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Own Peter Fonda’s chopper from ‘Easy Rider’


What the hell is wrong with FREEDOM, man, that’s what it’s all about!

The US flag-festooned motorcycle Peter Fonda rode as “Captain America” in the landmark 1969 film Easy Rider is going up for auction next month. Via seattlepi.com:

The customized Captain America chopper Peter Fonda rode in “Easy Rider” has come to symbolize the counterculture of the 1960s. Now it’s for sale.

The auction house Profiles in History told The Associated Press that it estimates the Harley-Davidson will bring $1 million to $1.2 million at its Oct. 18 sale being held online and at its galleries in Calabasas, California.

The seller is Michael Eisenberg, a California businessman who once co-owned a Los Angeles motorcycle-themed restaurant with Fonda and “Easy Rider” co-star Dennis Hopper. Eisenberg bought it last year from Dan Haggerty, perhaps best known for his roles in the “Grizzly Adams” TV show and movies, who was in charge of keeping the custom-designed bike humming during the 1969 movie’s filming.

Four motorcycles were created for the movie, but only one is known to have survived. It was used in the climactic crash scene in which Fonda is thrown off the bike.

After the film was finished, Hopper told Haggerty to keep it. Haggerty rode it often, an experience he likened to “going out with Marilyn Monroe.” Parting with it was like having a “child finally getting married and moving away and starting a new life on their own.”

 

 
The film, of course, remains a must-see even today, as its themes of seeking fulfillment outside the system, the death of idealism, and the paradoxes of freedom resonate well beyond the social context of the late ‘60s, and its soundtrack is packed with classic songs.

Now its central symbol can be a trinket for some extravagantly overpaid fund manager dickweed with seven figures to burn on an adolescent fantasy. AMERICA FUCK YEAH!
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
The Electric Cinema Acid Test: the trippiest movies ever made
A slightly bombed Dennis Hopper bemoans the fate of his feature ‘The Last Movie’

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Just say BO-NO: Mark Hosler of Negativland on Apple’s ‘U2rusion’
09.12.2014
01:44 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
Apple
Negativland
U2
Mark Hosler


 
A guest editorial from Mark Hosler of Negativland on Apple’s ‘U2rusion’

1) Of course it’s very entertaining and amusing to me to see the backlash that U2 is getting for doing this.

2) I actually like some of U2s music, and always have. Yet have no interest in paying to hear what they are up to now ( I think I’ve paid them enough! About $45,000, to be exact. That is how much their lawsuit against Negativland cost us), so getting it for free sounded fine to me.

3) The way they are “forcing” it on the users of Apple products is actually a very curious thing! Certainly *someone* was going to do this sooner or later, at least as an experiment, so I am not surprised. That a band this large is giving away its music to pretty much everyone who will want it and many who won’t (regardless of what Apple paid them to do so, which is a separate issue) is also curious as a “business” model. For Apple, perhaps it’s the largest “loss leader” in history. And curious that something that is digitally free is made to look like the test pressing of a real world vinyl LP. How many folks out there even know what a test pressing is or looks like?

4)  Given the endless ways we all often willingly grant these corporations and our government access into to our lives by how we use and sign up for these fucking devices and apps, I am unclear as to why so may folks are so shocked and angry about this. We all get SPAM and we delete it, so… .. is this any different? Maybe it is. Or maybe not.  I am still pondering that one.

5) I use iTunes as a music player and a way to store a bit of the music I listen to, but I have never signed up for their service and never purchased anything from their store. So…guess what?  When I opened iTunes and looked for the dreaded U2 intrusion ( a U2rusion) into my iTunes app, there was nothing there. So this felt to me more like I had unwittingly opted out of being on iTunes mailing list, whereas all of you have signed up for it have opted in.  (BTW, my understanding is that what gets dropped in to your player is a playlist of U2’s new album, but not files. You still have to click something in to download the files.  A nuance, possibly, but one that is being missed in all the hoo ha).

6) Regardless of what anyone thinks, I’ll be curious if the overall outcome is seen as good or bad, plus or minus, by Apple and U2. WIll Apple do this again as a way to push product, or will it seem like such a bad press headache resulting from such arrogant tone deafness that they never do it again?
 

