FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
A young Pete Townshend co-stars in little known art school student film ‘Lone Ranger,’ 1968
09.25.2017
06:08 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
Royal College of Art student Richard Stanley was pals with the Who’s Pete Townshend (at one point staying the summer at the guitarist’s flat at 20 Ebury Street) and convinced him to play a character, based on himself to a certain degree, in Stanley’s student film Lone Ranger. Townshend also did the music for the short which was edited by longtime Robert Wyatt collaborator (she’s also married to him) Alfreda Benge. The great Storm Thorgerson served as Stanley’s Assistant Director. The 22-minute long 16mm film was Stanley’s Diploma film for his M.A. from the R.C.A. in 1968. Apparently just a single, scratchy German distribution print of the film survives today: “The dirt and scratches do not come from a plug-in” writes the director on Vimeo who goes on to add that “the budget, as I recall, was 50 quid, but of course everyone worked for free.”

The first idea for the film came out of many conversations with Pete Townshend about music and film, and his expressed interest in making a movie soundtrack. He was also thinking about Tommy in the same period.

The idea developed in conversations with fellow students Storm Thorgerson (later founder of Hipgnosis) and David Gale (later founder of improvisational theatre group Lumière & Son). Their good friend (and thereafter mine), Matthew Scurfield, became the main actor at the urging of Storm and Dave.

Lone Ranger was shot in South Kensington and Knightsbridge during January and February of 1968:

We were all living in London at the height of its swingingness. But strangely, in spite of a great feeling of social change in the air, it all seemed normal to us. Looking back, it is more documentary than I thought at the time.
 
Royal College of Art student Richard Stanley was pals with the Who’s Pete Townshend (at one point staying the summer at the guitarist’s flat at 20 Ebury Street) and convinced him to play a character, based on himself to a certain degree, in Stanley’s student film Lone Ranger. Townshend also did the music for the short which was edited by longtime Robert Wyatt collaborator (she’s also married to him) Alfreda Benge. The great Storm Thorgerson served as Stanley’s Assistant Director. The 22-minute long 16mm film was Stanley’s Diploma film for his M.A. from the R.C.A. in 1968. Apparently just a single, scratchy German distribution print of the film survives today: “The dirt and scratches do not come from a plug-in” writes the director on Vimeo who goes on to add that “the budget, as I recall, was 50 quid, but of course everyone worked for free.”

The first idea for the film came out of many conversations with Pete Townshend about music and film, and his expressed interest in making a movie soundtrack. He was also thinking about Tommy in the same period.

The idea developed in conversations with fellow students Storm Thorgerson (later founder of Hipgnosis) and David Gale (later founder of improvisational theatre group Lumière & Son). Their good friend (and thereafter mine), Matthew Scurfield, became the main actor at the urging of Storm and Dave.

Lone Ranger was shot in South Kensington and Knightsbridge during January and February of 1968:

We were all living in London at the height of its swingingness. But strangely, in spite of a great feeling of social change in the air, it all seemed normal to us. Looking back, it is more documentary than I thought at the time.

Watch ‘Lone Ranger’ after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
09.25.2017
06:08 pm
|
Dig these high-octane Italian lobby cards for ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?’
09.25.2017
10:26 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
The first season of Ryan Murphy’s docudrama series Feud, released earlier this year, has triggered an uptick in interest in the sublimely dishy goings-on that led to Robert Aldrich’s overwrought 1962 melodrama (if that is even the word for it) Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, which featured two actresses widely known to despise each other, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. (Weirdly, I’ve copyedited bios of both women.) Ideally cast with Susan Sarandon as Davis and Jessica Lange as Crawford, the eight-episode narrative tackled one of Hollywood’s most curious releases, a pulpy embrace of camp, kitsch, and lurid material that seems miles ahead of its time.

In Italy, the movie, under the title Che fine ha fatto Baby Jane?, didn’t debut until the spring of 1963, but when it did Italian audiences were no doubt lured to purchase a ticket by this utterly fantastic atomic-age lobby art, done up in an eye-popping palette including a garish combination of hot pink, powder blue, and bright yellow. The irony, of course, is that none of these colors are to be found in the film itself, being that it was shot in black and white.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
09.25.2017
10:26 am
|
Eros: The entire run of banned highbrow Sixties sex magazine is now available online
09.25.2017
10:17 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Launched in 1962, Ralph Ginzburg’s Eros was the kind of magazine that targeted the kind of man who actually did read Playboy for the articles. Ginzburg managed to publish four provocative and fascinating issues of Eros before the federal authorities, which were run by Robert F. Kennedy at the time, invoked the Comstock Act and arrested Ginzburg’s ass.

