Dangerous Minds’ Paul Gallagher has already done a fitting tribute to Tura Satana, but I thought I’d share this interview that Tura gave for Kevin Sean Michaels’ 2008 documentary The Wild World Of Ted V. Mikels. Tura starred in Mikel’s The Astro-Zombies and The Doll Squad. In the interview she discusses working with Mikels and Russ Meyer.
Tura Satana does a striptease in “The Doll Squad” and is interviewed by Sandra Bernhard after the jump…
Tura Satana died yesterday of heart failure, in Reno, Nevada. Satana had a brief but iconic career during which she was an exotic dancer, starred in the ground-breaking cult film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, dated Elvis Presley and became a cinematic icon.
Satana began her career as a dancer at 14, and was a victim of the brutality and sexism endemic at the time, as she explained in 2008:
“At the age of 15 I became an exotic dancer in the clubs of Calumet City, Illinois, because I had left home due to a bad situation stemming from when I was raped. Instead of the guys who raped me going to jail, I was sent to reform school because they paid the judge one thousand dollars to get off. So I went instead, supposedly because I enticed them to rape me.”
Satana went onto appear in numerous TV shows and films, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Billy Wilder’s Irma La Douce, but it be for iconic role in Russ Meyer’s classic 1965 film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! for which she will always be remembered. In the film, Satana played Varla, a sexy, voluptuous anti-hero, who proved:
“A woman, like my character, was able to show the male species that we’re not helpless and not entirely dependent on them. People picked up on the fact that women could be gorgeous and sexy and still kick ass.”
Satana also said:
“There are a great many similarities between Varla and myself. Varla was an outlet for some of the anger I felt growing up. She was also a statement to women all over the world that you can be a take-charge person and still be sexy. She also showed the women world-wide that women don’t have to be weak, simpering females. They just go after what they want and usually get it.”
John Waters once described Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! as:
”The best movie ever made, and possibly better than any movie that will ever be made.”
Born in Japan in either 1935 or 1938 (dates vary), Satana worked her way though a variety of minor TV roles, including appearing with Dean Martin in Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?, before being chosen by Meyer for Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. Filmed in the desert outside Los Angeles, in temperatures often over hundred degrees, Meyer claimed that “She and I made the movie…” and that Satana was “very capable”:
“She knew how to handle herself. Don’t fuck with her! And if you fuck with her, do it well! She might turn on you!”
Satana went on to make The Astro Zombies (1969) and Ted V. Mikels’ The Doll Squad (1973), after which she was shot by a former lover. Satana then worked as a nurse, until her cult celebrity led to her return to acting this century with Sugar Boxx, Rob Zombie’s animation The Haunted World of El Superbeasto and Astro Zombies: M3 Cloned.
My dear, dear friend, you have no idea how much you will be missed…
In 2008, Satana talked to Zuri Zone about her cult status:
“I’m thrilled with the status Faster Pussycat has received when it was first released and at all the additional releases. I think the popularity that it has is because we gave them something that they really wanted to see. I also hope that it is because it shows that women don’t have to be weak and helpless to be sexy. We can be in control and still be feminine. I think that I remain a cult figure even after 40 years because the public like what they see on the screen. At least on the film, I will be forever ageless.”
Bonus clip from ‘Faster, Pussycat!’ after the jump…
Happy Birthday William Burroughs, born today in 1914, one of the most “culturally influential, and innovative artists of the twentieth century.”
Here’s Burroughs in the “informal documentary” The Commissioner of Sewers from 1991, where he discusses his writing, his life, his thoughts on art, literature, and the use of language as a weapon, his world view, as well as space and time travel, mummification, and politics.
For the next two weeks, Paul Slansky will be guest-blogging at Dangerous Minds about life during the Reagan era.
To provide an antidote to the poisonous bath of Reagan Love that the nation is currently drowning in, I’ve revised my 1989 book The Clothes Have No Emperor – which Wonkette just called “the only honest history of the Ronald Reagan 1980s” (italics theirs) – and re-issued it as an eBook, available here on a name-your price basis.
This is the first in a series of excerpts to remind those who lived through it – and inform those who didn’t – that, contrary to the current hagiography that the media is so inappropriately cheerleading, Reagan was actually a nasty, lazy ignoramus whose singular ability was to seem unthreatening by waggling his head while sporting a misleading grin.
JANUARY 20, 1985: With the next day’s re-inauguration apparently not providing enough exposure for him, President Reagan injects himself into the Super Bowl, performing the important presidential duty of tossing the coin to determine which team gets the ball. The live feed linking him to the broadcast from Stanford is open ten minutes before he goes on the air, enabling satellite dish owners to spy on the leader of the free world as he:
*Practices the coin flip three times – “It is heads ... It is tails” – so he’s prepared for all possibilities
*Reveals a really neat idea a friend of his had: “Frank Sinatra had a recommendation, instead of tossing the coin, what would have been a lot better. You’d have had me outdoors throwing out the ball. I would have thrown it – a little art work of maybe a ball going across a map – and out there, one of them catching a ball, as if it’s gone all the way across the United States. How about that?”
*Stands immobile, almost deflated, as the minutes tick by, as if he doesn’t quite exist when the camera’s not on.
Finally, he gets his cue and – suddenly animated – he flips the coin. “It is tails!” he announces, adding some banality about how all the players should do their best. The network cuts away and, somewhat forlornly, he resumes the less satisfying non‑televised portion of his life.
Harry Shearer captured the satellite feed, and he’s finally made it available for everyone to see. It’s the only ten minutes – out of the entire eight years of his presidency – that Reagan was observable without knowing that he was being watched. It’s the realest he’s ever been in front of the cameras.
