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The air hostess with the mostest: Awesome images of vintage stewardess uniforms
03.30.2015
03:59 pm

Topics:
Fashion
History

Tags:
Airline uniforms


 
I’ve always dug old school airline flight attendant uniforms. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia of being a kid and totally excited about going to the airport and hopping on a plane. When you asked for a can of Coke, you got it. An entire can.

These days I dread the experience of going to the airport as much as I dread tax season. I hate it. It’s miserable for me, filled with lots anxiety and zero patience. Flying used to be glamourous! Now a flight is like getting on a bus… an air bus. Soon they’ll have you standing in the aisles, mark my words!

I like to look at these old photos and remember a time when traveling wasn’t an experience from hell. Oh, and when flight attendants looked as cool as shit.
 

 

Early 1970s Braniff International Airways photo
 

Southwest Airlines, 1970s
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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A handy guide to sex in the Middle Ages: The original ‘Just Say No’ campaign
03.27.2015
10:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
History
Sex

Tags:
Medieval
Penitentials

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Forget the romance about damsels in distress and knights in shining armor—having sex in Medieval times was definitely a no-no. Well, according to ye olde religious edicts that is.

For example: if it was Sunday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday then it was a sin to have sex. If it was daylight or you were naked—you weren’t allowed to have sex either. If the wife was menstruating, pregnant or nursing a child—yep, sex was definitely out. As it was during Lent, Advent, Whitsun week, Easter, feast days and fast days. In fact, having sex was only allowed according to the penitentials if you wanted a child and then you could only do it so long as there was no fondling, no lewd kisses, no oral, no strange positions, and even then you could only do it once and you had better not enjoy it.
 
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‘I’m not enjoying this, darling.’ ‘Me neither.’
 
As you can imagine, back in these feudal times finding a place to make out was difficult—accommodation was cramped, often cold and damp and lacked privacy. Out in the fields, or in a hay loft was more suitable, as was inside a church, which as Ruth Mazo Karras notes was:

...safe, dry, and deserted for much of the day, might have been the equivalent of the back seat of a car.

 
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Because of religious belief abstinence had to be observed during the 46 to 62 days of Lent, the four weeks of Advent, and the 40 to 60 days around the Feast of the Pentecost. To help people people find suitable times to have intercourse Penitentials—“books which gave the rules of sex and the penance for breaking them”—were devised by the church. The Anglo-Saxon Canons of Theodor included the following punishments for deviation from the proscribed sex acts:

Whoever fornicates with an effeminate male or with another man or with an animal must fast for 10 years. Elsewhere it says that whoever fornicates with an animal must fast 15 years and sodomites must fast for 7 years….

There was similar rules for pleasuring oneself:

If he defiles himself, he is to abstain from meat for four days. He who desires to fornicate (with) himself and is not able to do so, he must fast for 40 days or 20 days. If he is a boy and does it often, either he is to fast 20 days or one is to whip him….

Women were also threatened with dreadful punishments should they give into the temptation of pleasuring themselves with a homemade, edible or mechanical instrument:

Have you done what certain women are accustomed to do, that is to make some sort of device or implement in the shape of the male member of a size to match your sinful desire? If you have done this, you shall do penance for five years on legitimate holy days.

But there was worse….

Whoever ejaculates seed into the mouth, that is the worst evil. From someone it was judged that they repent this up to the end of their lives.

 
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‘Arms above the bedsheets, please.’
 
It wasn’t just the church who were quick to denounce people doing what comes naturally. Royals, nobles and landowners used their power to influence young lovers. King Phillip of France was known as “Phillip the Fair”—I think we’ll have to think of him fair of skin rather than fair or just. When he discovered some of his favorite knights were having “relations” with his three daughters, he had these men arrested and disemboweled. His daughters were sent off to a nunnery for their sins.

Interestingly, prostitution thrived in Medieval times and was generally ignored by the Church, or at worst considered a necessary evil, as scholar and saint, Thomas Aquinas thought:

If prostitution were to be suppressed, careless lusts would overthrow society.