If the run of Eros were a nug of marijuana, one might be tempted to croak the words “really good shit,” with deep respect. Eros was a somewhat literary version of the “ribald classics” section of Playboy transmogrified into its own title, but there was actual ground-breaking political stuff in there too. “Devoted to the joys of love and sex,” Eros was daring and often hilarious in its content and incredibly forward-thinking in its design, which was the purview of Herb Lubalin. Flip through a copy (actual issues are rather pricey) and you’d have a hard time coming up with a reason that these layouts couldn’t have been executed in 2015. Indeed, from a “look and feel” perspective Eros reminds me most of the travel magazine Afar. Few did more with a serif than Ralph Ginzburg and Herb Lubalin.

The content was bold and wide-ranging. Ginzburg ran fiction by Ray Bradbury, Guy de Maupassant, and Mark Twain; a photo series by Garry Winogrand; an antique patent submission for a male chastity belt; a profile of Frank Harris; and psychosexual meditiations on John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe (uhhh, published separately: few knew that they were sleeping together yet).

The early to mid-1960s were a mixed bag for the judicial oversight of what at the time was called smut. William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch was banned in 1962 but vindicated in 1966. The tale of Eros, however, is a darker one. Ginzburg, who had once written a history of erotica under the amusing title An Unhurried View of Erotica, could hardly be accused of indulging in “mere” sexual titillation, and yet he was still sentenced to five years and fined $42,000 for using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver copies of the fourth (and ultimately final) issue of Eros as well as a newsletter called Liaison and a book called The Housewife’s Handbook on Selective Promiscuity. Even from the perspective of more than five decades later, one can feel the heady rush of sending those materials around as if they were regular goods.

There was a racist tinge to the prosecution—one of the features in that fourth issue was a series of photographs by Ralph M. Hattersley Jr. depicting a black man and a white woman in a state of aesthetically pleasing undress. The judge in the case asserted that the pictures “a detailed portrayal of the act of sexual intercourse,” although this was patently false. The case hinged on the appearance of prurience—in other words, since it was promoted as appealing to “erotic interest,” then it fell under the category of “pandering,” and therefore whatever additional social value the material could be said to possess would be outweighed by the sexual content.

Ginzburg ultimately spent eight months in prison for publishing Eros.

We are grateful to graphic designer Mindy Seu, Cooper Union’s Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography, and the Internet Archive for posting every single page of Eros’ four-issue run. If you’re an editorial geek such as myself, it’s difficult to tear one’s eyes away from these gorgeous, intelligent layouts, nor chuckle at the stimulating topics under consideration. Below you can feast your eyes on some choice spreads and single pages.
 

 

 
Much more Eros after the jump…...
 

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
09.25.2017
10:17 am
|
A bored suburban housewife turns to the occult in George Romero’s fascinating ‘Season of the Witch’
09.25.2017
09:21 am
Topics:
Tags:

Season of the Witch
 
George A. Romero ushered in the modern-day zombie film with his debut motion picture, Night of the Living Dead (1968). Romero, who died on July 17 at the age of 77, was primarily known for his series of zombie movies, but made other types of flicks, too. His third feature is one such work. This fascinating film—which follows a suburban housewife and her dalliance with the occult—is relatively obscure, though the pending release of a new Romero boxed set will surely change all that.

Filmed in 1972 under the title of Jack’s Wife, Romero was given just $170,000 to make the film, though he had been promised a slightly higher—but still very modest—budget of $250,000. So, the picture had to be made on the cheap. In addition to directing, Romero wrote the original screenplay, was the cinematographer, and edited the film. His original cut of Jack’s Wife was 130 minutes, but the distributor, Jack Harris, chopped it down to 89 minutes and changed the title. Released in 1973, it would now be called Hungry Wives.
 
Hungry Wives
 
The marketing materials for Hungry Wives downplayed the witchcraft angle, instead making it seem as though targeted filmgoers were in for a softcore picture, filled with married women who were all stepping out on their husbands (quite misleading, though there is some brief nudity and the protagonist does have an affair). If you’ve seen the movie, you know the Hungry Wives trailer is more than a little deceptive.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the efforts made by the distributor to make the film a box office hit, it failed to find an audience. Understandably, Romero later looked back on the entire endeavor as “a pretty disappointing experience.” There are no existing copies of his 130-minute cut.

