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Just a week after Pirate Bay raid, Tribler makes shutting down BitTorrent impossible


 
When police in Sweden carried out a raid on a server farm in Stockholm on December 9th, seizing servers, computers and other equipment and simultaneously knocking The Pirate Bay and several other prominent torrent trackers (including EZTV, Istole, Zoink and Torrage) offline, it was assumed that they’d struck a crippling blow to the BitTorrent ecosystem.

But before Hollywood and the music industry could celebrate comes the news that a team of Dutch researchers at Delft University of Technology have figured out how to make BitTorrent completely anonymous and remove the necessity of central servers, producing a new client—called “Tribler”—that will keep things alive, even after all torrent search engines, indexes and trackers have been pulled offline.

Tribler’s lead researcher Dr. Johan Pouwelse told Torrent Freak: “Tribler makes BitTorrent anonymous and impossible to shut down.”

“Recent events show that governments do not hesitate to block Twitter, raid websites, confiscate servers and steal domain names. The Tribler team has been working for 10 years to prepare for the age of server-less solutions and aggressive suppressors.”

After last week’s Pirate Bay raid Tribler saw a 30% increase in downloads. The tax-supported team at Delft are confident that their encrypted torrent client can make the Internet safer for downloaders:

“The Internet is turning into a privacy nightmare. There are very few initiatives that use strong encryption and onion routing to offer real privacy. Even fewer teams have the resources, the energy, technical skills and scientific know-how to take on the Big and Powerful for a few years,” Pouwelse says.

You can download Tribler here. There are versions for Windows, Mac and Linux and Tribler is completely Open Source.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The women of ‘Twin Peaks’ re-imagined as Sailor Jerry style pin-ups
12.18.2014
06:49 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:


 
San Francisco based illustrator Emma Munger is a recent MICA grad who’s working in a comix shop while producing fun portfolios inspired by the famed tattoo artist Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins. Though she’s done pin-ups and flash pages of characters from Orange is the New Black, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Parks and Recreation, and Thelma and Louise, her largest collection is the women of Twin Peaks. You may never look at the Log Lady the same way again, and before you even ask, yes, Agent Bryson is indeed one of the ladies. Prints of Munger’s work are available from søciety6.
 

Laura Palmer
 

Nadine Hurley
 

Audrey Horne
 

Denise Bryson
 
Log Lady and much more (some slightly NSFWish) after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Riot Squad toys: Train your tots to quash rebellion for their capitalist overlords


“Police Force Role Play Set for kids with Combat Vest, Riot Shield, Badge, Handcuffs, Machine Gun Toy, Grenade, Club & Knife”
 
I’m not actually particularly against “war toys.” Kids have violent little imaginations, and I don’t think there’s any causal correlation between acting them out and actual shootings—lots of kids have toy swords, but it’s not like we’re dealing with a rash of impalements. That being said, there is something about riot squad dress-up sets and riot squad vehicle LEGO sets that’s particularly gross, probably because it’s a much more literal representation of a visible violent institution. I mean, when kids play soldier, there’s the antagonist of a foreign “enemy” that keeps it a distant fantasy. Even when kids play “policeman,” it’s a kind of generic take on justice, like being a “sheriff,” but come on, a riot squad? What are they supposed to be doing, playing Ferguson?

I would expect this from a dress-up kit (costume companies are run by insane people, for insane people), but I feel so sad about LEGO stooping to this level! Look at those little minifig pigs! You have to wonder who among the children who will receive these toys will grow up to be dissidents, and who among them will join the other side, right? This is probably about as insidious as war toys are, of course, but can’t we at least agree there’s something creepy about tiny little running dogs of capitalism with itty-bitty riot shields?

EDIT: The “LEGO”-looking toys are not LEGO-brand, but a counterfeit block set, much to our relief. Apologies to readers for the misunderstanding, and apologies to LEGO for besmirching their noble name.
 

Riot Police Car, 325 piece set
 

Minifigs from above LEGO set

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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The marvelous cover art of the early ‘Star Trek’ comic books


 
Poor Gold Key Comics. Despite their stewardship of tons of familiar titles, they always ranked a tier (or three) below the A-list. While Marvel and DC had all the high-octane superhero star power, Gold Key largely got by on licensing properties from other media. They did comic book tie-ins with Hanna-Barbera, Warner Brothers, and Disney cartoons, and brought TV shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Twilight Zone, H.R. Pufnstuf (!!!), Dark Shadows and Star Trek to the comics racks. Amusingly, some of their tie-in comics outlived by years the original TV series’ upon which they were based, but the company’s fortunes waned throughout the 1970s, and after they lost the lucrative Trek license to Marvel in 1979—just months before that franchise’s cinema revival—their days were numbered. Gold Key was done for by the mid 1980s.

