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  • Big hair and lipgloss: Unsung girl groups of the 70s and 80s
    02:27 pm

    Pop Culture

    girl bands

    Many are called. Most end up in the bargain bin of the local thrift store. For all the great bands like Fanny, The Slits, L-7, The Go-Gos, The Bangles, and so on, there are several dozen—nay, several hundred—who score one hit (or fewer) and then disappear before the ink’s dried on their record contracts.

    Then there are bands like these—who manage the record deal, have the hit single and even go on to produce a handful of albums—sometimes well received albums.

    These are the sometimes forgotten girl bands of the 1970s-1980s who may have looked like they took their style from a lycra catalog but actually had greater success and in some instances a greater influence on other bands than is recognized….or should I say, admitted.

    For example, the Love Machine (above) were originally dancers on the Benny Hill Show and not to be ocnfused with the Italian Love Machine. The Love Machine were one-hit wonders like that other notorious dance group Hot Gossip—who had a major hit with “Starship Trooper.”
    Phantom Blue—Heavy Metal band who released four albums between 1986-1997.
    The Orchids were a rock/pop/New Wave formed and managed by Kim Fowley—they never quite managed the heights of The Runaways.
    Cice-Mace—a Serbian disco-pop band produced by synth pioneer Miha Kralj.
    More forgotten girl groups, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    That time Orson Welles met Andy Kaufman
    02:12 pm


    Orson Welles
    Andy Kaufman

    Orson Welles and Andy Kaufman were arguably the two greatest pranksters in American history. Welles infamously sparked an intense bout of public hysteria when his 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds conned thousands of radio listeners into believing that a Martian invasion of Earth was actually occurring.  Welles’ final finished feature film, 1974’s documentary F for Fake, about the notorious art forger Elmyr De Hory is a dazzling, intellectuality challenging masterpiece that can never quite decide if it’s a fake documentary about a painter of fake masterpieces who himself was the subject of a true biography written by a fake biographer (Clifford Irving)… or what it is.

    Meanwhile, Kaufman’s legendary ability to take a premise beyond its breaking point was so developed that to this day many people still believe that he faked his own death 32 years ago.

    The two men not only met, but Welles interviewed Kaufman when he served as a replacement host on The Merv Griffin Show. Despite his notably curmudgeonly behavior in his advanced years, Welles genuinely gushed about Kaufman’s remarkable acting talents. The date of the show was June 25, 1982. Observing the proceedings was Barney Miller actor Ron Glass, who passed away earlier this week.

    I was happy to learn that Welles appreciated the comedic heights achieved by Taxi, which he calls one of the few things on TV that is not a “criminal felony,” but it’s even more interesting to notice the man behind the Mercury Theatre, possibly the greatest theatrical ensemble ever put together, observe that Taxi, despite its marvelous cast, often fell short of its potential as an ensemble show because the plots were seldom confined to the taxi depot (which would have the effect of forcing multi-character interactions).

    Welles acutely observes that “Nobody ever came from nowhere as completely as” Kaufman’s character Latka Gravas did. Kaufman comes out wearing a neck brace but never makes anything of it—this was no doubt a product of his wrestling escapades with countless female opponents.

    Roll tape, after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Fantastic vintage Japanese movie posters
    10:51 am


    Japanese film posters

    ‘A Hard’s Day Night’ (1964).
    A friend collects Japanese movie posters. He’s rich enough to afford it. The walls of his house are almost covered with these bright, garish, beautiful film posters. Last time, I visited him I asked why he never exhibited them or at least scanned them digitally to share on the Internet. He said he thought of them as art—and as art they had to be viewed in person and not through a screen. I thought he was just being a pretentious twat—but there you go.

    Fair to say, it was an impressive collection—a mix of Japanese features and American/British imports. But his collection went no further than the late-seventies to early-eighties. I wondered why? This, he explained, was because the best Japanese movie posters originated during the Shōwa period—the time of Emperor Hirohito’s reign 1926-1989—when the printing process meant the posters were by artists creating collages from cut-up photographs. These were airbrushed and colorized to glorious effect. There was an art and craft to making these posters—which remained roughly the same from the twenties to the seventies—which the digital era no longer employs.

