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‘No Nirvana’: Jane’s Addiction, Sonic Youth, Screaming Trees & more live on UK TV in the early 90s
01.25.2017
10:22 am

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Heroes
Music
Television

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An early shot of Jane’s Addiction.
 
The Late Show was a multi-topic program broadcast on BBC2 which featured issues of cultural importance such as art, books, films and segments dedicated to more socially conscience topics such as military conflicts and religion. Not to diminish such things, they also featured live musical performances by musicians and groups such as XTC, the ethereal Jeff Buckley and The Stone Roses who appeared on the show in during its first year in 1989. In 1993 The Late Show broadcast a special called “No Nirvana” that featured a collection of what is referred to as the all encompassing sounding “contemporary American rock bands” that had previously appeared on the show. 

The title of the show was allegedly intended to be a joke directed at The Late Show itself because for some reason the band had never appeared on it. Most likely because they had suddenly become the biggest band in the world after the release of their 1991 album Nevermind. The grouping for The Late Show’s late-night Contemporary American Rock lovefest delivered was to say the least, a pretty solid knockout punch when it came to the lineup. Though they were part of the original broadcast, performances by Pearl Jam (doing “Alive”) and Rage Against the Machine (performing “Bullet in the Head”) are not included in the footage below. What you will see are Jane’s Addiction pulling off a great version of “Been Caught Stealing,” Sonic Youth’s killer version of “Drunken Butterfly,” Seattle grunge heroes Screaming Trees led by a long-haired Mark Lanegan doing “Dollar Bill,” and more from the likes of Belly, Dinosaur Jr. (with a nearly unrecognizable J Mascis), Smashing Pumpkins, Minneapolis band Sugar, and R.E.M.

Watch after the jump…

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Massive heavy metal murals of Lemmy, Dio, Alice Cooper and more on buildings in Bulgaria
01.24.2017
02:43 pm

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Art
Heroes
Music

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A huge mural of Motörhead vocalist, Lemmy Kilmister on the side of an apartment building in Kavarna, Bulgaria. Photo by Bob Ramsak.
 
Fittingly adjacent to the very metal-sounding Black Sea several apartment buildings in the town of Kavarna, Bulgaria have been adorned with the images of heavy metal heroes like Alice Cooper, Ronnie James Dio, Lemmy Kilmister and Joey DeMaio—the bassist for the only band metal enough to pull off full-body waxing, loincloths and manly jams all at the same time, Manowar.

According to Bob Ramsak, the proprietor of the blog Prian Café the idea of dressing up the sides of apartment buildings in Kavarna was spearheaded by the town’s mayor, Tsonko Tsonev. A major heavy metal fan, during his time as mayor of Kavarna from 2003 to 2015 Tsonev was instrumental in helping Kavarna become the “rock capitol of Bulgaria” by luring bands to play gigs in his hometown. In 2006 Tsonev started the Kaliakra Rock Fest which attracted the likes of Motörhead, Manowar, The Scorpions, UFO and Heaven and Hell. When it comes to the murals themselves, I wasn’t kidding when I said they were massive as many of them are at least two and a half stories tall. If that’s not metal enough for you, Kavarna is also home to Ronnie James Dio’s memorial statue. Like many of his headbanging peers, Dio himself was no stranger to Kavarna and he performed there on several occasions including while he was the front man for Heaven and Hell back in 2007. However, Dio was also a favorite son of Bulgaria for other reasons—specifically by playing an instrumental role in helping bring about the release of a group of Bulgarian nurses in 2006 who were imprisoned by the Libyan government for nearly a decade.

You can check out the murals below.
 

 

 
More metal murals after the jump…

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When Sparks formed a band with Franz Ferdinand: The best of FFS live
01.24.2017
10:21 am

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Heroes
Music
Pop Culture

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0ffs.jpg
 
Wait a moment. Hold it. Just back up a second. Let me see. Nope, we haven’t as yet covered FFS on Dangerous Minds. So, okay, let me sort this little oversight out right now.