After the success of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), Harris rereleased Hungry Wives as Season of the Witch. As you can see in the poster at the top of this post, it was not only made to appear as if it was Romero’s follow-up to Dawn, but that it’s a horror movie similar to John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978).

But Season of the Witch isn’t really a horror movie either, though it has elements of the genre, notably the proto-slasher nightmare sequences, in which Joan is being stalked by a man wearing a mask and brandishing a knife. This aspect was exaggerated in the Season trailer.
 
Publicity still
 
Little-known actress Jan White plays Joan Mitchell, the lead character in the film. Joan’s suburban boredom and anxiety regarding her path in life leads to her interest in the dark arts. Joan eventually becomes a witch, and though she believes it makes her more powerful, it doesn’t mean she’s made the right choice.
 
Press Photo
 
Romero’s picture reminded me of Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour (1967), in that they’re both character studies about married women dealing with troubling issues that involve their husbands, and it’s often difficult to tell while viewing these films if what we’re seeing on screen is meant to be reality.

In his book, The Cinema of George A. Romero: Knight of the Living Dead, author Tony Williams takes a deep dive into Season of the Witch (he uses Romero’s original title when referring to the picture). I’ve selected a few excerpts, which provide additional insight into the film and how it relates to Romero’s other work.

Despite its production problems [minimal production values, uneven acting, and a tendency to appear as merely a dated product of its time], Jack’s Wife represents one of Romero’s most sophisticated attempts to analyze the personal dilemmas affecting individuals in contemporary society who are often faced with different choices but who end up choosing the wrong path. Romero’s various screen characters variously engage in processes of denial that harm their very personalities and prevent them from releasing their real potential as free individuals.

 
Yellow
 

Like Day Of The Dead, Jack’s Wife opens with a deceptive image which seems realistic at first. But, unlike the later film, it follows another sequence which initially appears realistic but is nonetheless an illusion—despite its placement in the world of everyday normality. Both visions symbolically represent Joan’s real life problems and challenge her to respond to them.

Joan’s daughter, Nikki, has a casual boyfriend named Gregg, who’s a professor at the local university—and a self-righteous jerk. A mutual attraction between Joan and Gregg develops, with Joan later casing a spell on him. The two first lay eyes on each in the most realistic-looking of the multiple dream sequences that appear early on, which is easy to miss upon first viewing.
 
Gregg
 

Gregg’s presence initially appears unusual. It will not be until later into the narrative that audiences actually meets him in the film. This intimates that what initially appears to be a chronologically positioned opening sequence actually belongs to the film’s actual conclusion. According to this system, the end must answer the beginning. By placing a character the audience meets later at the very beginning of the film, Romero suggests that Joan’s dilemma will never reach any firm resolution but is actually circular in nature.

 
Orange
 

Joan fails to comprehend the nature of her personal entrapment. Her attempts to seek out false alternatives that harm her potential for true independence lead to escalating patterns of supernatural chaos and violence. The original nightmares emerged from her uneasy relationship with her boorish husband. But they also take on a sinister form of development as a result of her flirtation with a world of witchcraft which is as equally conformist as the deadly world she seeks escape from.

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Bart Bealmear
|
09.25.2017
09:21 am
|
‘You’re the One for Me, Fatty’: Amusing Morrissey-themed skateboard decks
09.25.2017
08:47 am
Topics:
Tags:


“You’re the One for Me, Fatty”
 
Paisley Skates has produced these rather amusing Morrissey-themed skate decks. Each one is done by a different artist including Todd Bratrud, Sean Cliver and Dave Carnie. Every deck is signed on the top by the artist and sells for $70 a pop. I dig the “Vicar in a Tutu” board by Sean Cliver.

Dimensions: 9.25 x 33.125

N: 7.125 / T: 6.875 / WB: 14.75

Click on any image to enlarge for more details.


“Vicar In A Tutu”
 

“Bigmouth Strikes Again”
 
via The World’s Best Ever

Posted by Tara McGinley
|
09.25.2017
08:47 am
|
Strangely beautiful (but oddly disturbing) paintings of Scary Mutants and Super Beasts
09.25.2017
08:46 am
Topics:
Tags:

01dustyart.jpg
 
Meet Dusty Ray. A painting contractor by day, an artist by night.

