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A housewife drops acid (legally), 1963
08.31.2015
12:21 pm

Topics:
Drugs

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Before it became a Schedule I controlled substance in October of 1968, there was a not-all-that-brief period in which lysergic acid diethylamide, otherwise known as LSD, enjoyed some respectability among the chattering classes, even benefited from the same type of breathless hype that the technology associated with the moon landing enjoyed.

According to a 2010 Vanity Fair article by Judy Balaban and Cari Beauchamp, at some point in the 1950s, the publisher of Time, Henry Luce, tried LSD and developed a favorable attitude towards it, and that was all LSD needed to receive several years of positive coverage in all the major magazines:

Another early experimenter was Clare Boothe Luce, the playwright and former American ambassador to Italy, who in turn encouraged her husband, Time publisher Henry Luce, to try LSD. He was impressed and several very positive articles about the drug’s potential ran in his magazine in the late 50s and early 60s, praising Sandoz’s “spotless” laboratories, “meticulous” scientists, and LSD itself as “an invaluable weapon to psychiatrists.”

In addition, it was well known that Hollywood luminaries like Cary Grant and Esther Williams were using LSD as a therapeutic tool:

“The Curious Story Behind the New Cary Grant” headlined the September 1, 1959, issue of Look magazine, and inside was a glowing account of how, because of LSD therapy, “at last, I am close to happiness.” He later explained that “I wanted to rid myself of all my hypocrisies. I wanted to work through the events of my childhood, my relationship with my parents and my former wives. I did not want to spend years in analysis.” More articles followed, and LSD even received a variation of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval when that magazine declared in its September 1960 issue that it was one of the secrets of Grant’s “second youth.” The magazine went on to praise him for “courageously permitting himself to be one of the subjects of a psychiatric experiment with a drug that eventually may become an important tool in psychotherapy.”

Over the weekend a Retronaut page by Alex Q. Arbuckle has been making the rounds with the title “April 16, 1963: Housewife on LSD.” The page, which is light on text, features several photographs taken in 1963 by LIFE photographer John Loengard of a session in which some test subjects—i.e., regular people—were given LSD. The centerpiece of the series is a woman named Barbara Dunlap, identified as a housewife from Cambridge, Massachusetts, as she contemplates a statue of Buddha and a sliced lemon in tripping wonderment. The photos, all black and white, can’t begin to suggest the blazing psychedelic visions Dunlap was experiencing, but anyone who has ever taken LSD can fill in the blanks perfectly well.

One weird note: The Retronaut title contains the date April 16, 1963, but it’s not clear to me that that date refers to anything, actually. Arbuckle’s text mentions April 16, 1943—twenty years earlier—as the date on which Albert Hofmann first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide. Loengard’s photographs were not taken on April 16, 1963, which is abundantly clear primarily because some of the photographs appeared in the March 15, 1963 issue of LIFE, to ameliorate a lengthy article by Robert Coughlan called “The Chemical Mind-Changers.” That article was actually the second of a two-part article—the first part, which appeared a week earlier, was more technical in nature and didn’t focus at all on the test subjects.

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Photos of Victorian women and their long-ass hair
08.31.2015
10:24 am

Topics:
Fashion
History

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“Yo, Rapunzel!”

A lot of Victorian and Edwardian era women simply never cut their hair. Now I know this was considered very fashionable in those days, but I can’t imagine how much suffering went along with maintaining such manes. Your head, neck and shoulders would have to be in constant pain trying to hold the weight of all that hair! And think about this, what did they do to cool off during the extremely hot months of summer? I guess one could keep their hair wet all the time, but it would be a royal pain in the ass to have to comb it out and dry it. They didn’t even have blow dryers back then. No way!

This is exactly why the bob cut had to happen in the 1920s. Women couldn’t put up that shit anymore.


