Eagle-eyed redditor collectwin recently re-watched Labyrinth and spotted David Bowie’s well-placed, but camouflaged face in a few scenes. I’ve seen this film numerous times and have never noticed these wonderful details before. I guess that’s the difference between VHS and Blu-ray, eh?
Manson murderer Bobby Beausoleil, it’s probably fair to say, is an entirely star-crossed asshole.
Take, for example, the anecdote Kenneth Anger has been wheeling around town for a good few decades regarding how the two of them came to part company, in which a nineteen-year-old Beausoleil, who was Anger’s intended protagonist in Lucifer Rising and also living rent free in the filmmaker’s Haight-Ashbury home, purportedly spent money given him for film equipment on dope, leading Anger to send him packing.
In revenge, Beausoleil supposedly stole Anger’s van, as well as the footage for the unfinished film. As followers of his biography will know, Anger habitually relays, usually with a certain laconic relish, how the van, which Beausoleil piloted from San Francisco to LA, broke down right outside Spahn Ranch, resulting in Beausoleil’s fateful encounter with Charles Manson.
Anger’s conspicuous delight at this turn of events could be explained by the infamous locket he reportedly kept dangling from his neck for many years: Beausoleil’s image on the one side, a frog’s on the other, and the self-explanatory inscription—“Bobby Beausoleil turned into a frog by Kenneth Anger.”
This frequently recounted anecdote, however, is perhaps starting to wear thin—so thin it’s beginning to fray. It just doesn’t quite ring true, and not exactly due to the large circumstantial infernal/coincidental overlap element, either, but rather because the real connections of all the main players in this mythology almost always appear (upon closer inspection) much less happenstance than they would have us believe.
So, Beausoleil’s van probably didn’t just break down as recounted (Beausoleil tells a different story himself, anyway). Similarly, Dennis Wilson probably didn’t meet Manson due to his picking up those Family hitchhikers (an equally questionable tale of motorway madness).
Which is not to say that, when you peel off the top layer of seeming psychedelic randomness, the whole scene still doesn’t bristle with synchronicities. Au contraire….
Take, for example, Beausoleil’s role as rhythm guitarist in an early incarnation of Arthur Lee’s Love, The Grass Roots. Eventually replaced by Bryan MacLean, Beausoleil would go on to claim that his nickname at that time, “Cupid,” in part by inspired the band’s ultimate change of name.
Arguably, the hot-headed Beausoleil was probably not the kind of guy it was wise to usurp, and MaClean certainly experienced a very narrow escape.
According to Manson murderer Susan Atkins, it was actually Beausoleil’s arrest for the torture-murder of Gary Hinman that instigated the Manson Family’s ensuing murder spree—enacted, she would claim, in order to convince police that the killer(s) of Gary Hinman were in fact still at large.
Whether or not this was true motivation for the Tate/LaBianca killings, Beausoleil’s connection to them—as progenitor, inspiration, or both—is indisputable, which is why it’s really just super strange that (and feel free to here start whistling “The Red Telephone”) Beausoleil’s replacement in Love, Bryan MaClean, a close friend of Sharon Tate’s, was invited over to Cieolo Drive on the night of the killings, having a change of heart at the last minute.
Below, rarely heard recordings of Beausoleil’s San Francisco group, The Orkustra. Another player in the group was David LaFlamme, who later founded It’s a Beautiful Day who had the eternal FM radio hit, “White Bird.”
On May 17th and 18th, Cinefamily in Los Angeles will be presenting a 35mm screening of the rarely seen Oscar-nominated 1973 documentary Manson. DirectorRobert Hendrickson—who shot some disturbing footage of Family members at the Spahn Ranch—will be there in-person for a Q&A after the May 17th and 18th screenings.
Marko Mäetamm is a multimedia artist, who works within the mediums of video, photography, drawing, painting and the Internet. Over the past 2 decades, Marko has established himself as an original and provocative artist, and his work has been exhibited across Europe.
Born in South Estonia, Mäetamm ‘grew up without any artistic influences,’ and did not consider becoming an artist until he was 18.
‘The first time I thought doing something creative was through this friend, who was a great fan of Prog Rock and Heavy Metal,’ Marko explains. ‘And the first time I felt I really wanted to do something visual or artistic was when I was looking at the these Heavy Metal and Prog Rock album sleeves at his place.
‘This was at the beginning of the 1980s, when Estonia was part of Soviet Union and you couldn’t legally buy any Western music in stores. It was all smuggled in somehow, so you had to know people who knew people who knew other people to get access to original albums of any kind of Western music. It was more common to share tape-recorded copies of the albums rather than to have the original vinyl.
‘So, my first “serious drawings” were copies of all of these album covers and bands.’
Marko jokes that these were ‘terribly bad drawings,’ but it was still enough to inspire his interest, and after 2 compulsory years in the Soviet Army, he studied study printmaking at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn.
‘It was still the end of Soviet regime, so we didn’t get much information of what was happening in the world of contemporary art. My first influences were all these great modern artists we had to study—Rousseau, Matisse, Chagall, Picasso and so on. That was until I discovered Pop Art, at the end of my studies, and got really into it.
‘This was all happening around the same time the new wave of Young British Artists jumped on the stage, but then nobody was talking about it in Estonia. So it shows you how huge a gap there was between the art here in Estonia, and international art. It took the whole 90-s to cover this gap.’
Dangerous Minds: How would you describe yourself as an artist and how would you describe your art?