FFS is the group formed by Sparks and Franz Ferdinand circa 2014 when they started recording their scintillating and perfectly formed eponymously titled album together. This glittering 24-carat nugget was released in June 2015 to rave reviews and promoted with a series of sell-out, headline concerts all across Europe and in parts of America.

So far so good.

But let’s hold on a second. For you see, in a way, FFS really all began back in 2004 when Franz Ferdinand, a four piece out of Glasgow Scotland, released their second single. This was a little number called “Take Me Out” which kinda put the band on the international playlist and hit the number three spot in both the UK pop charts and on Billboard’s Alternative Songs listings.

Apart from all the admiring reviews and sudden expectations, Franz Ferdinand’s single was heard by two brothers living out on the west coast of America in Los Angeles. Nothing too unusual about that except these two brothers happened to be pop royalty, Ron and Russell Mael, who for over forty have been producing some of the greatest most original and utterly delicious art pop/alternative music as the legendary band Sparks. Ron and Russell liked what they heard and decided Franz Ferdinand were creating a similar kind of original and utterly gorgeous music to themselves.

Sometime shortly after this, Ron and Russell (or Russell and Ron) read in the music press that Franz Ferdinand were big, big, big, big fans of Sparks. Now, this all happened around the time Franz Ferdinand were gigging in LA. So, word went out from one band to the other and a meeting was arranged “for no particular reason.” Well, probably other than to share a little mutual admiration. They met in a coffee shop and at the end of their little conversation together came the suggestion “We should do something together some time.”
 
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Now, Ron Mael describes this kind of coda as “Usually, that’s an empty kind of expression between bands.” But Sparks really got on with Franz Ferdinand and they liked what they were doing. So Ron and Russell wrote the song “Piss Off” which they sent over to Franz Ferdinand.

But like life, promises tend to drift with the pull of work commitments and personal relationships and well, you know. So, nothing happened until one day, almost a decade later…

Franz Ferdinand were playing in San Francisco at the very same as time as Sparks. The band’s lead singer Alex Kapranos was out wandering the streets looking for a dentist—Huey Lewis’s dentist to be precise—who he sought to fix some broken teeth. Looking for the right address, Kapranos suddenly heard a voice ask, “Alex is that you?” And lo, almost miraculously, there was Ron and Russell (or Russell and Ron) standing right behind him. And then they said, “Whatever happened to that project?”

Franz Ferdinand were about to release their fourth album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action while Sparks had released their epic live album Two Hands, One Mouth: Live in Europe. This time Kapranos decided not to let things slip, “I remember sitting down with the others and saying, ‘It doesn’t matter how busy we are, we have to make this happen.”
Watch highlights of FFS on tour, after the jump…

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The photographs of pioneering Japanese surrealist Kansuke Yamamoto
01.23.2017
01:01 pm

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Art
Heroes

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A photograph by Kansuke Yamamoto, 1950.
 
Future photographer Kansuke Yamamoto’s father, Goro Yamamoto, was a talented photographer himself. The elder Yamamoto had an affinity for “Pictorialism,” or the artistic practice of distorting or manipulating a photograph in perhaps a painterly manner. Yamamoto didn’t initially follow in his father’s footsteps when it came to photography, and preferred to spend his young years writing poetry. At the age of seventeen Kansuke relocated from his birthplace of Nagoya to bustling Tokyo to pursue studies in French Literature at Meiji University. Already a huge fan of surrealist-style poetry, at this time it is very likely that the young artist first saw the various surrealist works of art that had just started to make their way to museums and galleries in Japan. Inspired by what was happening around him he would quickly become the co-founder of the Dokuritsu Shashin Kenkyukai or “Independent Photography Research Association.” The organization was formed due to the disdain many Japanese-based photographers had for the limitations of Pictorialism. The group’s magazine Dokuritsu (or “Independent”) would be the first publication to showcase the young Yamamoto’s photographic works.