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Young Adam Ant looking like a pretty punk rock Adonis
08.31.2015
09:17 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

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Adam and the Ants at Eric's Club in Liverpool, 1977
Adam and the Ants at Eric’s Club in Liverpool, 1977 

Before the flamboyant gyrating, Native American-obsessed pirate we all know and love as Adam Ant there was another fellow (born Stuart Leslie Goddard), who looked more like the proto-goths of the 70s such as Siouxsie Sioux (who Adam and The Ants often supported live back in the day) or Dave Vanian of The Damned.
 
Adam Ant and Sioux Siesioux backstage
Adam Ant and Siouxsie Sioux hanging out backstage, 1977
 
After joining his first band in 1975, Bazooka Joe, Goddard bore witness to what was likely the very first performance ever given by the Sex Pistols, who were the opening act for a Bazooka Joe gig. Goddard quickly quit the group and went on to form another band that never really got off the ground called, B-Sides. Following a battle with anorexia and a suicide that landed him in a psychiatric hospital, Goddard was released, changed his name to Adam Ant and eventually formed Adam and the Ants around 1977.
 
Adam Ant and Jordan live at The Vortex, 1977
Adam Ant (with Jordan) at the Vortex, (London, 1977)
 
In addition to some pretty amazing photos of Ant, his band and collaborator/punk fashion icon Jordan (aka Pamela Rooke who worked at the King’s Row boutique, SEX run by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood), I dug up this very punk recollection from UK music and culture historian, Tom Vague on the first time he laid eyes on Adam Ant in 1977:

The first time I saw Adam Ant he had just had ‘Fuck’ carved into his back by Jordan with a razor blade and World’s End was stained with his blood

Who knew everyone’s favorite post-punk jaunty pirate was so dangerous? Well, I’m sure some of you did, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the following photos that pre-date Ant’s 80s fashion and antics.
 
Adam and the Ants (with Jordan) at The Marquee, 1977
Adam and the Ants (with Jordan) at The Marquee, 1977
 
Adam Ant, super goth, 1977
Adam Ant, 1977/1978
 
More, plus early film footage of Adam and the Ants, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
There’s a life-size David Bowie pillow doll
08.31.2015
08:05 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
If you ever wanted to eat an ice cream cone sitting on David Bowie’s lap… now is your chance! Proxy Shop on Etsy makes these life-size David Bowie pillow dolls for $400 + shipping.

The Lifesize David Bowie Pillow stands 66” tall and is the ultimate gift for a David Bowie fan’s home decor.

Sit this Bowie doll onto a daybed or sofa, against a wall as a soft sculpture artwork or on the floor as a makeshift chair.

Handcrafted from high quality printed fabric that is silky soft to the touch and backed with sturdy broadcloth, this tribute to David Bowie’s famous Ziggy Stardust costume design is an utterly unique addition to any Bowie fan’s home.

These life-size decorative pillows are all handcrafted and made to order.

Now can we have a Nick Cave pillow, please?


 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The sexy, porny nose art of WWII combat planes
08.31.2015
07:49 am

Topics:
Art
History

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It’s easy to imagine a… lonely soldier doodling a smutty little pin-up on the side of a military plane from sheer boredom, but the elaborate “nose art” of World War II also served a very functional purpose. A memorable girl on the side of a plane let you know who made it home before they even landed, so a “Memphis Belle” or a “Marine’s Dream” was an early indicator of a serviceman’s safe return. Surprisingly, nose art wasn’t an American innovation (I guess I just assumed we were pioneers of all things porn and explosions?). Italians and Germans were decorating their military vehicles in non-standard ways as early as 1913.