Most towns had a brothel. Prostitutes were recognizable by their dress—a veil and a garment with a bold yellow stripe. Regular customers probably came from the wealthier classes.

This handy little diagram explains the ins and outs (ahem) of what was or was not acceptable—and explains why if you were young, horny and fancied some slap and tickle then you were well and truly screwed.
 
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Via The Medievalists and Oddee.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Inside the Warsaw Ghetto: Summer 1941

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Since 1596 Warsaw has been the capital of Poland. In Polish Warsaw (“Warszawa”) literally means “belonging to Warsz”—a 12th-13th-century nobleman who owned land in the Mariensztat district. Warsaw was home to Europe’s largest Jewish population—around 337,000 in 1939, and 445,000 by 1941.

When Germany invaded Poland in August 1939, the Nazis quickly surrounded the capital city and launched a deadly blitzkreig that claimed many lives and destroyed buildings. The Germans were now in control of the country and in November 1939, an edict issued by Hans Frank, the Governor General, decreed all Jewish men, women and children over the age of ten had to wear a Star of David armband to identify themselves. All Jewish shops had to be similarly marked with a Star of David, and severe restrictions were placed on the Jewish population. Further laws limited the amount of money Jews were able to withdraw, with strict rules on buying produce, letting and owning property and travel.

In March 1940, groups of Polish gangs launched a series of violent attacks on the Jewish population—stealing money, gold, food, clothes and anything they could find of any value. These attacks lasted for eight days until the Germans intervened.

In February 1940, the Germans proposed plans to create a Jewish quarter or ghetto, where all Jews would be contained. On the Day of Atonement, October 1940, a decree was issued establishing a Jewish ghetto. All Jews had to relocate to this ghetto, which meant 30% of the population of Warsaw was packed into only 2.4% of the city’s area—some 400,00 people living in 1.3 square miles, an average of 7.2 people per room.

By mid-November, a wall surrounding the ghetto was built. The wall was over eleven feet high with broken glass and barbed wire on top and was constructed by the German company Schmidt & Munstermann, who were responsible for building the Treblinka concentration. The wall was paid for by the same Jewish community it was built to imprison. Access to and from the ghetto was limited to mainly food and supplies. The Jewish population inside the ghetto were allocated daily rations of 181 calories. The Germans intended to starve the imprisoned population. During 1941 Jewish deaths rose from 898 in January, to 5,560 in August. The average monthly mortality rates for the seventeen months from January 1941 to May 1942 was 3882. But death was not quick enough for the Germans, and in May 1942, 254,000 Jewish ghetto inhabitants were transported to Treblinka for extermination.

Willy Georg was an old German soldier who made money taking photographs of young German soldiers. During the summer of 1941, Georg was given permission to enter the Jewish ghetto and take photographs of the inhabitants. Georg shot four rolls of film, but as he was shooting a fifth roll, a German military policeman stopped him and confiscated his camera, he was then escorted out of the area. However, the policeman had not searched Georg and he was therefore able to sneak out the four rolls of shot film. He developed these films and carefully stored them along with the prints for the next fifty years until the late 1980s when he met Rafael Scharf, a researcher of Polish-Jewish studies, to whom he gave his pictures. These photographs were then published in the book Warsaw Ghetto: Summer 1941 in 1993.
 
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More of Willy Georg’s powerful photographs of the Jewish ghetto, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Window-Shopping through the Iron Curtain’: Stark images of scarcity under communism
03.25.2015
02:49 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
communism


Moscow, 1990, Lipstick
 
One of the things people tend to overlook when skimming (or pretending to have read) Marx is his appreciation for the pleasures that industrial capitalism has bestowed upon us. The factory, for all its horrors visited upon the working class, also brought with it the mass production of food, valuable time-saving devices and more affordable basic comforts. Capitalism’s “invisible hand” made things quicker, and cheaper. The goal of communism was never to reverse that progress, but to socialize the means of production so that workers actually benefited from the wealth they produced.