It is important to note that the artists who produced surrealist-style work during this time were routinely persecuted by the Japanese government and ran the risk of jail and imprisonment if they were deemed annoying enough by the authorities. Despite this, Yamamoto had already fallen under the spell of surrealism and it would become his artistic calling card for the rest of his life. When Japan removed itself from the League of Nations in 1933, harsh rules such as the “Peace Preservation” laws were put in place. If you’ve ever heard the term “Thought Police” used before, its origins can be traced back to this time in Japan as this moniker was used to describe the law enforcement, or the “Tokko,” whose members worked tirelessly to remove freedom of the press, free speech, and free assembly. Undaunted and unafraid of the consequences, Yamamoto and others would carry on.

Until his death in 1987 at the age of 73, Yamamoto would form many more surrealist-based groups and became a mentor and inspiration to aspiring artists who were members of the Chubu Photography Federation of Students. Much of Yamamoto’s work is included in the 2013 book Japan’s Modern Divide: The Photographs of Hiroshi Hamaya and Kansuke Yamamoto. I’ve included examples from Yamamoto’s vast body of work dating from 1932 to 1970 below. Some are gorgeously NSFW.
 

Self-portrait, 1950.
 

‘Stapled Flesh,’ 1949.
 
More after the jump…

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‘Screw our president’: Protesting kid explains why he started fire at alt-right Trump celebration
01.20.2017
10:20 am

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Activism
Class War
Heroes
U.S.A.!!!

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A large protest raged outside the National Press Club in Washington, DC, last night where the alt-right’s “Deploraball” celebration was being held. Some protesters started a fire to burn signs and chanted “Nazi scum” as hundreds of Donald Trump’s biggest fans entered the party.

Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins asked one young protester named Connor— dubbed a “fire-starting child” on Facebook— about the fire.

“My name’s Connor and I actually kinda started this fire,” the boy responded. After Jenkins mistakenly called him “Carter” the young, media-savvy kid set him straight.“It’s Connor,” he repeated, then informed the Fox lackey that he started the fire because:

“I felt like it and screw our president.”

Connor is my new hero.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Modern love: Valentines featuring Grace Jones, Robert Smith, David Bowie & other pop-culture icons!
01.19.2017
09:17 am

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Amusing
Art
Heroes
Movies
Music

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Robert Smith-themed Valentine by Matthew Lineham.
 
We’ve shared the work of New York-based artist Matthew Lineham previously on Dangerous Minds and I can personally vouch for the quality of his work. To say nothing of the reaction I’ve gotten from folks who have received one Lineham’s clever cards featuring images of 80’s horror movie slashers like Jason Voorhees or Re-Animator‘s deranged medical student, Herbert West.

Though I’m not trying shove the faux “holiday” of Valentine’s Day down your throat—it started as a marketing thing, there was nothing traditional about it—I couldn’t resist sharing Lindham’s 2017 cards. These old-school sheet cards contain the images of Robert Smith of The Cure, Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis and an entire collection featuring the many alter-egos of our dearly departed David Bowie. There are three sheets in each pack for a total of 27 cards that also contain amusing greetings that occasionally reference song titles from the artists’ catalogs, which makes them extra-special. Just like your funny valentine, right? You can order the cards now over at Lindham’s site which will ship them out on January 24th—just in time to send one along to someone who you think is “B-52 Cute!” Awww.
 

 

 
More funny valentines after the jump…

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A treasure trove of rare Monty Python memorabilia is up for grabs!
01.18.2017
02:13 pm

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Amusing
Heroes
Television

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Canned Dead Parrot. Created in 1994 by Bear, Bear & Bear LTD. Prior to obtaining an official licence from the Python’s, the company did their best to rip off the “Dead Parrot” Sketch” from 1969. Although the can does not contain any direct mention of Monty Python, it’s very clearly a reference to their famous skit. Inside the can is a plastic bird cage with a toy parrot hanging upside down. 
 
