Seeing Red

Kitsch 'n giggles for the ROKENROL scene


May 2006

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bygone era August 2002

August 22, 2002

Nuclear Tourism

(From, a now-defunct web zine.) No need to go to Chernobyl to experience the thrill of nuclear tourism; you can do it closer to home, and probably with less risk of getting a little too much of that nasty radiation. You can see the "Big Board" (the one that shows all the missiles flying), the bunker set aside for the U.S. Congress, the Nevada Test Site, a missile silo, mock-ups of real nuclear weapons at the National Atomic Museum, and more. Be ready to prove you're an American citizen.


Elvis Presley and the Impulse Towards Transculturation

Admittedly some of this article about the transculturation evident in the music of Elvis Presley went right over my head, but I grasped enough to appreciate his unique fusion of both "black" and "white" aesthetics.


August 16, 2002


Amazing pictorial history of the Atomic Age from the dawn of the A-Bomb to the present.


Russians discover taste for Soviet chic

(From The Times (UK).) LONG live grandfather Lenin! Russia is reliving the Soviet era through fashion and a wave of nostalgia. The reopening of a communist-era beer bar in central Moscow, with waiters in USSR T-shirts, signals the trend for Soviet chic.

It has taken a mere ten years for Russia to stylise its past. Teenagers who barely remember communism have transformed Lenin’s legacy into retro fashion, donning their dads’ USSR T-shirts.

The fashion designer Denis Simachev heralded the craze by creating shirts with Soviet emblems last autumn. In Paris this year his models’ T-shirts bore portraits of President Putin framed in flowers, echoing the Stalin cult of personality.

Mr Simachev fitted out the waiters at the Zhiguli beer bar with their T-shirts while the cleaners wear housecoats and headscarves, evoking memories of the Soviet babushka.

Zhiguli, named after the Soviet Union’s cheapest beer, was one of the most popular bars in the 1980s, a place where non-party youth could drink, as long as they could afford a five-rouble entrance bribe to the bouncer.

“People miss some things about the old times, and this bar is one of them,” says Yuri Kabargin, manager of Zhiguli. On Friday nights the bar is heaving with young and old, drinking beer and listening to records of popular Soviet songs such as Railway Ticket to My Childhood.

Many older Russians relish souvenirs of their childhoods. Portraits of Lenin sell like hot cakes in the Moscow antique shop, Roza Azora. The shop specialises in Soviet memorabilia. Here the nostalgic can find mugs with the portrait of the astronaut Yuri Gagarin, busts of Marx, and the red headscarves once worn by young Communists. One customer, Elena Kulikova, 42, said she found having a picture of Lenin in her sitting room “pleasant and soothing”.


Seeing Dead

Dead Elvis Sightings. Need I say more?


August 14, 2002

Guy Makes Huge Elvis Portrait from Burnt Toast

Online artist Maurice Bennett makes "Toast Art and Burnt Objects" in New Zealand. His most recent coup de grace: a massive portrait of Elvis Presley's big fat head, comprised of over 4,000 small pieces of variously grilled toast. The 62 square foot objet d'art commemorates the 25th anniversary of the fried-peanut-butter-and-banana-sandwich-loving icon's death. Reuters story here, large photo of Elvis toastwork here.


August 12, 2002

The King is Dead, Long Live the King

(Shamelessly lifted directly from MetaFilter.) Is The King Finally Dead, After 25 Years?
Elvis Presley died on 16 August 1977 and, silly season or not, The Observer, kicking off with Nik Cohn's above-linked essay, has assembled a cracking collection of articles, interviews and humorous pieces about the controversial crooner, mainly directed (I'd say) at non-fans. To my mind, the most enjoyable are Nigel Slater's brave attempt to make the famous Presley sandwich; the weird interview with Larry Geller, his hairdresser and spiritual advisor; the account of Elvis's only (secret) visit to Britain; Michael Odell's funny set of instructions on how not to behave at an Elvis party; an interview with George Nichopoulos, the doctor who wrote out more than 10,000 prescriptions for him; a round-up of ludicrous ex-girlfriends' memories and, as an after-thought, a collector's report on locating that legendary first "Uh-huh" of his. It's all good stuff but one has to ask whether, in this day and age, it isn't, er, overkill. Is Elvis Presley still that relevant or is he slowly becoming a figure of fun? Whether or not he's actually dead, of course, is entirely another matter...