Experiments in state communism tended to fail spectacularly on that front. Communist countries often dealt with shortages—some of them quite dire—due to blockades, mismanagement of resources, the limitations of their own geography, a poverty of resources and often simply the inability to industrialize fast enough (you’re not going to turn a rural region of Kazakhs into Detroit overnight). Photographer David Hlynsky’s fascinating new book Window-Shopping through the Iron Curtain is a stark look at life under communism from the POV afforded by the often threadbare, low rent storefronts of Poland, the USSR, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany. A far cry from the window-shopping most of us in the West are familiar with, the (usually) spare window displays don’t exactly inspire a consumerist frenzy—not that most citizens could indulge in a ton of casual consumption anyway. Some of the windows were actually so bare of goods that the businesses apparently attempted to distract the eye with cheerful, often quite dynamic decor, but the effort is a bit transparent, and it does little to alleviate the austere effect.
 

Moscow, 1990, Uniforms
 

Crakow, Poland, 1989, Vase with small shoes
 

Moscow, 1990. Poultry and eggs
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Vietnamese Buddhists decide ‘crazy’ Allen Ginsberg must be a government spy
03.24.2015
10:17 am

Topics:
Belief
History
Literature

Tags:
Allen Ginsberg
Vietnam


 
A dedicated student of meditation throughout most of his adulthood, Allen Ginsberg fell into Buddhism fairly early on in life, well before the mysticism craze of the 1960s, to be fair. He was even instrumental in bringing Buddhist thinkers and writers into the mainstream—hardly a shallow New Age dilettante. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have super goobery white dude moments early on in his quest for spiritual education.

In this fantastic little 1963 item from The New York Times (cheekily titled “Buddhists Find a Beatnik ‘Spy’”), Ginsberg finds himself in the midst of a government/religious conflict that he clearly hadn’t anticipated.

SAIGON, Vietnam, June 5 - The Buddhists, who are in conflict with the South Vietnam Government, asserted today that they believed the Americans has sent a “spy to look at us.”

A Buddhist spokesman told this to newsmen. The newsmen, incredulous, asked if the spokesman would be good enough to describe the “spy.”

“Well, he was tall and had a very long beard and his hair was very long in back and curly,” the Buddhist said. “He said he was a poet and a little crazy and that he liked Buddhists. We didn’t know what else he was so we decided he was a spy.”

At this point his listeners burst out laughing and said the “spy” was the American poet Allen Ginsberg, a well-known beatnik. Mr. Ginsberg was here briefly for several days on his way to British Columbia after a long stay in India.

The Buddhist controversy with Government involves their resentment over Government curbs on their activities, including a ban on raising the Buddhist flag.

 
Via New York Times

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’ revealed


Detail from inside gatefold of Electric Ladyland record sleeve

Lithofayne Pridgon has led a truly extraordinary life. She was the lover and muse of some of the greatest musical icons of our time – Jimi Hendrix, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, “Fever” singer Little Willie John and Eddie Hazel, visionary guitarist of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic family tree; she was the best friend of Etta James, hung out with James Brown and Ike Turner and lived with Sly Stone in Bel Air at the height of his There’s a Riot Going On drugs-and-guns craziness. She was also signed on the spot to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun for an album that was recorded with Shuggie Otis, but never released. But it’s Hendrix with whom she is inextricably tied, becoming his lover in 1963 in his pre-fame Harlem years through till his death in 1970.

Dangerous Minds pal Chris Campion met Lithofayne Pridgon for a very rare interview and argues in the Guardian that, she was the inspiration for not only “Foxy Lady,” but a number of other of songs on Are You Experienced:

The profound influence she had on his life has been so sorely overlooked, it’s likely his love for Lithofayne inspired other songs, too. Certainly, a number of cuts on his debut album, Are You Experienced, seem to have been written with her in mind: the love he clearly felt was written in the stars, destined to last for eternity, of which he sings in “Love or Confusion”; the desperate plea for his devotion to be recognised in “Can You See Me” in which he wails, “Can you hear me cryin’ all over town?” (“If he couldn’t find me,” Lithofayne recalls, “everybody in Harlem knew he was looking for me.” She would visit her usual haunts and people would tell her, “Girl, Jimi, was by here, you better go.”) “And ‘Fire’, in which he determinedly edges every rival suitor for the subject of his affections out of the way.

