I found these photos taken by Mervyn O’Gorman of his daughter Christina O’Gorman to be absolutely breathtaking. The images look modern. They look now. It’s hard to believe these were shot back in 1913.
The photographs were taken at Lulworth Cove, in the English county of Dorset. And as you can tell by the images, Christina’s color of choice was red. The autochrome process used during that time period captured red particularly well. It’s vivid. It’s vibrant. She looks like an ethereal goddess.
Here’s a brief description of autochrome:
Autochrome is an additive color “mosaic screen plate” process. The medium consists of a glass plate coated on one side with a random mosaic of microscopic grains of potato starch dyed red-orange, green, and blue-violet (an unusual but functional variant of the standard red, green, and blue additive colors) which act as color filters. Lampblack fills the spaces between grains, and a black-and-white panchromatic silver halide emulsion is coated on top of the filter layer.
Mervyn was an electrical engineer and wrote the book O’Gorman’s Motoring Pocket Book in 1904. Photography was just a hobby for him. Mervyn died in 1958. Sadly, I can find no information about Christina’s life.
These fantastic introduction cards were used in the United States during the 1870s and 1880s. According to Alan Mays, who collects them, they were “used by the less formal male in approaches to the less formal female.” We think of nineteenth-century courtship as being impossibly straight-laced and buttoned-down, and certainly a printed card inquiring for permission to accompany a young miss to her door is consistent with that, but the eager men found plenty of ways to work clever jokes and insinuations into their calling cards.
My favorite one is from the fella who claims to live on “Hugtite Lane” in “Squeezemburg.”
Alice Barker: Making me wish I could get out of this bed, and do it all over again.
I don’t care if this is plastered all over the Internet today, it deserves to be here on Dangerous Minds, too. Alice Barker, a 102-year-old chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance sees herself on film for the very first time. It’s a touching and beautiful thing to witness.
She danced at clubs such as The Apollo, Cotton Club, and Zanzibar Club, with legends including Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.
Although she danced in numerous movies, commercials and TV shows, she had never seen any of them, and all of her photographs and memorabilia have been lost over the years.
If you want to send Alice any fan mail, the mailing address for her is below. She deserves the adoration.
c/o Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Nursing Home
835 Herkimer Street
The capricious career of experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs has produced a lot of inscrutable cinema. His best known movie is Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son from 1969 and it’s the sort of avant-garde project that is probably best experienced on drugs. Jacobs re-cut and altered part of a 1905 silent film, at points actually filming projections of the film so the viewer is watching a movie of a movie. It’s all very meta I suppose, but it goes on for 115 minutes, and the novelty wears down to crushing boredom after the first ten. His 1986 project, Perfect Film, was a far less avant-garde—and far more watchable and entertaining—use of found footage.
Of course, this is probably because Jacobs’ source material was way more interesting. Perfect Film consists of footage and interviews from the day of Malcolm X’s assassination, including an off-the-clock journalist who actually witnessed the shooting, a local Harlem man, a besuited police investigator and clips of Malcolm himself just prior to his death. It’s really an unnarrated documentary composed entirely of unedited raw footage, and it’s compelling as a historical artifact (rather than art), just as Jacobs intended. He explained his decision not to edit thusly:
I wish more stuff was available in its raw state, as primary source material for anyone to consider, and to leave for others in just that way, the evidence uncontaminated by compulsive proprietary misapplied artistry, “editing”, the purposeful “pointing things out” that cuts a road straight and narrow through the cine-jungle; we barrel through thinking we’re going somewhere and miss it all. Better to just be pointed to the territory, to put in time exploring, roughing it, on our own. For the straight scoop we need the whole scoop, or no less than the clues entire and without rearrangement. O, for a Museum of Found Footage, or cable channel, library, a shit-museum of telling discards accessible to all talented viewers/auditors. A wilderness haven salvaged from Entertainment.
Perfect Film was actually released in 1986, well before the modern Internet and its tendency to catalog a de facto media archive. At 81 years of age, Jacobs is still kicking—perhaps pleased to witness this dream take shape.
