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Meet Dorothée: The French Olivia Newton-John look-a-like who sang about Ewoks and Dungeons & Dragons
01.31.2017
12:23 pm
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Dorothée is the stage name of Frédérique Hoschedé, the TV host whose hit children’s show Club Dorothée ran in France for ten years. With an insane daily schedule which included a before-school show, an after-school show, and all day long broadcasts on holidays… thousands of kids spent nearly 20 hours a week watching Dorothée on their television sets. Despite the show’s extreme popularity with children, Club Dorothée‘s tight shooting schedule made it nearly impossible for the writers and producers to turnaround any sort of quality, and many teachers, parents, and intellectuals attacked Club Dorothée for being violent, lazy, and even racist programming.

Dorothée received her first break in 1973 when she was asked to host a short children’s program called Dorothée and Blablatus. Blablatus was a skinny, pink, Charles Dickens looking muppet who wore polka dot bow tie and a top hat. Program manager Eliane Victor declared that Dorothée was incompetent for the hosting job and fired her, she then spent the next several years working as a secretary in a plumbing fixture factory, as a waitress, and as a sandwich maker in a supermarket. In 1977 at the age of 24, Dorothée got a second chance at fame when she was hired to host the program Dorothée and her Friends. The show was co-presented by famous French cartoonist Cabu (who sadly became a victim of the January 2015 shootings at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices).
 
In March 1980, Dorothée released her first album Dorothée in the Land of Songs which sold 70,000 copies. She then proceeded to record one album a year from 1982 to 1997. Among her many hits were “Les Schtroumpfs” (a theme for The Smurfs), “Les petits Ewoks,” written for the Star Wars made-for-TV film movie Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, and “Donjons et dragons” (for the animated television series Dungeons & Dragons based on the role-playing game). “Allo allo monsieur l’ordinateur” (“Hello Hello Mister Computer”) was a tongue in cheek song about asking love advice from a machine and in “La valise” she sang about the items she put in her luggage, and released a new version of the song on every album. For her live concert performances, Dorothée would be joined on stage by actors wearing Ewok costumes.
 

 
In 1987, Dorothée and her producers were contacted by rival channel TF1 who offer her a higher budget, attractive salary, and a bigger studio. Club Dorothée immediately became an institution with its wild cartoons, sketches, and games. Children who were members of the studio audience could win a variety of prizes: everything from expensive gifts to series pins and subscriptions to Dorothée magazine. Dorothée presented several music episodes where she sang along with guest stars like Chuck Berry, Percy Sledge, Cliff Richard, and Ray Charles. “I have very good memories, it was non-stop craziness,” she said in an August 2012 interview. 
 
Adults were highly critical of Club Dorothée, they thought games and the sketches were ridiculous, stupid, and noneducational. Channel TF1 purchased a high volume of Japanese cartoons to help fill out the length of each program. These cartoons were poorly dubbed and broadcast without first being reviewed. Many parents found them to be too violent for children, and many complaints were filed to the CSA (the french equivalent of the FCC) after one particular cartoon featured a character wearing a Nazi-like symbol. Viewers also complained about the blatant lack of diversity in the show, pointing out that the only black people ever to have appeared on Club Dorothée were represented by the most archaically outdated stereotypes imaginable, such as a “comedic” dance sequence for a song called “Banania.”
 

 
In addition, the actors often complained about the bad sketches and dialogue that were presented to them on a daily basis. “We do not talk like that, the endless sentences that don’t mean anything, the tirades that have nothing to do with anything… we have been legally bound to go along with these scripts that don’t make any sense” said actor Philippe Vasseur. Terrible rumors about Dorothée began spreading in the early days of the internet: that she hated children, had previously acted in pornographic films, and was only interested in making money. As audience viewership and album sales declined, Club Dorothée was finally canceled in August 1997 after a ten-year run. When the show ended, Dorothée disappeared from the spotlight and immediately fell into the “Where are they now?” file. 
 

 

 

 

Posted by Doug Jones
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01.31.2017
12:23 pm
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Discussion
Missing Foundation, the long-lost industrial rockers who almost destroyed New York City
01.30.2017
11:20 am
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“And when people feel the economic crunch & you can’t have the life that others have—you get dangerous.”—Missing Foundation graffiti.

