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Barbarella

Barbarella

I suppose in the interest of all thing atompunk we should mention Barbarella.

Released in 1968 and starring a young Jane Fonda, Barbarella is… it’s insanely campy, and i mean insanely. It’s very sexually themed but i can’t quite tell if it thinks it’s being liberating about women’s sexuality. I think it DOES think it’s being all liberating, but i ain’t buying what it’s selling. Interestingly, it was directed by Fonda’s then husband  French film director husband Roger Vadim. 

If you’re at all famirliar with alternative comics of the time, you can’t miss that it has that flavor. Indeed, it is taken from a French comic Barbarella by Jean-Claude Forest.

barbarella comic

 

Barbarella comic

barbarella

 

As you can see, basically a science fiction heroine who is almost always in some state of undress, sexual post even when just hanging around some foreign planet and often times in a sexual liaison, roams the galaxy finding various fantastical villains and exploits to be erotically charged around.

First published in the French magazine V-Magazine in 1962 it soon became a bit of a hit amongst the French and Belgium comics scene. It created a few scandals for it’s sexually charged content (although there was no actually… you know…there were no x rated shtupping scenes explicitely shown). For her creator, the character did in fact embody his idea of the the modern emancipated woman in the era of sexual liberation.

It may be unfair of my to look back on that era with so much judgement, although i do have a hard time getting around the idea that the best way to create a new, emancipated female science fiction icon is to just concentrate on great stores with a great, deeply developed character. Occasionally you can throw some eroticism in, but when all she does is run around half naked, in uber sexual poses, and constantly in and out of sexual situations, all you’ve done is create a two dimensonal, masturbatory icon. But hell, maybe this is modern thinking and back then the guy was doing the best he could.

I’m not against super erotic comics based around sexy people and sex. I’ve read some awesome ones written by both genders. They’re usually quite funny, winking their tongue in cheek self awareness at you as opposed to misguiding earnestness. Hell, some, like like Fairies series… someone remind me the name, just gets flat out CRAZY with fiaries humping every kind of animal under the sun. But honestly, it’s hysterical, and i just don’t get the same annoyance i get with Barbarella.

Oh yeah! Bondage Fairies!

Oh yeah! Bondage Fairies!

I digress. (A habit of mine.)

SOOOOO, in 1968 they cast a young Jane Fonda, who ahd already had great success in 1967’s Barefoot in the Park with Robert Redford. (Everyone has seen this right? I mean it’s like this STAPLE play/movie. If you’re involved in theater you HAVE to have seen it. I’m under the impression that everyone who ever so much as goes near a stage is required to see it. it’s pretty damn good. Classic Neil Simon play.)

A year after Barbarella she made  They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? which won her an Oscar nomination. In between she made Barbarella. Maybe she was really into it. Maybe it was because her husband was really into it. Who knows? This is all 2 years before she got involved with the opposition to the Vietnam War (1970) and 4 years before the Hanoi Jane stuff which interestingly STILL pisses of people in the armed services today.

The premise of the insane campy film is, and i quote: “In an unspecified future (the video release states it is the year 40,000), Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is assigned by the President of Earth (Claude Dauphin) to retrieve Doctor Durand Durand (Milo O’Shea) from the Tau Ceti region. Durand Durand is the inventor of the Positronic Ray, a weapon. Earth is now a peaceful planet, and weapons are unheard of. Because Tau Ceti is an unknown region of space there is the potential for the weapon to fall into the wrong hands. Donning the first of many outfits, Barbarella sets out to find the missing scientist. She crashes on the 16th planet of Tau Ceti, on an icy plain.”

barbarella

The rest, is B movie history.

And a scene that is actually kind of cool:

No, i’m not gonna show the stupid Orgasmtron scene. You can YouTube it.

Anyway, there we go! Barbarella. Many like myself would LOOOOOVE to Mystery Science Theater 3000 do Barbarella, i mean it’s MADE for them, but alas it never happened, probably because they couldn’t get the rights.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Japanese Atompunk Manga Covers

Japanese manga is an international rage, although it really only started gaining a sizeable western following in the 90s and especially the 00s. Manga is of course japanese comic books for all intents and purposes, but much like american comics or Belgium comics each have a particular set of styles and tropes manga has its own particular styles and tropes which are vast, as it’s an enormous industry with a long history.

