Cosmic Visions: The amazing poster art of the UFO Club, London’s psychedelic dungeon

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The short-lived UFO Club was a small, pioneering psychedelic club in London that operated from December 1966 to October 1967. It was born as a result of the underground newspaper The International Times’ fabulously successful launch party at the Roundhouse on October 14, 1966, where the early Pink Floyd and Soft Machine performed. IT‘s visionary owners Joe Boyd and John “Hoppy” Hopkins opened the UFO Club in a basement at 31 Tottenham Court Road under Gala Berkeley Cinema on December 23, 1966. The club was open every week “10:30 until dawn.” A one-year membership was 15 shillings but “Overseas visitors need not be members” (according to a UFO Club ad for a Procol Harum show). Mick Farren was a doorman.

The roster of artists who played there is mind-blowing: Barrett-era Pink Floyd (the house band), The Move, The Pretty Things, Graham Bond, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Soft Machine, Denny Laine, Fairport Convention, and Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon and The New Animals, Dantalion’s Chariot (with Zoot Money and future Police guitarist Andy Summers), The Bonzo Dog Band, The Smoke, Third Ear Band, Jeff Beck, Ten Years After, and (Giant) Sun Trolley.

Movies were shown (Buñuel, Dali, W.C. Fields, Marilyn Monroe, Kenneth Anger), first-generation light shows and film projections (by Mark Boyle and Joan Hills), and vegetarian macrobiotic food was served. LSD was easy to find.

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Andy Summers wrote in his autobiography One Train Later:

In the Roundhouse, the UFO, and the Middle Earth Club in London everyone seems to get it, and it’s as if we are all in on the same joke. Our music expresses the release, the dropping of old conventions, the newly found freedom – and to play old-style R&B in these places would be distinctly uncool.

UFO Club owners Joe Boyd and Hopkins were inspired by American music venues’ colorful commissioned concert posters and decided to follow suit. They chose pop artists Michael English and Nigel Waymouth, a.k.a. Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, to design promotional posters for the UFO Club. English had already worked on the first few issues of IT.

The two men met in 1966 when both were involved in creating exterior murals for trendy London clothing shops, English at Hung On You, and Waymouth at his own boutique Granny Takes A Trip, on Kings Road. Granny Takes A Trip, opened by Waymouth and artists John Pearse and Sheila Cohen, was the hippest clothing store, selling antique clothes and original psychedelic designs to hippies, young aristocrats, and rock stars and their consorts (Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Andy Summers, The GTO’s Miss Pamela, Marianne Faithfull, and Anita Pallenberg). In 1967 English and Waymouth formed their graphic design partnership, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat (earlier discarded names were Cosmic Colors and Jacob and the Coloured Coat).

Hapshash’s intricate, detailed, sometimes illegible posters were printed by IT offshoot Osiris Visions in the Indica Gallery (owned by Marianne Faithfull’s husband John Dunbar, Peter Asher, and IT editor Barry Miles and heavily invested in by Paul McCartney), located in the basement of the Indica Bookshop. The Creative Review said in 2011 before a Hapshash retrospective at London’s Idea Generation Gallery: “Many of the posters were designed to be largely illegible to those not prepared to stand and read them – thus the artists could get away with including explicit elements, subversive codes and messages.”

The Houston Freeburg Collection website quoted Nigel Waymouth’s description of his collaboration with Michael English:

Michael’s talent lies in his ability to balance an unrivaled attention to detail whilst creating the most fluid designs. I brought to the work a strong imagination bursting with romantic ideas and a facility for figurative drawing. We also had a very strong sense of colour, which was important , given the cost limitations and the strictures of the silk screen process. At a time when the prevailing fashion was for an indiscriminate use of rainbows and any clashing colour combination, we strived for maximum colour effect without sacrificing balance or harmony. To this end we introduced numerous innovations that have since become common practice. Expensive gold and silver inks had not been used much on street posters before we made it a regular feature of our designs. We also pioneered the technique of gradating from one colour to another on a single separation. The effects were startling, bringing an explosive vitality to the fly posters on the London streets. Nothing like it had been seen before or since. Looking at a whole block of some twenty or thirty of a single Hapshash poster was a powerful visual shock. It was not long before people began tearing some of them down in order to decorate their own walls. It was eye candy to match any psychedelic experience. In hindsight we now realize that what we had done was to bridge a gap between Pop Art and tagged graffiti. The posters often contained subversive elements, including sexually explicit graphics, mystical symbols and dissenting messages. We regarded each poster, whatever it was promoting, not only as an aesthetically pleasing design but also as a proactive concept. We got away with it because the posters were so charming to look at and the contents, including the words, required closer attention than people could give them at first glance. Our immediate audience was the younger generation, sympathetic to the spirit of the times but we also wanted to brighten the lives of people going about there everyday business on the gray streets of London.