But though they were never the heaviest hitters, Gold Key weren’t wanting for talent. A young Frank Miller’s first pro gig was illustrating a story in The Twilight Zone, and ‘60s-‘80s sitcom deity Garry Marshall wrote scripts for some of their titles. And they had cover painter George Wilson. It’s is beyond frustrating how difficult biographical data on Wilson is to come by. Despite being as prolific as he was accomplished, he has no Wikipedia entry, and searches for his work are complicated by the existence of a pulp novel cover illustrator by the same extremely common name. But his obscurity—and I get that he was basically a jobber, but still—does nothing to diminish his gifts, and it’s just all kindsa wrong that as yet there’s been no big, lavish, coffee-table book collecting his work. He produced incredible numbers of vivid, exciting, superbly designed, impeccably rendered, ridiculously fun cover paintings for Gold Key’s sci-fi, adventure, and horror titles, including many for Star Trek. A lot of the covers that weren’t by Wilson were thrown-together photo illustrations. We suspect you’ll agree that these are far preferable.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Double-O-Heaven: Behind the scenes of 25 James Bond films

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When it all began: ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, Sean Connery, Ian Fleming and Harry Saltzman discuss filming ‘Dr. No,’ 1962.
 
Noël Coward told his friend Ian Fleming to get on and “write his bloody book,” as he had been talking about it for too bloody long. Fleming had a good idea of what he wanted to write and why he wanted to do it, but he did not get round to writing his first James Bond novel Casino Royale until 1952. His reasons for writing were complex—he wanted to prove he could do it as his brother was a highly acclaimed travel writer, while his future wife and their close friends were part of a glittering and dreadfully snobbish literary set; and Fleming liked the money being a successful writer might bring, though he did claim he wrote for pleasure and only published for money.

Fleming later rather disingenuously described his books as “the pillow fantasies of an adolescent mind,” which belied the truth that his fictions were well written, stylish and contained the structure most thriller writers would imitate over the succeeding decades. He was an assiduous worker writing 2,000 words a day—a hard discipline he had learned from his time as a journalist, which had also taught him the importance of economy in descriptive writing:

“If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky to write five hundred words a day.”

When Casino Royale was first published in 1953, it was rightly praised by readers and critics alike, with the poet John Betjeman astutely pointing out that Fleming had “discovered the secret of narrative art.” The following year saw the publication of Live and Let Die, then Moonraker in 1955 and Diamonds Are Forever in 1956. After the overwhelming critical success of his first Bond novel, the literati were quick to turn on Fleming and damn his books as pornographic, unhealthy and obsessed with sadomasochism. However, he did have his supporters, key among which were Raymond Chandler, who considered Fleming as a “most forceful and driving” thriller writer, while Noël Coward correctly stated that Fleming’s books would outlive the literary critics and their weighty tomes.

Fleming was never of robust health, and after being mauled by the snobbish reviewers, he decided to put his all into his next book, 1957’s From Russia With Love, setting Bond up with a fateful and near fatal confrontation with SMERSH Colonel Rosa Klebb and her hired assassin the psychopathic serial killer Red Grant. It was a winning roll of the dice especially once President John F. Kennedy said From Russia With Love was one of his favorite novels, which quickly established Fleming as major writer on both sides of the Atlantic.

With greater success in America, Fleming’s books were soon the source of much consideration from Hollywood—but this proved to be false bonhomie and an excess of hot air. Eventually, film producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli formed a company with a former circus performer and intelligence agent, Harry Saltzman, who had bought the rights to all of Fleming’s books (except Casino Royale) called EON—“Everything or Nothing.” The pair decided to film Dr. No and began considering potential actors for the role of Bond. Fleming wanted the likes of Cary Grant or David Niven, but Broccoli and Saltzman held out for a little known Scottish actor called Sean Connery. At first, Fleming was none too happy, but after being told by a close female friend that Connery had “it” he decided to agree on having the former milkman, body builder and coffin polisher star as James Bond.