Shortly before the Disneyfication of Manhattan, when the lower east side was still a churning ball of druggy chaos and the art scene was spewing up creeps, weirdos and bleak visionaries like Nick Zedd, Kembra Pfahler, White Zombie and the Toxic Avenger, one group emerged as the undisputed Kings of the Wasteland. They were called Missing Foundation, and they had come for your children.

Part industrial band, part neo-anarchist street gang, Missing Foundation was the fevered brainchild of one Peter Missing, who had formed the original version in Berlin in 1984 with future members of death-disco superstars KMFDM before moving to NYC and starting a new, more politically-charged version in the bowels of the Bowery. They were trouble from the beginning. For one thing, their striking logo, an upside-down martini glass (“The party’s over!”) was painted literally everywhere. It was like a virus, made all the more unnerving because very few people even know what it meant.
 
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Photo by Alex in NYC

Live shows mixed angry sloganeering and anti-cop/anti-gentrification political posturing with white noise and ferocious violence. Fights between band and crowd were ubiquitous, and would often continue on the streets after the shows. On one notorious gig at CBGB’s, the band lit trash barrels with kerosene and rolled the flaming missiles into the audience. Once word got out about the band’s propensity for destruction, they took the act to the streets, playing in abandoned parking lots powered by overworked generators and vanishing in a flash once the police showed up. Perhaps most famously, in August of 1988 they played an outdoor show in Tompkins Square Park—a haven for punks, the homeless, drug addicts, and various combinations of all three—that ultimately ended in a massive riot, with unarmed street kids battling 200 armored cops in a violent, bloody, flaming 24-hour clash that rattled both sides and left dozens of people battered. To be fair, unlike some of their more overtly assaultive shows, Missing Foundation had planned a peaceful protest at the park, but afterward they became emblematic of the kind “street scum” Mayor Koch wanted to eradicate from his city.
 
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They were already agitators but from that point on they lived with targets on their backs. News crews began stalking their desiccated neighborhoods, reporting on Missing Foundation’s fictional ties to Satanism, animal torture and other nefarious cult activities. The FBI began tailing Peter Missing. Heavy stuff for a goddamn rock n’ roll band.
 
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Missing Foundation’s musical output was pretty consistent for a band of lunatics—five albums spread over as many years, with an evolving sound that was half throbby post-punk and half ear-splitting industrial noise. They were sort of an even less dance-y Cop Shoot Cop or maybe Throbbing Gristle with anger management issues. Either way, albums like 1988’s 1933 Your House is Mine and 1990’s Ignore the White Culture were a fairly accurate representation of the band’s ceaseless rage. But they’d probably have to be hurling flaming barrels at your head for you to really “get” the full Missing Foundation “experience.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Ken McIntyre
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01.30.2017
11:20 am
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Discussion
The subversive world of Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies: Underground comic satirizes 70s rock
01.24.2017
03:10 pm
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RRM1
 
Ahh, the endless subversive thrills of underground comix. It is hard to fathom in these everything-goes days of informational overload, but during their early 70’s heyday, they were a thumb in the eye to everything holy and sacred about American culture, including its worship of bland, morally-incorruptible superheroes. Instead of lame-os like Superman and Captain America we had pervy creeps like Fritz the Cat and weed-smoking slackers The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Rife with drugs, violence, sex and sedition, these thoroughly adult “funnybooks” were counter-cultural timebombs. Once you’ve read an issue of Bizarre Sex, Death Rattle or Cocaine Funnies, Archie and Jughead just won’t do anymore.
 
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The underground comics (or “comix” as they were widely known) phenomenon sprouted from the fertile artistic well of San Francisco in the late 1960s. Some of its earliest practitioners/pioneers included Gilbert Shelton (Freak Brothers), S. Clay Wilson (The Checkered Demon), Bill Griffith (Zippy the Pinhead) and of course Robert Crumb (Zap Comix, Fritz the Cat, Mr. Natural). It took a few years for these gritty, greasy comics to slither across the pond, especially since Britain had a knack for banning this kind of hippy-dippy counter-culture stuff. In fact, the bible of British hippies, Oz magazine, was undergoing an obscenity trial in 1972 and was withering on the vine when it split off into its own short-lived underground comic offshoot, cOZmic Comics. The title combined strips borrowed from American comics with new British artists like Mike Weller, Ed Barker and Malcolm Livingstone and became the flagship for underground comics in the UK.
 