We’ve lost two art film goddesses this week. First Maria Schneider and now Lena Nyman.
Nyman starred in the controversial I Am Curious (Yellow) and it’s sequel I Am Curious (Blue). These were iconic films for anyone growing up in the 1960s. As curious teenagers we all tried to sneak into theaters screening these Swedish soft-core films that combined free love with a radical political viewpoint.
When the film arrived in the United States, it was seized by customs as pornographic material, which, if allowed into the country would lead to more race riots and political assassinations, not to mention another Vietnam War elsewhere in Asia or perhaps Africa.
Following an anti-censorship battle in US courts, I Am Curious (Yellow) was finally allowed to be shown on American screens in 1969. Thanks to all the free publicity provided by various branches of the US government, it became the biggest foreign-language box-office hit ever in the United States, grossing $20.23m (or about $113.3m today). If inflation is taken into account, I Am Curious (Yellow) remains the record holder among non-English-language releases in the US.
More importantly, I Am Curious (Yellow) set a legal precedent that changed the meaning of the word “obscene,” thus allowing other sexually provocative motion pictures to enter the United States, among them Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Decameron (1971) and Tales of Canterbury (1973), and the aforementioned Last Tango in Paris.”
Lena Nyman starred in over 50 films in her lifetime, including Bergman’s Autumn Sonata. She died after suffering from a longterm illness. She was 66.
Here’s a scene that was cut from the final version of I am Curious (Blue).
Egyptian rappers Arabian Knightz have released the first rap song to come out of Egypt since the revolution began.
Arabian Knightz member Rush posted this message on Facebook before Egyptian authorities pulled the plug on the Internet.
“Certain indie artists have already released songs against the oppression and those songs were used on video campaigns [as of the Jan. 25 march], called the “Day of Anger.” Some of us went down to the streets to take part on the 25th. And some of us are now in the studios doing tracks about it to make sure peoples fire of revolution doesn’t get put out by fear.”
According to Revolt Radio this track was released quickly and is still a rough track:
Due, to the uncertainty of the communications situation in Egypt right now, Arabian Knightz have opted to release the raw, unmixed track because they need the world to hear their message. As of right now, they are the voice for the people of Egypt.
So here it is, the first communique to come out of those studios in Cairo. Proof that you can’t stop the music! Revolutions come out of the barrels of subwoofers and microphones. Keep the fires burning Arabian Knightz.
On February 4th 1983, The Smiths were booked to play the Hacienda in Manchester, England, as support to 52nd Street, a funk band signed to Factory Records. The audience was there to see the headliners, but it was the best band that Tony Wilson never signed who stole the night.
The show was a milestone in The Smiths career, a night when they went from interesting local band, to next-big-thing, and beyond.
As the band took the stage Morrissey greeted the audience by saying “Hello… We are the Smiths. We are not ‘Smiths’, we are the Smiths. ‘These Things Take Time’....” Following the latter set opener he simply said “Oh thank you” then the band launched into “What Difference Does It Make?”. Within a year the song would be released as a single and make it onto the band’s debut album. At this point it was played slower and featured slightly different lyrics. For example instead of “I’m so sick and tired” (album) or “I’m so very tired” (Peel session), Morrissey simply sang “I’m so tired”. Also, Morrissey sang “Oh my sacred Mother in falsetto at the end, instead of the more familiar “Oh my sacred one”.
Next up was “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle” and it was introduced by Morrissey with a simple drop of its title. This song also featured different lyrics to the version which would be released on the band’s debut album. The outro of “as long as there’s love / I did my best for her” was absent and a line was then sung as “your mother she need never know”. Right before “Handsome Devil” Morrissey said: “I repeat: the only thing to be in 1983 is handsome… ‘Handsome Devil’.” The next track was probably seeing its live debut and was simply introduced as “Jeane!”. Strangely it would not be performed for long, it was soon to be dropped from the setlist until the Smiths reinstated it when touring the debut album more than a year later.
The performance of “What Do You See In Him?” was a very passionate one. The song would not remain in the Smiths’ set for long. After being dropped for a few months it would re-emerge in June as “Wonderful Woman”, with the same music, but different lyrics. The song that would become the Smiths debut single was then introduced with a slowly articulated “Hand. In. Glove.” It was also performed very passionately, and seems to have woken the audience into paying attention to the yet unknown opening band. The song was well received and this prompted Morrissey to shyly say “Oh you’re very kind… thank you…”
The evening’s final number was then announced twice as “Miserable Lie”. The song’s early lyrics didn’t yet include the line “I know the wind-swept mystical air” while the line “I recognise that mystical air” was sung twice. Instead of “I’m just a country-mile behind the world” Morrissey sang “I’d run a hundred miles away from you”. After the song Morrissey simply said “Bye bye…” twice and the band left the stage while a few new converts cheered and whistled.
A review written by Jim Shelley and published in the NME a month and a half later had only good words for the Smiths, comparing them to Magazine, Josef K and The Fire Engines.
More from The Smiths at the Hacienda, after the jump…
Niall unleashed some Cramps earlier today as I was preparing this and so I thought I might save this post for another time. But then I figured what the hell you can never get enough of The Cramps. So here goes.
Lux Interior was 60 years old in this performance footage and still the hardest working white man in show business.
This was filmed at the Lokerse Festival in Belgium on August the 7th 2006. One month later The Cramps played their last gig at the House Of Blues in Las Vegas.
Watching this I was reminded that Lux and Ivy were together for 37 years! True love. Amazing.