    Inspired by my dear friend’s collection, I’ve collated together a mix of images which exemplify some of the best in Japanese poster design—and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want one of these hanging on their walls?
    ‘Batman’ (1966).
    ‘Bedazzled’ (1967).
    More fantastic Japanese movie posters, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, Beefheart, The Residents, Sun Ra & more as ‘South Park’ characters
    10:10 am


    Brian Eno
    Sun Ra
    South Park

    The Residents
    If you like your music adventurous, you’ll probably get a huge kick out of Noise Park, a Tumblr that features South Park versions of many avant-garde, experimental, and generally out-there musicians. Whoever is making these charmingly made the decision to follow his or her own esoteric musical tastes, which is a nice way of saying that a good many of the subjects are a bit obscure (Blevin Blectum, Moth Cock, Rotten Milk, etc.), which has the effect of turning it all into an inside inside joke of sorts.

    But a lot of the subjects are quite well-known, covering the more cerebral end of the musical spectrum (Kraftwerk, Beefheart, Residents). I spent a fair amount of time trying to come up with a plausibly minimalist South Park episode plot involving Terry Riley, but I failed. Then I switched to Throbbing Gristle and my brain exploded.

    Some of the images on the blog are actually reworkings of The Wire magazine covers, which is a good indication of where the tastes run.

    Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

    Brian Eno
    Lots more after the jump…...

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Class Warfare: Radical French philosopher Guy Debord’s Situationist board game

    Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho playing Kriegspiel in 1977. Photo by Jeanne Cornet via Cabinet
    After he disbanded the Situationist International in 1972, one of the obsessions that consumed Guy Debord was a board game he invented. Kriegspiel, or Le Jeu de la Guerre—German and French, respectively, for “war game”—was based on Debord’s reading of the military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. The London-based group Class Wargames describes Kriegspiel’s purpose concisely:

    For Debord, The Game of War wasn’t just a game - it was a guide to how people should live their lives within Fordist society. By playing, revolutionary activists could learn how to fight and win against the oppressors of spectacular society.

    So convinced was Debord of the game’s utility and revolutionary potential that, in 1977, he founded Les Jeux Stratégiques et Historiques (Strategic and Historic Games) to produce a limited run of Kriegspiel sets. Ten years later, Debord and his wife Alice Becker-Ho published a book about Kriegspiel, Le Jeu de la Guerre. Debord opens the sixth chapter of his memoir Panegyric with these reflections on his game:

    I have been very interested in war, in the theoreticians of its strategy, but also in reminiscences of battles and in the countless other disruptions history mentions, surface eddies on the river of time. I am not unaware that war is the domain of danger and disappointment, perhaps even more so than the other sides of life. This consideration has not, however, diminished the attraction that I have felt for it.

    And so I have studied the logic of war. Moreover, I succeeded, a long time ago, in presenting the basics of its movements on a rather simple board game: the forces in contention and the contradictory necessities imposed on the operations of each of the two parties. I have played this game and, in the often difficult conduct of my life, I have utilized lessons from it – I have also set myself rules of the game for this life, and I have followed them. The surprises of this Kriegspiel seem inexhaustible; and I fear that this may well be the only one of my works that anyone will dare acknowledge as having some value. On the question of whether I have made good use of such lessons, I will leave it to others to decide.

    The Atlas Press English-language edition of Becker-Ho and Debord’s book, A Game of War, comes with a board and punch-out pieces, but Board Game Geek warns that this edition “has a faulty translation of the rules, making it more or less unplayable.” The Radical Software Group’s web version of the game has been down for some time. So if, like me, you enjoy using things without paying for them, the best bet seems to be Class Wargames’ printable boards, pieces, and battle maps. Their website also has the free book Class Wargames: Ludic subversion against spectacular capitalism, plus information about such radical board games as Imperialism in Space, which promises to give players “a critical understanding of the political and theoretical arguments of Vladimir Lenin’s famous 1916 pamphlet Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.”

    After the jump, an explanation of Kriegspiel’s rules….

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
    Why not have a ‘Doctor Who’ Weeping Angel-themed Christmas tree this year?
    09:24 am


    Doctor Who
    Weeping Angel

    Weeping Angel tree topper can be found here.