This week, Drag City is releasing a rad book of American punk rock ephemera entitled, White Glove Test: Louisville Punk Flyers, 1978-1994. This 288-page hardback is jam-packed with what David Grubbs (Squirrel Bait, Bastro, Gastr del Sol) calls “teenage folk art.” The book documents a bygone era—pre-Photoshop and before the rise of the Web—when flyers were hand-assembled and often the only means bands had to promote their shows.
“Ephemera—the most beautiful kind of refuse. Created in a moment without thought of legacy, but standing as a pure record of time, place, and without any Rashomon spin or Zapruder eye. When we were stenciling, chopping, and recombining days before a show, I barely had a thought about anyone not standing on Bardstown Road or near Iroquois Park ever giving these broadsheets another glance. There was a need to leave a breadcrumb trail for the freaks. The newspaper of record saw us as a fringe element not worthy of bulletins. It was the only way to broadcast—to cast broadly. Now they have gained an emotional sheen. The punk rock mayfly (genus Ephemera) is gone, but any of these posters is a microchip bursting with memories.” (Tara Key, a member of a number of Louisville outfits, including No Fun, now considered the scene’s first punk band)
There are over 700 flyers in White Glove Test; here are some of our favorites:
Ryie Yoshizawa, center, teaching a class on dressmaking
The relocation and internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War 2 is one of the more baffling atrocities committed by the U.S. government. Not only was it relatively recent, two thirds of the detainees were U.S. citizens, and this was all done on U.S. soil. In addition to the sheer Big Brother terror of such a massive abuse of human rights, internment wasn’t even dealt out consistently. The government did not, for example, feel the same impulse to throw actual American Nazis into a camp—maybe because they already had camps of their own? Or maybe it’s because Germans are generally white, and governments are historically more sympathetic to the populations that most physically resemble their ruling class? (Nahhhh…)
At any rate, some beautiful and strange records of detainment exist, including Ansel Adams’ beatific photographs of Manzanar War Relocation Center in California. Adams openly sympathized with the Japanese, including many of the photos in his ironically titled book, Born Free and Equal.The book had limited circulation, likely due to reactionary, racist wartime sentiment, but Adams held fast on his principles, saying:
The purpose of my work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, and loss of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and dispair [sic] by building for themselves a vital community in an arid (but magnificent) environment.
You’ll notice Manzanar had a lot of resources—the volunteers who helped build the camp were actually the first interned. At its most populous, it had 10,046 inhabitants, and it was a bustling, organized community—of sorts. Although Adams’ work focuses on how people at Manzanar seemed to thrive, the conditions were awful. Families were cramped into tiny “apartments” divided from larger buildings—the partitions between “rooms” didn’t reach the ceiling, so privacy was unthinkable. The latrine was coed, with no partitions between toilets or shower stalls. The rickety buildings did very little to protect detainees from scorching summers, freezing nights and winters, and the dry, violent winds that coated them in desert dust while they slept.
Painter C.T. Hibino.
Many of the detained were actually decorated members of the military, like Corporal Jimmy Shohara.
They’re naked and they dance—is a fair description of Get ‘Em Off a documentary that celebrates 100 years of striptease. How or why it’s 100 years of striptease is never quite fully explained, though there are references in the commentary to ancient Egyptian strippers, Parisian can-can dancers, the night they raided Minsky’s and some risque music hall acts form the early 1900s.
Made in 1976, the summer of the great heatwave that swept across Britain bringing drought, hosepipe bans and melting roads, Get ‘Em Off captures the slowly fading sleazy world of London’s strip clubs. Filmed mainly at Soho’s Nell Gwynne Club, the documentary strikes an awkward balance between laddish banter and documenting the performances by the strippers: Miss Anne, Miss Alby, Miss Chastity, Miss Cher, Miss Carmen, Miss Anna, Miss Linda, Miss Coursetta. we see these girls perform their routines in front of tinsel, drapes, under Kenneth Anger-style lighting.
“Strippers,” we are told, “have their own language.”
There’s a movement called ‘The Coffee Grinder’. You write the letter O with your axel, know what I mean?, whilst in the bump the hips spring forward, sometimes called bump and grind. There’s the ‘The Trailer’ which is the strut before the strip, that’s what we’ve been looking at up to now; we’ve seen three examples of it; then there’s the quiver and the shimmer and the we’re going to see the lot.