The nose art I’ve curated below is not featured for its cheeky sexuality, but rather the explicitness of some of the work; note the placement of the hand on the “in the mood” pin-up two images down? Obviously the majority of aviation pin-ups were a little more coy, but there’s something really comical about the artists who dispensed entirely with subtlety, sometimes without much actual artistic talent.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
NAMASTE, JARHEAD! Little green army men toys in yoga poses
08.31.2015
06:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:


 
Dan Abramson is the purveyor of “Brogamats,” yoga mat carry cases for men, amusingly camouflaged with masculine signifiers like lumberjack plaid, hewn logs, quivers full of arrows, giant burritos… they’re pretty funny. He’s lately put a yogic twist on perhaps the ultimate masculine archetype, the warrior. After a Kickstarter campaign last year, Abramson has begun making Yoga Joes—“here to keep the inner peace”—send-ups of those classic little green molded plastic army guy toys, all in yoga poses. There are nine of them in a set, Headstand, Meditation Pose, Cobra Pose, Warrior One, Warrior Two, Child’s Pose, Tree Pose, Crow Pose, and Downward-facing Dog. Sets are $25 at the Yoga Joes web site, or $50 for the limited edition pink ones, and the site also features a gallery of marvelous tableaux of the toys that unavoidably recall the work of photographer David Levinthal, though with less sardonic intent.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Limbo, NYC’s ‘Tuned-in Generation’ 60s fashion emporium (and their amazing artist-in-residence)
08.31.2015
06:24 am

Topics:
Advertising
Art
History
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
It all started a few weeks ago with a nice lady dropping by the record store with two cardboard moving boxes full of old newspapers. “I thought I’d see if anyone here wanted these before I threw them out.”

I looked into the first box and on top was an issue of The Village Voice from April of 1969. Without even hesitating I said “Yep, I’ll be happy to take these in.” Digging further, I saw that I was looking at two boxes full of old Voice issues from the late ‘60s—mega score. All I had in my pocket was ten dollars, but I offered it to the nice lady. “These are cool, please take my ten bucks. And THANK YOU!”

I started plowing through the contents of the two boxes when I got home that evening. All tolled, there were forty-five issues of the Voice dating between 1967 and 1969—one of the most interesting periods in U.S. history for art and radical politics. The Voice, at that time, was one of the major mediums carrying the anti-war message, not to mention reporting on the explosion of art, psychedelic thought, and counterculture. Every issue in those two boxes was a treasure trove of Vietnam era cool: Andy Warhol shot. Abbie Hoffman arrested. Eldridge Cleaver lecturing. Burroughs and Ginsberg hit up Timothy Leary’s LSD Center. Jimi Hendrix is playing this weekend. Janis Joplin is playing another. Hair is on Broadway. I Am Curious (Yellow) is at the cinema. EVERYONE is protesting. Cops are busting heads. I’m completely enthralled and lost in these stacks.

As I’m meticulously poring over the issues, I begin to notice the ads for one particular shop: Limbo. To say there was something special about these mystifying “anti-ads” is an understatement. My eye was drawn magnetically to the Limbo graphics. There was at least one in every issue. The designs were sort of a Dada/Pop Art hybrid, but actually quite unlike anything else—definitely unlike anything else in the Voice at that time. Sure, there were lots of era-typical psychedelic graphics advertising everything from fur coats to futons… but the Limbo ads weren’t exactly psychedelic… and they weren’t exactly advertising anything other than their own unique form. They seemed completely and beautifully out of place and time, something a step beyond the pop iconography of Warhol’s work from a few years prior. Familiar, yet obscure. Every image stopped me in my tracks and had me guessing at its mysteries.
 

Ads for Limbo as they appeared in the Village Voice.
 
I became obsessed. I went through every issue, specifically hunting each Limbo ad. They were all different. They didn’t repeat. All arresting and confounding.
 

 
Mesmerized, curious, needing to know more, I went to the Internet for information and with very little effort found that this long-defunct shop had both a handy Wikipedia entry and Facebook presence.

From what I discovered, I was surprised I hadn’t already known about Limbo. It was apparently the IT shop in the East Village. Writing in eye Magazine, Norman Steinberg described Limbo as “much more than just a clothing store. It is a social, intellectual, and entertainment experience that appeals to people of all ages, races, creeds, colors and political persuasions.”

