Finland to release Tom of Finland postage stamps
12:48 pm


Tom of Finland

Tom of Finland
You may not recognize the name Touko Laaksonen, but you almost certainly are aware of his attention-getting drawings of gay men, as well as his pseudonym, Tom of Finland. Tom of Finland’s drawings, during the second half of the twentieth century, were some of the most defiant and liberated depictions of gay men, so much so that they unquestionably achieved iconic status—and most likely, dictated some fashion trends on its own.

Yesterday the Finnish Postal Service, known as Itella, unveiled 33 new stamp designs. The most surprising inclusion, and as time passes most likely the most controversial, are the three depicting “male drawings by Tom of Finland.”
Tom of Finland
According to Itella, Tom of Finland had reached the status of a Finnish cultural hero worth celebrating in stamp form: “His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures.”
Tom of Finland
Tom of Finland
Same-sex marriage in Finland is currently illegal, if you are under the mistaken impression that all Scandinavians are reflexively tolerant and thus won’t even blink at a little male sex play on their envelopes. In February the Finnish parliament began to debate a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, but the measure has not become law yet. The stamp issue may put a spotlight on the debate.

Tom of Finland’s images of leather-clad bikers mark the early boundary of what can be considered contemporary queer art designed for mainstream consumption. They shred the boundaries between porn and art. What makes them so intriguing, in a way, is that the male figures have a sensitivity accorded them that makes them something beyond mere “beefcake.” They’re images of pure fantasy, without being oppressive; they are obscurely real. In contrast to the once dominant gay stereotype of the “fairy,” “ponce,” etc., Tom of Finland’s bikers were unquestionably empowering. We salute the progressive minds at Itella who worked to make these stamps a reality.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The futility of existence: One man’s journey conquering a fence sums up life
12:18 pm




I am this man. YOU are this man. We are ALL this man.

Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Happy birthday Coal Miner’s Daughter: The Loretta Lynn megapost
11:53 am


Loretta Lynn

Today is country great Loretta Lynn’s 82nd birthday. The “coal miner’s daughter” was born on April 14 in Butcher Hollow, a poor mining community near Paintsville, Kentucky in 1932. Her distinctive voice and groundbreaking songwriting have made her an American icon.

Throughout her career—now in its sixth decade—Loretta Lynn has been known to sing and write about blue-collar women’s issues—childbirth, cheating husbands, “the other woman,” alcoholism, birth control pills and being a Vietnam war widow. It’s interesting to note that “The First Lady of Country Music” was once considered quite controversial with nine of her numbers being blacklisted by commercial country radio. Even her first #1 hit, 1967’s “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (with Lovin’ on Your Mind)”—a song about a woman pissed off about her drunk man wanting to get jiggy with it (obviously!) was considered too edgy by country radio of the day (and incredibly spawned a pro-drunk husband song the following year sung by Loretta’s own brother, Jay Lee Webb titled, “I Come Home A’Drinkin’ (To a Worn Out Wife Like You).”

Today Loretta Lynn’s music—and hardscrabble life story—is a part of the fabric of the American experience and she’s been honored with the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and, of course there was the Academy Award-winning film about her life, Coal Miner’s Daughter starring Sissy Spacek. Her 2004 album Van Lear Rose was produced by Jack White and it topped the country charts. Lynn and White were nominated for five Grammy awards, winning two. Last year Lynn told Rolling Stone that she wants to record another album with White and has nineteen albums for release already in the can.

Loretta Lynn has sold an estimated 48 million albums.

“You’re Lookin’ At Country”

“One’s on the Way”
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Glow-in-the-dark roads: Great idea or a bad trip?
10:40 am


Daan Roosegaarde

The first glow-in-the-dark highway was unveiled today in Holland. The 1600-feet stretch of road has been coated with a “photo-luminising” powder that uses sunlight to power-up during daytime and then releases a greenish glow at nighttime. One day’s sunlight can supply up to eight hours of glow.