The success of the Bond films was far greater than either Fleming, Broccoli or Saltzman had considered, spanning six decades and six different actors in the title role—from the first film Dr. No in 1962, to the recent announcement of next year’s release of the 24th official Bond movie Spectre, it is difficult to imagine a time when there won’t be a new James Bond movie on the horizon.

While everyone has their own favorite James Bond—usually the actor they first saw in the role—this selection of stills shows the diverse nature of Bond from 25 different official and unofficial (the comic Casino Royale (1967) and Connery’s reprise in Never Say Never Again) 007 movies and the incredibly durability of Ian Fleming’s creation.
 
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‘Dr. No’ (1962)
 
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‘From Russia With Love’ (1963)
 
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‘Goldfinger’ (1964)
 
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‘Thunderball’ (1965)
 
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‘You Only Live Twice’ (1967)
 
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‘Casino Royale’ (1967)
 
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‘On Her Majesty’s Setvice Service’ (1969)
 
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‘Diamonds Are Forever’ (1971)
 
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‘Live and Let Die’ (1973)
 
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‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ (1974)
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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They’re creepy and they’re kooky: Audition photos for ‘The Addams Family,’ 1964
12.04.2014
11:44 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
The Addams Family


 
I had a good time looking through these audition photos for The Addams Family dated 1964. It’s just plain weird (and fascinating) to see other actors and actresses trying out for these iconic roles because I simply can’t imagine anyone else playing them. 

Clearly John Astin who played Gomez Addams was cast first. You can see in the photos that they’re testing the Morticia wannabes’ onscreen chemistry with him. Cara mia!


An actress who looks like Julie Newmar (but isn’t) trying out for the role of Morticia
 

John Astin with actress auditioning for the role of Morticia
 

John Astin with a Morticia wannabe
 

John Astin and another hopeful Morticia
 

A would-be Morticia Addams
 

John Astin with yet another actress auditioning for the role of Morticia
 
More Addams audition photos after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Visible Girls: London’s lost female subcultures

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Lynne and Penny at home in Kingston, March 1981.
 
In the early 1980s, photographer Anita Corbin documented the “informal uniforms” of young women’s subcultures across London. Corbin photographed rude girls, rockabillies, mods, skinheads, and some “less defined” female groups including soul, rasta, punk and futurist, as well as those involved “in and around the women’s liberation movement.”  Her photographs were exhibited in a traveling exhibition organized by the Cockpit Gallery Project called Visible Girls in 1981.

In her introduction to the Visible Girls exhibition, Corbin wrote:

In this project I turned my attention to more personal visual details and I became increasingly interested in the effect appearences have on everybody’s lives.

The way we use dress as a means of communication/identification and how it can both inform and misinform us.

I have chosen to focus on girls, not the boys (where present) were any less stylish, but because girls in “subcultures” have been largely ignored or when referred to, only as male appendages.

Corbin discovered that for these young women belonging to a subculture was not just a weekend hobby but a whole way of life.

More than thirty years later, Anita Corbin has reconnected with some of the women in her photographs, but would like to contact them all, if possible. If you recognize yourself or any of these women, then you can contact Anita here.
 
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Kath and Em, at home in Putney, October 1980.
 
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Simeon and Simeon, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.
 
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Charmine and Janice, at the Orchard Youth Club, Slough, March 1981.
 
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Rockabilly girls, at Shades, Manor House, February 1981.
 
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Titch and Sylvia at home in Sudbury, March 1981.
 
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At the Marquee club, December 1980.
 
With thanks to Elizabeth Veldon, via Buzzfeed.
 
More of Anita Corbin’s ‘Visible Girls,’ after the jump….
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘How To Blow Your Mind And Have A Freak Out Party’: The stupidest record of the 1960s?
11.25.2014
12:01 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
psychsploitation

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I have been avidly buying records since I was eight. By that age, I had a pretty full grasp of rock and roll and its furthest reaches (the second record I ever bought was Mothermania by The Mothers of Invention). I “got” what oddball records were and looked for them specifically. The Audio Fidelity label was for the most part the home of sound effects records, newfangled stereo experiment records with bongos going back & forth from speaker to speaker, calliope music, Nazi marching orchestras and all other kinds of similar cheapo ephemera. It was a budget label like the ones pre-VU Lou Reed worked for, but it rarely delved into rock and roll. There was a three-volume set called Jet Set Discotheque with a few truly remarkable garage tunes from god knows where and a little later, this psychedelic abomination, How to Blow Your Mind and Have a Freakout Party.
 
