This week on Cultureteca, Grimes unveils new music and artwork for the impending Art Angels; Abby Wambach announces her retirement from women’s soccer; the rare planetary conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and Mars; and for Halloween, a look at Francis Ford Coppola’s first feature film, the low-budget gothic thriller Dementia 13, which was released in 1963.
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Grimes Unveils Art Angels
Having kept everything remarkably quiet regarding her upcoming album – notably outlining some of its themes and perspectives in an interview with Dazed in September, but otherwise offering few details, and managing to hold a lid on new music ever since the release of the non-album track ‘REALiTi’ in March – a couple of weeks ago, Grimes unveiled its title and artwork. Posting on Instagram, she announced Art Angels, and showcased the album cover which – as with her previous albums, Geidi Primes, Halfaxa, and Visions – she designed herself.
A photo posted by Grimezsz (@actuallygrimes) on
Grimes subsequently kicked off her ‘Rhinestone Cowgirls’ tour, covering twenty-one dates across North America, which started on 24 October in Santa Ana, California, and will conclude on 25 November in Chicago, Illinois. Nicole Dollanganger is supporting Grimes on most of the dates, with Natural Born Losers out last month courtesy of the Grimes-headed Eerie Organization.
And after performing some of her new songs on stage, last Monday Grimes released the first video from Art Angels, a two-parter comprising the songs ‘Flesh without Blood’ and ‘Life in the Vivid Dream’. The video was written, directed, and edited by Grimes, while her brother, Mac Boucher, was the cinematographer.
At the same time, Grimes revealed a release date for Art Angels of 6 November, and provided a full tracklist.
A photo posted by Grimezsz (@actuallygrimes) on
Meanwhile over on her Tumblr page, she posted individual artwork for each of her album’s songs, including for ‘Flesh without Blood’ and ‘Life in the Vivid Dream’.
A flurry of interviews have emerged ahead of the new album, with Future Music Magazine, ZEITmagazin, and The Guardian (and now here’s another with Vogue). Coming this Friday, the digital version of Art Angels is now available for pre-order, while the album will be out on LP and CD on 11 December.
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Abby Wambach Announces Her Retirement
On Tuesday, Abby Wambach announced her impending retirement from women’s football. Now thirty-five years old, the American is one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport. Already a double Olympic gold medallist, after helping the United States become champions in 2004 and 2012, earlier this year she finally achieved an elusive World Cup victory with the national side, who had finished runners-up in 2011 and in third place in 2007 and 2003.
Adding to her two Olympic golds and one World Cup, Wambach was named 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, and stands as a six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award (taking the prize in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2013). She earned her first international cap in 2001, and in a career spanning 252 appearances has scored an outstanding 184 goals for the United States, an international record. With a particular penchant for scoring courtesy of diving headers, Wambach has nevertheless proven herself equally adept over the years as a playmaker.
At club level, Wambach played in two spells for Washington Freedom, for magicJack, and for the Western New York Flash. She competed in four World Cup and two Olympic finals in total, playing 29 matches and scoring 22 goals. She will feature for the United States in their ten-game World Cup ‘victory tour’ later this year, with her final match coming on 16 December in New Orleans, when the US will face China.
Wambach is not the only major name in women’s soccer to have announced her retirement following the 2015 World Cup: in July, Germany’s Celia Sasic announced her sudden departure from the game, aged only twenty-seven. Leading the line for her national side, Sasic scored 63 goals in 111 international appearances.
Commenting on Wambach’s announcement, US head coach Jill Ellis said:
‘Abby is a player who has transcended our sport and her legacy as one of the world’s greatest players is set forever. What she has done for women’s soccer and women’s sports overall with her amazing talents on the field and her personality off it has been inspiring to watch. I am just extremely happy that she could end her career with that elusive World Cup title and go out on top, right where she deserves to be.’
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Venus, Jupiter, and Mars Align
Over the past week and on through this first days of November, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars have aligned in the night sky in a rare spectacle that will not be matched until January 2021. The conjunction is a product of the three planets lining up, from the perspective of Earth, during their orbits around the Sun.
Venus completes an orbit round the sun every 224.7 days, Mars every 687 days, and Jupiter every 11.86 years. Venus, with its highly reflective clouds, is brightest planet on display, with Jupiter and Mars respectively around 12 and 250 times dimmer. The planetary alignment peaked last Thursday, and remains best viewed in the early hours before sunrise.
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Dementia 13 (1963)
Of course this weekend was Halloween, and in sympathy with the season Culturedarm’s monthly film for October was the low-budget horror picture Carnival of Souls. While Carnival of Souls would prove director Herk Harvey’s first and only feature film, its limited success and his Centron Corporation commitments leading to only stalled attempts towards a second picture, the following year another low-budget horror would help launch one of the fullest directorial careers in cinema.
For a budget of $42,000 – compared to Harvey’s Carnival of Souls budget of around $33,000 – Francis Ford Coppola wrote and directed Dementia 13. Though Coppola had previously handled the direction on two softcore films, Dementia 13 is considered his first feature, preceding You’re a Big Boy Now by three years, and coming nine years before The Godfather. The film was produced by Roger Corman, who wanted a cheap thriller in the vein of Psycho, and funded the young director with leftover money from The Young Racers, on which Coppola had worked as a sound technician.
Coppola quickly drafted a gothic and psychologically-tuned script, centred around axe murder. Starring William Campbell and Patrick Magee from The Young Racers, a Corman regular in Luana Anders, and several of Coppola’s friends from UCLA, the film was shot outside Dublin, with Howth Castle serving as the fictitious Castle Haloran. The plot concerns a young woman who, after covering up her husband’s death of a heart attack while out rowing, attempts to inherit his share of the family fortune. But when she pays a visit to his peculiar family’s castle in Ireland, an axe-wielding murderer begins to run amok.
When shown the completed film, Corman vehemently disapproved, desiring a clearer narrative and more gore. He hired Jack Hill to direct an additional murder scene; and then Monte Hellman to direct a prologue, in which a psychiatrist addresses the audience regarding their mental fitness for what lies ahead. This prologue was part of the released version of Dementia 13, with cinemagoers handed an accompanying test on arrival, which sought to uncover whether they themselves were prospective axe murderers, asking questions such as ‘The most effective way of settling a dispute is with one quick stroke of an axe to your adversary’s head?’
Appearing in cinemas in September 1963, Dementia 13 was billed as ‘The Most Terrifying Screen Experience Of Your Life!’ It was part of a double bill, supporting Corman’s X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes. Following its release, most prints of the film have cut the five-minute prologue, and this re-edited version is the one embedded below.