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Rude, nude and lewd: Lurid 1970s Sexploitation posters
05.20.2015
07:29 am

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Movies
Sex

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When I was a kid growing up in Edinburgh during the 1970s, I became aware of a cinema called the Jacey on the city’s main thoroughfare Princes Street. It was difficult not to be aware of the Jacey—with its brightly lit foyer, white-painted exterior and beautiful French-styled windows—it looked like some kind of respectable brothel or a dodgy gentleman’s club—which wasn’t too far away from the truth, as the Jacey was an adult cinema showing imported Scandinavian porn and American sexploitation movies.

Outside, directly visible to all passing trade, were small framed windows where customers could view the promotional photographs, lobby cards and posters for the forthcoming attractions. Like many inquisitive schoolboys, I stopped here on the way home from school (for purely educational purposes, of course…) to view the photos of scantily clad men and women in black & white or garish colors frolicking as nature intended. This display became like a kind of barometer for me as it reflected the “atmospheric” changes in public taste for adult entertainment. At first, there was the innocent healthy lifestyle documentaries on nudist camps with fit youngsters playing games, stretching muscles and touching their toes. Then the more specialized films from Sweden with young blondes quieting their existential angst with spontaneous sexual adventures with strangers. Then American movies that mixed bad sex with bad acting and bad dialog. On occasion, there were screenings of arthouse films by Pasolini (Canterbury Tales) and Fellini (Satyricon)—perhaps the titles had suggested more than these films delivered? The Jacey closed around May 1973, its last double-bill was I Am Sexy and Do You Want To Remain a Virgin Forever?

As this “golden age” of seventies blue movies waned there arrived the awful British sex comedies that regularly starred Anthony Booth (father-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair) and a host of respected character actors (including Beryl Reid, Roy Kinnear and Richard Briers), and even employed the writing skills of Monty Python’s John Cleese and Graham Chapman.

The audiences seemed to change too—from old men to liberated and progressive young couples to teenage boys their first flush of lust. This was a time when virginity was still considered “sacred” and sex before marriage was generally discouraged—which made having a porn cinema on Edinburgh’s most famous and busiest street an odd comment on what was deemed acceptable. Edinburgh was then a very genteel city, and “sex” for most of its middle class citizens was what the coal was delivered in.

Then again, apart form their saucy taglines, most of these films rarely had anything as explicit than can be found on the pages of Tumblr today. This collection of 1970’s sexploitation posters covers all the bases—from nasty stag films, to smut movies starring Batman‘s Adam West, to the saucy comic Brit flicks.
 
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More after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Awesome, totally awesome: They put Jeff Spicoli’s shoes on Jeff Spicoli’s shoes
05.20.2015
05:47 am

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Fashion
Movies

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Man, when I was a kid EVERYONE wanted a pair of checkerboard Vans just like Jeff Spicoli wore in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. At that moment in time, that was the epitome of cool.

But you know what’s a million times cooler than Jeff Spicoli’s pair of checkerboard Vans?

Jeff Spicoli’s checkerboard Vans on a pair of Vans!
 

“People on ‘ludes should not design shoes.”
 
The super-talented Alexis Winslow designed this pair for a charity art show. Her piece, “The Creation of Spicoli,” is a not-so-subtle homage to Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,”  featuring Spicoli as Adam and, of course, Mr. Hand as God.
 

 
This pair is hand-painted and hand-embroidered.
 

 
The backs of the shoes feature the infamous Fast Times at Ridgemont High quotes, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice,” and “Learn it, Know it, Live it.”
 

“What are you people? On DOPE?”

The artist’s website is here.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Judy Garland speaks YOU SONS OF BITCHES!
05.19.2015
01:50 pm

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Music

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‘‘I’ve sung, I’ve entertained, I’ve pleased your children, I’ve pleased your wives, I’ve pleased you—YOU SONS OF BITCHES!’’

The 2 CD quasi-bootleg set, Judy Garland Speaks!, has to be one of the single most demented things that a major celebrity has ever left behind for the world to discover several decades after their death. Even people who would normally never care about something Judy Garland-related marvel at the incredible pathos and dark insanity of these tapes, which come off like Garland performing in a one-woman show written by Samuel Beckett.

YES, they are that good.