Beyond being simply a retail shop, Limbo was a countercultural HUB for disaffected New Yorkers. The store, through a wholesale sales agreement with Fillmore East, dressed rock stars from Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, to the New York Dolls and Velvet Underground. John Lennon, Yoko Ono,  Andy Warhol and his “superstars” Baby Jane Holzer, Nico, Viva and Edie Sedgwick were all frequenters.
 

“Dress as decoration. Dress as defiance. Dress as decorum, or its opposite. That was at the heart of Limbo.”
 
Limbo sold not only typical “peacenik” clothes like Indian cottons and silks, but also military surplus for the Yippie warriors of the day. Limbo was one of the first sellers to make “vintage” clothing “hip,” calling the inventory on their flyers: “Dead Man’s Clothing.” Limbo is also often credited with starting the trend of “distressing” blue jeans before sale. As a retail shop, it served as a cultural focal point in the East Village—much in the same way that its successor served the early punk scene. Many of our readers may be familiar with the store which Limbo became after being sold in 1975: Trash & Vaudeville.
 

“Carefully Selected Dead Men’s Clothing For The Heads of All Nations”
 
As I thought about the notion of a shop like Limbo being a community axis, I was reminded of my own recent experience with the nice lady dropping off the two boxes of Village Voices at the record shop and felt connected to that tradition of storefronts being places that can exist beyond their capitalist function of exchanging goods and services for money—places that offer a space for like-minded individuals to meet and share ideas or pass things along simply because that’s a “cool thing to do.”

Scouring the photo galleries on Limbo’s Facebook page, I found many of the same striking ads I had seen in those Village Voice issues. Scanning through those, I located the name of the artist who had designed them: Ira Kennedy.
 
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Dangerous Finds: Transgender porn boom; Trump and the whole Hitler thing; Goths more depressed?
08.28.2015
07:41 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:


 
Young goths ‘at risk of depression’: Young people who identify as goths may be at increased risk of depression and self-harm, a study suggests.
Researchers could not fully explain the link, but suggest a tendency for goths to distance themselves from society could play a part. (BBC News)

The Way of the Doofus Warrior or ‘The Art of the War,’ Trump style: Donald Trump, military genius or crazy like a fox, or both? (Talking Points Memo)

Trump Kept Hitler’s Speeches by his Bed: Says Only Short Jews Can Count His Money, Not Blacks: “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”(Ring of Fire)

Vatican’s No. 1 Pervert Priest Dies Suddenly in Vatican City: After raping boys and keeping child porn at the Vatican, Josef Wesolowski was set to stand trial for his sins. Now his fate will be left to a higher power. (The Daily Beast)

Business owners try to remove all voters from business district, but they forgot one college student: University of Missouri student Jen Henderson, alone, will get to decide whether or not to approve the a sneaky sales tax increase. (Daily Kos)

Transgender porn quickly growing in popularity: While many Americans might say Caitlyn Jenner’s much-watched interview with Diane Sawyer was their introduction to the transgender community, the adult entertainment industry says transgender porn has been a big seller for years—and it’s getting bigger. (CNBC)

Sanders to push Dems to rebel against establishment: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to tell the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that the party needs an anti-establishment approach to be successful in 2016 elections. When the presidential candidate speaks at the DNC’s summer meeting Friday in Minneapolis, he will tell them that “if Democrats want to keep the White House and recapture Congress and make gains in statehouses, then establishment politics won’t do it,” according to CNN. (The Hill)

Jindal Letter To Obama: Please Don’t Mention Climate Change On Katrina Anniversary: If someone punched Bobby Jindal right in the face, I would laugh. What a fucking idiot. WHO told this fool he could become President? God? (Talking Points Memo)

Hawaii’s Governor Dumps Oil and Gas in Favor of 100% Renewables: An unlikely partnership between Hawaii’s local government and the US military makes the island a leader in energy policy. (The Nation)

