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Cringe-worthy video: ‘What is Rap?’ (1987)
01.09.2012
01:11 pm

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Eighties Canadian teen TV show Switchback tries to explain to their young audience what “rap” is. You’ll just have to watch the cringe-worthy soulful demonstration below to understand why I posted this.

On a side note: What kid in 1987 wouldn’t know what “rap” was, anyway?
 

 
(via TDW via HYST)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dream Queens: ‘Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of NYC 1989-92’
01.09.2012
12:57 pm

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Books
Dance
History
Queer
Race

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Now here’s something that was sure to be found in the more fabulous Christmas stockings this past festive seasons. Published by the respected London-based record label Soul Jazz, Voguing: Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 is a collection of photographs by Chantal Regnault documenting the titular scene just as it gained worldwide attention thanks to the likes of Malcolm McLaren and Madonna.

Don’t be fooled if you think that voguing was a mere fad that came from nowhere to disappear just as fast as it sprung up 20-odd years ago. Yes, Madonna brought the dance form to the public consciousness, but if you think she invented it, then child, you need educatin’. Voguing started in Harlem in the 60s, where black and latino drag queens and transexuals had started to host their own balls (beauty pageants) outside of white society, and pioneered a new form of dance based on poses copied from Vogue magazine.

But the history of the drag and gay ballroom scene goes back much further than that - by about another hundred years, as explained by noted author and disco historian Tim Lawrence, in his foreword to this book:

Harlem’s Hamilton Lodge staged its first queer masquerade ball in 1869, and some twenty years later a medical student stumbled into another ball that was taking place Walhalla Hall on the Lower East Side. He witnessed 500 same-sex male and female couples ‘waltzing sedately to the music of a good band.

How things have changed - the modern voguing ballroom scene is/was anything but sedate! Lawrence goes on to put into context the concept of a “house” (in effect a surrogate gay family or gang), which has long been a central aspect of vogue and drag culture:

Referencing the glamorous fashion houses whose glamour and style they admired, other black drag queens started to form drag houses, or families that, headed by a mother and sometimes a father, would socialise, look after each other, and prepare for balls (including ones they would host and ones they would attend).

...

The establishment of the houses also paralleled the twists and turns of New York’s gangs, which flourished between the mid 1940s and the mid 1960s as the city shifted from an industrial to a post-industrial base while dealing with the upheavals of urban renewal, slum clearances and ethnic migration. As historian Eric Schneider argues, gangs appealed to alienated adolescents who wanted to earn money as well as peer group prestige.

Despite the faddish nature of Madonna’s daliance with this scene, voguing and ballroom documentaries like Wolfgang Busch’s How Do I Look and Jennie Livingston’s Paris Is Burning (not to mention performers like the late Willi Ninja and his extant House of Ninja) have done much to establish the history of this world and inspire new generations to take part. And it’s not hard to see the appeal - in a recent interview with The Guardian, Chantal Regnault eplained how voguing and its culture helped re-invigorate New York’s nightlife at the peak of the AIDS crisis:

...the Ball phenomena kind of revived New York nightlife, which had shrunk drastically as the first wave of AIDS related sicknessses were decimating the community. The Queens became the stars of the straight New York clubs, and began to be recognized, appreciated and photographed. They appeared on TV shows and were interviewed by TV icons. The voguers also became a big attraction and soon everybody wanted to emulate their dancing style. Two figures were instrumental in launching the trend in the awakened downtown clubs: Susanne Bartsch and Chichi Valenti, two straight white females who both had a knack for the new and fabulous and a big social network.

Why 1989-1992? What happened next?

1989-1992 was the peak of creativity and popularity for the ballroom scene, and when the mainstream attention faded away, the original black and Latino gay ballroom culture didn’t die. On the contrary, it became a national phenomena as Houses started to have “chapters” all over the big cities of the United States. But I was not a direct witness to most of it as I moved to Haiti in 1993.

As Regnault states voguing is still going strong today, with balls in many of America (and the world’s) largest cities, and this book is a perfect introduction to a compelling, not to mention often over-looked, aspect of gay and black history. Regnault managed to capture some of the most recognisable faces from that world showing off in all their finery, while there are fascinating interviews with some of the key players like Muhammed Omni, Hector Xtravaganza, Tommie Labeija and more. Voguing And The House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 is quite simply an essential purchase for fans of underground culture.
 
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Avis Pendavis, 1991
 
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Cesar Valentino (right), Copacabana, 1990
 
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RuPaul, Red Zone 1990
 
Voguing: Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 by Chantal Reignault (with an introduction by Tim Lawrence) is available to buy from Soul Jazz Records.