Recorded between 1963 and 1967 when the great performer was down on her luck financially for the purpose of helping Garland write her autobiography, the tapes are a part of the Judy Garland archive at Columbia University. It wasn’t until Gerald Clarke made use of the recordings in his excellent—and ironically titled—book Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland in 2000, that they escaped to the outside world.

The tapes start off slow, with Garland, alone, obviously drunk and having a hard time figuring out how to use the reel to reel tape recorder that literary agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar had given her for the task. We hear her confused, turning the machine off and on and addressing it as an “obvious Nazi machine.” Soon, though, she’s drunkenly ranting and raving about her ex-husband Sid Luft (who stuck Garland with his gambling debts), how the entertainment industry has ripped her off, speaking to her frustration at the public’s perception of her problems with drugs and alcohol and generally laying her tormented soul bare in a way that can alternately produce titters of nervous laughter or sorrowful tears in the listener.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Ape’: Fake newspaper promotes ‘Planet of the Apes,’ 1968
05.19.2015
12:36 pm

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Media
Movies

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Comedian Dana Gould, who might actually be the world’s most fervent Planet of the Apes fan, often says that the appeal of the first movie lay in the fact that it featured “Moses dressed like Tarzan running from King Kong dressed like Fonzie.”

In the run-up to the final episode of Mad Men, AMC generated these self-congratulatory videos in which prominent people gush about how awesome the show is. Gould took advantage of his segment, linked at the bottom of this post, to point out that Mad Men had included the historically accurate touch of Don Draper reading a copy of The Ape in “The Flood,” an episode from Season 6 in which Don takes his son Bobby to see the sci-fi classic (a new movie in the narrative, of course).
 

Don Draper enjoys The Ape in Season 6 of Mad Men
 
Yes, it does appear that 20th Century Fox went the extra mile and had fake newspapers called The Ape and Future News printed up. Given the headline on the Future News one, it’s likely that that one was intended to promote Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, which came out in 1972. The idea of a newspaper called Future News (and billing itself as “The Future’s Picture Newspaper”) is pretty hilarious in itself. You know how we all live in the future from the perspective of our ancestors, so we do that all the time too, right? The date on that one is “Monday, May 22, 1992,” which is consistent with the plot of Conquest, which starts out in 1991, but that day was actually a Friday, and most memorable to some people as the final night of Johnny Carson’s tenure as host of The Tonight Show.

Solving the tangled chronology of the Planet of the Apes—even just the first five movies—would take the combined brainpower of MIT, and something similar goes for trying to suss out the details of these promotional newspapers, about which there isn’t very much information online.
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dennis Hopper, drunk and stoned with six sticks of dynamite—what could possibly go wrong?
05.19.2015
10:12 am

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Drugs
Movies

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In 1983 Dennis Hopper went to Rice University in Houston, Texas ostensibly to screen his latest film Out Of The Blue. But little known to anyone, other than Hopper and a handful of his buddies, he had another agenda entirely. While he did indeed screen his movie, Hopper had actually come to Houston to blow himself up.

After screening Out Of The Blue, Hopper arranged to have the audience driven by a fleet of school buses to a racetrack on the outskirts of Houston, the Big H Speedway. Hopper and the buses arrived at the speedway just as the races were ending and a voice was announcing over the public address system “stick around folks and watch a famous Hollywood film personality perform the Russian Dynamite Death Chair Act. That’s right, folks, he’ll sit in a chair with six sticks of dynamite and light the fuse.”

Was famous Hollywood personality Dennis Hopper about to go out with a bang?

Hopper apparently learned this stunt when he was a kid after seeing it performed in a traveling roadshow. If you place the dynamite pointing outwards the explosion creates a vacuum in the middle and the person performing the stunt is, if all goes according to plan, unharmed.

After bullshitting for awhile with the crowd and his friends, a drunk and stoned Hopper climbed into the “death chair’ and lit the dynamite.