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Cozmic Comics ran for three years and eventually a handful of spin-offs were released, including Animal Weirdness, Half-Assed Funnies, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies. Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies only ran for two issues and then vanished, but it serves as a crucial snapshot of an era that treated its rock stars like untouchable gods. As is the job of any subversive, Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies turned that notion on its head, filling its pages with zonked out weirdos blowing their minds and millions on drugs and death trips. Many of the stories in both issues were written by musician/journalist Mick Farren and drawn by Dave Gibbons, who would later go on to fairly massive success with titles like 2000 AD and The Watchmen.
 
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None of the stories are particularly hard-hitting and everyone’s favorite, a tawdry descent into drugs and debauchery by a Crumb-ian rock n’ roll cat named “Dirty Pussy,” was never credited. But what makes these two comics so eminently cult-y are the stunning covers by American artist Greg Irons. Irons was a prolific poster artist from SF who had worked on the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film and was also responsible for the frequently hair-raising underground horror comic Slow Death. He died in 1984 after getting hit by a bus in Thailand, which is a helluva time/place/way to go. The covers he created for Rock ‘N’ Roll Madness Funnies achieve what they’re supposed to—portray a slice of live, out-of-control, all-knobs-to-the-right rock action. But in his attempt to concoct the freakiest, wiggest-out cartoon bands imaginable, Irons managed to lampoon rock stars who didn’t even exist yet. Issue one’s skinny glam rocker is such a shoo-in for Antichrist Superstar-era Marilyn Manson that you would assume he was capable of time travel or ESP, and issue 2’s thoroughly amazing blood-splattered tableau seems to predict both hardcore punk and corpse-painty black metal in one-over-the top image.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Ken McIntyre
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01.24.2017
03:10 pm
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Discussion
‘Sex rained on my head’: The hair metal wit and wisdom of Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy
01.17.2017
04:13 pm
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There are reports, rumors and wild speculations popping up everywhere that the undisputed kings of bedraggled pop metal Ratt are reuniting and touring in 2017.  That’s good news, maybe the first good news in months. After the woeful year we’ve just had, we deserve a little Ratt n’ Roll, man. Let us not forget the plastic-fantastic majesty of mid-80’s Ratt: “Round and Round,” “Lay It Down.” “Wanted Man,” “Way Cool Jr.,” “Body Talk,” “Slip of the Lip,”  “Shame Shame Shame,” “Lack of Communication,” I mean it’s endless, this parade of big dumb hits these cats laid on us. And like many survivors of the glam wars, times have not always been easy for Ratt. They barreled headfirst into the grunge era and became one of its first victims. The hits dried up, the audiences shrank, and the kids found cooler, mopier ego stars to worship. In 2001, classic-era guitarist Robbin Crosby—the preening blonde golden-god of the gang—died of a heroin overdose, after wrestling with addiction and HIV for years. The rest of the band succumbed to infighting, forming half-assed versions of Ratt and scrambling for the last scraps of faded glory as they toured dismal suburban rock dives playing the hits for wistful, middle-aged Gen X-ers. Everyone had lost the goddamn plot.

Well, fuck all that. The band (plus or minus contentious drummer Bobby Blotzer, jury’s still out) are back, presumably better than ever. They even plan on recording a new album. I am 100% sure it will be chock full of tasty, fishnetty hard rock jams. We’re all gonna get laid. Maybe your hair will even grow back.

To celebrate the impending invasion of your privacy, here are some of the best/worst moments of Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy’s 2013 autobiography, Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll: My Life in Rock. I interviewed Pearcy for Classic Rock a few years ago and found him to be level-headed, enlightened, and even a little humble. None of those traits are evidenced in the book, which is all sex and mayhem, all the time. A stone-cold classic, in other words. Honestly, it might be the best (genital) warts n’ all rock bio you ever read.