Ray paints pictures of strangely alluring dreamlike creatures and fantastic animals that sneak into his imagination while his mind’s busy working on other things. Ray describes himself as a “purveyor of surreal illustrations and dark art for the strange but discerning customer who enjoys a touch of weird in their life.”

“The strange mutants I paint come from my perception of the animals around me and the way my mind interprets their sacred, extra-sensory position in the natural world”

His paintings give me the sensation of an artist transcribing some deeply important message from a dream or nightmare, the meaning of which has become opaque on waking and only a sense of fear (threat) remains.

Ray is also a musician and a writer who graduated in English Lit. from Colorado State University. He filters some of his literary ideas into his paintings which he produces with watercolor, gouache, India ink, micron, and acrylic. His work ranges from dissected animal heads to strange unnameable figures lurking, moving, shape-shifting, out of the wooded landscape around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Ray’s work is on sale here or you can follow and see more on Instagram and Facebook.
 
015dustyart.jpg
 
03dustyart.jpg
 
See more of Dusty Ray’s strange work, after the jump…
&Nbsp;

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
09.25.2017
08:46 am
|
When Stephen King met ‘Pennywise the Clown’
09.22.2017
09:31 am
Topics:
Tags:

01penwisesking.jpg
 
Big Stephen King was on his way home. Last leg of a whirlwind book tour. Seven cities in six days. All for his latest 426-page blockbuster Dead Zone. Now it was back to his wife Tabitha and the kids. Big Stephen King. Six-foot-three. Blue-eyed. Gangly-limbed with his thick square glasses and that goofy smile that can leave you uncertain whether he’s gonna laugh or bite. King sitting in first class on a Delta airline’s plane, just a hop and skip back to his hometown of Bangor, Maine. The tour had been a blast. Signing books (“Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did writing it!”), palm-pressing (“I’m your number one fan”), and talking about where he got his ideas (“Everywhere”).

King was tired (disconnected) like he’d been bludgeoned with pillows filled with some kind of low-grade knockout gas. Flump! Headful of cotton. King buckled up. The stewardess mimed her safety routine, smiled, counted heads, checked seatbelts and made sure tray tables were upright and folded away. The plane was on the runway. Taxiing for take-off. And that’s were it started to go wrong. The plane slowed down. Came to rest. Instead of taking off this big metal behemoth nosed around and headed back to the apron.

(“Oh, geez, we’ve got some kind of motor problem; this is just what I need.”)

But it wasn’t the engines, it was just a late boarder. Must be someone mighty important if they’re going to all this trouble. It was Ronald McDonald.

Ronald McDonald with his ghost white face, blood red lips, big red nose, goofy orange hair, giant flapping boots, and those Day-Glo clothes with buttons down the front. Ronald-Mc-fucking-Donald. King knew exactly where this sonofabitch was gonna sit. (Beep, beep!) “Because I’m a weirdness magnet.”
 
02penysking.jpg
 
Ronald slumped down into the aisle seat next to King. (“Knew it.”) Ronald looked shabby. Smelled like day-old sweat, cigarettes, and cheap aftershave. He called the stewardess over and ordered a gin-and-tonic. It’s ten o’clock in the morning. The drink arrives with its little paper coaster. Ronald knocked it back. Then turned to King and said:

“I hate these whistle-stop tours. I just hate this. I almost missed this plane.”

The plane takes off. King’s going “Uh-huh, uh-huh, yeah, right” to whatever the hell Ronald is saying. The no-smoking light blinks off and Ronald, swilling his G & T with its ice cubes chinking, popped opened a pack of cancer sticks. He lights up and started breathing in a Kent. King was getting antsy. “What the fuck do you say to a clown?” Eventually, he asked:

“So, where did you come from?”

Ronald looked the great writer up-and-down considering if this was a question worthy of a full sentence or just a one-word answer.

“McDonaldland,” he said.

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
09.22.2017
09:31 am
|
Turns out, it’s crazy easy to write a Morrissey song
09.22.2017
09:00 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Who knew how ridiculously easy it is to write a song in the style of Morrissey?

Musician Andy Wood reveals the “one weird trick” in this brief three-minute tutorial.

Wood demonstrates that Morrissey’s melodies tend to be one note—the major third of whatever key you are playing in. He demonstrates this by playing chords in the key of E, while singing in the major third, G sharp.