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Had this come out on the ESP Disk label (and it certainly could have) it would have found fans who “dug” the Fugs and other off-kilter freaks, but because it was on this un-hip “bow-tie-daddy” label it aroused suspicion and was relegated to stay where these records were placed anyway, even when they were brand new—in the 99 cent cut-out bin.

Don’t get me wrong, this is most definitely an exploitation record (or a “psychsploitation record” as they are known in deep record collector lingo). Most exploitation records are recorded by older hack musicians with no clue of the subject matter (which is what gives them their charm, especially when they’re trying to be psychedelic). This record was most definitely recorded by young people. On acid. It’s crude, young, and innocently dumb, which is what saves it from being just another boring psych record. The art also resembles a kids school book drawing version of the great Cal Schenkel art on the Mothers of Invention LP covers.

I found this in a used record store in 1972 and knew immediately from the cover that I would love it. And I was right. The record is experimental beyond its time, has incredibly bizarre effects I’ve never heard on any other record from this time period, plus catchy songs (at least on side one). Around the same time I bought a Grateful Dead record and expected it to sound just like this due to their extreme hype, not the boring country record I wound up being disappointed with.
 
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The band credited is called The Unfolding. There is one name I recognize, David Dalton. There is a David Dalton won the Columbia School of Journalism Award for his Rolling Stone interview with Charles Manson, wrote bios on Andy Warhol, Sid Vicious, The Stones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, etc., and he co-wrote Marianne Faithfull’s autobiography. I have no idea if this is the same person but it very well may be as this was a New York label and Mr. Dalton was a New Yorker (the CD reissue liner notes are no help in this department).

This record was most certainly made for a kid like me. It comes with hysterical instructions on “how to freak out,” plus an insert where you can send for psychedelic “stuff” for your very own freakout party! The TV trick is my favorite and the first thing I ran to try, messing up my parents TV in the process!
 
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You can really turn your guests on with a mind-blowing light show with two things you probably have in your house right now: a TV set and a see-through kaleidoscope (not the kind with colored glass in the bottom). First put a rock and roll record on the phonograph. Turn on your TV and make the image jump in time to the music by turning the vertical knob all the way to the left or right. Now point the kaleidoscope at the TV screen. This is a guaranteed TRIP. Now play the same record at another speed. YOU ARE NOW FREAKING OUT. Enjoy it.

 
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To set the scene for the party, spray pop bottles or an old chair with DAY-GLOW PAINT in bright colors, then light the whole room with DAY-GLOW light (you can buy these in any hardware or art-supply stores). This will make everything glow with weird luminous psychedelic colors. Guaranteed to blow their minds right away.

There’s even instructions on how to dress:

Wear bright really out-of-sight combinations, things that look strange together. GIRLS! This is a chance to wear something exotic and fantastic that you wouldn’t get a chance to put on. Perhaps spray an old pair of shoes with DAY-GLOW and wear DAY-GLOW tights to match. Bright oranges and greens, goofy jewelry, peacock feathers as earrings and a super mini-skirt.  GUYS! The idea is to look cool and mysterious, so wear moccasins, prayer beads, or Indian bells, psychedelic buttons, and groovy mod clothes. If you really want to blow your guests’ minds, paint your face in wild colors. It’s a chance to use some way-out make-up effects. Paint flowers on your arms and wear a mystical PSYCHEDISK on your forehead. Hypnotize your friends with its hallucinating effect.

In case you don’t have it memorized, they clue you into the (hysterical) “Psychedelic Top Ten”!
 
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A few more instructions with a green and purple gleam in their winking third eye and we’re on our way:

Invite your grooviest friends, people who really swing, and enjoy exploring new and exciting experiences. BLOW YOUR MIND, FREAK OUT, etc. on pieces of colored paper, then glue them on to a piece of tinfoil and fold. This will let them know what kind of scene it’s going to be. Ask everyone to bring things they really dig: records, candy, people, flowers, books on flying saucers, kooky things. Tell them it’s a costume party and to come in their most out-of-sight clothes. Tell them it’s going to be a happening; they’ll get the message.

 
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By now your guests should be really grooving with your head. Get everyone involved in way-out conversations. Read your horoscopes. Compare the personalities of people born under different signs.

