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Never mind the Shatner, the ‘Star Trek’ cast member with the golden voice was Nichelle Nichols


 
May the gods eternally bless Rhino Records for so many reasons, but one of that label’s greatest contributions to weird society was the Golden Throats series of compilation albums. It endeavored—and largely succeeded—at bringing wide attention to one of my favorite vinyl collectibles sub-obsessions: celebrities not known for singing who nonetheless and against all reason recorded albums on which they sang, often very, very poorly. Adding to the kitsch appeal of the phenomenon, these albums were usually lounge or easy listening, and were often recorded in total earnest.

Notably, key Star Trek cast members William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were disproportionally represented on those Rhino comps, appearing on all four installments in the series, and scoring four tracks between them on the first one alone. Shatner’s stilted cover songs have become legendary on the basis of just one completely bonkers album, 1968’s The Transformed Man which manages to be a major head-trip both intentionally AND accidentally. Nimoy released about a half-dozen musical albums, a couple of which are Trek themed affairs on which he sometimes sings in-character as Spock, which have moments that approach the outsidery awesomeness of the Shatner LP. The rest are straightforward folk-pop albums, which are unironically not half bad at all.
 

 
Sadly, DeForest Kelley never made a musical LP, so it’s impossible to collect a complete discography of Trek’s archetypal Freudian trio. HOWEVER, there was more music to be found on the bridge: the recordings of Nichelle “Lt. Uhura” Nichols were totally neglected by Rhino when they assembled the Golden Throats comps (probably because she was actually really good). Between 1967 and 1991, she released three full lengths (sort of), two 7” singles, and an EP. Before she blazed a massively important trail for non-servile representation of African-American women on broadcast TV, Nichols sang with both Duke Ellington’s and Lionel Hampton’s bands, and she debuted as a solo recording artist with 1967’s Down to Earth. The title was an obvious nod to her stellar day job, and fittingly, the music was anything but cosmic. It’s a lightly jazzy lounge pop album, typical of its time, and loaded with standards and showtunes.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Irritate the shit out of know-it-alls with these cleverly stupid t-shirts
08.25.2016
09:40 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Pop Culture

Tags:

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As a suit, tie, and two pipes a day kind of guy, I’m not really au fait with the all the vagaries of t-shirt fashion. For me t-shirts were something I left far behind in my teen years—getting into my tweeds and plus fours as soon as I was over the threshold of my twenties. I was born middle-aged.

However, my attention was recently brought to a range of “tees” (as I believe you young ‘uns call them) which are slightly amusing because of their potential to annoy.

I think it fair to say we’ve all had that irritating run-in with some geeky pedant who wants to correct our inconsequential spelling, grammar, syntax or explain in as much trivial detail as possible why the quote we just gave from some film or TV series is just not quite right—in fact it’s ever so slightly wrong. You know the type.

And they know who they are too. In fact they’d probably correct you on the subject of who they are if you ever got that wrong. Well now, looky here—now there’s a t-shirt, indeed an entire genre of the—just for those kind of people. One that should (hopefully) irritate the living shit out of them.

Slightly Wrong Quotes on T-Shirts is a Tumblr site showcasing t-shirt designs by Michael M Physics. These fashionable items do what they say on the label having been specifically designed to annoy pedants and know-it-alls everywhere. If you should be so inclined, many of these Slightly Wrong Quotes on T-Shirts are available to buy.
 
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More t-shirts to annoy, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Laibach? There’s an app for that
08.25.2016
09:16 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:


The poster for Laibach’s upcoming show in Ljubljana
 
You say you love Laibach, but what are you really willing to do for the cause? When is the last time you spent NSK State money? Sure, you wear the official Laibach tie, but where is your matching tie clip? And you stink of mortality; where is your bar of Laibach soap? Only Laibach brand soap has been proven to kill every type of pestilence it does not also promote:

This big bar of Saliva, Sweat and Sperm is pressed three times to make a rich and creamy soap. A relaxing fragrance for tired and stressed-out souls calms the nerves and soothes the body. Perfect for beginning or ending your life.