If your dream has been to one day be the proud owner of a loo roll (that’s toilet paper for our non-UK readers) officially sanctioned by Monty Python’s Flying Circus, then today my silly-walking friend is your lucky day. According to the website Monty Python’s Daily Llama there are allegedly 1,500 different items currently up for auction, such as the promotional foot that was created in conjunction with the Spamalot musical at New York’s Shubert Theatre in 2005, and an actual container of “Canned Dead Parrot” which is a clever nod to one of the most memorable moments from the Flying Circus television series (the Dead Parrot Sketch performed by John Cleese and Michael Palin). Many of the items were produced in small quantities like the 1072 bottles of “Spamalot” steak sauce that were released in 2007 in honor of the musical’s run at London’s Palace Theatre, making them incredibly rare collectibles in many cases.

If you’re a Python super-fan like I am I’m sure you’re going to strongly consider picking up something from the auction, which includes a wide array of vintage posters from the U.S. and Germany and a even copy of the 1990 Monty Python’s Flying Circus computer game from 1990. Say WHAT? More information on the items up for auction can be found on Monty Python’s Daily Llama. I’ve posted a number of my favorite items from the auction below along with some background information pertaining to their creation, rarity and history. As great as some of this stuff is I would have liked to have seen a piece of “Venezuelan Beaver Cheese,” a “hovercraft full of eels” or even an action figure based on Michael Palin’s bicycling enthusiast “Mr. Pither.” But you can’t always get what you want, can you?
 

This computer game was the very first officially licensed product by Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Made by Core Design, the same company that put out ‘Tomb Raider,’ the 2D shooter had the players help “D.P. Gumby” find four missing pieces of his brain.
 

“Gumby” plush figures. Ranging in size from nine, twelve and fourteen inches tall these plush figures were the first toys officially licensed by the Pythons.
 

Another cheeky creation from Bear, Bear & Bear LTD. Incredibly this roll of toilet paper contains famous images and quotes from the ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ TV series such as the “Ministry of Silly Walks”; “Nudge, Nudge”; everyone’s favorite gender-bending sing-along “The Lumberjack Song” and others. Comes with faux fingerprints in accordance with the box’s claim that this TP is in “slightly used” condition.
 

This promotional “coconut” was sent to members of the press and Python VIPs as a part of the “Special Edition” release of ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ by Columbia/Tristar Home Entertainment. An actual coconut it was outfitted with a zipper in the middle that when opened revealed a promotional t-shirt.
 
More Monty Python memorabilia for you to spend your money on, after the jump…

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Speed Queens: The fearless female drag racers of the 60s and 70s
01.17.2017
12:40 pm

Topics:
Feminism
Heroes
Sports

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Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney on the cover of ‘Sunday News Magazine’ in 1978.
 
Like many fields of work, the drag racing scene was and is fairly well dominated by men. During its heyday, specifically the mid-1960s through the early 1970s, the National Hot Rod Association incorporated the use of gorgeous women/models to help appeal to the fanboys. If you were into that scene, you probably spent a lot of time fantasizing about Pam Hardy aka “Jungle Pam” who accompanied driver “Jungle Jim” Liberman across the country clad in go-go boots and form-fitting, barely-there outfits that showcased her bodacious “assets” while she showboated on the track and in the pit for her adoring fans. Though Liberman would pass away unexpectedly in 1977, Hardy would continue to appear at racing events. But this post isn’t about buxom blonde race track cheerleaders. It’s about the ballsy women who drove the cars during that era—and there were actually quite a lot of “speed queens” that not only gave their male counterparts a run for their money, but also blazed a trail for other women who wanted smoke up the track.

And since I know you’re curious, here’s a shot of “Jungle Pam.” Though her attire says otherwise, it must have been cold that day.
 

 
Although there were many notable women drag racers who were active during the 60s and 70s, today I’ll be focusing your attention on three of them: Janet Guthrie, the first woman ever to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and in the Daytona 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race; the “First Lady of Drag Racing,” Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney; and Carol “Bunny” Burkett, who famously worked at the Playboy Club in Baltimore for a brief period in order to help fund her racing career.

