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In Dreams: Grete Stern’s powerful feminist surrealism
08.18.2017
11:17 am
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In 1948, the photographer Grete Stern was asked to contribute photographic illustrations for a weekly column on the interpretation of dreams in the Argentinian women’s magazine Idilio. The column entitled “El psicoanálisis le ayudará” (“Psychoanalysis will help you”) was written by Italian sociologist Gino Germani under the novel pseudonym of Richard Rest. Psychoanalysis was then considered the cure-all for everyone’s ills—though goodness knows what strange subconscious thought inspired Germani to choose the name “Dick” Rest….

Anyway…while Rest analyzed one of the many dreams submitted by the mainly working-class female readership, Stern produced a photomontage that recreated some aspect of the reader’s dream. These illustrations usually depicted women struggling to free themselves from the oppressive patriarchy of Argentinian society.

For example, in one image a woman is trying to communicate on a phone without a mouth. In another, a woman is trying to grow in the light which can be turned off on a whim by a giant man’s hand. Or there is the woman whose reflection in a mirror has shattered into fragments, or the woman housed in a birdcage like some exotic bird. And so on. During her tenure with Idilio, Stern produced around 150 photomontages between 1948 and 1951.

Grete Stern was born in Elberfeld, Germany, on May 9th, 1904. Her family were involved in the textile and fabric industry and made frequent visits on business to England, where Stern first attended school. Returning to Germany, Stern studied graphic design and typography at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Stuttgart between 1923-25. After college, she became a freelance graphic designer producing adverts for magazines and papers. However, it was after seeing an exhibition by the American photographer Edward Weston, that Stern decided on a career as a photographer.

Stern moved to Berlin where she became a photographic student under the tutelage of Walter Peterhans. Stern later said that Peterhans taught her that the camera was not just a mechanism for taking pictures but a whole new way of seeing. Peterhans went onto become the leading photographer with the Bauhaus movement. During her studies, Stern became close friends with another pupil Ellen (Rosenberg) Auerbach. Together they formed the advertising and portrait studio ringl+pit. The company name was concocted from the pair’s nicknames—Ringl for Grete and Pit for Ellen. Their work became highly successful—in particular their mixing of photographic images with text. During this time, Stern met and started a relationship with Argentinian photographer Horacio Coppola.

When Adolf Hitler and his band of Nazi thugs came to power, Stern left ringl+pit and moved with Coppola to England where she formed her own studio in 1934. Here she documented many of the German exiles like Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel. In 1935, Stern and Coppola married. With the threat of war more apparent, Stern and Coppola moved to Buenos Aires, where they set up a graphic, advertizing, and photographic studio and held the first major exhibition of “modern photography” in the city.

Stern was way ahead of the curve. She was a pioneer for women working in a male-dominated and, let’s be honest, primarily sexist industry. Stern became a highly successful and inventive portrait photographer with her work exhibited and published across the world. However, the photomontages she produced for Idilio were long discounted as just hack work until their reassessment labeled them as what they are: powerful, imaginative, feminist artwork.

Stern died at the age of 95 in 1999.
 
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More of Grete Stern’s dream work, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.18.2017
11:17 am
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When David Bowie was in Iggy Pop’s band: Their final concert
08.18.2017
10:17 am
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Moscow, 1976
 
Iggy Pop’s The Idiot LP wasn’t just his solo debut; the 1977 album marked his return after three years of laying low. Though credited solely to Pop, The Idiot was a collaboration between Iggy and his friend, David Bowie. Iggy has attributed his rebirth to Bowie, who he’s said “resurrected” him. He’s spoken many times over the years of his appreciation for Bowie’s faith in him, and for his kindness.

Here’s an anecdote from Iggy’s 1982 book, I need more: The Stooges and other stories, that took place during the recording of The Idiot:

One day we were in Chateau d’Herouville in France, outside Paris, taking a ping-pong break. Never in my life had I been able to play ping-pong. I never had the coordination—literally couldn’t play.

David said, “Come on, give me a game.”

“I can’t. I can’t play.”

But I tried it, and suddenly that I day I could play, and I’m playing and were about tied and I said, “You know, man, this is weird. Really weird. I always failed at this game and now I can play it.”

He said, “Well, Jim, it’s probably because you’re feeling better about yourself.” In the most gentlest way he said that, because usually, you know, nobody wants to be anybody’s teacher or leaner. You know what I mean? In the very gentlest way he said that. I just thought that was a nice answer. Three games later, I beat him and he never played me again. I got good REAL fast.

 
March 1, 1977 poster
 
Bowie continued to support Iggy during The Idiot era, becoming a member of Pop’s band for the six-week jaunt promoting the album. The outing began on March 1 in Aylesbury for a run of dates in England, before coming to North America mid-month. The famed Dinah! appearance was on April 15, with the final show of the tour happening the following evening.
 