Page 33, after ending up in the hospital with two broken legs at age 15 and banging the nurse who was giving him a sponge bath: “I discovered a crucial law that afternoon: Women adore broken men. They cannot resist the urge to fuck you back to health. I would use this secret off and on for the rest of my life.” Tuck that advice into your back pocket, boys

Some fashion advice (page 50): “Vests covered with pins and buttons, worn without a shirt, could always get you in the door, but on wilder, drunker occasions, bathrobes and open-necked karate uniforms were good choices.” Admittedly this sartorial advice might work best for skinny guys in hair metal bands.

Stephen Pearcy in therapy, talking about the time he partied with Ron Jeremy: “He was all sweaty and hairy, and his chick had these tits that were so fake it looked like if you grabbed them you could feel the plastic wrinkling under her skin. It was awesome.” Therapist: “Why did you want to watch?” Stephen: “Because it was cool. Because it was weird, and really gross. I’m into that kind of thing.”

On 1981: “It was a very good time to be young and in heat.”

Page 113: “Ratt had a new philosophy of heavy metal. Slay, steal, pillage, fuck, inspire twenty-chick orgies, all that good stuff. But in a classy sort of way, no devil worship.”

“You smell ridiculous, bro.” - Tommy Lee, after finding Pearcy on his living room floor.
 

 
While Pearcy rarely gets around to talking about Ratt’s music, he did write at length about shooting the cover of the first EP, which features rats crawling up model Tawny Kitaen’s legs.
Page 149: “Tawny flounced off to the dressing room, and Neil waited until she was out of earshot. “I want to throw some live rats at her,” he said. “Perfect,” I said.”

“We drank for an hour, smoking weed and listening to Black Sabbath, until a man in dented Toyota van bearing the inscription Rent-A-Rat arrived.”

“For one amazing hour, Robbin and I tossed rats at the hottest chick in Los Angeles.”

Page 167: “My doctor gave me the best advice: ‘Always look in the mouth,’ he said. ‘If the mouth’s filthy, then you’ve got a filthy snatch.’”

Page 174: “I pulled my pants down around my ankles and received the blowjob of my life while losing to Blotzer at Pong. And yet, part of me feels like I won.”

Page 183: “In a parking lot, true sluttiness knows no bounds.”

Page 206: “Connie,” I said, “You don’t want what I have.” “Oh,” she said seductively. “I wouldn’t be too sure about that, what is it?” “Diarrhea dick,” I said chummily.

Page 221: “Robbin and I became permanent fixtures at the Sunset Marquis, the bull-goose lunatics of the insane asylum. Often Robbin walked around the halls fully nude in the middle of the day. “Cover yourself, sir!” a surprised clerk yelled. Robbin just looked down at his belly, shocked to find he had no pants on. “Hey, right. I’ll go do that.”

“I got trim in here that would make you sick to your stomach.” - Rodney Dangerfield, another permanent fixture of the Sunset Marquis.

Page 226: “You know, Joe, I almost died last night. Drank some weird alcohol out of a jar with cow balls in it.”

Page 232: “And then the cup was full, on the table, yellow and stinking - seventy-two ounces of tour piss. You could smell it from a mile away. “Well,” said Joe, “who’s gonna drink it?”

“Fuck, I just got a threatening phone call from OJ Simpson.” “What the hell for?” “He says if I don’t stop seeing Tawny, he’ll cut my hands off.”

More from Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy after the jump…

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Posted by Ken McIntyre
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01.17.2017
04:13 pm
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Discussion
Trust us, you’ve never seen ANYTHING like ‘We Are The Flesh’
01.17.2017
10:42 am
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One of the outstanding films of Fantastic Fest 2016 was also one of the most divisive. While audiences cheered the pasteurized mainstream sci-fi film Arrival and the sumptuous beauty of Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, Mexican director Emiliano Rocha Minter’s We Are The Flesh shocked audiences into stunned silence. Fest attendees inured to extreme gore and torture porn found something in We Are The Flesh that still retains the power to disturb and provoke: explicit sex. Like directors Gaspar Noé and Alejandro Jodorowsky and author George Bataille, 26-year-old Minter conjures images that take us deep into areas that were and are still taboo. He’s a pilgrim descending into darkness in search of light. If there is a God and God is everywhere then even in Hell there is rapture. And sometimes you gotta be the turd in the punchbowl to do Jesus right.