 
Below, Mark Hosler discusses Negativland’s adventure with U2 and their lawyers:

 
Mark Hosler and Negativland were famously sued by U2 and their record company. The upcoming Negativland album, the two CD set It’s All in Your Head, comes packaged in a Holy Bible, with a limited edition Koran also available. (Reviewed here)

Here’s “Right Might” from the new album:

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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LEGO recreation of the ‘You killed the car’ scene from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
09.10.2014
08:38 am

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
LEGO
John Hughes


 
As immensely enjoyable as the 1986 John Hughes classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is, it is my belief that viewers needed some assurance that Ferris and Cameron weren’t just predestined to live out their lives as carefree, materialistic sociopath and suicidal scion with daddy issues, respectively. The necessary turn comes in the late scene in the Fryes’ garage, where the much-fetishized Ferrari belonging to Cameron’s dad normally resides. Cameron has his sorely needed emotional breakthrough and…. well, you probably know it.

Some genius or geniuses from Sweden going by the name Etzel decided to make a LEGO diorama of the most kinetic moment of that scene. There’s a slight cheat in temporality—check out chapter 4 from Scott McCloud’s brilliant 1993 primer Understanding Comics to see what I mean. McCloud establishes that a single comic frame, far from capturing a single moment, can easily encompass a span of time of as high as thirty seconds. Similarly, here, the car is flying backwards through the air (not stuck in a tree, as you might guess), while Cameron, Ferris, and Sloane gather near the destroyed plate glass window to admire the destruction. In the movie, of course, the car plummets to the surface of the forest, and the teens become a formalized audience a few seconds later.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love it, just as it is.
 

 

 

 

 

 
For the forgetful, here’s the scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:
 

 
via Chicagoist
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Decadence, fame & excess at Les Bains Douches, the Parisian answer to Studio 54
08.26.2014
09:57 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
nightclubs
Les Bain Douches


 
From the late 1970s through the 1990s, Les Bains Douches was a nightclub in Paris located at 7 rue du Bourg l’Abbé in the 3rd arrondissement. What made it distinctive from most other nightclubs were the availability—as the club’s very name promised—of large baths for its patrons to cool off or generally frolic in. It was originally built in 1885 by the Guerbois family and soon became one of the most famous thermal baths in Paris. Originally it was used by workers in the area who would come there after an arduous night shift for a shower and a coffee. At the same time Les Bains Douches also a more affluent clientele massage as well as sulphur and steam baths.

In 1978 it was re-conceived by famed designer Philippe Starck as a nightclub. Starck cannily chose to retain the baths and the original tiles. Fans of postpunk music may recognize the name from the title of an excellent Joy Division live album that saw an official release in 2001; the album is simply called Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979. For the next couple of decades Les Bains Douches would become a magnet for the rich and famous to rival only Studio 54 and the Chateau Marmont. Of course, its location in Paris guaranteed that its selection of celebrities would have a more European cast, but that did not prevent many of the ultra famous from dropping in, including Jack Nicholson, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, alongside such European figures as Roman Polanski, Brigitte Nielsen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Julie Delpy, and so on.

By the 2000s, the heady era of fame and excess was rapidly becoming a memory. French DJ David Guetta and his wife bought the club but soon encountered management problems. In 2010 the club finally shut its doors for good. In 2013 it was the site of a street art exhibition, and it is expected to reopen later this year.

These pictures were taken by the nightclub’s resident photographer, Foc Kan. They are true unadorned documents of the moment in all their smeary splendor. You can practically smell the cocaine, can’t you, and there’s plenty of libido to go around too (a good many of Kan’s pictures were taken before AIDS had exerted its check on promiscuity). It’s worth clicking through to see many more vintage pics of the goings on at Les Bains Douches.

 

Iman and David Bowie
 

 

Mick Jagger
 

 

Iggy Pop
 

Emmanuelle Seigner and Roman Polanski
 

Robert De Niro
 

 

Nicolas Cage and Grace Jones
 

Keith Haring
 
More pics after the jump….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Career R.I.P. T-shirts


 
What a brilliantly nasty concept, a Tumblr with T-shirts announcing when Macaulay Culkin or Harrison Ford started, and more importantly stopped, being relevant. I’m not real clear if there are actual T-shirts to be purchased yet, if you “get in touch @CareerRIP” you’ll get “details on how to get your hands on a T-shirt.” 