With thanks to Legendary Ballroom Scene for the scans.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Paris Is Burning’: Vogue Realness

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Revenge served HOT: Newt Gingrich bares his fangs!
01.09.2012
12:23 pm

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Class War
Politics
The wrong side of history

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Have you seen the excerpt yet from the film that pro-Gingrich Super PAC “Winning Our Future” bought from former Mitt Romney associate, Jason Killian Meath, the same guy who made most of the pro-Romney ads during his failed 2008 bid for the Republican nomination?

A clip a little less than 3-minutes from When Mitt Romney Came to Town is making the rounds today, but it won’t be until the GOP candidates have moved on to the South Carolina primary that the full 27-minute film will be aired on television. This one looks like it’s going to be pretty nasty, I must say.

The funny thing is, judging from the excerpt from this video, it’s not just Romney per se who gets excoriated here, Capitalism itself that doesn’t fare so well, either. I thought all Republicans were for unfettered free market economics and all that malarkey, but this video ends up making a very different case as it bludgeons Romney over the head…

“Capitalism made America great. Free markets. Innovation. Hard work. The building blocks of the American dream. But in the wrong hands, some of those dreams can turn into nightmares.”

That’s already quite apparent to many Americans.

If it takes putting big money behind what ends up seeming like an anti-capitalist message to burn Mitt Romney to the ground, I suppose that makes it all okay in Newt’s mind. I can’t see how a message like this will fail to kick the shit out of Romney in South Carolina. I don’t think it will do a damned thing for Newt’s sagging political fortunes, but then again, Gingrich himself probably suspects the same (and doesn’t give a fuck, either). He’s one mean hombre, as Romney is about to find out!

“It turns out that there are some things that if you describe them they’re negative. If you accurately describe some things they are negative,” Gingrich told Politico.

Yeah, like late-stage, predatory capitalism…

This is big fun, though, isn’t it? A Mexican stand-off with two Republicans? You gotta love it.

Since I hate both of them with equal disdain, all I can say is “My name is Richard Metzger and I approve this message” This is gonna get good.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Gum for when you accidentally kiss a Republican
01.09.2012
11:50 am

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Amusing
Food

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Blue Q offers a pretty nifty gum which cleanses the yuck from your mouth when you unknowingly smooch a Republican. Their motto is “I’m sorry. I didn’t know it when we kissed.”

There’s also a gum for Democrats.

(via Super Punch)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Pop Quiz’ with Phil Lynott versus Morrissey, 1984
01.09.2012
05:42 am

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History
Music
Television

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Here’s a little curio from the BBC’s back catalog, an episode of the early 80s pop music quiz show “Pop Quiz’, featuring Morrissey and Phil Lynnot on opposing teams, presided over by uber-cheesey radio DJ Mike Reid (I’m loving his shirt). Phillo seems quite relaxed and in good spirits on this program, while unfortunately the same cannot be said for Steven Patrick “Life Of The Party” Morrissey. From the Slicing Up Eyeballs blog:

In an interview with The Face published in July 1984, Moz said, “‘Pop Quiz’ was unbearable. I realized it was a terrible mistake the moment the cameras began to roll. … I just squirmed through the program. I went back to my dressing room afterwards and virtually felt like breaking down, it had been so pointless. I felt I’d been gagged.”

Oh dear. Life is just so fucking hard for poor old squirming Moz. 
 
Pop Quiz, featuring Phil Lynnot, Morrissey & Kim Wilde pt 1:
 

 
After the jump Pop Quiz, featuring Phil Lynnot, Morrissey & Kim Wilde, pt 2…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Rick Santorum endorsed by The Black Panther Party?
01.09.2012
03:11 am

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Class War
Current Events
Politics

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Last week in Idaho Rick Santorum made the following statement regarding welfare:

“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”

According to the latest statistics, 39% of welfare recipients are white, 37% are black, 17% are Hispanic. It seems Santorum is oblivious to just how all-pervasive the problem of poverty is in the USA. Promoting the notion that welfare is a black problem plays into old and dangerous racial stereotypes. And as a white guy, I want a President who recognizes that we’re all in this together. Right now, poverty is the new Rainbow Coalition.

But even worse than Santorum’s idiotic comment, was his pathetic attempt to worm out of it. When asked about it by the news media, Santorum defended himself by saying he didn’t say “black,” he said “bluh.” Yeah, “bluh.” This racist twit doesn’t even have the courage of his convictions.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s cut to the chase. In this video, Santorum is confronted by a young black man concerned about Santorum’s racially charged statement. In Santorum’s response there exists something so bizarre that I’ve sought out the help of Dangerous Minds’ readers and their discerning ears. Does Santorum make the astounding claim that he has the “endorsement of the Black Panthers of Philadelphia” in this video?