However far you wish to trace back manga (if you want to get really serious you’d go back to the 1800s) there is no question that modern manga owes an enormous milestone to the year 1959. In 1959 two giants of the manga industry were formed which during the atompunk years of the 60s and 70s would shape the face of manga ineligibly.

Shonen Magazine and Weekly Shonen Sunday were both formed in 1959. They featured numerous stories by numerous writers and artists who would go on to achieve legendary status. Many of the stories were episodic and could serialize for years (although up until 2000, 40 issues was the longest any any story ran).

For the record, the word shonen means “few years” and refers to a boy of school going age. In this the Shonen mags are of the same  tradition (though different culture) as those victorian era boys magazines which featuring wild adventure stories for boys that also grew into science ficiton stories as the 20th century progressed. Now of course manga is wildly read by girls, equally so i would say, and covers an enormous range of genres.

My job on this fine day is not to run through the series, characters or the artists who contributed to these magazines. What i wish is to feature the covers for these magazines which ran during the 1960s, because these covers are batshit awesome. They are atompunk on steroids as only the japanese could do.

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

japanese atompunk manga covers

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Underground Bunkers

With Atompunk comes the atomic age, and with the atomic age comes underground bunkers!

Today we will feature designs for modern, underground bunkers. Live out the end of the world in the bunker of your dreams. Hell, some of these are nicer than my house. Natural lighting might be a bit of an issue…

I think there are many tropes atompunk has to offer, from space exploration to “homes of the future” to surviving a holocaust. Well today, let’s look at how to survive a holocaust forever. Should you be lacking that special someone to survive the coming apocalypse there is actually an online site for you to find someone or even a group of someone’s to plan to spend Armageddon and even the post Armageddon repopulation with. It’s called Survivalist Singles.

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

 

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

underground bunkers

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Forbidden Planet Soundtrack

Forbidden Planet soundtrack

I should do a post purely on the movie Forbidden Planet. It’s impact on science fiction is incalculable.

But let’s simply today focus on the soundtrack. The soundtrack  was composed by Louis and Bebe Barron. MGM producer Dore Schary discovered the couple quite by chance at a beatnik nightclub in Greenwich Village while on a family Christmas visit to New York City; Schary hired them on the spot to compose his film’s musical score. While the theremin (which was not used in Forbidden Planet) had been used on the soundtrack of Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945), the Barrons’ electronic composition is credited with being the first completely electronic film score; their soundtrack preceded the invention of the Moog synthesizer by eight years (1964).

For the 1950s this thing is FAR out, baby. You might ask why i’m so preoccupied with really far out electronic music for a project like the AO, which will clearly be melodic and attempt to not go so far from the nature of the first two.

For one thing, i need to get a feel for the sound of the OLD electronic sounds. Most of the synths we think of and recognize are from the 80s onwards. Sounds that don’t depict atompunk, but our actual modern time. Those are the sounds i want to use and feel. I’m not saying i won’t cheat (i always cheat. I will do ANYthing to make the project sound good. No matter my intention, if i can’t make something work i will shamelessly cheat my brains out.) but i will try like hell.

Another reason i’m preferring teh far out stuff is that i can reflect on it without having it tied to the methods and uses of today. The 90s was an paradise of electronic music. SO much was done with it. I LOVE me some 90s electronica (as we called it in the states) and i need to try and not get stuck into a 90s approach (and onwards, but the 90s was when it all exploded).

I doubt i’ll fully succeed, but this is not about succeeding and failing so much as finding a method that does the job of making a great sounding album that gives the listener an atompunk feel.

Plus, for the really crazy stuff i fool about with, there’s always the 3rd Act, when i can stretch out a bit and go a little nuts.

Thus my friends, without further ado, the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet.