August 06, 2002

Dreaming of Girls... and Sixpack of Beer

(From New Scientist.) What would happen to a pint of beer in space?

Imagine you're sitting in a pub with a pint of real ale. Gravity keeps the beer in the glass and the bubbles rise through it. Now imagine that you have a globule of beer floating in a spacecraft in zero gravity. What happens to the bubbles? What direction do they move in--if they move at all? Are they the same size as on Earth? Would the beer have a frothy head? Are there likely to be any other unusual effects?
Stephen Stewart

In microgravity, surface tension tends to be the driving force behind fluid behaviour. Once released from whatever container it was in, your blob of beer would just float there. However, if you opened a can of beer in orbit, you'd create a nifty little beer cannon that cover the wall with several globs of beer.

Bubbles would still form in your beer globule, because the carbon dioxide would still come out of solution under room temperature and pressure, but they wouldn't move in any direction. Not only that, but the larger bubbles (and head) in Earth beer form because the bubbles float to the top of the glass and bump into each other on the way. Space beer would have a number of bubbles throughout, so you'd just get a foamy mass.

Astronauts aren't allowed to drink carbonated drinks in orbit, because the body relies on gravity to burp excess gas. No beer is one of the many sacrifices one must make for space exploration.
Thousand Oaks

Bubbles are likely to be fewer and larger in microgravity because as they form, they remain at the nucleation sites instead of drifting off. However, their growth may be slower because it would depend more on diffusion through the liquid and less on circulation. On Earth, the behaviour of beer depends largely on gravity. In free fall, surface tension, momentum, vapour pressure and diffusion dominate, so small bubbles are less likely to meet and fuse, but big bubbles are less likely to reach the surface and burst.

To get a head on top of a zero- gravity slug of beer you first must define where the top is. One way is to catch the slug in a container and substitute for gravity by swinging it round and round, amusing your colleagues by smashing their instruments and splashing them with beer. More elegantly, you can husband a small slug until it is nicely spherical, then gently blow on it to start it rotating. Rotation defines "the top" as being inside the slug, and the scattered bubbles will congregate along the axis lof rotation.

Forces hardly noticeable on Earth have weird effects in microgravity and complicate working in space. Localised drying and the lack of convection cause differences in viscosity, vapour pressure and surface tension, which make fluids creep, drift and distort unexpectedly.
South Africa


August 05, 2002

Z Rock Videos

As promised, here are the videos for Long Way Home and Slave, by Zhenya Rock. (Long Way Home is my favorite song on Slave, but stylistically I prefer the video for Slave; so be sure to watch them both.) If you like them, you can order his album, Slave, through his website. If you don't like it, he also has some amazing visual art on display.


Musical Fashion Accessories

Don't throw out those old LPs! Make Album Cover Purses out of them instead.


August 03, 2002


ATTENTION! The Red Elvises' latest album, Rokenrol is now available on and on It's a pre-order on Amazon, but it's due out August 6.

On a related note, Zhenya's solo effort, Slave is now available on his web site. (You can download my favorite song of the album, Long Way Home, and if you're good, tomorrow I'll post a link to the video!)


Fabergé Eggs: Mementos of a Doomed Dynasty

It may not be Easter season, but since they're talking about decorated eggs over on MetaFilter anyway, go check out pictures of pysanky and this history of Fabergé eggs. And here are lessons on how to Fabergé your own egg. If you get started now, maybe you'll be finished in time!