A bar of Laibach soap
 
Have you looked in the mirror lately? There is way too much “you” behind those eyes and not nearly enough Laibach. Citizen, the day of reckoning is at hand! Boots are marching in the public street, and you haven’t even sacrificed your personality to the general will yet! Time is running out. It may not be too late if you get right with Laibach today.

Of course, you will need to replace all your records with Laibach records, all your clothes with Laibach clothes, all your décor with Laibach décor, et cetera. But while you are appropriating the necessary funds for your total, final makeover, you can get started by downloading the free Laibach app. It will help you maintain right speech and right conduct, and after you (inevitably) consent, it will “access your location even when you are not using the app.” It’s kind of like Pokémon GO—except in former Yugoslavian republic of Slovenia, Pokémon catches you!

With the Laibach app you will be able to: get the latest News, listen/buy music, watch Laibach videos, interact with the Laibach Community, send your artworks directly from your mobile device, get the latest info on Laibach tour dates and ticket links, see photos of Laibach, read about Laibach history and everything else you need to help you be a better partisan.


A screenshot from the Laibach app
 
The app is available for Android and iOS.

Next week, Laibach will be performing a special concert on the theme of “the holy war in/of Europe” with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra in Ljubljana. Tickets and posters are available through laibach.org.

More Laibach after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Remember when David Lynch used to do weather reports on the Internet?
08.25.2016
08:57 am

Topics:
Media
Movies

Tags:


 
A few days ago the BBC released its list of the top 100 movies since the year 2000, representing the consensus view of a whopping 177 (!) working film critics. Such lists are made for carping, and I’m not going to do that here, but a point of primary interest here is, What finished first? And the answer to that is David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, which came out in 2003. Not bad for a movie that the director openly admits was two entirely separate project yoked together for no good reason…....

Be that as it may, let’s stick with David Lynch here. I’ve never lived in Los Angeles but I’ve heard multiple times over the years that you used to be able to get David Lynch’s weather report on the radio there every day or most days or something. I did a little poking around and it seems that Indie 103.1 was the station that presented this. Can anyone confirm? Was it really every day? How often was it? Please do chime in with your reminiscences.

On his website in the mid- to late 2000s, Lynch used to present an occasional video weather report for Los Angeles, which is quite hilarious if you stop to think about it. Few would dispute that weather reports are useful things to have—even Angelenos with their samey weather—and yet the utility value of a weather report delivered on the Internet for a specific location and updated irregularly—that’s pretty near useless and obviously part of Lynch’s whole Eagle Scout deadpan dada shtick.

All of the videos were shot in some workspace used by Lynch. A video would start with Lynch intoning the date and then looking out the window and describing whatever was there to observe in a meteorological sense, after which he would sometimes deliver the temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius as well. They’re all well under a minute long.

The mini-project gave Lynch an opportunity to engage in a blockheaded poetry of sorts. Here, for instance, was the weather report for March 12, 2009: “Mostly blue skies, some white clouds floating by, muted golden sunshine, very still, 52 degrees Fahrenheit, 11 Celsius.”

There were occasional variations. In one early instantiation of the form, Laura Dern is sitting next to him holding a piece of paper that reads “FEB 1”—for that was the date—but you can tell that Lynch hadn’t quite gotten the kinks worked out yet.

No dummy he, Lynch himself made fun of the fact that he was doing this, as evidenced in this tweet from 2010:
 

 
Several of Lynch’s video weather reports, after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Life-size bronze Lemmy statue unveiled at Rainbow Bar & Grill
08.25.2016
08:47 am

Topics:
Design
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:


Photo by Mike Maglieri via DIO on Twitter

A bronze Lemmy statue was unveiled last night at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, California. The statue stands at 6 feet tall and was sculpted by Los Angeles-based artist Travis Moore.


Image via John Kerr on Facebook.