Many of these strip clubs became the venues for punks and New Romantics, starting a whole new world of club culture during the 1980s and early 1990s.
The commentary is performed by actor Kenneth Macleod and presenter Hugh Scully, best known for his work with the BBC on Nationwide and the Antiques Road Show. The inclusion of these two rather straight, respectable individuals (a bit like having the Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf in attendance) gives the film a nod of establishment approval. The pair continue:
They don’t believe in giving it to them all at once or too quickly; Strippers have motto’s like:
‘Make ‘em wait and
‘Don’t be too eager’
‘Make them go dry at the mouth’
‘Freeze to marble in their seats’
‘Give them a create of blink in case they miss something’
‘Make them beg with their eyes and howl like wolves under a full moon’
After all, they have come here to have a good time. The tease is the thing; Men in a hurry shouldn’t go to strip clubs. For every customer who loses his cool and shouts ‘Get It Off!’ the stripper is ready with the answer “Can’t You See Anything Yet?’
What they do see is refreshingly absent of silicon, Botox, and vajazzle.
The full NSFW documentary ‘Get ‘Em Off,’ after the jump…
In September 1940, the German Luftwaffe unleashed a strategic bombing campaign that targeted all of the major cities across the UK. Over 30,000 tons of high explosives were dropped on sixteen cities during a relentless over 267-day campaign, or “Blitzkrieg” (German for “lightening war”), that claimed over 40,000 civilian lives—half them in London alone—wounded over 100,000 and destroyed more than a million homes. It was an event that changed the nature of the war, and brought repercussions for Germany.
My mother was a child during the Second World War, living with her parents and sister in a tenement in the north-west of Glasgow. She can still clearly recall the regular sound of the siren warning of another German bombing raid. People decamped to the bomb shelters situated in the back gardens, where my mother listened to the whistle and blast of the bombs, land mines and other incendiaries raining down from the planes above.
In March 1941, she was briefly evacuated to a cottage in Milport on the isle of Great Cumbrae, off the west coast of Scotland. During this time, the Luftwaffe carried out two bombing raids on Clydebank—that have been described as “the most cataclysmic event” in war-time Scotland. My mother recalled how the German planes seemed to fly so low she felt she could touch them, while the flames from the raid lit up the sky like it was day.
Clydebank, near Glasgow, after the ‘blitz’ of March 1941.
Devastation in the south of London—a bus lies in the rubble of a bomb crater.
Central Coventry after a bombing raid November 1940.
Sleeping in the shelter of London’s Underground station at Elephant and Castle, November 1940.
More photos plus link to the interactive Blitz site, after the jump…
Jesse Malin exemplifies an increasingly rare breed—a songwriter with an almost umbilical connection to a New York City that barely exists anymore outside of fading photos and fading memories. It’s fair, I think, to consider him part of a lineage stretching from Lou Reed through Jim Carroll, Richard Hell, Alan Vega, et al. From his time as a really young kid in the pioneering NYHC band Heart Attack, through his ‘90s alterna-fame with glam punks D Generation (a band that also included my DM colleague Howie Pyro), to his 21st Century solo work, Malin has grown into a worthy Bard of the Boroughs. His new album, New York Before the War, may actually be the apotheosis of his career so far. (I have no doubt that some DGen fans would disagree.)
Since DGen, Malin has shed some Lower East Side punk classicism for a broader approach; there are traces of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen all over the new album. But it’s an eclectic batch of songs, and still for the greater part identifiably punk-inspired, and still absolutely classicist. Malin told DM that the title New York Before the War itself refers to things that New York, and society at large, have lost.
It’s no particular war, it’s surviving and fighting against all the fucking corporate bastards, all the changes on the planet, with New York being one of the central pieces of the world. It’s that the world is such a disposable, apathetic, digitized place and we’re burning through it so fast. I’m into holding on to things that are important, and finding them, and making them, and celebrating them.