This kind of glow-in-the-dark highway is being touted as the future for all roads and it is claimed it will eventually do away with the need for street lamps.

The idea was developed by interactive artist Daan Roosegaarde and Dutch civil engineering group Heijmans, and today the technology was being tried out before being officially launched later this month. The first"glowing lines” are being tested on a stretch of highway on the N329 in Oss, just over 60 miles south of Amsterdam. In an interview, last year, with the BBC Mr. Roosegaarde said:

“The government is shutting down streetlights at night to save money, energy is becoming much more important than we could have imagined 50 years ago. This road is about safety and envisaging a more self-sustainable and more interactive world.”

Originally there had been plans to include weather symbols, which were to be made from a temperature sensitive paint, but at present, this technology has not been included in the initial test run in Oss. The present test will also take into account possible damage caused by skid marks, and the issues caused during winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight. However, if the pilot scheme proves successful, it is believed this new glow-in-the-dark technology will be rolled out nationally across Holland.

Certainly it will make taking a trip in Holland… trippier.

Below, the original promo for glow-in-the-dark highways by Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans.

Via BBC News

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Flower girl LEGO sculpture
10:29 am



There’s no gimmick with this LEGO sculpture of a little girl holding flowers. I’m so used to seeing things like “Your favorite bands made out of LEGO” or “Album covers made out of LEGO” that’s it’s sorta refreshing to see this LEGO Flower Girl by artist Ekow Nimako. She’s lovely.


Via SuperPunch

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Kurt Cobain asks William Burroughs to appear in a Nirvana video
09:37 am

Pop Culture

William Burroughs
Kurt Cobain

In August 1993, Kurt Cobain wrote William Burroughs to ask if he would appear alongside his band Nirvana in the first video release from their album In Utero. Though Cobain had been in touch with Burroughs before, the pair had not yet met. Cobain had previously supplied music for Burroughs’ spoken word disc The “Priest They Called Him.

Interviewer: How did you get on with William Burroughs when you recorded together recently?

Cobain: That was a long distance recording session. [Laughs] We didn’t actually meet.

Interviewer: Did he show a genuine awareness of your music?

Cobain: No, we’ve written to one another and we were supposed to talk the other day on the phone, but I fell asleep — they couldn’t wake me up. I don’t know if he respects my music or anything; maybe he’s been through my lyrics and seen some kind of influence from him or something, I don’t know. I hope he likes my lyrics, but I can’t expect someone from a completely different generation to like rock’n’roll — I don’t think he’s ever claimed to be a rock’n’roll lover, y’know. But he’s taught me a lot of things through his books and interviews that I’m really grateful for. I remember him saying in an interview, “These new rock’n’roll kids should just throw away their guitars and listen to something with real soul, like Leadbelly.” I’d never heard about Leadbelly before so I bought a couple of records, and now he turns out to be my absolute favorite of all time in music. I absolutely love it more than any rock’n’roll I ever heard.

Burroughs was one of Cobain’s idols, and he hoped he could convince the writer to appear in the video for the song “Heart-Shaped Box” as an old man on a cross who is pecked by crows. In his journal, Cobain explained that birds are “reincarnated old men with tourrets syndrome.”

“. . . their true mission. To scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth . . . screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears but sadly we don’t speak bird.”

Burroughs knocked back the offer to appear with Cobain in the promo, though he would later make his final appearance in a piece of shit video by U2.

August 2, 1993

Mr. William Burroughs

Dear William:

It’s a bit odd writing someone whom I’ve never met but with whom I’ve already recorded a record.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to do the record—it’s a great honor to be pictured alongside you on the back cover.  I am writing you now regarding the possibility of your appearing alongside my band (Nirvana) in the first video from our new album, “In Utero.”

While I know Michael Meisel from Gold Mountain Entertainment (my management company) has been speaking to James Grauerholz, I wanted the opportunity to personally let you know why I wanted you to appear in the video.