The Rainbow Bar & Grill was one of Lemmy’s favorite haunts. He didn’t (or was allowed to?) drive and lived within walking distance of the legendary nightclub and watering hole for the famous. It makes perfect sense why the statue was erected there. His ashes belong at the Rainbow, too, but in a commemorative ashtray.

Below, video of last night’s unveiling:

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Baba Yaga’: The best ultra-stylish, sexy mid 70s lesbian witch cult film you’ve never seen
08.24.2016
02:39 pm

Topics:
Movies

Tags:


 
If you find yourself endlessly clicking through the entertainment fare being piped into your home by Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO Now before ultimately deciding that—to paraphrase something Bruce Springsteen once sang—there’s 57,000 channels and nothin’s on, have I got an amazing, little-heralded practically unknown cult film for you!

1973’s stylish Italo-French quasi-giallo Baba Yaga—there’s very little blood or violence so let’s call it instead a “supernatural erotic thriller”—stars American actress Carroll Baker (best known for her younger roles in Giant and Baby Doll) as the oddly named Baba Yaga, a sexy lesbian witch who wants to take control of Valentina (Isabelle De Funès), a Milan-based Marxist fashion photographer and photojournalist, both body and soul. Their apparently fated meeting occurs when Valentina, walking home alone late one night after a party with some left wing intellectuals, saves a stray dog from being hit by Baba Yaga’s Rolls Royce. When Baker—who was then still an absolutely stunning 43-year-old beauty—steps out of her car and the camera pans up from her boots to her incredible pasty white face, well, it’s quite an entrance.

The plot, which comes from Guido Crepax’s “Valentina” fumetti—one of the first instances of the modern graphic novel—has been called confusing, but I don’t think that’s true at all. There are some weird artsy avant garde dream sequences throughout (complete with naked chicks in leather bondage gear and Nazis) intended to indicate how Baba Yaga was haunting Valentina’s dreams with images of sadomasochism and perversion, but other than that it’s pretty straightforward stuff, scarcely more complicated than an episode of Scooby-Doo or a story on Night Gallery. Basically Baker’s eerie sapphic sorceress casts a murderous spell on Valentina’s Rolleiflex camera so that wherever she points it, bad things happen. There’s also an amazing doll that’s dressed in something like Cosey Fanni Tutti might’ve worn in 1973, but I don’t want to spoil that bit for anyone.
 

 
Aside from Baker’s unique female villain and commanding onscreen presence—-there are many, many reasons to recommend Baba Yaga (aka Kiss Me, Kill Me as it was retitled for VHS video release in the US). First off, it looks freaking amazing. Gorgeous eye-candy from the first frame to the last. The director, Corrado Farina—who died last month at 77—had previously made a documentary on the “Valentina” comics and used not only comic panels drawn by Guido Crepax but also “animated” black and white still photos to keep his adaptation very much in sync with Crepax’s highly stylized vision of Valentina’s fashionable world. Isabelle De Funès, a French singer and actress, is large-eyed and totally foxy, not unlike a young Liza Minnelli and her goofy but memorable hairstyle comes straight from the comic character’s coif (which was based on Louisa Brooks). She’s the perfect “Valentina” in the flesh (and we see a lot of hers in it).
 

 
Farina really knew how to move a camera and his framing (and fantastic use of color) recalls Jean-Luc Godard; the claustrophobic interiors remind one of Nic Roeg and Donald Cammell’s moody Performance; and the overall “mod” production design puts it closer to a film like Danger: Diabolik or Modesty Blaise—even the Batman TV series—than a Dario Argento film, but fans of his movies would most certainly enjoy Baba Yaga, too. Another way to describe it is like Antonioni’s Blow-Up meets Hammer’s The Vampire Lovers. Baba Yaga straddles quite a few genres nimbly, and for this reason I’d rate it a “crowd pleaser” (among certain very specific crowds, I suppose).
 