Let’s start with my favorite of this kick-ass quad, Shirley Muldowney. Muldowney got her National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) license in 1965 and subsequently became the first woman to compete in the “supercharged gasoline dragster” category. When the NHRA did away with the category, Muldowney set her sights on the ever-popular “funny car” category. Despite their amusing sounding name, there’s nothing actually amusing about “funny cars” as they are insanely dangerous, supercharged pieces of methane-powered machinery that can kill you. But that didn’t phase Muldowney who won her first funny car race in Lebanon Valley, New York. Her success with funny cars led her to compete in the “Top Fuel” category and in August of 1975 she became the first woman to smash through the “five-second barrier” in Martin, Michigan at the Popular Hot Rodding Championships. Fast-forward to 1982 (and many other accolades and awards) when Muldowney became the first woman to receive three national championships from the NHRA making her the first female Top Fuel driver to ever receive this distinction. Make no mistake, Muldowney was a badass in every sense of the word. However, as I mentioned previously, drag racing is a risky pursuit for anyone—male or female alike.

In 1984 Muldowney nearly lost her life after one of the front tires of her nitro-powered dragster blew out while she was screaming down the track at 250 mph. The horrific crash sent Muldowney to the hospital with many injuries including two broken legs that were so messed up that there was a distinct possibility that she might never walk again, never mind get behind the wheel of a race car. But she did indeed walk again and in 1986 she returned to race in the NHRA. In 1989 she became the first woman to join an elite “Crager Four-Second Club” by reaching a mind-shattering 284 MPH in her Top Fuel car in 4.974 seconds. Muldowney would continue to race throughout the 90s until she retired in 2003. Muldowney’s remarkable life and career was the basis for the 1983 film Heart Like a Wheel starring actress Bonnie Bedelia (“Holly Gennaro McClane” of the Die Hard franchise).
 

The earliest known photo (though undated) of Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney taken at the Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio.
 
Janet Guthrie was another pioneer in women’s drag racing though she didn’t start out with that goal in mind necessarily. In 1964 at the age of 26 Guthrie was accepted into the very first “Scientist-Astronaut” program and though she made it through the first round of eliminations she didn’t make it all the way. Before she entered the wild world of professional car driving she held several fascinating jobs such as a flight instructor (Guthrie was a skilled pilot), an aerospace engineer, and she spent thirteen years building and maintaining race cars she personally owned. In 1976 Guthrie became the first female competitor to race in the NASCAR Winston Cup stock car race. One year later she competed in the Indianapolis 500 and drove in the Daytona 500. Both of these occasions marked the first time that a woman had participated in both prestigious events. A force to be reckoned with, Guthrie garnered the praise and respect of her peers. Here’s NASCAR legend William Caleb “Cale” Yarborough on Guthrie’s racing prowess back in 1977:

There is no question about her ability to race with us. More power to her. She has “made it” in what I think is the most competitive racing circuit in the world.

Thanks to her legendary (albeit short) career Guthrie’s racing suit and helmet are a part of a permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute. Her 2005 autobiography Janet Guthrie: A Life at Full Throttle was praised by The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. In 2006 Guthrie was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Lastly—but not least by a long-shot—is Carol “Bunny” Burkett. Born in the poverty-riddled hills of West Virginia she and her family were fortunate enough to move to Virginia when Burkett was young. According to Burkett, her then boyfriend got her interested in racing when she was just fifteen when he let her speed around a racetrack in his 1955 Mercury. Burkett was hooked and a few years later she purchased her first car—a 1964 Mustang. A year later she was cleaning up at the track winning race after race. In an interesting turn of events Burkett would leave the racing circuit due to financial troubles and got a job at the Playboy Club in nearby Baltimore, Maryland so she could earn the cash necessary to keep her racing career going. The cheeky stint would earn her the nickname of “Bunny” which she emblazoned on her cars.

