Have you seen Marilyn Manson‘s short film “Born Villain”? The new work (which some are calling a music video) advances his upcoming album of the same name. It also reaffirms his “shock rocker” status, though perhaps the most shocking part is its director: Shia LaBeouf!

There’s a lot of surrealist imagery and violent, NSFW antics in the thing, and while some may have a hard time watching it, we just had a hard time trying to figure out what it all means.

Well, if anyone could break it down, it’d be Nick Kushner, the NY artist whose opening Saturday night at Studio Servitu saw not only a screening of the film, but a DJ set by Marilyn Manson’s band mate Twiggy Ramirez. It quickly turned into an album listening party when Manson himself got behind the laptop and unveiled his brand new music for the first time.

Nick Kushner's bloody talented; Credit: Lina Lecaro

Nick Kushner’s bloody talented; Credit: Lina Lecaro

Kushner met Manson through his website Nachtkabarett, which explores the imagery seen in Manson videos, art and music. But his own creations are nearly as macabre. After all, his medium is his own blood. If it sounds exploitative, it is — intentionally so. Given the subject matter and aesthetic — not to mention Kushner’s gift for exquisitely detailed likeness — there really couldn’t be a better, more expressive “paint” he could work with. Blood dries brown, of course, so Kushner’s works have an old-timey, almost sepia-toned hue that complements each drawing. The portrait of Manson and Kushner’s Jesus-like self-portrait were particularly impressive.

Talk about suffering for your art; Credit: Lina Lecaro

Talk about suffering for your art; Credit: Lina Lecaro

Manson came out to support his fan-turned-friend, Twiggy, and one of the main stars of Born Villian, Miss Crash, a revered suspension artist who also happens to co-own Servitu (with fellow fetish model Jane Jett). The downtown studio has been hosting some innovative and provocative events, from Dr. Sketchy‘s drawing sessions to sexy photo shoots to art shows. Saturday’s opening saw one of the most seductively dressed up scenes there ever, with comely corseted cuties and black guyliner galore.

Tempting trio; Credit: Lina Lecaro

Tempting trio; Credit: Lina Lecaro

Speaking of which, Manson is looking good these days; refreshed, as they say. Though he insisted on wearing shades whenever we shot him, his minimal makeup and new haircut made it seem like someone could approach him.

So we did. We tried to get a scoop on the new record, as he sat down with Twiggy behind the laptop. “When will it be heard?” we asked. “Now!” he said and then proceeded to play the new release all the way through. (His assistant told us it will be released next year.)

So what does the new stuff sound like?

Miss Crash and Manson in a scene from "Born Villain"; Credit: Lina Lecaro

Miss Crash and Manson in a scene from “Born Villain”; Credit: Lina Lecaro

Well, a lot of it is classic Manson: dark, sinister vocals over throbbing rhythms and heavy, thrashing guitars. The vocals are featured prominently, especially on the slower tempo grinds, though a couple had an almost EBM quality that will fit well on goth club dance floors. One track has a super catchy chorus that could do the K-ROQ rounds. We asked about titles, but Manson said “no names!” We were asked to not reveal lyrics, either, but all you have to do is watch “Born Villain” to get an idea of the themes and feel: arty, dramatic, salacious, depraved. You know, the usual.

If you dare, click here to watch the Labeouf-directed clip. Warning: it features nudity, skin puncturing, amputee lovin’, eyeballs inside vaginas, bloody shootings and more.

See more photos from the opening in our Nightranger Slideshow.

LA Weekly