    If you haven’t guessed by now, the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who are by far my most favorite predatory creatures from the sci-fi TV series. They’re nastier than the Daleks! I’ve blogged about them a lot here on Dangerous Minds. They’re truly terrifying (don’t blink around ‘em). What I didn’t know though, is that you can actually dress your Christmas tree from head to toe in Weeping Angel gear! If you want a considerable less joyeaux noel tree this year, why not go all the way and make it a terrifying one?

    I did a little Internet digging and was able to construct an entire tree festooned of Weeping Angels. It’s easy! I’ve added the links of where to buy underneath each image.

    Weeping Angel string Christmas tree lights can be found here.


    Weeping Angel ornament can be found here.
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Meet ‘The Fred Banana Combo’ Germany’s first new wave punks
    08:56 am


    new wave
    The Fred Banana Combo

    While the name of Düsseldorf band The Fred Banana Combo might sound more like something you’d come across in a bargain bin at your local record shop, don’t let their amusing moniker fool you as it appears the somewhat obscure band was responsible for releasing what has often been classified as “the very first independent punk/new wave single” to come out in Germany in 1978. The single contained two hot tracks, “No Destination Blues” and the in-your-face “Jerk off All Night Long.”

    The band were one of many that played legendary Düsseldorf punk club the Ratinger Hof in the 80s, which also served as a rehearsal place for the band. The Ratinger Hof was a mecca for up and coming punk bands, many who gained a foothold thanks to the The Hof’s fertile breeding ground. Discovered by Krautrock king Conny Plank (who would produce the band’s first four records) Fred Banana’s sound, much like Plank’s, is rather unique. Purely punk at times FBC enjoyed infusing their sound up with new wave and power pop with most of their jams punching out in less than three minutes. The band’s first full-length album, 1981’s FBC was fast, loud and rowdy and when combined all eighteen tracks on the record clock in at just over 30 minutes. Like a lot of bands trying to cut their teeth FBC was fond of doing covers and have recorded a few great ones including Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” and “Runaway” by Del Shannon. Both songs feature the fantastic vocals of FBC’s Nicolle Meyer—formerly the muse of influential French photographer and Man Ray protégé Guy Bourdin. The multi-talented Ms. Meyer also doubled as the timekeeper for FBC.

    FBC were no more by the late 80s only to return with their original lineup in 2015 and a new record containing eleven fresh songs. One of them, the devastatingly cool “Splinters”  features the guest vocals of Sara Jay of Massive Attack fame. The Best of The Old Shit and The New Shit also contains twenty tracks from the band’s back catalog as well as a DVD featuring FBC appearances on Rockpalast. I’ve included two FBC live performances from 1980, their excellent cover of “Bird on a Wire,” plus the original song “I Don’t Know,” as well as “No Destination Blues” and “Splinters” for you to listen to below. I would have posted the masterfully weird “Jerk Off All Night Long” but it came along with lots of photos of topless ladies which while they pair perfectly with the songs title, was a little too visually stimulating to post here on a family publication like DM. You can “listen” to it here whenever you’re needing some alone time.

    Much more after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Black Flag: Scorching multi-camera pro-shot concert, live in San Francisco, 1984
    03:29 pm


    Black Flag

    Here’s an outstanding specimen of Black Flag as a galvanizing live act. This was one of Black Flag’s strongest lineups, Greg/Henry/Kira and Descendents stalwart Bill Stevenson on the drums.

    This was recorded on August 26, 1984, at the Stone in San Francisco for the explicit purpose of making an official SST live album and video. The album came out—its title was Live ‘84—but the VHS release never happened. The Jettisoundz VHS release known simply as Black Flag is not the same show, that set was recorded in Bradford in the UK a few months earlier.

    Black Flag start the show with an 8-minute-plus version of “The Process Of Weeding Out” that (even though it sounds good) had me in the mind of making a Spinal Tap “jazz odyssey” joke, but wouldn’t you know, the next three songs are “Nervous Breakdown,” “I Can’t Decide,” and “Slip It In” and the unmistakable Black Flag fury is fully present and accounted for. Kira is in excellent form during this entire set.