 

Lithofayne and Jimi experience the food at Wells Chicken and Waffles in Harlem with Albert and Arthur Allen

The piece includes not only the revelation that she first met Hendrix at an orgy:

That day, she had gone out to run an errand for her mother and, on her way back home with the change, had stopped by one of Fat Jack’s apartments. She asked one of his men who was inside.“This little musician cat,” he told her. “I said, ‘Is he a virgin?’ He said, ‘No, but you’ll like him. He’s your type.’ He just knew what I liked.

“I liked skinny, raw-boned, over-fucked, underfed-looking guys,” she laughs. Hendrix, she says, was “my type.”

... but also that she may in fact be the great granddaughter of Henry Ford:

She was raised, for the most part, in a more well-to-do section of the city called Crosstown, by her paternal grandmother, said to be the illegitimate child of Henry Ford who kept a winter home in Georgia, several counties north. “Old man Henry Ford is supposed to have been my great granddaddy,” Lithofayne says. Although the Ford lineage was never definitely proven, her grandmother had a sizeable portfolio of land in Moultrie for reasons that couldn’t be explained — she earned money by taking in washing at a dollar a load.

 

With James Brown
 
Lithofayne Pridgon is said to be writing a memoir of her life in Harlem during the fifties and sixties. You can see her starting just before the one-minute mark in the trailer for the 1973 Jimi Hendrix documentary (look out for a pre-glam early 70s Lou Reed):
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Crime Wave: Vintage photos of when Chicago was a gangster’s paradise

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Stick ‘em up!: A cop with a gun.

Watching too many Jimmy Cagney movies as child made me think being a gangster might be a possible occupation. It was easy to imagine myself in charge of some numbers racket, or selling moonshine, riding the running board while blasting the competition with a machine-gun. Even the names sounded exotic: Al Capone, Bugs Moran, John Dillinger, Tony Accardo. Then I turned six—discovered soccer and the fancy footwork skills of players like Jimmy “Jinky” Johnstone and Harry Hood who made me think playing for Celtic would be better.

Gangsters and Grifters is a book of photographs compiled from the extensive crime archive of the Chicago Tribune. The book contains a collection of rarely seen photos of infamous gangsters, murderers, thieves, pickpockets, bandits, molls as well as the cops who brought them to justice from 1900-1950. These vintage glass-plate and acetate negatives captured many legendary moments in criminal history—from which this small selection has been culled.
 
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Al Capone making an appearance in court, date unknown. Capone had a seven year reign of terror on the streets of Chicago during the 1920s. He was believed to have been responsible for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. He was eventually busted for tax evasion and sentenced to gaol. He suffered from tertiary syphilis and died of cardiac arrest in 1947.
 
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Cops examine guns suspected of being used in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, when six mobsters where shot dead—you’d have thought the cops might have been grateful. One of the shooters was thought to be mob enforcer Tony Accardo.
 
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Prohibition helped the rise of gangsters like Al Capone, who ran hooch and illegal drinking dens. Here cops inspect some of the alcohol Capone and his associates were running.
 
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Capone on another visit to court.
 
 
More vintage crime shots, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Beautiful hand-colored portraits of Native Americans 1898-1900

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Brushing Against, Little Squint Eyes, San Carlos Apaches, 1898.
 
In 1898, Frank Rinehart was commissioned to photograph Native Americans attending the Trans-Mississippi Exposition and Indian Congress in Omaha, Nebraska. Together with his assistant, Adolph Muhr, Rinehart produced a series of portraits that has been described as “one of the best photographic documentations of Indian leaders at the turn of the century.” Many of these graceful and dignified portraits were taken by Muhr, of whom former photographic curator at the University of Kansas’ Spencer Art Museum, Tom Southall said:

The dramatic beauty of these portraits is especially impressive as a departure from earlier, less sensitive photographs of Native Americans. Instead of being detached, ethnographic records, the Rinehart photographs are portraits of individuals with an emphasis on strength of expression. While Muhr was not the first photographer to portray Indian subjects with such dignity, this large body of work which was widely seen and distributed may have had an important influence in changing subsequent portrayals of Native Americans.