The Troubling Decline of Financial Independence in America: If you can’t work for yourself and afford health insurance, something is seriously messed up. (Of Two Minds)

Marco Rubio’s trickle-down nonsense: Tax cuts for the rich make sense because his father was a bartender! His tax plan will make the rich richer and worsen inequality, but his dad was working-class so it’s okay? (Salon)

Below, the Flying Lizards do “Money (It’s What I Want)” on Holland’s TopPop TV show:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Controversial’ Hurricane Katrina snow globes lead to death threats?
08.28.2015
01:44 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:


 
That’s right, ten years ago on this very day, the nation—if not the world—was watching the tragedy of a major American city descending into chaos as the authorities proved themselves entirely unable to (a) adequately protect New Orleans from a major storm and (b) come to the aid of that city once it was in distress. The whole nation learned of the identity of such great Americans as Ray Nagin, Michael Brown, and the federal agency known as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Kanye West called George W. Bush a racist on national TV while Michael Myers looked surprised, it was all harrowing, grim fun in a way—outrage always is.

To a whole generation of Americans, Katrina was the first sign that we were just going to have to face a multitude of extreme weather events as well as our own inability to assist people in large numbers in an emergency.
 

Black and gold “Geaux Saints” model
 
According to the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, artist Brad Maltby has irritated some people with a snow globe that uses mordant humor—at a minimum—to commemorate the grim events of August and September 2005. Maltby actually moved to New Orleans to assist with the city’s rebuilding process.

It’s easy to see why the globes have annoyed some: As the Times-Picayune wrote, “Maltby’s snow globes are a Katrina-themed version of old-fashioned holiday novelties. Liquid rises to the roof-line of the tiny shotgun house inside the glass globe. Shake the globe, and miniature debris and glitter swirls. Wind it up, and a music box plays ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’”

The funds are going to rebuild libraries and supply books for children, according to the artist. For his part, Maltby says that he was caught unawares because his Katrina snow globes are not a new product and were not designed to cash in on the 10th anniversary hoopla. He began selling them in 2009 and nobody seemed particularly offended back then, said Maltby.
 

Black and gold “Geaux Saints” model
 
“I never intended to mock anybody,” Maltby said in a telephone interview with the Times Picayune. “I never intended it to be hurtful at all. ... The waterline, the Katrina crosses, the blue tarp; it was all what happened in New Orleans. I designed it and found a manufacturer.”

According to WWL television news, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans, Maltby has received death threats over the snow globes: “Now, as the unsold snow globes are becoming popular again, the artist is getting death threats, on Facebook, by text and calls to his family.”

On Maltby’s website (where you can buy the snow globes), there is the following message: “Thanks for all your support and opinions! We recognize the globes are controversial and it’s the choice of anyone who wants to continue to create so much attention for the globes. With the recent spike in sales, we will continue to deliver orders anywhere, and continue as always, to support various charities in New Orleans!”

Kudos to my old friend Brian Boucher at artnet for spotting this remarkable story that touches on the 10th anniversary of the calamitous progress of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. 

 
via artnet

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead
08.28.2015
11:58 am

Topics:
Movies
Punk

Tags:


 
Like rings in a tree, you can age me by the rock and roll songs that have embedded themselves in my brain and body. My musical dendrochronology begins somewhere in the late 50s with Chuck Berry and radiates outward to include layers of Brit pop, American garage, psychedelia, R&B, punk and substratums of blues, folk and jazz. I measure my life not so much in time but through epiphanies triggered by music, art, sex and drugs – a string of cosmic firecrackers shooting sparks into the ultimate reality of whatever the fuck I’ve become. I’m shaped by the things I love. And I love rock and roll.