For eighteen months Hapshash also did similar artwork for album covers (The Incredible String Band), the sleeve for The Who’s single “I Can See For Miles,” the film Luv Me, promotional posters for Tomorrow, Soft Machine, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Traffic, Granny Takes a Trip, the 1968 International Pop Festival in Rome, the Middle Earth Club, the Savile Theatre, and the the 14-Hour Technicolour Dream “free speech benefit” fundraiser at Alexandra Palace on April 29, 1967 to help IT with legal fees. The posters’ screen-prints were often given away to members of the audience at the end of a night (well, very early morning). An illicit cottage industry has grown up around bootlegging these posters and inventing unlikely stories about their origins. There is a good checklist of how to spot fakes here.

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More posters + Soft Machine at the UFO Club, June 2, 1967 after the jump…
 

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Twerk like a derp: Girl’s twerking session goes terribly, terribly wrong
09.06.2013
09:45 am

Topics:
Amusing
Dance

Tags:
Twerk
Twerking


 
I’ve tried my damnedest the past few weeks not to post anything twerk-related on DM. That is… until I watched this. I hope this will be the only (and hopefully last) twerking session ever on Dangerous Minds.

According to the young woman in the video:

I tried making a sexy twerk video for my boyfriend and things got a little too hot smile

The rest is, well… history!
 

 
h/t Adam Wade!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Bette Midler is Wonder Woman: Comic book characters painted onto vintage albums
09.06.2013
09:21 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Wonder Woman
Bette Midler


Wonder Woman LP Painting
 
Artist Robert Jimenez reworked iconic vintage LPs with with Marvel and DC comic book characters. I’m dying over The Divine Miss M cover!

Sadly, each one was selling for around $40 and they’re all sold! Maybe he’ll make more?
 

Batgirl LP Painting
 

Dr. Strange LP Painting
 

LOBO LP Painting
 

Batman Catwoman LP Painting
 
Via Laughing Squid

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
War and Pixels: The complete Tolstoy archive goes online
09.06.2013
08:39 am

Topics:
Literature
Media

Tags:
Leo Tolstoy
Russian Literature

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If you’ve never read War and Peace or Anna Karenina—which is often described as the greatest novel ever written—then soon you will have no excuse, as all of Leo Tolstoy’s works will be available free on-line.

The Tolstoy.ru website will feature the 90-volume edition, which has been scanned and proofread, no less than three times by more than 3,000 volunteers from 49 countries. The texts, along with personal letters, and comprehensive biographical information is available in Russian, and will shortly be available in English.

The writer’s great-great-granddaughter, Fyokla Tolstaya told RIA Novosti:

“We wanted to come up with an official website that will contain academically justified information. Nowadays, it’s very important [to know] who posts information online.”

All of the novels, short stories, pamphlets, children’s stories and letters will be available for download onto all e-book readers and computers from Tolstoy.ru.

Below the only known film footage of Leo Tolstoy.
 

 
Via RIA Novosti, H/T Paris Review

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Before the punk rock comedy of ‘The Young Ones’ Rik Mayall was investigative reporter ‘Kevin Turvey’
09.06.2013
07:24 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
The Young Ones
Rik Mayall

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Rik Mayall was fearless. In the early 1980s, when British stand-up comedy was chubby blokes in too tight dinner jackets telling jokes about wives, mother-in-laws and ethnic groups, Rik Mayall would walk on stage, looking like a Bowie-fan circa Heroes and recite poetry about his love for Vanessa Redgrave and the theater. Audiences were aghast and unsure whether Mayall was genuinely an angry socialist poet ranting about theater or some kind of bizarre amateur stand-up comic taking time out from his sociology degree.

Mayall was part of the disparate group of comics who were filed under “A” for “Alternative Comedy.” Ye olde comics didn’t like these cheeky young comics, because they didn’t have punchlines, and couldn’t understand why younger audiences found them funny.

From the Comedy Store in London, these Alternative comics made their early appearances on shows such as the rather excellent Boom Boom Out Go The Lights, which launched Mayall, Ade Edmondson, Keith Allen, Alexei Sayle, Nigel Planer and Peter Richardson, and (the sadly forgotten) late-nite-live entertainment series, Friday Night, Saturday Morning, hosted by amongst others, the avuncular Ned Sherrin, the man responsible for That Was The Week That Was and producing musicals like Side-by_Side by Sondheim. Friday Night, Saturday Morning gave air time to Mayall and Edmondson (as Twentieth Century Coyote) and The Outer Limits (Planer and Richardson). These four would later regroup with Keith Allen, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, and Robbie Coltrane as The Comic Strip Presents… for Channel 4 in 1982.