Most importantly, I wanted you to know that this request is not based on a desire to exploit you in any way.  I realize that stories in the press regarding my drug use may make you think that this request comes from a desire to parallel our lives.  Let me assure you that this is not the case.  As a fan and student of your work, I would cherish the opportunity to work directly with you.  To the extent that you may want to avoid any direct use of your image (thus avoiding the aforementioned link for the press to devour), I would be happy to have my director look into make-up techniques that could conceal your identity.  While I would be proud to have William Burroughs appear as himself in my video, I am more concerned with getting the opportunity to work with you than I am with letting the public know (should that be your wish).

Having said that, let me reiterate how much I would like to make this happen.  While I am comfortable letting Michael and James discuss this further.  I am available to discuss this with you at your convenience.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Best regards,

Kurt Cobain

While on tour with Nirvana in October 1993, Cobain visited Burroughs at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. In Nirvana: The Day-By-Day Chronicle, Burroughs recalled the meeting:

“I waited and Kurt got out with another man. Cobain was very shy, very polite, and obviously enjoyed the fact that I wasn’t awestruck at meeting him. There was something about him, fragile and engagingly lost. He smoked cigarettes but didn’t drink. There were no drugs. I never showed him my gun collection.”

Along with his family and his child, Cobain counted meeting William Burroughs as one of the high points of his life.
Below, Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” video. Imagine how extra amazing this video would have been with WSB hanging from that cross!

Previously on Dangerous Minds
When Kurt Cobain met William Burroughs
Via FuckYeahBeatniks!

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Berlin youth hostel decorated entirely with Communist stuff
09:20 am


East Germany

Liking stuff is perilous and fraught with moral implications. For example, if one expresses a fondness for an artistic or design movement created under a corrupt or otherwise undemocratic political regime, one is accused of endorsing said regime, or at the very least, making light of the atrocities committed in its name. (“Nazi chic” is the exception. I don’t care how “cool” you think their uniforms were.) It should be noted that these accusations are never levied upon the good ole US of A—no one has ever been declared a bourgeois closet segregationist, for example, because one enjoys the “countrypolitan” sounds of Tammy Wynette, but it’s not like Tammy was singing “Stand By Your Man” in front of a Confederate flag at Klan rallies, was it? I think we’re perfectly capable of engaging with aesthetics without either divorcing them from their historical context, or moralizing like a shrieking rabble of inquisitors,

So let’s all enjoy some crazy cool vintage East German design, shall we?

The Ostel Hostel in Berlin has been painstakingly decorated in the style of 70s and 80s East Germany—even the wallpaper is vintage. And the building itself is a former East German “Plattenbauwohnung”—the modern, prefabricated concrete architecture that came to symbolize East German infrastructure. Should you be under the impression that The Ostel is merely a kitschy tourist trap, it actually receives a lot of guests who lived under the GDR. After the wall fell, many people were quick to toss out any reminder of communist life in favor of freer Western aesthetics. Now the nostalgia for East Germany is significant enough to garner its own term—“eastalgia,”’ or “ostalgie.”

The Ostel isn’t a totally earnest homage either. You might notice some cheekily staged bananas in one of the photos, a reference to ad nauseam anecdotes of trade embargoes on East Germany—many East Germans had never had a banana. In fact the website explicitly jokes, “Nobody needs bananas.” And if you’re looking for some sort of vulgar irony, no, the rooms are not absurdly expensive. Yes, you too can sleep under the benevolent gaze of former East German Prime Minister Horst Sindermann, with single rooms going for about $40!