 
Baba Yaga is not a particularly erotic (or violent) film but it’s tres creepy, extremely atmospheric and genuinely gripping. The film wasn’t a success upon its initial release—the production company went bankrupt—and was simply dumped on the VHS market at some point in the 1980s under various titles. I can’t imagine such a visually appealing film coming across that great with a VHS “pan and scan” cropping on an old TV set, but lemme tell ya, on Blu-ray and a large flat screen, Baba Yaga is pretty spectacular (and big fun). And the soundtrack! The ultra “modern”-sounding jazz soundtrack (heavy on the Hammond organ) was a product of the remarkable Italian composer Piero Umiliani (best known for writing “Mah Nà Mah Nà”) and adds much to the proceedings.

It’s been said of Carroll Baker that she was simply just too sexy for her own good and that this held her career back in the US forcing her to base herself in Europe if she wanted to work. Make no mistake about it… how do I put this tastefully: she is inspiring in this role. The biggest let-down about Baba Yaga to my mind is that Baker—who got naked quite a lot in her films—doesn’t get naked in a film full of gratuitous nudity (although they did shoot a full frontal nude scene with her, it was sadly cut from the final edit).
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
You can take this test to see if you’re a ‘super recognizer’ of faces
08.24.2016
01:55 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:


 
Boing Boing just hipped me to this online test to see if you’re a “super recognizer” of faces. Josh P. Davis, a psychology professor at the University of Greenwich in England who studies the “super recognizer” phenomenon, says that about 1% of the population can actually do this.

I think of myself as pretty good at remembering faces. I almost never forget a face. An ex-boyfriend used to tell me all the time “You should work for the CIA!” (Full disclosure: I’m terrible at remembering names.)

Via Science Alert:

In 2009, a team of neuroscientists from Harvard did one of the first studies of super-recognisers. In it, they looked at just four people who claimed to have an unusually good ability to recognise faces.

All four subjects told the researchers about instances when they’d recognised practical strangers: family members they hadn’t seen for decades or actors they’d glimpsed once in an ad and then seen again in a movie. They felt like there was something wrong with them.

One of the people in the study told the researchers that she tried to hide her ability and “pretend that I don’t remember [people] ... because it seems like I stalk them, or that they mean more to me than they do.”

I took the test and got 12 out of 14 correct. According to my results, “If you scored above 10 you may be a super recogniser, but you would need to do more tests to find this out.”

Of course I was interested in the next test and clicked on the link to to take it. It’s over an hour long. Boo! I can’t commit to that right now, but I might do it later. I’m curious as to if I’m a “super recognizer” or not. Not sure I wanna work for the CIA, though. I want cash and prizes.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Restaurant launches Pokémon burger (but not to go)
08.24.2016
09:34 am

Topics:
Amusing
Current Events
Food

Tags:

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Get yer laughing tackle round this!
 
Contrary to parental advice it is now possible to play with your food and eat it.

The Down-N-Out restaurant in Sydney Australia launched a range of burgers yesterday based on Pokémon characters.

The limited edition “Pokéburg” comes in three day-glo flavors—Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Charmander.

Described as being “too adorable to eat” the Pikachu Pokéburg is a sumptuous feast of processed former cow smothered in cheese and relish served in a bun with “tiger chips” for ears.

The Bulbasaur is the healthier option consisting of burger, lettuce, pickle, avocado, broccoli, relish and onion. While the Charmander is a apparently an orange-colored “volcanic” cheeseburger concoction. (That one was gonna be called the “Trumpburg” apparently, but #peopleweresaying that it might put some off their food.)
 
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Hungry gamers(?) queue to chew the face off Pikachu.
 
When the Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Charmander Pokéburgs went on sale for the first time yesterday, they sold out within one hour of the restaurant opening.

The Pokéburg is limited to one burger per customer. At present it is only available to eat in. So no Pokéburg go.
 
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More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Climb aboard ‘Hare-Force One,’ Hugh Hefner’s $5 million DC-9 jet with its own discothèque
08.24.2016
09:25 am

Topics:
History
Sex

Tags:


‘Hare-Force One’ aka the ‘Big Bunny’ Hugh Hefner’s DC-9 jet.
 