Yet, before all that, and even before Rik and co. “kicked in the doors of British comedy” with The Young Ones in 1982, Mayall starred as intrepid investigative Redditch reporter Kevin Turvey on A Kick Up The Eighties—the show which launched Tracy Ullman, Robbie Coltrane, and Mayall, alongside more established actors/performers Miriam Margolyes, Roger Sloman, Ron Bain and Richard Stilgoe. Produced by comedy supremo, Colin Gilbert for BBC Scotland, A Kick Up The Eighties was a mix of Alternative and traditional comedy, which set the tone for other sketch shows such as Naked Video, and (to an extent) even Ben Elton’s Alfresco (with Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Siobhan Redmond and Robbie Coltrane).

The stand-out segment of A Kick Up The Eighties was Mayall’s superb “Kevin Turvey Investigates” which presented one of the most brilliant, original and hilarious comic creations of the 1980s. The character’s success led to a one-off “mockumentary” The Man Behind the Green Door in 1982, which starred, Mayall as Turvey, with Coltrane as Mick the lodger, Ade Edmondson as Keith Marshall, and Roger Sloman as the park keeper. The story-line is simple: Kevin investigates what’s going on around in his hometown, Redditch. The answer is “not a lot.”

It’s an astonishingly original piece of television that prefigures the style of shows like The Office, and it still retains its comic brilliance more than 30-years later. Enjoy!
 

 
Bonus clip of Rik reading his angry poetry, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Dangerous Finds: NSA’s Holy Grail of spying; Neil Young’s new business; Serial ‘pigeon strangler’
09.05.2013
03:42 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Dangerous Finds


 
Bacteria from slim people could help treat obesity - The Guardian

The nightmare continues for Russia’s LGBT community: a member of parliament is proposing a law that would deny gay and lesbian parents custody of their own children - The Bilerico Project

The Shaggs’ Dot Wiggin announces debut solo album Ready! Get! Go! - Pitchfork

Deep-sea squids’ tentacle tips swim on their own - CBS News

Reporter tries to cook egg with London’s ‘deathray’ building—gives up when his hair starts to catch fire - The National Post h/t reddit

Arthur Russell’s 1994 album Another Thought will be issued for the first time on vinyl this autumn - The Quietus

Ministry of Sound sues Spotify over copyright infringement… - Digital Music News

NSA attains the Holy Grail of spying, decodes vast swaths of Internet traffic - Ars Technica

Teen busted smoking weed in his room by parents, friends online recorded it - Death and Taxes

Your dog wants steak - Arbroath

An Indian woman whose memoir about life under Taliban rule was turned into a Bollywood movie was shot dead Thursday by suspected members of the Islamist militia - AP

Sacred Bones selling original pressings of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks soundtrack - Sacred Bones Records

The hypothetical illicit marijuana growers have been cleared as blame for the Yosemite Rim Fire shifts to a lone hunter - Salon

A serial “pigeon strangler” has been prowling a historic street in Cambridge to rid it of the messy birds - Cambridge News

Woman, 43, NAKED from the waist down busted fleeing bedroom of her 13-year-old’s lover by boy’s dad - Daily Mail

Children burned by household fruit - Hanford Sentinel

Beekeepers in three counties said they’re harvesting red honey, and the turn of events has some people worried - FOX 13 Salt Lake City

Husband asking people on the street for a kidney for his wife gets one - Gawker

Neil Young’s MP3-killing music service finally gets a release date - Death and Taxes


Below, Scratch Acid perform “Mess” and “El Spectro,” May 23, 1986:

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Party City’ video premiere: Kansas City’s art-damaged punk rockers Lazy are anything but
09.05.2013
03:14 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Lazy


 
Behold the new promotional video for “Party City” by Lazy. It’s from the constantly touring Kansas City art fuckers’ debut long player Obsession on Moniker Records. Did I say long player? Actually they power through nine songs in just 23 minutes. I really like it. It doesn’t tell you what it’s all about and I appreciate that. Forget about the name, Lazy are a lean, mean fighting machine. They sound like Crass meets X meets Adam and The Ants and The Breeders.