Via Messy Nessy Chic

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Thrown out for kissing: A quaint guide to gay discos, 1978
08:09 am


gay rights


With the first gay and lesbian couples finally permitted to legally marry in the U.K. only a few weeks ago, it is kind of sad to run across the special guide to London clubs published by New Musical Express in 1978. The “Gay Scene” category was both transgressive for the times, but quaint, and included the private, prohibitively expensive Maunkberry’s, frequented by the music and entertainment elite, as well as the Bang Disco on Charing Cross Road (opened in 1976) at the top of the list, a “good mixture of gays and punks.” The category leads with the bummer of a caveat:

Habari! Habari! Hungry for play? Well, let love and joy abound on your London safari. But first a note to all you guys ‘n’ gals, cuties ‘n’ chickens, rent boys ‘n’ muscle men, leather lovers ‘n’ sock eaters: REMEMBER, British Law permits homosexual activity IN PRIVATE between two consenting adults of 21 and over. Any sexual contact in public is forbidden.

gay scene dir

Sabotage Times recently mentioned in a fascinating history of London’s gay clubs:

1976 was a groundbreaking year for the development of gay discos in London with the arrival of Bang: London’s first gay superclub. Held at The Sundowner on Charing Cross Road every Monday night, subsequently opening on Thursdays due to popularity, Bang had a 1000+ capacity; a good, loud sound-system; all the hot, new disco imports played by experienced DJ’s Gary London, Talullah and Norman Scott; and dramatic lighting effects operated by the venue’s very own lighting engineer.

As 1976 was the year of the first commercially available 12” single it was perfect timing for a night like Bang – improved audio quality and extended track length for a bigger and better dancing environment.

Below, a look at the Brixton Fairies, a much-needed support network and lifeline for British gays and lesbians in the ‘70s:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Convicted cannibals re-arrested for… er… cannibalism
07:50 am

Current Events


A man has been arrested in Pakistan’s Punjab province on suspicion of cannibalising a young girl. Mohammad Arif Ali was arrested after neighbors complained about the smell of rotting flesh coming from his house.

Arif Ali and his brother, Mohammad Farman Ali, were jailed two years ago after they were found to have disinterred and devoured up to 150 corpses over ten years from a local graveyard. It is said the brothers used body parts to make curry. As there are no laws against cannibalism in Pakistan, the pair were sent to jail for desecration of graves, and fined Rs50,000.

The brothers spent most of their time in prison at the King Edward Medical University in Lahore, where they were examined by doctors at the neurophysiology department.

After their release from jail, the siblings maintained a very low profile. However, after complaints about an overpowering stench coming from the brothers’ house, local police raided the premises where the discovered the skull of a child. The police then arrested one of the brothers, Arif Ali, and are now searching for the other brother, Farman Ali.

Proof that short prison sentences don’t work…?

Cannibalism can be dated as far back as the Lower and Middle Paleolithic, where it is believed to have taken place during times of famine or for possible rituals. More recently, cannibalism has been documented during the Russian famine of the 1920s, and during the Second World War at the siege of Stalingrad. It has also been reported in the 1960s and 1970s in Cambodia, and famously after the 1972, Andes flight disaster, when survivors cannibalised other dead passengers to stay alive. There have also been several notorious serial killers who cannibalised their victms including Jeffrey Dahmer and Andrei Chikatilo (who killed and ate a minimum of 52 women and children between 1976 and 1990) being perhaps the best known.

Below the original news report on the arrest of the two brothers form 2011:

Via The Independent

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Bruce Lee talks martial arts during his 1964 audition for ‘The Green Hornet’
07:36 am


Bruce Lee

In this 1964 tape, a confident Bruce Lee gives a kung fu primer while auditioning for the role of Kato in The Green Hornet. Lee, of course, got the part, and though the show only ran for a year, Kato, the ass-kicking man-servant was a ground-breaking, if complicated, moment in television history. By this time Lee had already built a successful film career in Hong Kong—though he was born Chinatown, San Francisco, his parents moved to Hong Kong when he was three. Lee’s Cantonese birth name was actually Lee Jun-fan, meaning “return again,” named for his (half-white) mother’s prediction that he would one day come back to the US.

The martial arts demos are cool, but for me, one of the more interesting moments is when Lee show some of the gaits of Chinese Opera—his own father was a Chinese opera and film star. In addition to the fighting skills that earned him the (unofficial) title of America’s first male Asian sex symbol, Lee was a man of many graceful talents—he was even the 1958 Honk Kong Cha Cha Champion!

Via Open Culture, H/T Brain Pickings

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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