I present the original video as posted on Youtube followed by my audio-enhanced and slowed down version.

What do you think?

Will Rick be accessorizing that groovy sweater vest with a black beret and a “free Mumia” button? How about a Rick Santorum/Angela Davis ticket?
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Gimme Shelter’ outtake: The Grateful Dead, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts
01.08.2012
08:20 pm

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History
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

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In this footage shot by the Maysles brothers on December 6, 1969 for the film Gimme Shelter, The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead wait for a helicopter on a pier in San Francisco to take them to the Altamont Speedway.

Jagger, in not so sympathetic devil-mode, foppishly preens and sashays like rock royalty, much to Jerry Garcia’s amusement, while attempting to force an unyielding Charlie Watts to bestow a kiss upon a groupie’s forehead. As Jagger continues to egg Watts on, Charlie responds with the classy retort “Love is much more of a deeper thing than that.. it is not flippant, to be thrown away on celluloid.”

Later that day, the whip would come down.

This footage never appeared in the final cut of Gimme Shelter. It did eventually turn up on DVD as part of the Get Yer Ya Ya Yas Out boxset.

Michael Azerrad has written an insightful piece on The Gimme Shelter outtakes on his blog.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Night Life in Chicago from 1947
01.08.2012
08:18 pm

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Amusing
History

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One of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Travel Talks, with “Voice of the Globe” James A Fitzpatrick, who takes the viewer on a trip along Chicago’s Loop, from 1947.

‘Night descends on Chicago, the heart of the city, or the Loop as it is generally known, is brilliantly aglow with the glimmering lights that lure us to its many attractions.’

These include the Bismarck, where we will see Don Julian and Marjorie do “their fantastic cape dance”; and Chez Paree, “where internationally famous artists have entertained the public for a quarter of a century or more”; to the Ambassador Hotel’s “renowned Pump Room, where food and drink are served with all the formalities of a Royal banquet”; and on to the Edgewater Beach Hotel, which served such famous guests as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, and Nat King Cole, and U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The men look old, their hair sleek, their suits formal. The women younger, framed by jackets and skirts in blues and reds, smile, smoke, wear hats. Everyone looks as if they are on show, pretending to have fun. It’s a different landscape, far away, and slightly out of focus, the images seem hand-painted, water-colored.

Hard to imagine this is the same year that began with the murder of Elizabeth Short (aka the Black Dahlia) in Leimert Park, Los Angeles; while Jack Kerouac traveled across country, an experience that formed the basis for On the Road, and worked on The Town and The City; and in Conroe, Texas, Joan Vollmer gave birth to her son named after the father, William S Burroughs; Marilyn Monroe made her film debut as a telephone operator; and back in LA, Kenneth Anger shot his dream-film Fireworks over a weekend, while his parents were away. And all of this happening, bubbling out-of-frame, of these streets fireflied with lights, and Julian and Marjorie cape-danced; gold lame draped girls kicked heels; and a cowboy turned rope tricks on a hay scattered dance floor.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Vermin Supreme: When I’m President everyone will get a free pony
01.08.2012
07:13 pm

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Amusing
Art
Politics

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Photo from jptully85 ‘s Flickr stream

Appearing at the “Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum” in New Hampshire, political troll/performance artist Vermin Supreme on why he should be the next President.

The event was hosted by the Saint Anselm College Institute of Politics and Political Library in Manchester on Monday night, December 19, 2011. At the close of the forum, Vermin Supreme dumped glitter on Christianist weirdo Randall Terry, exclaiming, “Jesus told me to make Randall Terry gay!”

Admit it, if Vermin Supreme did manage to wrest the nomination from the incumbent, the slate of GOP hopefuls would still seem very unappealing.
 

 
Thank you, Edward Ludvigsen!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Meet Sashimi, the world’s most pissed-off cat
01.08.2012
01:54 pm

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Amusing
Animals

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I’ve never seen a cat loathe somebody, as much as this cat, Sashimi, hates YouTuber “Soezimax.” Sashimi hates him so much, he/she actually attacks him like a rabid Rottweiler!

Here are Soesimax’s thoughts on incurring the wrath of Sashimi:

I am disliked by a cat.The name of the cat is “sashimi”. She attacks me at the risk of life.The fear! The seriousness of the animal! Why would it be it in such a thing?

 

 

 
More Sashimi after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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