A Rice News correspondent described the scene:

Dennis Hopper, at one with the shock wave, was thrown headlong in a halo of fire. For a single, timeless instant he looked like Wile E. Coyote, frazzled and splayed by his own petard. Then billowing smoke hid the scene. We all rushed forward, past the police, into the expanding cloud of smoke, excited, apprehensive, and no less expectant than we had been before the explosion. Were we looking for Hopper or pieces we could take home as souvenirs? Later Hopper would say blowing himself up was one of the craziest things he has ever done, and that it was weeks before he could hear again. At the moment, though, none of that mattered. He had been through the thunder, the light, and the heat, and he was still in one piece. And when Dennis Hopper staggered out of that cloud of smoke his eyes were glazed with the thrill of victory and spinout.

In this video footage shot by filmmaker Brian Huberman, we see Hopper in all his intoxicated glory before and after his death defying stunt.

Huberman on the clip:

The large guy making the sign of the cross is the writer Terry Southern and the jerk threatening to blow up my camera is the German filmmaker, Wim Wenders.

Three years later Hopper went on to an equally explosive performance playing one of the most diabolical bad guys in the history of cinema: Blue Velvet‘s Frank Booth.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Incandescent Innocent: Dean and Britta score Andy Warhol’s screen tests
05.19.2015
09:17 am

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Art
Movies
Music

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At the peak of his fame and influence, from 1964 to 1966, Andy Warhol created somewhere around 500 (the number 472 popped up in my research, as seen below) so-called “screen tests.” Every screen test was a single close-up take of an individual in front of the camera lasting a little shy of three minutes—the idea was that Warhol would run them at two-thirds speed, which resulted in movies about four minutes long each. The short movies that resulted had a consistency of aesthetic feel and featured a wide variety of people, who can be roughly classified into three groups: Factory mainstays, famous people, and un-famous people. Warhol said that he did screen tests for anyone who possessed “star potential.”

As Geralyn Huxley, curator of film and video at the Andy Warhol Museum, wryly points out, “none of them appear to have been used for the purpose of actually testing or auditioning prospective actors.” Some notable people who consented to undergo the Warhol screen test treatment are John Ashbery, Marcel Duchamp, Cass Elliott, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Yoko Ono, Salvador Dalí, Donovan, and Susan Sontag.
 

 
In 2008 the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh approached Dean and Britta to “create soundtracks” for 13 of the screen tests and perform them on stage. As members of Luna, a band that had toured with the Velvet Underground in 1993, Dean and Britta (who are doing kind of a version of Lou and Nico anyway, eh?) were a highly apropos choice for the project. In 2010 it became an album called 13 Most Beautiful… Songs For Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests (there is also a DVD).

The track titles on the album are very redolent of the Factory as well as the general VU scene: “Silver Factory Theme,” “Teenage Lightning (And Lonely Highways),” “Incandescent Innocent,” and “Knives From Bavaria.” In addition to much original Luna-esque music of the gorgeous and dreamy variety, the album featured covers of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It With Mine” and VU’s “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore.”
 

 
In 2012 LuxeCrush asked Dean and Britta about the project:
 

LuxeCrush: How did this “13 Most Beautiful…” project, pairing your music with Andy Warhol stills, come about? I love the interdisciplinary film/music idea!

Wareham: We were approached by Ben Harrison at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh; he described the hundreds of films that the Museum had access to (Warhol made 472 Screen Tests) and asked could we pick thirteen of them and create soundtracks to perform live on stage.

LuxeCrush: What is your favorite Warhol art work, moment or saying? And did either of you ever get to meet Andy?

Wareham: Neither of us ever met Andy. But I love watching him answering interview questions. Where most artists are trained to give long-winded theoretical explanations of why they paint a particular way, he would just say “because it’s easy.” Warhol never ceases to amaze me. We are used to seeing the same famous images again and again (Marilyn, Coke Bottles, soup cans, etc.), but there is so much more, from his early drawings for department stores to his late paintings, paintings for children, TV shows, films. He had a way of turning things upside down.

 
Lots of lovely and stirring videos of Dean & Britta scoring the screen tests after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Slits, Clash, Sex Pistols, Siouxsie, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag in ‘Punk Attitude’
05.18.2015
01:32 pm

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Movies
Music
Punk

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Okay it’s been nearly 40 years since I heard The Ramones debut album for the first time and that means I’m fucking old. But I ain’t dead. In fact, I’m feeling pretty damned good. And part of the reason I feel so damned good is I’ve been on a steady diet of rock and roll since I was a itty bitty boy. Rock and roll has been the one constant in my life that has given me something that others might call a religion. From the moment I first heard “Alley Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles when I was nine years old (sitting in a tree with a radio in my lap), I was hooked.