Wood says that in order to sing like Morrissey you must always avoid singing the root note, because to do that would give the melody a beginning or an ending and a Morrissey song “starts in the middle, ends in the middle, and in the middle it has more middle.”

Even more “middle” after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Christopher Bickel
|
09.22.2017
09:00 am
|
Having fun with the Doors’ collected singles in mono, stereo and quad
09.22.2017
08:32 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Spare a thought for the Doors fan who has already spent time with 13, Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine, The Best of the Doors (1973), Greatest Hits, The Best of the Doors (1985), Classics, The Doors (Original Soundtrack Recording), The Doors Box Set, The Best of the Doors (2000), The Very Best of the Doors, Legacy: The Absolute Best, Love/Death/Travel, Scattered Sun, and The Platinum Collection. You could forgive such a person for regarding a new Doors compilation with suspicion, if not hostility. Again the Lizard King is passing the hat? Now he wants a swimming pool for his celestial mansion, I suppose?

But The Singles is a welcome addition to the Doors catalog, especially because of its mono and quad content. The mono tracks walk up to you, poke you in the chest and box your ears. It is startling, for instance, to hear “Hello, I Love You” in its radio version, so mixed as to sound kickass on a 1968 clock radio or the fillings in your teeth. Something unwholesome has been restored to it, and when it ends, I expect to hear “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)” or “Louie Louie.”

Disc two presents the five singles the Doors released after Jim died, making this the first collection to acknowledge the Other Voices and Full Circle years, a period other retrospectives pass over in embarrassed silence (cf. the Clash, Cut the Crap). While I doubt the appearance of “Treetrunk” on CD will bring anyone to orgasm, it is interesting to hear “Tightrope Ride,” “Ships w/ Sails” and the rest of the trio’s 45s in the same sequence as “Roadhouse Blues,” “Riders On The Storm” and the other FM evergreens (though not “L.A. Woman,” an album cut).

Thirty-five minutes of post-Jim Doors is a lot of time to reflect. Why should it be the case that some qualities are pleasing in the human voice, and others less so? The songs are pretty good, even—Densmore’s “The Piano Bird” is class all the way—but again and again, there’s that disorienting shift in lyrical perspective. “The year 2000 is the cutoff point,” Ray warns mysteriously on one song. “It wouldn’t matter but it’s time to meditate,” Robby sings on another. Huh?
 

 
Balancing the contraction of the mono material is the expansion of the The Best of the Doors (1973), here on Blu-ray in its original Quadradisc mix. For all the 40th anniversary surround mixes’ fine points, some of their novel presentations lacked the immediacy and clarity of the originals. While the placement of instruments in the quad mix may be crude at times, it deserves credit for enlarging the hits without fucking around with them so much.

The Quadradisc opens with the monstrous “Who Do You Love?” that starts Absolutely Live. At “Somebody scream!” a lone WAUUUUUGH! erupts from the right back channel. Too, Jim’s ghost whispers in your ear during “Riders On The Storm.” Heavy! But the best way to have fun with this Blu-ray is to walk around among the four channels of “Hello, I Love You” as if you were at a freshman mixer. You pay a visit to the fuzz guitar for a minute, and then you go check in on the keys, see how their summer was. Mingle.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
09.22.2017
08:32 am
|
CRASSCAR: the mashup no one asked for
09.22.2017
07:48 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Let’s see… things I am and am not a fan of: The UK anarcho-punk band Crass? Yes, I am a fan. NASCAR? No, but my parents seem to like it quite a bit. The fetishization of the Confederate flag? Nope, not a fan. Mashups? Not generally, but...

I guess every now and then there’s a mashup that is so exceedingly clever or well-done that it gets a pass based on those merits.

The CRASSCAR shirt is not one of those.

Still, though… I have to admit, this thing did make me chuckle. Quite a bit, actually. It’s like “who is the audience for this?”

This shirt with the Crass logo done in a confederate flag style with the stencil lettering (based on lyrics from Crass’ “Reality Asylum”) “Earnhardt died for his sins, not mine” is certain to piss off both racing fans AND peacepunks alike.

I guess that’s why I sort of love it. It’s just obnoxiously wrong on every level.

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Christopher Bickel
|
09.22.2017
07:48 am
|
Page 1 of 2207  1 2 3 >  Last ›