By the time the 1980s came along Burkett was once again winning championships and in 1986 she won the very first International Hot Rod Association/Alcohol Funny Car (IHRA AFC) championship and is the only female driver to have done so, earning her the title of “First Lady of Funny Car.” Almost a decade later Bunny narrowly avoided being killed after one of her fellow competitors hit her car at more than 200 MPH. Like Cha Cha Muldowney, Bunny would soon enough return to racing for a number of years before ultimately retiring. Burkett is a breast cancer survivor and has spent the later part of her life working for charitable special-needs organizations. According to Burkett all she really wants is to be remembered as is a “good drag racer, a good driver and most of all, a good person.” And to that I say, “mission accomplished” Bunny. And then some.

I’ve included some incredible photos of all of these equally incredible, barrier-busting women below including images from both Bunny’s and Cha Cha’s horrific crashes, as well as other shots of the badass gals behind the wheel and standing by their cars instead of a man. Because horsepower = girl power.
 

Cha Cha Muldowney presiding over her then husband Jack and her dragster.
 

Another awesome shot of Muldowney on the beach with white go-go boots beside one of her cars.
 
More after the jump…

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This incredible fetish photo history book will have you tied up for months!
01.16.2017
02:18 pm

Topics:
Books
Heroes
History
Media
Pop Culture
Queer
Sex

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It’s amazing when you consider what we might now view as quaint, familiar photographic imagery was once a serious no-no. We’ve all seen photos of Betty Page bound and gagged to the point where it’s no more shocking than a LIFE magazine cover image. When John Alexander Scott Coutts aka “John Willie,” publisher of the original Bizarre magazine and the author/ artist of the iconic art comic The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline started, excuse me, basically invented fetish photography as we now know it, it was a punishable crime.

Possibilities!, a massive 472 page coffee table book of John Willie’s photos, published by J.B. Rund’s Belier Press is the be-all, end-all last word from the world’s greatest expert on the subject.

Belier Press has been in existence since 1974 and the publisher’s own story is as interesting as the subject of the books he puts out. J.B. Rund was a young teen running around in the original rock ‘n’ roll era (1955/56) looking for second hand rock ‘n’ roll 45s to buy cheap from juke box distributors in Times Square. One of these stores also had “adult books” and this is where the author first saw a John Willie photo. The afterward of this book goes into great detail about this discovery period and the history of Belier Press. Belier Press has published all kinds of books, not just fetish photography, though I can say that the first time I ever saw a photo of Betty Page was on the cover of Belier’s Betty Page Private Peeks volume two. He also put out R. Crumb’s Carload o’ Comics, The Complete Fritz The Cat, all of the reprints of the Irving Klaw catalogs (Bizarre Katalogs), Eric Stanton and Gene “Eneg” Bilbrew and other fetish artists in Bizarre Komix (24 volumes!), The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline and the recent deluxe reprint. An amazing run.
 
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Possibilities! has more than 1,360 photographs basically giving a visual history of John Willie’s fetish coming of age and, in fact, the birth of what we take for granted now as an art form, a style, a distinctive look and feel all which can be traced back in these photos to something that sparked excitement in one man’s mind (and loins) and the fact that he wasn’t afraid to act on that idea, even though for all he knew he may have been one of the only people on earth to feel this way.
 
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John Alexander Scott Coutts (or JASC as the author refers to him) was born in 1902 in Singapore, the youngest of four children of William Scott and Edith Ann Spreckley Coutts. His father, wanting to go into business for himself moved the family to St. Albans, Hertfordshire, a northwest suburb of London in June 1903. As a very young child Coutts was drawn to a particular type of children’s fantasy literature called “Fairy Books,” where he developed an attraction for “damsels in distress” and the want to rescue these damsels. At around this time he also showed a talent for drawing.

To quote the author:

At about the age of puberty he became aware of another attraction—for women in high heeled shoes—which had a strong sexual connotation for him. In his fantasies John wanted these women in high-heels to be tied-up (in order to rescue them?).