As it says on the Tumblr, “CareerRIP is a tribute to our passed heroes whose careers have sadly left us. We celebrate their brightest hours through a series of limited edition T-shirts.”
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘The Unauthorized Story of Mork & Mindy’: Regrettable TV movie about Robin Williams’ big break
08.23.2014
08:54 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Robin Williams
Mork & Mindy


 
In the mid-2000s NBC must have been noticing the ridiculously stiff competition coming from HBO in the form of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire, because at some point the traditional networks (that’s CBS, NBC, ABC, and I guess maybe Fox, for younger readers) started to give up altogether. One sign of this was that the networks started casting, filming, and broadcasting docudramas about famous sitcoms from the 1970s. On May 5, 2003, NBC ran a movie that I would assume was a successful venture called Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of ‘Three’s Company’ with Brian Dennehy as ABC executive Fred Silverman. It couldn’t be clearer that this represented the ultimate cannibalizing strategy of a dying entertainment ecosystem. Right?
 

 
I remember watching that Three’s Company movie, which was, well, a disappointment. Two years later, April 4, 2005, NBC went for the gusto all over again, with Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of ‘Mork & Mindy’. I don’t remember this one. Playing the impossible-to-portray Robin Williams is Chris Diamantopoulos, who is probably best known for portraying Moe in the recent Three Stooges full-length feature by the Farrelly Brothers (I also saw him recently on an episode of Hannibal). That Diamantopoulos makes a young Robin Williams moderately watchable is something akin to a miracle, if you think about it. So it must be conceded that Diamantopoulos did a very good job. Playing Garry Marshall is Daniel Roebuck, best known to me as the guy who played Jay Leno in the 1996 HBO movie The Late Shift, a project superficially similar to this Mork & Mindy thing. Roebuck had a recurring role on Lost and weirdly, that Three’s Company movie too.
 

“Henry Winkler,” “Garry Marshall,” and “Penny Marshall”—of course
 
I should be up-front with the fact that this is not a good movie, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why. The main actors are fine (Erinn Hayes also does a fine job as Pam Dawber), but the action of the movie is uninteresting and unconvincing, that’s the main thing. Whereas that Three’s Company movie at least had “drama” in the Jersey Shore sense of the word, The Unauthorized Story of ‘Mork & Mindy’ does not. We hear a lot about shocked censors (!) and cocaine (!!) and extra-marital sex (!!!), but the main plot emphasizes the efforts of the executives (that cannibalizing thing again) to tinker with what was obviously a very effective formula ... sorry, I actually fell asleep while writing that sentence, there. For no real reason they hired actors to play Richard Pryor and John Belushi, for whatever that’s worth.
 

 
All in all, this is the kind of movie that cries out for the razzle-dazzle of a Bob Balaban.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Dame Edna’s alter ego: Sir Les Patterson and the Chinese Year of the Trouser Snake
08.22.2014
07:58 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Barry Humphries


The “Aussie Ubu

The legendary Australian comedian Barry Humphries is a satirist whose subject is the monstrosity of decent middle-class people. Though I love his most famous character, Dame Edna, my favorite will always be the superlatively obscene Sir Les Patterson, who claims to be Australia’s cultural attaché to the Far East. From his loose, drooling grin to his loud, puke-stained clothes, everything about Les is repulsive. 

John Lahr’s page-turner, Dame Edna Everage and the Rise of Western Civilization: Backstage With Barry Humphries, devotes a chapter (‘Sir Les Patterson and the Chinese Year of the Trouser Snake’) to the character. Here’s how we meet him:

Sir Les bursts the seams of the real. He is a rollicking, tumescent theatrical creation whom Humphries has described as ‘on a sort of bacchic trip’. His cock, a pendulous eight inches of padded cotton, dangles beneath Humphries’ upholstered belly to his knees, making Humphries look for all the world like an Aussie Ubu. [...] Sir Les’s record Twelve Inches of Les and his book The Traveller’s Tool all draw attention to his most salient anatomical feature, which he refers to variously as ‘the pyjama python’, ‘the one-eyed trouser snake’, ‘my not-infrequently-felt-tip’, and ‘the enormous encumbancy which I’m holding down at the moment’.