Oddly they leave almost nothing to your imagination, truly the antithesis of a psychedelic experience, but they must have known the plastic people they were aiming this at.
 
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The record is broken into two parts in more than just the physical sense. The great side A (Acid Rock)  is the where all the actual songs are: “I’ve Got a Zebra—She Can Fly,” “Play Your Game,” “Girl from Nowhere,” “Flora’s Holiday” and “Love Supreme Deal.” Then the heavy comedown of the slow moving side B: “(Meditations) featuring Prama,” “Electric Buddha,” “Hare Krishna” and “Parable.” It is is a heady mix of weirdness, chanting and sound effects (from the Audio-Fidelity library no doubt) and is meant for the coming down period (of course the record is only 35 minutes long so good luck. Good luck on even turning a record over while tripping your ass off… how did we DO that? Haha and truly, good luck on even listening to side two with its babbling nonsense surrounded by slide whistles, bells, and backwards thingamajigs). You can hear the whole record in this YouTube clip Listen Seriously Dudes!
 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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‘The Complete Zap Comix’ box set is the greatest thing in the history of the world, ever


 
Over the Halloween weekend I was visiting my family in Wheeling, WV (it was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary) and I needed to buy a cheap one-hitter to help get me through it. There’s only one place to buy that sort of thing in my hometown and this would be Wheeling’s sole smut emporium, the very downmarket Market Street News.

Thirty-five years ago, in better economic times for that town, Market Street News was still a dirty book store, but back then it also sold bongs, rolling papers, fake drugs like “Lettuce Opium” or “Coke Snuff,” British rock mags, National Lampoon, biker rags like Easy Rider and Iron Horse, High Times and a small handful of underground comics. A bead curtain separated the front of the shop from the over 21 area and the place smelled heavily of incense, cigarettes and Pine-Sol. It was here, age 11, where I bought my first issue of High Times, the October 1977 issue with Johnny Rotten on the cover and the now infamous “Ted Nugent shits his pants to get out of the draft” interview. What kind of degenerate sold a little kid High Times?

Let me assure you that I was not an innocent child. By that age, I’d already read Ladies and Gentlemen, Lenny Bruce!!, I owned a copy of Naked Lunch and had already tried getting high (unsuccessfully) by eating fresh ground nutmeg and morning glory seeds, something I’d read about in that book’s infamous index section. I wanted to do drugs, I just didn’t know where to get ‘em (aside from “Lettuce Opium,” which yes, I admit that I tried.“Coke Snuff,” too!)

I couldn’t “score” real drugs, but at the age of 11, in a low level smut shop in a podunk West Virginia town, I was able to get my mitts on something equally mind-expanding (and only slightly less illicit): Zap Comix. Lewd, crude, incendiary, mind-blowing in the extreme and incredibly smart, I embraced Zap Comix wholeheartedly, even if I, a sixth grader, was considerably younger than the audience of “adult intellectuals” it was ostensibly intended for.
 

 
Although Zap founder Robert Crumb himself was already a very well-known and widely respected artist and counterculture hero by the time I discovered Zap in 1977, I can’t image that it was too much earlier than 1973 or ‘74 that something like Zap Comix would have had the kind of distribution that would have allowed it filter down to small town America. The first (#0) issue of Zap came out in 1968. Not every small town had a head shop at that time, of course, and even when they did, carrying Zap Comix—which presented some completely insane stuff, images WAY more perverse than anything that was being cooked up in Denmark or Sweden at the time—was probably not worth the heat it would bring, especially in that line of work. If they can bust you for selling bongs, why carry filthy and obscene comic books to further tempt fate?

Most people probably found out about Zap generally around the same time I did, no matter what age they were. Unless you were living in a big city or in a college town, it would have been highly unlikely to have encountered it otherwise. This is why I associate Zap with the punk era. At least that’s when a copy first made it into my young hands.

Crumb did the first two issues on his own before ultimately assembling a “Magnificent Seven” of the best underground artists around—San Francisco poster artists Rick Griffin and Victor Moscoso, Marxist biker cartoonist Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton (the creator of “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”), painter Robert Williams, the demented S. Clay Wilson and later, after Griffin’s death, Paul Mavrides, known for his Church of the Subgenius graphics. The Zapatistas were a sort of “supergroup”—the dharma warriors of comics. Inkslingers. Revolutionaries. The best of the best. Their only yardsticks for comparison were each other and that sort of fraternal competition raised the bar and kept their art constantly evolving and their social satire razor sharp.
 