I’ve always been a seeker, looking for meaning in life, searching for answers to the essential questions of what are we doing here and where are we going? I’ve read everything from Jung to Chogyam Trungpa to Kerouac and Crowley in my yearning for clarity and spiritual fulfillment. Aside from a few reveries and insights fueled by psychotropics or the momentary flash of cosmic consciousness you get in those special moments when something suddenly opens up your brain - maybe it’s the way a shard of prismatic light bounces off your rear view mirror or a fleet of perfectly white clouds rolling above New Mexico - my “religious” experiences have been seldom and unpredictable. But one thing, other than fucking, that consistently pulls me into the moment where bliss and contentment co-mingle is listening to rock and roll music. It’s the closest thing I have to an artistic calling or spiritual practice and when the music hits me in the right place at the right time it can be divine. And it seems that loud, fast, and hook-filled works best. The music doesn’t need to be about anything spiritual, lofty or significant. It just needs to grab me by the balls and heart, rattle my cage, and move me.
 

 
There was a barren period in my rock and roll life in the early ‘70s. Not much I wanted to listen to. I mostly bought blues and jazz albums and later reggae. Then in 1976 I heard The Damned’s “New Rose” and shortly after that I got my hands on The Ramones’ self-titled first album. These were momentous events in my life that drove me back into arms of rock and roll. Talking Heads, Blondie, Mink DeVille, Pere Ubu, Patti Smith, The Clash and Television were the second wave of musical salvation to land on my turntable that changed my life.  Punk, or whatever you want to call it, defibrillated my rock and roll heart and inspired me to start my own band. And I wasn’t alone.

In this fine documentary directed by Don Letts (who knows a thing or two about punk rock) a bunch of aging punkers talk about the roots of the punk scene and their love of the music they make. There’s not much new here but it’s good to see Steve Jones, Pete Shelley, Howard Devoto, Siouxsie Sioux, Captain Sensible, Mick Jones Jones,David Johansen, Jello Biafra, Wayne Kramer, Thurston Moore, Legs McNeil and Tommy Ramone, among many others, wax poetic about the music explosion that was detonated in the mid-70s. It’s amazing how many survived. And deeply saddening that since this film was made in 2005 we’re down to zero original Ramones.

“Punk is not mohawks and safety pins. It’s an attitude and a spirit, with a lineage and tradition.” Don Letts.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
PSA announcement from Mad Max’s Toecutter: ‘Turn off your cell phone and shut your face!’
05.14.2015
02:33 pm

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Movies

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Toecutter

Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse is known for their quirky public service announcements instructing people to not talk or use cell phones during movie screenings. Here’s a new one that I think stands out. George Miller who directed the Mad Max films, including the masterful Mad Max Fury Road, and actor Hugh Keays-Byrne (the Toecutter from the first Mad Max and Immortan Joe in the new one) make it quite clear that they’ll be no talking or texting during the screening of their film.


Immortan Joe

Turn off your cellphone and shut your face, or you might look into the night sky and see the swift hand of vengeance descending upon you. And you wouldn’t like that, would you?

Do yourself a fucking favor and pretend to care.”

Do yourself a fucking favor and go see Mad Max: Fury Road. It opens tonight and it will absolutely blow your mind!
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video’: The man who made comedy dangerous
05.14.2015
01:31 pm

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Movies
Television

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“A six-inch steel spike..”

Michael O’Donoghue, AKA Mr. Mike, the demented head writer and performer from the “original cast” era of Saturday Night Live (back when it was simply known as Saturday Night) was the man who made comedy dangerous. His writing was feral, sharp, blasphemous, morbid, sardonic and taboo-breaking. It was O’Donoghue seated in a chair reading a newspaper who viewers first saw in the very first cold-opening of that long-running show. He was often seen on SNL doing imitations of famous showbiz personalities (nice-guy talk show host Mike Douglas, singer Tony Orlando) after they’d had six-inch metal spikes shoved into their eyes, and telling his creepy “Least Loved Bedtime Tales” (Sample title: “The Little Train That Died”).