    The Process Of Weeding Out
    Nervous Breakdown
    I Can’t Decide
    Slip It in
    My Ghetto
    Black Coffee
    I Won’t Stick Any of You Unless and Until I Can Stick All of You!
    Forever Time
    Six Pack
    My War
    Jealous Again
    I Love You
    Swinging Man
    Three Nights
    Nothing Left Inside
    Fix Me
    Wound up
    Rats Eyes
    The Bars



    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Primo Levi returns to Auschwitz
    02:24 pm


    Primo Levi

    In 1982, the writer Primo Levi returned to Auschwitz concentration camp. It was forty years since he had been imprisoned there. His journey was filmed for a documentary for Italian television.

    Levi had been captured as a resistance fighter in Italy. At first, he was sent to an Italian concentration camp at Fossoli. When this was taken over by the Nazis, Levi was transported by cattle truck to Monowitz—one of the three main camps at Auschwitz—on February 21st, 1944.

    Levi had thought they were being transported to Austerlitz. No one had ever heard of Auschwitz. Six-hundred -and-fifty Italian Jews were transported. Forty-five people crammed into each sealed train carriage for five days without food or water.

    I remember that our breath would freeze on the car bolts and we would compete in scraping off the frost, full of rust as it was, to have a few drops with which to wet our lips.

    Levi was imprisoned in Auschwitz for eleven months until the camp was liberated by the Russian army in January 1945. Of the 650 Italian Jews transported to the camp only twenty survived.

    In his book Survival in Auschwitz (aka If This Be A Man), Levi wrote of the way he and other prisoners attempted to “adapt”—the man who hummed Mozart; the slave laborer who juggled stones; the prisoner who said he had got the better of Hitler just by being alive.

    But adapting was never easy. Even the most trivial of things made it difficult to survive. Shoes, for example. Mismatched pairs would be thrown at the prisoner—one with a heel, one without, one too small, one too big—which made walking impossible. These shoes caused infections—sores that never healed. The prisoners with swollen or infected feet were sent to the infirmary. But as “swollen feet” was not a recognized disease—these men and women were sent to the gas chamber.

    In total 1.1 million humans were killed at Auschwitz—90% were Jewish.

    One in six of all Jewish people killed during the Holocaust (Shoah) died at Auschwitz.

    The ones who adapted to everything are the ones who survived. But the majority did not adapt and died.

    Watch Primo Levi’s return to Auschwitz, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Poor Donald Trump hates pics of his double chin, so the Internet decided to help
    10:18 am


    Donald Trump
    double chins

    We have not yet reached full-on buyer’s remorse on the election of Donald Trump to be our nation’s president, but we’re getting there at a rapid pace. Not everybody regrets voting for Trump, to be sure, but he’s the first president to have an approval rating south of 50% after the election since we’ve been measuring that kind of thing, and I think we all know that Trump doesn’t have the kind of personality that’s going to thrive under the peculiar pressures that the presidency affords.

    Which doesn’t mean that he’s been unable to use the same Trump distortion vortex that has served him so spectacularly well for the last year and a half, because it hasn’t failed him yet. Yet.

    Still, there have been no shortage of episodes demonstrating Trump’s manifest unfitness for office. His meeting with the news media before Thanksgiving surely was one of the more striking examples of this. The network reporters in attendance expected the meeting to be about “the access they would get to the Trump administration,” but they underestimated the shallow form of vanity that constitutes the primary personality trait of one Donald J. Trump.

    As the New Yorker reported, “Trump whined about everything from NBC News reporter Katy Tur’s coverage of him to a photograph the news network has used that shows him with a double chin. Why didn’t they use ‘nicer’ pictures?” Even worse, a participant at the meeting observed that our president-elect “truly doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment. He doesn’t. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that’s it.”

    Awwwww. Poor little Trump doesn’t get that a free and unfettered media is permitted to write what they please about him. The citizenry at large. of course, is also armed with similar freedoms…

    When Trump threw down the gauntlet on angrily demanding that media and media consumers alike conspire to pretend that he does not have an unsightly double chin, the Internet responded. Boy, did it respond, with hastily slapped together Photoshopped montages that (when taken in all at once) somehow reveal something about the true nature of our future president. Everything from Jabba the Hutt (so. many. Jabba. the. Hutt. references.) to Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote became fair game for the legions of self-appointed “First Amendment People.” Here are some of the best results:



    Tons more after the jump…....

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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