In 1977, I was living in Boulder, Colorado. It was the year of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors and every radio station across the known universe was transmitting that unstoppable, unavoidable ear worm, creating a phonological loop in even the most resistant of hosts. I owned the record. I played it. I liked it. But was it a life-changer? No fucking way. But something epochal, something brain-sizzling and exhilarating was churning in the near distance and heading straight for my very receptive rock n’ roll heart: a burst of punk ferocity called The Damned.

“New Rose” arrived in my life when I was searching to stretch my own art into new shapes. I was a poet who had grown tired of the solitary act of writing. And while I was good enough to be published in some small press magazines, I really wasn’t all that interested in seeing my poems in print. I was far more excited by doing poetry readings. I dug the interplay between me and an audience. Poets say you should write for yourself. I always thought that was bullshit. I wrote to be heard. I wrote to stir things up and topple empires. Poetry, for me, was a revolutionary act and the revolution wasn’t happening in universities or the dusty corners of bookstores. It was happening in bars and on the streets. And suddenly, in the year of ’77, it was starting to happen on the airwaves and in rock clubs.

Bands like The Damned, Patti Smith Group, The Ramones, The Stranglers, Talking Heads, The Clash, Blondie and Television were making music that was subversive, surreal, weird, untamed and unpredictable. It was like the Dadaists or the Beats had picked up guitars and formed rock bands. The gates were flung open and everyone was invited. It was explosive and it changed rock forever. And it changed me. I packed up my Smith Corona and bought a Telecaster.

Wes Orshoski’s The Damned: Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead is the first documentary to explore the tangled history of Britain’s seminal punk band in depth. It’s raw, funny, intimate and at times heartbreakingly sad. Orshoski had total access to the group, both current and past members, and the complex and highly dysfunctional relationships that have driven the founding bandmates into two antagonistic camps is one of the truly sad tales of a rock and roll marriage turned toxic.

The film certainly has its dark side but it is also an exhilarating account of what total commitment to the life of a rocker is all about. The Damned have done it their way since their inception and they’re doing it still. Chock full of live footage from all of the eras of The Damned and wonderfully witty and prickly interviews with Captain Sensible, Rat Scabies and Brian James, among many others, the movie is emotionally intense but it is also sublimely entertaining. Still punker than shit 40 years after they first got together as teenagers, The Damned are the embodiment of an uncompromising spirit that is as admirable as it is exhausting to sustain. While other bands from the class of 77 went on to some fame and fortune, The Damned never really got their due. Time for that to change.

Orshoski did an exceptionally fine job of documenting the life of the Motörhead frontman in Lemmy (2010) and his skill in getting artists to open up and be candid about their lives is particularly evident in the Damned movie. At times the intimacy of the film can almost be too much. When Rat Scabies or Captain Sensible drop their guard, the results can be a potent mix of bitterness, anger and a begrudging kind of love.

The jealousy, resentment and bad business dealings that split the Damned apart is a rupture that if healed could see the band playing together again with all of its original members. Not too many bands you can say that about. There will be no Clash re-union and The Ramones are gone for good. But the Damned still walk among us. Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible currently tour as The Damned. Rat Scabies and Brian James often do live gigs performing Damned songs. But it’s been almost 25 years since the four of them have played together and as long as they’re still all alive, that’s a damn shame.

Dangerous Minds conducted an interview with Wes Orshoski shortly after the Austin premier of The Damned: Don’t You Wish We Were Dead. Orshoski talks about his passion for The Damned, touring with Motorhead, and the struggles involved in making movies with a single video camera and a credit card. It’s clear that despite the complexities and hardships of getting an indie movie made in this day and age, Wes would have it no other way. Punk rock demands punk rock film makers. His no bullshit approach is exactly what The Damned deserves. Fuck the ho-daddies, fuck the poseurs.
 

 
After the jump watch some never before released live footage of the Damned and an interview with a guy from El Paso who fooled everyone into thinking he was Dave Vanian. Plus, a terrific review of The Damned’s American debut at CBGB in 1977…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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