Frank Rinehart started his career as a photographer with his brother Alfred in Denver, Colorado in the 1870s. Together they formed a partnership with explorer and photographer William Henry Jackson—famed for his photos of life in the American West and for creating the image of “Uncle Sam.” It was under Jackson’s tutelage that Rinehart developed his craft.

Today the Frank A. Rinehart Photograph Collection consists of 809 glass plate negatives that depict many of the Native Americans who attended the Trans-Mississippi Exposition and Indian Congress, as well as those whom Rinehart photographed at his studio in Omaha between 1899-1900.

More from the Rinehart Collection can be viewed here.
 
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Calls Her Name, Sioux, circa 1989-1900.
 
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Ahahe & Child, Wichita, 1898.
 
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Black Horse, Arapahoe, 1900.
 
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Portraits of inmates from a ‘Lunatic Asylum,’ 1869

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In 1796, Quaker businessman and philanthropist William Tuke opened the Retreat in York, England, for the care of the mentally ill. Prior to this, those with mental health or behavioral issues were treated worse than the most heinous criminal—they were usually locked-up in bedlams, imprisoned in cells or chained to walls in workhouses. As a Quaker Tuke believed in the sanctity of life and of behaving kindly and morally to all humanity. This led him to build a hospital for the care of those suffering from mental health problems. At first, the Retreat was only open to fellow Quakers, but it soon opened its doors to all.

The Retreat changed the way mental health was treated in England, and in 1818 the first of four hospitals, the Stanley Royd Hospital in Wakefield, was built under the aegis of the West Riding General Asylums Committee. A further three hospitals were built between 1872 and 1904—the South Yorkshire Asylum built in Sheffield, the High Royds Hospital in Menston and the Storthes Hall built in Kirkburton—which became villages for patients and all four hospital together formed the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum.

Inspired by the Retreat, the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum pioneered the care and treatment of the mentally ill during the Victorian and Edwardian era. Gone were days of brutality and fear. Patients were cared for as best as was then able and according to the available medical advice. It may seem strange and harsh to us today—especially the use of confinement cells to hold some violent, paranoid and delusional patients—but in relative terms, our treatment of the mentally ill will no doubt be seen as harsh by future generations.

These hospitals were open to all who needed treatment, and by the late 1800s, the demand for support from the impoverished and mentally ill outstripped the number of places available, leading to more hospitals built. By the turn of the 1900s, with the rise of psychiatry and the “tendency to herding and regimentation” asylums “lost much of their early high ideal of individual concern and care.” Standards basically fell, as the patients greatly outnumbered staff, leading to inadequate care, which didn’t change until later in the 20th century and the beginning of the National Health Service.

This selection of portraits show patients of varying ages from the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1869. Some of the pictures detail the patient’s illness—“organic dementia,” “general paralysis of the insane,” “imbecility,” “simple mania,” “consecutive dementia,” “mono-mania of pride,” “mania of suspicion,” “chronic mania,” “mono-mania of pride,” “acute melancholia” and “senile dementia”—but each photograph tells its own sad tale.
 
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More inmate portraits, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Renaissance portrait or rapper?
03.17.2015
07:00 am

Topics:
Animals
Art
Hip-hop
History
Music

Tags:
Renaissance
Rappers


 
NYC advertising creative director Cecilia Azcarate has an apparent fondness for the art of the Renaissance and a gift for connecting it to the present-day. Her Tumblr Ikea B4-XIV cleverly identifies centuries-old analogues to Swedish housewares in Renaissance paintings, and she curates a Twitter feed that’s heavy with the art of that era as well. But she’s hit on a rich vein of astonishing material with her Tumblr B4-XVI, wherein she highlights “an invisible conversation between hip hop and art before the 16th century.” The connections Azcarate identifies between painted portraits from the Renaissance and photographic portraits of 21st Century rappers are, at times, frankly amazing.
 

“The Adoration of the Magi” by Hugo van der Goes VS Wiz Khalifa
 

“Portrait of Henry the Pious, Duke of Saxony” by Lucas Cranach VS Takeoff of Migos
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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