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‘Mantra Studios Broadcast 1977.’ Chicago, March 28, 1977 (radio broadcast).

Bowie kept a low profile during this period, both on and off stage. Up until the Dinah! taping, he refused all interview requests, and during the shows he rarely looked at the audience, most of whom had no prior knowledge that he was part of Iggy’s group. Bowie played piano and keyboards, and the band also included guitarist Ricky Gardiner, as well as bassist Tony Sales, and drummer Hunt Sales. The Sales brothers also contributed backing vocals, as did Bowie.
 
Cleveland
‘Live In Concert – Cleveland 1977.’ Agora Ballroom, March 22, 1977.

The last date took place at the San Diego Civic Auditorium on April 16.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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08.18.2017
10:17 am
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Head of Chucky bath bomb and other horror-themed bath bombs
08.18.2017
10:15 am
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Here’s a Chucky head bath bomb by California-based Loquita Bath and Body. Apparently it is orange scented. I’m in. Who wouldn’t want a fizzy bath with Chucky’s head? The bath bomb sells for $7.00 but is currently sold out. Boo!

It didn’t seem fair to post about a Chucky bath bomb you couldn’t buy, so I did some Internet research and found some other horror-themed bath bombs you can still purchase. I linked where to buy them underneath each image.


Click here to buy
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.18.2017
10:15 am
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Jodie Foster’s very, very brief pop music career
08.18.2017
09:23 am
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What were you doing when you were 15? How many movies had you appeared in? How many singles had you put out? How many books had you written? (Or read?)

That Jodie Foster, in 1977, was an unusual 15-year-old isn’t news. By that time she had already appeared in at least one box-office hit, Bugsy Malone, as well as arguably the most bracing and accomplished product of the New American Cinema ever committed to film, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. She was attending a French lycée which she once described to Andy Warhol in the pages of Interview thus:
 

It’s great, man. All the teachers are like 21 or 22 and have long hair and beards and everything. Being in this school, you don’t have to do anything.


 
A minute later Warhol offers Foster a Bloody Mary (she was 14 at the time). Foster may not have been “doing anything” at that lycée, but two things are clear: she was perfectly fluent in French by that time, and her education was at least good enough to enable her to attend Yale as well as become one of the top actresses in the world as an adult.

In 1977 Foster flirted briefly with pursuing a career in pop music. She released a couple of singles and made some appearances on French TV as a singer. She appeared on the soundtrack for a movie called Moi, fleur bleue (in America the title was Stop Calling Me Baby!) singing a song called “When I Looked at Your Face.” She released that track as a single and also put out another single called “Je t’attends depuis la nuit des temps.”
 
Watch the video after the jump, along with Foster’s rendition of a famous Serge Gainsbourg song…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.18.2017
09:23 am
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Here’s the Klaus Nomi karaoke you’ll be needing for your Eclipse Party
08.18.2017
09:05 am
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I was an eleven-year-old kid attending Catholic school in Kentucky and my parents had just gotten cable TV. It was 1982. I had gotten up inexplicably early one morning. Maybe 4:00 or 5:00 AM. I turned on the television and had my brain cracked open by an unbelievably amazing concert film called Urgh! A Music War. I was bombarded with music and bizarre performances the likes of which was unimaginable to me in my sheltered youth. I wasn’t prepared for it.

Some of it absolutely terrified me, in particular, The Dead Kennedys, The Cramps, and Skafish (who were downright blasphemous to me—I didn’t understand camp at that time). But the one act that stood out to me the most—the most bizarre thing I had ever seen up to that point—was Klaus Nomi.

I didn’t LOVE Klaus Nomi at first, nor really any of the acts in Urgh!, save for the big names I already knew like The Police, Go Go’s, and Joan Jett.  I was intrigued and confused by these performances, but in time I came to love them. I love every band and every song in Urgh! It’s a perfect concert film.

Klaus Nomi ended up becoming a bit of an obsession over time. By the time I got to college, I was already fully immersed in punk rock. I had a copy of Urgh! on VHS that I watched over and over with friends in the dorm room. And Klaus was always the highlight. The general comment whenever anyone first saw Klaus’ performance in Urgh! was “what the hell is this supposed to be?” Exactly. That’s the greatness of Klaus Nomi. Klaus’ backing band, looking like super-square rejects from an E.L.O. tribute was also a constant source of hilarious commentary in the dorm. The clash between the highly stylized other-worldliness of Klaus and his backup dancers and the backing band which just looked like “some dudes” actually seemed like calculated genius. The song Klaus and his band performs in Urgh!, “Total Eclipse,” is by now one of my favorite songs of all time.