A film like We Are The Flesh uses cinema in the service of what movies do best: replicate dreams. In the hellish bardo that the movie plunges us into, plot and narrative take a backseat to a series of surreal images and a trance inducing soundtrack that insinuate and point to things beyond knowing. We see but we don’t completely understand what we’re seeing. Like ceremonial magic, film is a language that transcends symbol and gesture. We are often left at the celluloid door breaking holes in it with the fists of our eyes. In the case of We Are The Flesh, the plot, such as it is, is best described by the the press notes:

A young brother and sister, roaming an apocalyptic city, take refuge in the dilapidated lair of a strange hermit. He puts them to work building a bizarre cavernous structure, where he acts out his insane and depraved fantasies. Trapped in this maddening womb-like world under his malign influence, they find themselves sinking into the realms of dark and forbidden behaviour.


 

 
There was a great line in the ad campaign for George Romero’s masterpiece Dawn Of The Dead: “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Emiliano Rocha Minter was born in Mexico City, a city that until recent years had been spared the full brunt of Mexico’s drug wars. But drug-related atrocities have hit the streets of Mexico City and continue to grow rampant on the city’s outskirts. More than 100,000 Mexicans have died in the past decade in drug battles between warring gangs. How does a young artist channel what he is witnessing in his own home, when the serpentine line between waking and dreaming nightmare is constantly shifting? How does one maintain sanity in an insane world? You write. You sing. You make fucked up movies.
 

 
In the tradition of filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky, Fernando Arrabal and Juan López Moctezuma, Minter has attempted to discharge the alchemy of film to transform and inflame the dark stuff: art as exorcism. We Are The Flesh rages against the complacency of the viewer. It demands you sit up and pay attention. It screams at you and seduces you. The imagery veers from blunt, violent, angry in-your-faceness to fluid, swirling, mind shattering psychedelia. Sex organs in extreme close-up pulse to the beat of the heart, labial gates form portals to the ultimate question mark in the sky. Flesh is torn, blood flows. This is the meat pit of absolute reality. Minter takes you places you’ve only dreamed of… if your dreams were that of a man in the throes of some mad fever—all of it stunningly realized by cinematographer Yollótl Alvarado. At times, I was reminded of Stan Brakhage’s The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes. Brakhage filmed autopsies so close-in that celluloid rendered flesh into land and seascapes. Alvarado does something similar with genitals. A close-up of a penis lounging on testicles looks like a bullfrog with inflated vocal sacs. The objectified view of the camera takes the erotic right out of the picture. We Are The Flesh is ripe with sex but it’s not sexy, though it is filled with life force.

“Eroticism is assenting to life even in death”—George Bataille.

Minter has made something of a masterpiece in We Are The Flesh. It is a search for meaning in a world that has lost its center. In its thrashing chaos, there is an artist trying to work things out. Like the elaborate structure of wooden sticks and plastic tape that the characters are building within their underground world, Minter has built his own makeshift reality. But Minter’s has better bones.

The film glows with crepuscular light. There are cum shots and penetrations lit in the heightened pastels and posed comic book architecture of F.X. Pope’s porn mindbender Cafe Flesh. And Minter, whether he knows it or not, has ventured into Gerard Damiano’s “dark night of the hole” melancholy of The Devil And Miss Jones. When Catholics do this shit , they go all the way, propelled by centuries of sexual repression. Pasolini’s Salo took us there only to drop us into a pile of fascist-flavored shit.
 

 
We Are The Flesh features one of the truly great performances of the past few years. Noé Hernández plays the role of the Manson-like madman who abducts the brother and sister. It is one of the most committed, naked, raw feats of acting you’ll ever see. Imagine Frank Booth crossed with a troglodyte spewing wisdom like “the spirit does not reside within the flesh, the flesh is the spirit itself! So I kindly ask that all you lowlifes devour me until nothing is left. Eat every bit of my rotten flesh. Drink my blood.” Jesus the thug in a sacramental heat while dressed in Member’s Only disco attire. I do my best, but words fail me in the face of such lunacy. Just see it…  because you’ve never seen anything like it.

Video after the jump…

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Posted by Marc Campbell
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01.17.2017
10:42 am
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Discussion
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