 

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Atompunk Interior Design (aka 70s Shagadelicness, Baby)

Oh, the 70s. Soft rock classics and bell bottoms. And judging by these photos, absolutely no limits on drug use. I mean seriously, i can’t tell if these designs are an argument for or against massive drug use.

The following are shots of interior design from that magical decade that has a definite retro-futuristic feel.  This is SO late Atompunk.

We’ll be getting far more into Atompunk obsessiveness next year when we’re working on The Atompunk Opera, but this is just too… groovy to pass up. So let me lay this on you, baby:

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

70s atompunk home design

 

70s atompunk home design

Shag carpetinig in the kitchen. Really.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Gaze Upon The City Of Tomorrow!

As we count down until the Tuesday album release i present you with what the 1920s thought the future would look like.

Make SURE you watch the second clip. Even if you stop the first one and feel like clicking away to wherever else on the interwebs you go when you’re not with me (and don’t think i can’t smell those cheap scents you bring home on your clothes) just trust me and watch the second one before you go.

Ah, the future.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Seven Sisters of Moscow

After WWII Stalin hesitated on commencing building of the great Palace of the Soviets. Included in his thinking was the idea that having won the war, the Soviet Union was now a superpower and must appear as one. It not only was destined to define the future, as the world of the future would be a communist one, a worker’s paradise, but it must be as inspiring and grand as any western capitalist city.

However, Moscow had no skyscrapers. It’s hard to appear grand and modern without skyscrapers. Indeed his very words were: ” “We won the war … foreigners will come to Moscow, walk around, and there’s no skyscrapers. If they compare Moscow to capitalist cities, it’s a moral blow to us”.”

So instead of continuing the Palace of the Soviets, Stalin decided to build 8 skyscrapers across Moscow. He would use a new breed of soviet architects to turn Moscow into the city of the future.

Post WWII Russia was in enormous need of housing and infrastructure. However Stalin wanted to make statements to the world and thus resources were diverted in order to complete this massive project.

Stalinist communism is full of nothing if not incredibly grandiose ideas that were utterly botched (or just plain unacheivable) along the way. However, the skycraper project was not one of them. Seven of the eight were actually completed and are indeed impressive and excellent feats of  architecture in their way. The 1950s were a golden period of the Soviet Union. Everyone believed in the future, the communist way of the life seemed to working and thriving and resources and production appeared to not only be pouring out but consistantly increasing with a scientific steadiness that was mathematically certain to overtake American production in some time just over a decade or so.

In this climate the seven sisters rose and towered over Moscow, announcing the slogan “We Can!” across the city, albeit while most of the city’s residents lived hungry and impoverished in a cramped communal apartments.

KGB chief Lavrenty Beria was the supervisor of construction and it’s rumored that there are spying devices installed in many rooms across the buildings. Construction was carried out by a whole bunch of German prisoners of war as well as Gulag prisoners.

The architects catered to Stalin’s tastes. He loved gothic and he LOVED spires. Every building HAD to have a spire. One must also recollect, that back in the 30s Stalin had killed and imprisoned most of the more creative and avante garde of the new communists in an effort to purge his country of anyone potentially unloyal. So if you were one of the new breed of architects who were… alive and creative, throwing in a few spires and massive gothic touches to cater to the boss was definitely a good idea.

“Trademarks of the Stalinist style of architecture embodied in these buildings are the obvious wedding cake structure that pulls the eye toward the central, massive spire, and the patriotic decorations and mouldings. Critics generally agree that the Stalinist period dates from the 1933 Palace of the Soviets competition to 1955 when Khrushchev disbanded the Architects Union. Super-buildings for a super people, the buildings also utilised new building techniques of building with steel frames with concrete walls upon a concrete slab, which allowed for their massive size.”

moscow state university

Hotel Ukraina (now Radisson Royal Hotel)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Leningradskaya Hote (now the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hote)

Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building

Kudrinskaya Square Building

Red Gates Administrative Building

The entire (near medieval) district of  Zaryadye was demolished to make way for the 8th sister, but it never materialized. This is the design for it:

The unbuilt 8th sister: Zaryadye Administrative Building

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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