Moving forward in time, one of the weird side-jobs I ended up doing years later was hosting karaoke. I was a karaoke DJ (or KJ, as we like to be called) for eight years. It was a fun gig and I was really good at it. I made a point to scour the planet for karaoke tracks that no one else had. It wasn’t easy to find punk rock on karaoke, but if it existed, I had it. I was even part of a cabal of “cool” karaoke hosts nationwide (there were like 6 of us) that hired studio bands to record the tracks we wanted for karaoke use, but that were unavailable on the market. As a result, the members of this cabal had dozens of tracks that no other KJs in the world had access to.

The one track I always wanted though, that we never produced ourselves or were able to find ANYWHERE was “Total Eclipse.”

Fast forward to a couple of days ago when I began making plans for an eclipse party. I happen to live in one of the few municipal areas in the U.S. that will be able to observe the full total eclipse on August 21. So, I’m thinking “man, wouldn’t it be awesome to have ‘Total Eclipse’ by Klaus Nomi on karaoke?”

So I did a search… something I had done plenty of times to no avail back when I was working in the karaoke business. But this time I hit paydirt. Some kind soul on YouTube has taken the time to create a backing track with on-screen lyrics for “Total Eclipse.”

This is seriously the best thing to ever happen in the world of karaoke.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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08.18.2017
09:05 am
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‘Jack Johnson,’ 1970 documentary about the first black heavyweight champion, scored by Miles Davis
08.18.2017
09:02 am
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Even people who don’t like Miles Davis’ electric period (!) recognize the greatness of Jack Johnson, one of John McLaughlin’s finest moments, and a record I’d heard dozens of times before I realized it was the score to a movie. Long before
Ken Burns’ Unforgivable Blackness, there was this 1970 documentary by promoter Bill Cayton and fight film collector Jimmy Jacobs.

Jack Johnson was the first black boxer to win the world heavyweight championship. The phrase “great white hope” originates from the terror he struck into the hearts of pale Americans, both by winning the title and enjoying himself in public. His success did not go unpunished. Busted under the Mann Act and sentenced to a year and a day, Johnson skipped bail and fled the country. (In one memorable scene in Jack Johnson, the champ meets Rasputin.)
 

 
In his autobiography, Davis writes that he was boxing in the spring of 1970, when he wrote the soundtrack:

The music was originally meant for Buddy Miles, the drummer, and he didn’t show up to pick it up. When I wrote these tunes I was going up to Gleason’s Gym to train with Bobby McQuillen, who was now calling himself Robert Allah (he had become a Muslim). Anyway, I had that boxer’s movement in mind, that shuffling movement boxers use. They’re almost like dance steps, or like the sound of a train. In fact, it did remind me of being on a train doing eighty miles an hour, how you always hear the same rhythm because of the speed of the wheels touching the tracks, the plop-plop, plop-plop, plop-plop sound of the wheels passing over those splits in the track. That train image was in my head when I thought about a great boxer like Joe Louis or Jack Johnson. When you think of a big heavyweight coming at you it’s like a train.

Then the question in my mind after I got to this was, well, is the music black enough, does it have a black rhythm, can you make the rhythm of the train a black thing, would Jack Johnson dance to that? Because Jack Johnson liked to party, liked to have a good time and dance. One of the tunes on there, called “Yesternow” was named by James Finney, who was my hairdresser—and Jimi Hendrix’s, too. Anyway, the music fit perfectly with that movie. But when the album came out, they buried it. No promotions. I think one of the reasons was because it was music you could dance to. And it had a lot of stuff white rock musicians were playing, so I think they didn’t want a black jazz musician doing that kind of music. Plus, the critics didn’t know what to do with it. So Columbia didn’t promote it.

Watch ‘Jack Johnson’ after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.18.2017
09:02 am
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The Orchid Garden: Diabolical & supernatural imagery from history’s very first fantasy magazine
08.17.2017
12:20 pm
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For the past decade, Thomas Negovan, the deeply erudite proprietor of the visionary Century Guild Museum of Art in Los Angeles has been publishing beautiful art books, many of them funded via a smart and efficient use of Kickstarter. He’s one of the most successful and consistent publishers on the platform and I can personally bear witness that his deluxe volumes on artists like Clive Barker, Gail Potocki, David Mack and Michael Hussar are truly exquisite books indeed. He’s also publishing limited edition lithographs reprinting famous posters from the Symbolist movement. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Los Angeles, you definitely need to check out his space, but if not, he’s got an active online store as well.

Negovan’s newest project The Orchid Garden: Diabolical Fantasia collects images from The Orchid Garden, the very first fantasy magazine in history, preceding even Weird Tales by about four years. As you might expect from Germans during the era of the Weimar Republic, the publican was filled with sex and murder by way of Expressionist linework. Freaky flowers, gigantic insects, impossible creatures and Lovecraftian visions, The Orchid Garden had all that and more:

Der Orchideengarten was published after the First World War when German art was at its height of decadence and debauchery, the magazine included a wide selection of new and reprinted stories by both German-language and foreign writers ranging from suspense and terror to crime and the eerily-erotic. 