In that spirit of touching back to the worthy past for inspiration, we thought it would be fun to look at Malin’s very early roots, as a member of Heart Attack. That band formed in 1980, when its members ranged in age from 12 to 16. Even at that age, the band managed to tour, and they released a 7” and two E.P.s, which were collected on the inevitable discography CD The Last War 1980-84. Malin was kind enough to share his old stash of fliers with us, and when we prodded him for personal reminiscences of the shows, he was supremely obliging.
That’s the first time anybody took my picture. That’s me and two other members of Heart Attack. Javier, on drums, from Mexico City. I met him through an ad in the Village Voice, he was a very original drummer. In the middle is John Frawley, he was from Flushing, Queens, and had been in the band The Mob, who were our friends and rivals at the time. He played bass. And that’s me on the right, I was 14 years old, and that was around the time the “God is Dead” 7” came out on the Damaged Goods fanzine label. And we were on East 12th Street, with a bunch of Puerto Rican guys in the back, and that was shot for Sounds, the UK weekly newspaper. Tim Sommer was doing a piece on the early, early New York hardcore scene, and I think we put out the first 7” from that scene, which became kind of a collectable, but it got bootlegged a few times. And that’s not our car, it just looked like that down there.
171A was the studio where Bad Brains recorded the ROIR cassette. They had a record store in the basement called “Rat Cage.” Jerry Williams, rest his soul, wonderful guy, recorded all our bands there, let us rehearse there, had illegal gigs, the Bad Brains LIVED there, Black Flag rehearsed there, it was one of the first places to support hardcore. The first Beastie Boys record Polly Wog Stew was recorded there as well, with the famous “Egg Raid on Mojo.” That was a benefit, three nights at a theater, and believe it or not, with that bill, it was kinda empty! But a great show.
The later years of Heart Attack, we got a bit noisy, and somehow attracted fans in those bands, so we played with Sonic Youth, we played with Swans. Swans were the loudest thing I’d ever seen at the time, louder than Motörhead, and they were very good to us. We did a few shows, mostly in New York, and that one was at the SIN Club, which means “Safety In Numbers.” That night there were gunshots going off across the street, and we were the very few white kids at 3rd St and Avenue C. The SIN Club took chances and put on great shows, and that was the cool diversity, being able to have Heart Attack and Swans, mix those two worlds. I guess the common thread would be anger, angst, intensity.
Surely you’ve seen A Band Called Death by now, right? If not, you seriously need to get on that. Though it seems to have expired from Netflix streaming (booooo), it’s still available to subscribers on Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime (and it’s only like $3 for non-Prime Amazon streaming). If you’ve missed this story somehow, the film relates the saga of the Hackneys, three young African-American brothers in Detroit, MI, in the early ‘70s, whose family band eerily predicted the back-to-basics hard rock ethos and sound of punk by a couple of years, and yet they remained entirely unknown to the world until the discovery of their excellent self-released 7” made them a 21st Century cause célèbre among record collectors.
The rediscovery of Death brought forth some marvelous fruits—Death’s lost LP For the Whole World to See was released to justifiable acclaim in 2009, and the band’s vaults were emptied with the releases of the collections Spiritual Mental Physical and III, and an album of new material by the reconstituted and re-energized band (minus guitarist/visionary David Hackney, who died of lung cancer in 2000), titled N.E.W., is due later this month. And the discovery had generation-spanning effects, in that the three sons of Death’s bassist/singer Bobby Hackney have, rather symmetrically, formed a family band called Rough Francis.
As the documentary reveals, younger Hackneys Julian, Urian, and Bobby Jr. had NO IDEA their dad and uncles had ever been in a hard rock band, only finding out after Chunklet blogged MP3s of the lost single. They retrieved the Death master tapes from their father’s attic and formed their own band to play those songs, copping their name from the pseudonym used by their late uncle David on his last recording. It’s tempting to indulge in cynicism and presume the band to be coattail-riders, but Rough Francis became an original band in its own right, purveying a tight, headstrong and effective post-hardcore sound that harnesses an energy all the band’s own. They released an E.P. in 2010, and the album Maximum Soul Power last year. Next week, their new single, “MSP2/Blind Pigs” will be released on Riot House, and it’s Dangerous Minds’ extreme pleasure to debut “Blind Pigs” for you today… right after the jump.