In September of 1921 Coutts entered Sandhurst (the Royal Military Academy), graduating in 1923 with a commission as Second Lieutenant and joined the Royal Scots regiment. In 1925 he married Eveline Stella Frances Fisher, a nightclub hostess who he decided needed “rescuing.” They were married without the required permission of his regiment and against his the wishes of his father (who cut him off), so he moved to Australia in late 1925 or early 1926. The marriage disintegrated soon after. One day in 1934 Coutts stumbled upon McNaught’s, a shoe store on King Street that had a sideline catering to shoe fetishists. He also discovered in that establishment the existence of a weekly British magazine called London Life.

London Life was, as Rund puts it:
 

...a weekly British magazine that openly dealt with a range of fetishes, but in a conservative manner that would seem quaint by today’s (lack of) standards. Suddenly John Coutts realized that he was NOT alone!

 
At this point he was introduced to a locally based organization for shoe fetishists, possibly called “The High-Heel Club,” run by a retired ship’s captain who went by the name “Achilles.” He then met Holly Anna Faram around 1934, a woman that shared his his interests in bondage & high heels. She became his first model, and his second wife.
 
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“Coutts was frustrated by the refusal of London Life to print any of his letters on the subject of bondage and arrived at the conclusion–in 1936 or ‘37–that he could produce a superior and more liberal publication, which in 1946 would come to called Bizarre.

In the decade in between coming up with the idea of Bizarre magazine and getting the finances to put that project together, he came up with the idea of selling high-heeled shoes, though he actually wanted to market his photographs of women wearing those shoes and not the actual shoes themselves. But it didn’t work out that way.
 
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In 1937 Coutts got access to “The High-Heel Club” mailing list and started his career as a photographer. He also acquired the right to use the name “Achilles.” At first, using the list, he offered rather pedestrian photos of women wearing high-heels. He then added Holly Anna Faram who turned out to be an amazing model and started offering bondage poses, but in a veiled manner. Like many artists, writers and musicians Coutts was not a good businessman and not very good with money, a problem that would follow him throughout his life.

Early in 1938 he placed a series of ads in London Life magazine for his sexy shoes, charging what he felt would be too much for any potential customer (wanting to push his more reasonably priced photos instead) and naturally people started to order them. Now he had to do something, or return the money. So Coutts added shoe maker/designer to his list of accomplishments. He also put the money together to make his dream magazine but World War II broke out and that ended that dream, at least for a while.

In 1940, John Coutts volunteered for service in the Australian Army (listing his religion as “Pagan”). In 1945 he decided to move to America to once again attempt to bring his Bizarre dream to life. At the end of that year he travelled to Canada on a merchant ship to subsidize the trip. In Montreal he found a printer that not only had an allotment of paper (remember this was wartime), but was willing to take on the job. At that moment both “John Willie” and Bizarre were born.
 
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As far as Coutts’ new name was concerned and what it meant—“Willie,” of course, being British slang for the male sex organ—but “John Willie” was also a Cockney rhyming slang term for a little boy, so ummmm… take your pick! At last he was on his way. Willie moved to New York City in 1946 or ‘47, trying to work on Bizarre with not a lot of luck. He postponed publishing after four issues and started again in 1951. He sold the magazine to a friend in 1956 after publishing 20 issues. He also did business with infamous fetish photographer and mail order dealer Irving Klaw, famous for his Tempest Storm and Betty Page photos, bondage photos, fetish cartoon serials and of course, the photos by John Willie. Klaw made two color full length films (Teaserama and Varietease) which survived and can be seen on one DVD from Something Weird Video.
 
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To quote Rund again:

In April of 1961, after moving to Los Angeles, Coutts/Willie was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, followed in May by a confrontation with a Postal Inspector concerning his photographs. He then decided to put an end to his activities as “John Willie” and destroyed all of his negatives as well as his mailing list sending this announcement to his customers:

“On this occasion I will forgo the usual editorial “WE” (which is more businesslike) and instead, as this is the last letter you will ever receive from me I am reverting to “I”. I got sick (it happened very suddenly) and had to undergo a major operation (of course I’d have no insurance). As a result, there will be no more “Gwendoline,” and the whole business will be closed as of June 25th. (I have a few weeks grace—I hope.) I would like to inform you that on that date everything, but everything, including the mailing list will be destroyed… It’s been nice to have known you and I wish you the very best in your games of fun and nonsense.”