Before SNL, O’Donoghue had a celebrated tenure at National Lampoon, where he co-wrote (with Tony Hendra) the classic Radio Dinner comedy album and published things like “The Vietnamese Baby Book” and “The Churchill Wit,” a portion from which is quoted below:

Churchill was known to drain a glass or two and, after one particularly convivial evening, he chanced to encounter Miss Bessie Braddock, a Socialist member of the House of Commons, who, upon seeing his condition, said, “Winston, you’re drunk.” Mustering all his dignity, Churchill drew himself up to his full height, cocked an eyebrow and rejoined, “Shove it up your ass, you ugly cunt.”

When the noted playwright George Bernard Shaw sent him two tickets to the opening night of his new play with a note that read: “Bring a friend, if you have one,” Churchill, not to be outdone, promptly wired back: “You and your play can go fuck yourselves.”

At an elegant dinner party, Lady Astor once leaned across the table to remark, “If you were my husband, Winston, I’d poison your coffee.”

“And if you were my wife, I’d beat the shit out of you,” came Churchill’s unhesitating retort.

You get the idea. I recall falling out of my chair laughing, when I first read this. In my defense, I was probably ten or eleven years old.
 

Mr. Mike and “friend”

In 1979 O’Donoghue directed Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video (the title, logo and theme music—even the overall loose format—was meant to conjure up Prosperi and Jacopetti’s notorious Mondo Cane documentary). It was originally made for NBC to air as a “special” during one of Saturday Night‘s hiatuses, but when the network brass actually saw it they blanched and shelved it. Eventually it was licensed by New Line Cinema, who transferred it to 35mm film and added some “Mr. Bill” segments to pad out the running time for theatrical release of “the TV show you can’t see on TV!”

Admittedly, after hearing about this legendary film and wanting to see it for years, I saw Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video when it was released on VHS in the 80s and aside from a few very good laughs, I was generally pretty disappointed. Comedy often ages poorly, but in actual fact, I don’t really think Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video was all that funny to begin with. It’s interesting because of what it is and who is involved (Tom Schiller, O’Donoghue’s writing partner Mitch Glazer, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Bill Murray, Don “Father Guido Sarducci” Novello, Gilda Radner, Carrie Fisher, Root Boy Slim, Margot Kidder, Teri Garr, Paul Shaffer, Debbie Harry). It’s an odd curio with some odd stuff in it (Dan Aykroyd probing his (actual) webbed toes with a screwdriver and declaring “I am proud to say that I am an actual genetic mutant”; an appearance by Klaus Nomi; Sid Vicious performing “My Way”; Jo Jo the Human Hot Plate, etc.) but it’s just not… that funny for the most part.

Nevertheless, take a gander at certainly one of the strangest things ever produced with the intention/assumption that a TV network would air it and try to imagine what NBC’s execs were thinking when they watched this for the first time.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Dr. Strangelove’ recreated using everyday household objects
05.14.2015
09:24 am

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Art
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Artist Kristan Horton knows Dr. Strangelove well. I mean really well, much, much better than you do: he’s watched it hundreds of times, the natural outcome of a situation that arose when a VHS cassette of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece was the only content he could play on his TV set over a period lasting more than two years.

Horton, who is from Canada, says that this created a relationship to the movie he had to respond to, somewhat like when “Star Wars fans ... log hundreds of viewings and go on to make Storm Trooper outfits for themselves in their living rooms.”

Several years ago Horton decided to make an art project by re-creating hundreds of stills from the movie using ordinary objects you might find in your home. The project is called Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove and was shown at Jessica Bradley Art + Projects and Vancouver’s Contemporary Art Gallery.

Horton had wanted to re-create the movie via animation, but eventually realized that the stills from Dr. Strangelove had a special power and allowed for sober comparison of the original and the imitation:
 

The project began with an intention to animate [by creating] an animated film. But it was the still that attracted me. The comparison was the exciting part. We can take as much time as we like in making the comparison. Time is on our side, not whizzing by at 24 frames per second.

 
The project has roughly 200 images, of which we show a small sample here. You can buy the book of Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove and study all of the images at your leisure.

(Click on each image to see a larger view—these are gorgeous, and you’re going to want a closer look.)
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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