Kickstart my art 

At a May motorcycle exhibit in Stockholm, orchestra conductor Petter Sundkvist waved racetrack flags instead of a baton to guide 100 bikers as they revved their engines at different intensities to perform the five-minute "Wrooom" by Swedish composer Staffan Mossenmark. A critic said the piece had a range from "ominous-and-loud to ominous-and-deafening."

A minor setback for the cause

Israel rolled its clocks back one hour in September to support Orthodox Jewish prayer schedules, but the Palestinian West Bank remained on summer time. At 5 p.m. on Sept. 5, three Palestinian terrorists en route to targets in Haifa and Tiberius were killed when their bombs exploded in their cars. Security sources said bomb-makers in the West Bank had set the timers for 6 p.m. but that the bomb carriers incorrectly assumed that the hour's difference had been factored in.

Lend me a Timor

In September, just after fighting broke out in East Timor, Indonesian defense minister General Wiranto dropped by a large party thrown in Jakarta for retired members of the military. After delivering a moving speech defending the government's stand against East Timorese independence, Wiranto dramatized his patriotic emotions by singing the song "Feelings." An Associated Press reporter said that Wiranto nailed the high notes.

Heeding his true colon

Berlin artist Anton Henning, 35, recently unveiled a brown-splotched work -- whose title translates as "Meatballs, Gherkins, Beetroot, Potatoes, Watermelon, Lemon Juice and a Large Brownie" -- which will run through January 2000 at the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt. The title refers to the foods Henning ate to produce the splotches. The end product is sealed with resin to prevent odors.

Brand loyalty

The branding of human skin has grown in popularity, according to reports in Time magazine and the Tampa Tribune, but only (in the words of one technician) among people "intensely into their spirituality who are wishing to release some power." Branding guru Fakir Musafar teaches two techniques at his San Francisco school: the strike method (in which a design plate is heated and applied to the skin), and a sketching process that utilizes a 2,200-degree cauterized scalpel. Branding produces a third-degree burn, takes at least three weeks to heal and (in addition to the pain) increases the risk of the most aggressive form of skin cancer.

Cultural currency

In June, German film director Christoph Schlingensief disclosed his plan to salute capitalism by tossing 100,000 marks (about $53,000) off Berlin's Reichstag parliament building as part of a cultural show sponsored by Deutsche Bank. When the bank got wind of the plan two days later, it canceled the contract.

Going the distance

A man was arrested in August at an airport in Seville, Spain, after snatching a tourist's bag and attempting to flee. Standing nearby were members of a U.S. track-and-field delegation, including Maurice Green (current world-record holder for the 100-meter run), who ran the perp down without much effort. And a month earlier in Huddersfield, West Yorks, England, two men who tried to steal a car from a driveway were caught by the owner's 67-year-old father, Derek Ibbotson, a former world champion in the mile run.

Bum rap

In March in Knoxville, Tenn., hobo Lester Hurley, 51, was arrested as he emerged from a boxcar in which he had spent the night, running into police who were wrapping up a nearby press conference about their plans to crack down on boxcar trespassing. And in August, Ricky Lynn Caudill, 43, was arrested when he attempted to rob a Bank One in Columbus, Ohio, just as employees gathered in the lobby to hear police officer Duane Ward teach them what to do in case of a heist.

Reaching for a bud

In August, Richard James McClean, 21, and David Delasantos, 22, were arrested in Petaluma, Calif., and charged with breaking into a home at gunpoint, then uprooting and stealing about a dozen marijuana plants. Two weeks earlier, in Kelowna, British Columbia, a gang of thieves broke into a police compound and stole about 250 freshly seized marijuana plants.

What a dump

A year ago, News of the Weird reported that a jury in Westminster, Calif., had convicted Cal State-Long Beach engineering professor Elena Zagustin, 61, of massive health violations at her exceptionally odoriferous and messy home, where buckets were doing the work of broken toilets. By September 1999, Zagustin had sold the house (discounted due to its condition, but still fetching $301,500 in the sky-high California real-estate market). When the buyers pried the door open, the Los Angeles Times reported, they found trash piled two feet high in every room, as well as rotting vegetables, maggots, beds topped with garbage, omnipresent flies ... and the still-broken toilets.

Hogging the spotlight

According to a June Agence France Presse report, the second annual Fair of Edible Contemporary Art in Seville, Spain, was a notable success. The report was accompanied by a photo of a model attired in a traditional Andalusian dress that was made entirely of raw ham.

Speaking of News Of The Weird

More by Chuck Shepherd


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