 
Like punk (and Burroughs, Lenny Bruce, Firesign Theatre and John Waters) Zap Comix kind of helped to deprogram me at a young age during my rustbelt Christian upbringing. My deeply religious parents never looked twice at my “funnie books” but if they had they’d have been utterly appalled, finding between the covers of Zap Comix characters like S. Clay Wilson’s gay pirate “Captain Pissgums” who liked to have his crew of perverts, um, piss in his mouth or the “Checkered Demon,” a randy devil cheerfully doing the most obscene things that I’d ever seen depicted on the printed page. It was shocking then and it’s equally shocking today.

Take a look at this short piece from S. Clay Wilson titled “Head First”—IF YOU DARE.

See what I mean? Remind yourself that this strip is now nearly half a century old. The reason I linked to it is because embedding it would probably have made our advertisers very nervous about what kind of people we are! Crumb’s Zap contributions were never as out and out repulsive as Wilson’s, yet he was still utterly fearless in portraying his own infantile sexual fantasies and neuroses (and finding willing groupies to help him act them out along the way. Which he then wrote about in subsequent issues of Zap. Heavy meta…).

The goalposts have moved quite a bit over the decades as “obscenity” has been redefined by culture, AND YET that vile, hilariously fucked up strip has lost virtually none of its power to offend. This is only one of the reasons to love S. Clay Wilson—whose work ultimately sets the tone of Zap because his is the wildest, most feral and least compromising—his willingness to basically puke on his reader’s sensibilities, no matter how “far out” they think they are. The sole purpose is to be brutally offensive, no more no less. You can look for something deeper, go ahead, but I’m not sure you’re going to find it in a piece like “Come Fix” (click for pdf) in which a lesbian biker chick injects semen intravenously with an interesting result.
 

The front and back cover of Zap #14 by S. Clay Wilson
 
In the context of the late 1960s that was something both sickening and ENLIGHTENING. And it had nothing whatsoever to do with flower power or hippie. Zap Comix was cynical and dark, twisted and perverted, full of “gags, jokes, kozmic trooths.” Zap wasn’t interested in persuading you of anything, it wanted to beat its epiphanies into you.

This is another reason I see Zap Comix as being aligned with punk, because philosophically-speaking it was. Indeed in its crudeness, lewdness and desire to shake its readers out of their complacency, Zap anticipates punk (and a lot of other things!) and surely would have influenced many of punk’s prime movers who undoubtedly were exposed to it.

Anyway, when I bought my one-hitter, I got into a conversation with the guy behind the counter and I mentioned that I used to buy Zap Comix there when I was a kid. Then the very next morning in the hotel I read an article in the New York Times about how Fantagraphics were publishing the complete run of Zap, along with a sixteenth and final issue, in a deluxe slipcase box set weighing over 20 lbs, complete with sixteen high quality giclée prints of each Zap Comix cover.
 

The front and back cover of Zap #13 by Victor Moscoso
 
I immediately wrote to Fantagraphics fab director of publicity Jacq Cohen and requested a review copy of The Complete Zap Comix. It was sent Fedex two-day shipping, which seemed to me to be the longest two days of my entire fucking life. An eternity. In fact, it ended up being a day late, and by that time, I was truly salivating over the prospect of its arrival. I was not disappointed. I’m a man with a lot of toys and The Complete Zap Comix went immediately into my “prized possessions” category. If you’re reading this thinking “Yep, I need that” trust me, you do need it. However, as far as pricey Christmas presents to yourself go, you might not want to wait for Santa to lay this one under your tree because it’s probably going to sell out. Only 2500 have been printed and from what I can tell anecdotally from how many friends of mine are buying it, it won’t last long.

The irony of turning something that was once sold in dirty bookstores into a $500 collectible is delicious, but I can’t think of a more deserving title than Zap. The production quality of The Complete Zap Comix is first rate and the pages are clearer than they’ve ever been, blown up to 9.75” x 13.25” and painstakingly cleaned up digitally. Everything comes in a sturdy, gold-embossed slipcase and there’s a separate book dedicated to “The Zap Story,” an oral history/scrapbook that also reprints some Zap rarities and “jams” where each of the artists would complete a frame or two—upping the ante in the process—and then pass it on to the next guy.