While the literary content is historically significant, many of the stories have been reprinted in multiple places across the last century; we have focused our attention on what has gone undocumented: the incredible artworks that illustrated these stories.

The artworks range from peculiar medieval etchings to occult woodblocks to expressionist visions—all balancing the romantic and the gothic with hyper-elegant sophistication. 

Der Orchideengarten gets mentioned frequently on blogs, at fantasy conventions, and at certain full-moon cauldron gatherings, but the same low-resolution images get shared over and over again.  This book is an opportunity to explore the 1919 publication in depth, with high resolution scans made from a pristine collection!

There are also limited edition letterpress prints available.

Below, some of the images from The Orchid Garden that will be seen in the new book:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.17.2017
12:20 pm
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Yep! At long last there’s a Flying Spaghetti Monster colander!
08.17.2017
11:10 am
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Perfect headwear for your next driver’s license photo, this is the Flying Spaghetti Monster Colander designed by Lior Rokah Kor. The colander is available through Ototo for only $18. The Flying Spaghetti Monster Colander is on preorder and will be available with a September 6, 2017 release.

Since it’s plastic, I’m going to assume that it might not be dishwasher safe. 


 
Some examples of Pastafarians wearing colanders in their driver’s license photos:


 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.17.2017
11:10 am
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Beautiful hand-colored photographs of Japanese women in the late 19th-century
08.17.2017
10:42 am
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‘Seated Woman.’
 
Kusakabe Kimbei (1841-1934) was a Japanese photographer who learned his trade as an assistant to Felice Beato, the pioneering photojournalist who came to Japan to document its people and their culture. Japan had just been through a civil war that led to the restoration of imperial rule. The country had also been forced—under the shadow of U.S. Navy battleships—to open trading routes with America. This new trade brought technology, tourism, and for some, the opportunity to turn imposition to advantage. And that’s what Kimbei did.

After learning all that he could from Beato, Kimbei established his own photographic studio in Yokohama in 1881. Kimbei had a natural talent for art and had spent part of his time coloring Beato’s photographs. Hand painting photographs was a way of redefining the medium and adding “an artistic Japanese intervention to Western technology.”

Once he established his studio, Kimbei plied his trade producing souvenir photographs of Japanese culture—samurais, geishas, tea drinking, musicians, everyday workers. These photographs maintained Japanese traditions at a time of great social, political, and cultural change when it seemed the very fabric of the country was being irredeemably changed. Among the many pictures Kimbei produced was a large set of portraits of Japanese women and their daily lives. But there’s an interesting thing going on in these photographs. What at first appears to be a straightforward representation is often an idealized or Western view of Oriental life intended for foreign consumption. Yet, at the same time, Kimbei transcends this view by use of color and composition.

This balancing between Japanese and Western media parallels national tensions concerning the degree that Japan should adopt foreign tools and technology, contrasted with a desire to preserve indigenous traditions and practices.

Kimbei became one of the most famous and respected Japanese photographers of his era, and his work gives a rare insight into Japan of the late 19th-century.
 
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‘Flower Kept Alive by Putting in Water.’
 
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‘Girls Carrying Paper Lantern in Winter Evening.’
 
See more of Kimbei’s work, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.17.2017
10:42 am
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Super ‘wide-angle’ Italian lobby cards for ‘Easy Rider’
08.17.2017
09:26 am
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I haven’t posted much about lobby cards on Dangerous Minds. They can be cool but basically it takes a lot to impress me. Most lobby cards are just random stills from the movie with some text underneath (or in the corner). It’s not often that someone in the process goes the extra mile to make them really interesting.

For some reason the Italian lobby cards that were produced for Dennis Hopper’s 1969 directorial debut Easy Rider are little short of breathtaking. Apparently the movie was called Easy Rider: Libertà e Paura (Liberty and Fear) there, and a fair bit of artistic ingenuity and creativity went into these excellent images that are in fact, strikingly, even wider than the movie’s aspect ratio of 1.85:1. They aren’t merely stills but instead are conceptual collages that create fascinating and wholly imagined tableaux that never actually appear in the movie at all. They’re overstuffed and provocative and full of life and all I can say is “Bravo!” (or “Brava!”) to whatever individual or group of individuals was responsible for them.

In case you didn’t know, there’s only a tiny handful of movies that can be said to have kicked off the bracing, vital American cinema of the 1970s, and Easy Rider‘s on the short list for sure. Among its other virtues, the movie brought into mainstream cinema frank content about drug use.

But forget all of that and take in these marvelous bits of advertising which can be appreciated by all who’ve seen the film, and even those who have not.
 

 

 
See the rest after the jump…...

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.17.2017
09:26 am
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