 

Channel 4’s 1991 special A Late Lunch with Les
 
Sir Les has never appeared on stage or screen in the United States; Humphries, who announced his retirement in 2012 and is currently giving a farewell tour, seems to think the character wouldn’t play well here. Though Les appeared at the farewell shows in Europe, it looks like he’ll be absent from the tour’s US dates, which is too bad for us. (Of course, that doesn’t mean you should pass up your last chance ever to see Humphries live, which is the way to see him—his gift for spontaneous comedic creation is unrivaled.)
 

Sir Les Patterson live in 1988

His career started with Dada. In 1952, when he was a student at Melbourne University, Humphries put on “the first Pan-Australian Dada Exhibition.” Among his works on display were packages of a fictitious platypus poison (“PLATITOX”), a pair of Wellingtons filled with custard (“Pus and Boots”), and an image of Queen Elizabeth II with stubble (“Her Majesty’s Male”). Other pieces were made out of cake, lambs’ eyes, shoes, and tomato sauce.

From there, Humphries moved on to disruptions of everyday life. These were not performed for an audience or documented in any way, just carried out like acts of terror. Lahr describes one such action:

In one notorious escapade, Humphries had his accomplice, John Perry, dress as a blind man and take a seat in a non-smoking compartment of a Melbourne commuter train. Perry had dark glasses, his leg in a cast and was reading from a piano roll that looked as if it was braille. Humphries entered the compartment and began to smoke. He was dressed garishly and reading a foreign newspaper. Later, as he got up to exit, he unleashed a barrage of foreign-sounding gibberish, grabbing the ‘braille’ and tearing it, kicking at the ‘blind man’s’ leg, throwing his spectacles to the floor and leaving. ‘Commuters were invariably transfixed in horror,’ Humphries says. ‘No one ever pursued me. Mind you, I ran as fast as I could. People tried to comfort John Perry. He would always say, “Forgive him.” It was also very funny to do, and very hard not to laugh. It’s a bit hard to say what effect the stunt was meant to have, since it was meant to amuse us, a kind of outrageous public act.’

And another:

Later, Humphries would get himself banned temporarily from Qantas flights for tipping a tin of Russian salad into a sick bag, loudly feigning illness, and then eating his ‘vomit’. ‘If an air hostess sees you,’ he said, ‘it can produce what I call the Chain Chunder. Five minutes later the pilot is throwing up.’

 

Sir Les’s autograph
 
In his official capacity as cultural attaché to the Far East, Patterson reported on the 1997 return of Hong Kong to China for the BBC. He approached the story with the cultural sensitivity for which he is famous.
 

 
More of Sir Les after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The Standells rock with Bing Crosby, 1965
08.22.2014
06:20 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Bing Crosby
Standells


 
There’s a TV law of nature that describes a very nearly universal tendency in sitcoms: if a show stars a performer already well known from an entertainment industry sector other than television, and the main character’s first name is the same as the performer’s, and that shared name is not “Bob” or “Lucy,” odds are extremely high that the show will fall somewhere between unrelentingly bland and totally unwatchable.

So did you even know Bing Crosby had an eponymous domestic sitcom for two years in the ‘60s? Despite his extremely high stature as a widely beloved singer and movie star, his completely unexceptional show was apparently no one’s favorite. Crosby played Bing Collins (there’s your red flag), a former singer who gave up the limelight to teach at a small college. His wife hated campus life and craved a return to showbiz glitz. They had two daughters, an airhead and an egghead. I got bored witless just typing that—care to sit through a few episodes? I think I’m safe in guessing not. In fact, while Der Bingle’s feature films and Christmas specials are readily available on DVD, I’m unable to find evidence that his sitcom was ever anthologized for home video in any format.
 

 
But just as bright children can be born to dull parents, even this puddle of middling televisual goo begat a moment worth preserving. In the aftermath of the Beatlemania bankability exploison, when countless also-ran bands could land on TV simply because anyone with guitars and shaggy hair would do, The Bing Crosby Show aired an episode guest starring the godfathers of garage rock, the Standells. Before they became known for their seminal single “Dirty Water,” that band made a fair few TV appearances, including on The Munsters and the medical drama Ben Casey. On Bing, they portray the Love Bugs, a not-trying-very-hard counterfeit of the Beatles. (That sort of thing was even more blatant in their Munsters appearance—they actually played “I Want to Hold Your Hand!”) Girls scream. Teenagers frug. Parents don’t quite get it. Blah blah blah. It’s worth it for the mimed performances of early tunes like “Come Here,” the inspired “Someday You’ll Cry,” and a take on the oft-covered Leiber/Stoller classic “Kansas City” with an amusing vocal turn by Crosby—it’s almost enough to make you forget what a twisted child abuser he was! Luckily, the YouTube user who posted this cut out most of the dismal sitcom crap in-between the tunes.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Vintage MTV: ‘Punks and Poseurs: A Journey Through the Los Angeles Underground’
08.21.2014
09:29 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Television

Tags:
MTV
The Dickies
GBH


This kid.