Marko Mäetamm: ‘It is always difficult to describe yourself. It is kind of a tricky thing. We never see ourselves the way like the other people do, even when we look in the mirror we actually see our image in a mirror – the eye that we think is our right eye is actually our left eye for other people and so on. And our voice we hear coming from inside us is totally different from the voice other people hear us talking with.
‘But to try to say something - I think I am quite obsessed by my work and I probably need it to keep myself in balance. I say, “I think” because I do think that it might be like that, I don’t really know. And I think that I may not function as good if I didn’t have that channel – art, to communicate with the world. I have come to recognize this by thinking of my own projects during my career. And how my ideas change. People have asked me if I have a therapeutic relationship with my work, and I have always answered that it is absolutely possible. But I really don’t know and I don’t even know if I would need to know it. I don’t know if that would make my work better.’
When The Damned’s guitarist Captain Sensible hit with his whimsical solo cover of Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Happy Talk” and “Wot?” it looked to me like one of the original punks wanted to host a kid’s program. He could have been the Pee-wee Herman of Britain (Oh, come on, you know what I mean! How dare you disrespect the good Captain with your filthy minds!!!).
At the very least they could have given The Damned their own Young Ones-type sitcom. That would have been classic, what a tragically missed opportunity.
I’m obsessed by “Wot?” with its fantastically “chic” bassline and “straight out of Croyden” rap. Nine times out of ten, when I was actively DJing, I’d put this sucker on. People would always go nuts for this record.
If “Wot?” isn’t one of the greatest, glorious and most underrated singles of the early 1980s, I’ll eat a red beret…
Bonus: “(What D’Ya Give) The Man Who’s Gotten Everything?” from 1981’s “This is Your Captain Speaking” EP on Crass Records:
Newt Gingrich must be politicking hard for this year’s Captain Obvious prize… Exactly who does Newton think he’s talking down to in this video? Or does he really think that he’s somehow got a “point” to make about the supposed (huh?) confusion (again I must ask: HUH?) over what to call today’s newfangled smart-phones…?
Or is Newt just confused?
I’m confused. But the most confusing thing of all is why this pointlessly pointless video even exists… Is there a prize if you come up with something better than “smart-phone”?
Cleveland resident Stephen Munhollon explains why he got a portrait of Charles Ramsey tattooed on the back of his calf (right next to his Chuck Norris tat, natch):
You could ask the question, did I want to get Charles Ramsey tattooed on my leg, and the obvious answer is no. The real question is, was I willing to get Charles Ramsey tattooed on my leg, and the answer was yes…In society, a lot of times people choose not to get involved in situations. I think what’s really grabbed people in regards to Mr. Ramsey, is he’s an average, everyday guy. He’s an ordinary person, he was put in an extraordinary situation that he could have walked away from. But he chose to do something.
Apparently this all started when tattoo aritist Rodney Rose offered a free ink job—but it had to be of Ramsey—to anyone who was up for it. Munhollon took him up on his offer.
It would be (too) easy to whip up an editorial tirade about this, but why bother when the “party” is going to be over soon enough anyway?
The glaring twin ironies at play here seem to be missed entirely by the dum-dum tea baggers: First, that the folks who consider themselves Tea partiers correspond pretty faithfully to the same demographic who still read newspapers in printed form and who are receiving, or who soon enough will receive Social Security benefits and Medicare.
Why not try to elect Republican candidates who will cut your own benefits so that billionaires can amass greater and great hordes of cash? Psst, hey Tea party people, the Republican party wants to cut benefits for white seniors too! [And guess what: SO DO MOST OF THE FUCKING DEMOCRATS—INCLUDING OBAMA!]
I don’t think those ‘baggers have really thought any of this stuff through.
The other thing is, who will replenish the Tea party ranks when these dickheads die off? Will this message resonate much with all of those recent college grads with debt up to their eyeballs, and no job prospects that pay higher than ten bucks an hour?
In 1965, a year before hooking up with the musicians who would form The Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young had a brief stint in a Canadian rock group called The Mynah Birds fronted by Rick James (yes, THAT Rick James). At this point in James’ career he was known as Ricky James Matthew and did a stellar imitation of Mick Jagger. The group had a raw exciting sound that hinted at The Stones, Them, and various American garage bands. The Mynah Birds nailed a deal with Motown Records (the first white band to do so) and recorded sixteen tracks in Detroit. But things turned bad.
In his authorized Neil Young biography, Shakey, Jimmy McDonough describes the scene:
The Mynah Birds—in black leather jackets, yellow turtlenecks and boots—had quite a surreal scene going. The band was financed by John Craig Eaton of the Eaton’s department-store dynasty. Legend has it he poured money into the band, establishing a bottomless account for the band’s equipment needs.
Those lucky enough to see any of the band’s few gigs say they were electrifying. ‘Neil would stop playing lead, do a harp solo, throw the harmonica way up in the air and Ricky would catch it and continue the solo.’
Unfortunately, everything screeched to a halt when James was busted in the studio for being AWOL from the navy. “We thought he was Canadian,” said Palmer. “Even though there are no Negroes in Canada.” A single, “It’s My Time,” was allegedly pulled the day of release, and the album recordings were shelved and remain unreleased to this day.”
Here’s a couple of hard-rocking tracks from the legendary Motown Mynah Birds’ sessions. The musicians are Young and future Buffalo Springfield member Bruce Palmer and Goldy McJohn and Nick St. Nicholas who would later establish Steppenwolf with John Kay.