This was followed by a quotation from John’s favorite book (his “Bible”), The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, from which he had also quoted at the beginning of each issue of Bizarre: “Ah, with the grape of my fading Life provide, And wash my Body whence the Life has died, And in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt, So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.”

 
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John Alexander Scott Coutts passed away on August 5th 1962, at a doctor friend’s house in Scottsdale Arizona, on the same day that Marilyn Monroe died.

Little could Coutts have known the impact his art and life would have on the future of human sexuality. This impact is mostly due to Bizarre magazine and his The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline, both of which have been documented. According to author and publisher J.B. Rund:
 

The former (Bizarre) in the disappointing reprint of the magazine. The Latter (Gwendoline), together with a substantial amount of previously unpublished and uncollected artwork, in The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline, (Belier Press, 1974 and 1999). And to a lesser extent, as a photographer, which heretofore has been poorly and disrespectfully done. The present work will expand on this other talent, and provide an extensive—but not a complete—record of his prodigious output in that medium.

 
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The photos in the book are culled almost completely from just two sources, the author/publisher’s personal collection and that of the Kinsey Institute. It’s separated into three huge sections, geographically (Australia, New York, Los Angeles) which match his life’s timeline and it’s just incredible to see it all in one massive artistic survey. The notes, introductions and afterward are riddled with the most minute details that seem to leave no stone unturned. If you have even the slightest interest in pop culture, photography, women in distress, art, bondage, or the history of alternative culture, then you owe it to yourself to own this book—the only one you’ll ever need on this subject. Trade edition available from Belier Press for $70. Deluxe limited edition of 150 numbered copies each in a custom made cloth slipcase containing an ORIGINAL print of a photograph taken by John Willie in Los Angeles circa 1958-61, a different photo in each book, plus reproductions of two previously privately circulated photographs taken by Willie in Sydney circa 1938 (not in the book). Plus John Willie Speaks–John Willie Sings!?!, an audio CD, just under forty-eight minutes, consisting of a monologue from Within A Story, his only known speaking part in a motion picture from 1954, and excerpts from the only known interview with Willie from 1961-62, excerpts from A Bawdy Recital–Poems, songs and stories performed by John Willie in 1962. Whew! A serious bargain if you ask me, as only Belier Press could whip up.
 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Nightmarish sculptures of H.P. Lovecraft’s terrifying cosmic entities
01.09.2017
11:05 am

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Art
Heroes
Literature

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‘Lovecraft Tormented’ wall sculpture. Get it here.
 
Like many of you oh-so-cool Dangerous Minds readers I am a collector of a great many THINGS. From records to books and a slew of action figures, my house is a mini-museum full of cool THINGS. I also happen to know that a number of our regular visitors to DM seem to have a thing for anything that associated with the great American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. Which leads me to my post for today which features a number of intricate sculptures depicting some of Lovecraft’s eldritch entities such as “Dagon,” a creature that first made its appearance in Lovecraft’s short story of the same name from 1917; everyone’s favorite octopus-headed cosmic being, “Cthulhu”; Pickman’s model, and the nutty Nyarlathotep among others. I’m just aching to bring a few of these critters into my own menagerie of mayhem…

Some of the sculptures in this post are available for purchase. That said they are not cheap—specifically that magnificent wall sculpture “Lovecraft Tormented” (pictured at the top of this post). That puppy will run you a cool $1288. Several toy companies have released sets of Lovecraft’s monstrous nightmares and when they do, they sell out pretty fast, so if you see something in this post that strikes your fancy, get it now before it’s sold out and selling on eBay for bigs bucks. I’ve included some handy links for you to do just that under each available piece below.
 

‘Nyarlathotep’ sculpture by Sota Toys. Get it here.
 

‘Dagon’ sculpture. Get it here.
 
More Lovecraftian terrors after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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