Knowing firsthand that MTV didn’t always totally suck asswater really dates you. When I have occasion to mention how, once upon a time, that justly-reviled network actually played some seriously cool shit, I half wonder if I’m coming off like my grandma used to when she talked about the Great Depression. But it’s true, even before long-running bones thrown to the weirdos like 120 Minutes and Headbanger’s Ball found their footing, MTV broadcast stuff like IRS’ The Cutting Edge and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes, which often rivaled even the USA Network’s mighty Night Flight for genuinely informative freak-scene value.

One jaw-droppingly excellent MTV show was the one-off special Punks and Poseurs: A Journey Through the Los Angeles Underground. A big mover behind its production was Charles M. Young, who, as sad fate would have it, passed away this week after a standoff with a brain tumor. He’s the guy at the beginning of the video, speaking with early VJ Alan Hunter, and while he looks for all the world like an unreconstructed Little River Band fan, don’t be faked out by appearances. Young was one of the first mainstream music journalists to take punk’s aesthetic merit as a given, and for that, we owe him a debt of gratitude. May he rest in peace.

At its core, “Punks and Poseurs” is a narration-free concert film, but it’s cut with terrific interview footage that explores the changing nature of punk, from insider and outsider perspectives. There’s a lot of great footage with writer/performers Pleasant Gehman and Iris Berry, torpedoing the influx into the music scene of neophyte phonies who just didn’t get it, explaining title of the program. (After this first aired in 1985, a bunch of the new waver/Durannie chicks at my high school—which is to say all the girls who were trying their suburban Ohio best to look like Gehman and Berry—started calling everyone “poseurs,” which was pretty funny.) There’s also a hilarious interview with employees at a store called “Poseur,” which sold punk fashions and accessories—people had to get that shit somewhere before Hot Topic forever banished punk to the mall, no?  Also keep an eye out for the kid giving a primer on how to fashion liberty spikes with Knox gelatine.

The performance footage mostly focuses on excellent, high-energy sets by The Dickies and GBH —the latter of whom were quite radical by MTV’s regular programming standards (and British, contra the program’s subtitle, but the concert took place in L.A., so whatever, I guess). There’s also an early glimpse of the excellent and still active Italian hardcore band Raw Power. I harbor serious doubts they’ve ever been spotted on that network again.
 

 
Many thanks to upstanding journalist and total fucking poseur Mr. Erick Bradshaw for this find.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Way USA’: Sleazy punk comedy travelogue is the greatest cult video you’ve probably never seen
The time Ian McKellen jammed with the Fleshtones on MTV in 1987
Debbie Harry, Ramones, Nick Rhodes, Courtney Love and more on MTV’s ‘Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes’

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Bogie and Bacall’s forgotten radio drama
08.20.2014
08:19 am

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Lauren Bacall
Humphrey Bogart


Promotional standee for Bold Venture sponsored by Genesee Beer, 1951.

When the great Lauren Bacall died recently at 89, her obituaries routinely mentioned her relationship with Humphrey Bogart, and their onscreen chemistry in the four classic films they made together.

Less widely known, and rarely mentioned however, is Bold Venture, the radio show they starred in together in 1951-1952. Bogart and Bacall played the owners of a hotel in Cuba and a boat called the Bold Venture, romantically sparring while getting mixed up with smugglers, spies, con men and corrupt cops “in the sultry settings of tropical Havana and the mysterious islands of the Caribbean.” If the writing isn’t quite To Have and Have Not, it delivers enough sharp wit to keep the couple’s classic chemistry alive and enough tension to keep the drama moving.

57 half-hour episodes have surfaced and they’re available to listen to and download for free at archive.org. If you’ve ever wished Bogie & Bacall made more movies together, Bold Venture is the next best thing.
 

 

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall aboard their private yacht, Santana.

This is a guest post from Jason Toon of Seattle, Washington.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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