In the title here, I declare that The Complete Zap Comix box set “is the greatest thing in the history of the world, ever” and I’m only semi-exaggerating. Seeing the whole of the Zap run laid out like this, it seems obvious—so very, very obvious—what a profound and truly American cultural treasure this is. This is great art of historical and cultural importance that changed people, blew their minds and inspired them. I know that it changed ME. Zap Comix deserves to be reappraised and valued for what it’s truly worth and Fantagraphics has done an amazing job with this stunning box set.

Now the Smithsonian Institute needs to step up to the plate while the remaining Zap artists are still alive and kicking against the pricks and give them their due. It could happen. It should happen. Let’s hope it does happen.

Below, one of the greatest—and most eerily prophetic—comics EVER by Gilbert Shelton, “Wonder Wart-Hog’s Believe It or LEAVE It!”...Um… he could be talking about TODAY’s America, here, couldn’t he???
 

 
More classics from Zap Comix after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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David Bowie’s early appearance as Ziggy Stardust, 1972
11.19.2014
09:49 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
David Bowie
Ziggy Stardust

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RCA records paid $25,000 to fly the “cream” of America’s rock press over to see the label’s up-and-coming star David Bowie perform at the Friars Club, Market Square, Aylesbury, England, in July 1972. The record company hoped the scribes from Rolling Stone, CREEM, New York Times, Andy Warhol’s Interview, and the New Yorker, would be sufficiently impressed to spread the word about Bowie back home. It certainly worked as Bowie, along with his Ziggy line-up of Mick Ronson (guitar), Trevor Bolder (bass) and Woody Woodmansey (drums), delivered a blistering set, which been a source of mythical tales and innumerable bootlegs ever since.

Also in the crowd that fateful night were Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor of Queen, who were just starting off on their career. Taylor later recalled the gig for MOJO magazine in 1999:

...Freddie and I saw the first Ziggy gig at Friar’s Aylesbury. We drove down in my Mini. We loved it. I’d seen him there about three weeks before in the long hair and the dress. Suddenly you saw this spiky head coming on stage. You thought, wha-a-at??? They looked like spacemen.

The band’s appearance was not just a shock to the audience as Bowie later explained:

Woody Woodmansey was saying, “I’m not bloody wearing that!” [Laughs] There were certainly comments, a lot of nerves. Not about the music - I think the guys knew that we rocked. But they were worried about the look. That’s what I remember: how uncomfortable they felt in their stage clothes. But when they realized what it did for the birds… The girls were going crazy for them, because they looked like nobody else. So within a couple of days it was, “I’m going to wear the red ones tonight.”

 
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Bowie’s performance at the Friar’s Club was voted the greatest gig to be held at the venue.
 
While Glenn O’Brienn described the concert in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine:

The Aylesbury town hall is the size of an average pre-war high school gym…There were perhaps a thousand peers in the hall when we entered. At first I thought it was remarkable that RCA had spent at least $25,000 to bring a select group of writers to a concert at which there were no seats for them, save the floor… David Bowie did not come on unannounced. He was in fact preceded on stage by a handsome Negro and his attendants who attempted to work the audience to a fever pitch by tossing them balloons, pinwheels, and hundreds of Bowie posters. The audience needed little prodding, though, and anxiously awaited David Bowie and The Spiders From Mars, while the giant amplifiers sounded a recording of old Ludwig Von’s Song of Joy from the Ninth Symphony. David appeared on stage with his band to what could fairly be called a thunderous ovation. And he deserved every handclap… His hair was a vibrant orange… And the band played on… And David proved himself to be a unique performer.

 
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Bolder and Bowie on stage at Aylesbury, being filmed by Mick Rock.
 
The Aylesbury gigs was a key moment in Bowie’s career and photographer Mick Rock filmed it all on 16mm. This footage was apparently thought lost until 1995 when it “discovered” and transfered onto video by MainMan. It has not been made officially available although it currently circulates amongst collectors.

While the footage available on YouTube is raw, the camerawork sometimes iffy, and the sound, well, about what you’d expect from a concert, but as an historic document of early footage of David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust it is a delight.

Track listing: “Hang On to Yourself,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Queen Bitch,” “Song for Bob Dylan,” “Starman,” “Five Years,” “Waiting for the the Man.”

The color footage is believed to be from the July 15th gig at the Friar’s Club while the b&w footage is from the June 21st gig. Audio taken from July 15th performance.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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