscurity.

Cult films often become the source of a thriving, obsessive, and elaborate subculture of fandom, hence the analogy to cults. However, not every film with a devoted fanbase is necessarily a cult film. Usually, cult films have limited but very special, noted appeal. Cult films are often known to be eccentric, often do not follow traditional standards of popular cinema and usually explore topics not considered in any way mainstream—yet there are examples that are relatively normal. Many are often considered controversial because they step outside standard narrative and technical conventions.

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January 14, 2012

Larry Levan

larry levann by keith haring

Larry Levan (1954 – 1992) was a DJ best known for his decade-long residency at the New York City night club Paradise Garage, which has been described as the prototype of the modern dance club. He developed a cult following who referred to his sets as ‘Saturday Mass.’ Influential US DJ François Kevorkian credits Levan with introducing the dub aesthetic into dance music. Along with Kevorkian, Levan experimented with drum machines and synthesizers in his productions and live sets, ushering in an electronic, post-disco sound that presaged the ascendence of house music.

Born, Lawrence Philpot, Levan was openly gay and got his start alongside DJ Frankie Knuckles at the Continental Baths, as a replacement for the DJ from The Gallery, Nicky Siano. Levan’s DJing style was influenced by Siano’s eclectic style, and by The Loft’s David Mancuso, who briefly dated Levan in the early 1970s. As Knuckles was still trying to make his way in the New York club scene, Levan became a popular attraction perhaps due to his ‘diva persona,’ which he developed in the city’s notoriously competitive black drag ‘houses.’

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December 17, 2011

Yoshitomo Nara

missing in action

Yoshitomo Nara (b. 1959) is a Japanese artist. He lives and works in Tokyo, and first came to the fore of the art world during Japan’s Pop art movement in the 1990s.

The subject matter of his sculptures and paintings is deceptively simple: most works depict one seemingly innocuous subject (often pastel-hued children and animals drawn with confident, cartoonish lines) with little or no background. His artwork was featured in the album titled ‘Suspended Animation’ by experimental band Fantômas.

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December 1, 2011

Diskmag

grapevine

big blue disk

A disk magazine, colloquially known as a diskmag, is a magazine that is distributed in electronic form to be read using computers. These had some popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as periodicals distributed on floppy disk, hence their name. The rise of the Internet in the late 1990s caused them to be superseded almost entirely by online publications, which are sometimes still called ‘diskmags’ despite the lack of physical disks.

A unique and defining characteristic about a diskmag in contrast to a typical ASCII ‘zine’ is that a diskmag usually comes housed as an executable program file that will only run on a specific hardware platform. A diskmag tends to have an aesthetically appealing and custom graphical user interface (or even interfaces), background music and other features that take advantage of the hardware platform the diskmag was coded for. Diskmags have been written for many platforms, ranging from the C64 on up to the IBM PC and have even been created for video game consoles, like ‘scenedicate’ for the Dreamcast.

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December 1, 2011

Leet

1337

Leet (or ‘1337’), short for ‘elite,’ also known as leetspeak, is an alternative alphabet for the English language that is used primarily on the Internet. It uses various combinations of ASCII characters to replace Latinate letters. For example, leet spellings of the word leet include 1337 and l33t; eleet may be spelled 31337 or 3l33t.

The term is derived from the word ‘elite.’ Leet may also be considered a substitution cipher, although many dialects or linguistic varieties exist in different online communities. The term ‘leet’ is also used as an adjective to describe formidable prowess or accomplishment, especially in the fields of online gaming and in its original usage, computer hacking.

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November 25, 2011

Fascination With Death

santa muerte

The fascination with death extends far back into human history. Throughout time, people have had obsessions with death and all things related to death and the afterlife. In past times, people would form cults around death gods and figures. Famously, Anubis, Osiris, and Hades have all had large cult followings.

La Santa Muerte (Saint Death), or the personification of death, is currently worshiped by many in Mexico and other countries in Central America. Day of the Dead, November 2, is a celebration for the dead.

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June 3, 2011

Stella

stella

Stella is a comedy trio consisting of Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, and David Wain (all three of whom are alumni of the comedy troupe, The State). The group formed in 1997 as a weekly nightclub comedy attraction, performing at a New York City nightclub from 1997 until 2005. Stella soon gained a wider cult following after a series of self-produced shorts were released in limited quantities on DVD. Now known for their unique blend of potently mainstream comedy and surrealist humor, Stella has garnered a small but dedicated fanbase.

A noted aspect of Stella’s stand-up routine involved the members arguing with each other on stage. Michael Ian Black once referred to it as, ‘professional bickering,’ which some have compared to a ‘postmodern Smothers Brothers.’ Michael Showalter once said of their onstage bickering, ‘When people aren’t sure if what they’re watching is real or not, it kind of creates a tension. We have a certain amount of tension that’s very ripe comedically.’

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May 9, 2011

The Firesign Theatre

firesign theatre

The Firesign Theatre is an American comedy troupe consisting of Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman and Philip Proctor. Their brand of surrealistic humor is best known through their record albums, which acquired a cult following in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The troupe began as live radio performers in LA; the name stems in part from astrology, because the membership encompasses all three ‘fire signs’: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. The name also refers to Fireside Theatre, an early television series that ran on NBC from 1949 to 1955, followed by ‘Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre’ (1955–58); it may also refer to the Fireside Chats radio broadcasts made by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a parody of which can be heard in one of the Theatre’s ‘Nick Danger’ adventures.

The Firesign Theatre employs a stream of consciousness style that includes direct references to movies, radio, TV, political figures, and other cultural sources, intermingled with sound effects and bits of music. The resulting stories — including the theft of a high school, a fair of clowns and holograms and aliens who use hemp smoking to turn people into crows — border on psychedelia, an effect intensified by the frequent appearance of mock ‘advertisements’ satirizing real products. The Firesign approach to comedy was strongly influenced by ‘The Goon Show,’ a British radio comedy program. While their style has the feel of improvisational comedy, most of the material is tightly scripted and memorized. The group’s writing method demands the consent of all four members before a line can be included. Much of their work has been copyrighted under the name ‘4 or 5 Crazee Guys.’

February 24, 2011

Takashi Miike

Audition by Peter Strain

Kikihara by jason beam

Takashi Miike (b. 1960) is a highly prolific and controversial Japanese filmmaker. He has directed over seventy theatrical, video, and television productions since his debut in 1991. In the years 2001 and 2002 alone, Miike is credited with directing fifteen productions.

His films range from violent and bizarre to dramatic and family-friendly. He gained international fame in 2000 when his romantic horror film Audition (1999) played at international film festivals. He has since gained a strong cult following in the West that is growing with the increase in DVD releases of his works.

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February 11, 2011

Mitch Hedberg

escalator

Mitch Hedberg (1968 – 2005) was an American stand-up comedian known for his surreal humor and unconventional comedic delivery. His comedy typically featured short, sometimes one-line jokes, mixed with absurd elements and non sequiturs.

Hedberg’s comedy and on-stage persona gained him a cult following, with audience members sometimes shouting out the punchlines to his jokes before he could finish them.

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