This sleazy, Larry Clark-ish looking clip was directed, shot and edited by Kevin Schowengerdt and produced by Zach Van Benthusen. Eagle-eyed viewers, you’ll notice a brief cameo appearance by SSION’s Cody Critcheloe.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
On Syria: Every American of every political persuasion should watch this. Now.
09.05.2013
01:26 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Syria


 
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who I personally consider an American hero, has such a common sense worldview that at least something he’s saying here is bound to see you nodding your head in agreement, no matter where along the spectrum your own particular political persuasion falls.

And I don’t even know you.

It doesn’t matter. Whether you think going to war is a bad thing or even if you just want to send that Kenyan-born Muslim back to his homeland of… Hawaii, there’s something for you here. No, really.

It’s telling how the fiercely independent Sanders—he belongs to neither party—relates the same story that we’re hearing over and over again from virtually every teabagger pol as well: Their constituents are NOT happy about the prospects of going to war with a third country in the Middle East. The calls and emails they are receiving are overwhelmingly against attacking Syria (I called my Congresswoman and Senators today, I hope you’ll call your reps, too).

And speaking of the teabaggers, one of them seems to think the proposed Syria attack is a conspiracy to cover up Benghazi, the IRS scandal and distract the public from the implementation of Obamacare. Is hating Obama a legitimate reason not to go to war? Who the fuck cares? Take what we can get! However, it’s this bit from the Bernie Sanders interview comes closest to the reasons why I think this is a bad idea: We have our own troubles at home. Why should Syria’s problems take precedence over America’s own citizens?

“Our Republican friends have made it very clear. They’re not going to ask the wealthy or large corporations to pay more in taxes. They already want to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. What may well be happening is the cost of this war may be paid for by more kids being thrown off Head Start. Senior citizens being thrown off Meals on Wheels programs. Educational programs being cut. The Republicans would go in that way to pay for this war. That’s clear to me.”

I love the irony of seeing Fox News and the GOP’s most obsessed Obama-hating, war-loving hawks put into a bind this way, but if that’s what it takes to slow, if not stop, the march to war, I’m all for that improbable teabagger/progressive alliance. Republican vote counts in Congress are said to be 10 to 1 against authorizing a strike against Syria. House Democrats are said to be 4 to 1 against military action.

Hell, if the orneriest, most racist GOP congress-critters want to vote against “that Obama’s war,” well god bless ‘em, I say.
 

 
Bonus clip: Rep. Alan Grayson (who I hope runs for President in 2016) on Democracy Now earlier today. (Sign Grayson’s anti-war petition here). The segment with Grayson starts at 10 minutes in:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Bill Murray as The Human Torch in ‘The Fantastic Four’ radio series, 1975
09.05.2013
01:10 pm

Topics:
Media

Tags:
Bill Murray
Stan Lee
The Fantastic Four

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A young Bill Murray stars as The Human Torch, aka Johnny Storm, in this 1975 radio adaptation of The Fantastic Four, narrated by Stan Lee.

This episode is #4 “Dreaded Doctor Doom.” You can listen to the whole series (10 eps) here.

‘Nuff said?
 

 
Via Scheme 9

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Mindblowing: HALF of the United States population lives in just these counties!
09.05.2013
11:00 am

Topics:
Idiocracy
Politics
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
census


 
Using the most recent census data, Joe Weisenthal and Walter Hickey at Business Insider have put together the above map that shows how half—HALF!—of the American population lives in just 146 counties!

Something like this goes to show—proves—that the way we apportion our Senators in Washington has become absolutely unworkable. Although it looks like she’s laying a new egg daily, why should a practically empty state like Wyoming get to send some conservative asshole like Liz Cheney to the Senate so that people living in, ahem, the POPULATED areas will have to deal with that nonsense for six years (or longer)? The entire concept of the Senate is getting to become tenuous when you see something like this. Something based on arbitrary state borders? How many states existed with tens of millions of residents when they framed the Constitution?

Visualizing it this way really seals it for me. Unpopulated states simply do not deserve the same Senate representation as the ones where most people live. It’s bullshit. It gives way, way too much influence to places where a close election can be won by a flaming nutcase if the GOP can manage to bus 300 extra octogenarians to voting booths. In California, our two Senators represent 38 million people while Wyoming’s would represent around HALF a million people.

And we know who tends to live in these least populated states…

This is a problem equal to gerrymandering, voter suppression and the Citizens United ruling. Worse, even, in many respects. The electoral college needs to go, too. Now. Perhaps it’s simply time to rethink these matters for the present century—not to mention the country—that we actually live in. That shouldn’t prove controversial, now, should it?

I crack myself up, sometimes…

Via Business Insider, where you can read a list of the 146 counties that half of Americans call home.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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