Well, would you expect anything less from what was basically the Playboy Mansion with wings? Hugh Hefner’s custom DC-9 jet “Hare-Force One” (also widely known as the “Big Bunny”) pretty much had that and a lot more as you might imagine. In fact the jet was so ostentatious that when Hefner has it painted black so it would “stand out” while in flight he added spotlights to the tail of the plane so that the Playboy Bunny logo could still be seen at night. Nice.
 

Hef’s fabulous ‘Jet Bunnies’ standing outside of ‘Hare-Force One’ aka the ‘Big Bunny.’
 
Hef had his “Jet Bunnies” (who were cherry-picked from Playboy clubs in LA and Chicago) attend formal stewardess training at a school run by Continental Airlines and their outfits were as slick as the jet itself, consisting of leatherette mini-dresses, leatherette pants and black go-go boots. According to Hefner he wanted his stewardesses to look like “Bond Girls” and again since this is Hugh Hefner we’re talking about how they did. Of the many features that the plane had to offer were a discothèque, a bar, a shower and a movie theater of sorts featuring a Cinemascope projector. There was also a round water bed covered in fur that was accessed through Hef’s private entrance. Essentially the jet included all the comforts of “home” as long as your actual home was the Playboy Mansion.

During the time that Hef owned the plane it made numerous trips around the world and at the end of the Vietnam War became a giant stork of sorts used to bring orphans to their new adoptive homes in the U.S. Hefner would routinely lend out the use of the jet to celebrities like Yul Brynner, Elvis and Sonny and Cher and also entertained a litany of famous guests like Twilight Zone host Rod Serling, director Roman Polanski and poet and author Shel Silverstein. Hefner sold the jet in 1975 to Venezuela Airlines and in a 2010 interview for the Wall Street Journal when asked if he missed his sweet, sweet mile-high club ride his response was “only when I fly.” Awww. Images of Hef’s beloved Big Bunny, Hare-Force One follow.
 

 

 
More livin’ large with Hugh Hefner after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Twin Peaks’ soundtrack reissue pressed onto ‘damn fine coffee’ color vinyl
08.24.2016
08:54 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Television

Tags:


Behold the ‘Damn Fine Coffee’ edition of the newly reissued vinyl soundtrack for the original ‘Twin Peaks’ television series.
 
A little over a week ago—on August 10th—a vinyl reissue of the soundtrack for the original Twin Peaks television series (first broadcast in 1990) scored by long-time David Lynch collaborator Angelo Badalamenti was released into the wild via Mondotees and promptly sold out. If you missed the boat on that like I did there’s still a way (and a better one at that) to score the gorgeous release which comes pressed into coffee-colored vinyl whose color profile is described as “Damn Fine Coffee.”
 

 
Starting on September 9th many cool independant brick and mortar record and video shops across the country will temporarily transform into a version of Agent Dale Cooper’s favorite hangout, Tweed’s Cafe in North Bend, Washington and will offer up their own in-store “Coffee and Pie” event during which you can purchase the record while listening to the soundtrack. Two-long years in the making, the packaging for the soundtrack is almost as cool as the show which comes in a gatefold sleeve,with liner notes written by Badalamenti and a record jacket that pays tribute to the floors of the “Black Lodge” thanks to the clever use of a die cut pattern on the cover. If it sounds at all to you like I am completely geeking out on this, then you’d be correct. Especially since my favorite video store, the world-famous Scarecrow Video in Seattle, is holding one of the 20-some-odd “Coffee and Pie” events. Yummy.

For those of you bemoaning the fact that you don’t live in the U.S. according to the website Welcome to Twin Peaks there are a few locations in the UK, too that will also be hosting their own Twin Peaks party. More details on the record as well as a full list of shops (which does appear to be updated from time to time) that will be hosting the event, here. If your location isn’t listed or if you prefer to miss out on what sounds like a really excellent time you can pre-order the album (for a mark-up in most cases) at lots of places online.
 
Additional product shots after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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