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  • Sly And The Family Stone’s High Priestess Of Funk Cynthia Robinson R.I.P.
    04:39 pm


    Cynthia Robinson
    Sly And The Family Band

    Cynthia Robinson stood out in a band in which every member stood out. She was a funky high priestess wielding a trumpet like a thaumaturgic ramsinga. And she wore a crown, a black afro, that was epic in its sculpted glory. Her presence was majestic. She was one of the first black women trumpet players in a rock band and set the tone for others to follow. But beyond the music, Robinson was commanding figure, not content to stay in the shadows. She was the one that implored us to “get up and dance to the music” and showed us how it was done. Robinson died of cancer this past Monday.

    When learning of Robinson’s death, Roots drummer Questlove wrote…

    ... she wasn’t just a screaming cheerleading foil to Sly & Freddie’s gospel vocals. She was a KICK ASS trumpet player. A crucial intricate part of Sly Stone’s utopian vision of MLK’s America. Cynthia’s role in music history isn’t celebrated enough. Her & sister Rose weren’t just pretty accessories there to “coo” & “shoo wop shoo bob” while the boys got the glory. Naw. They took names and kicked ass while you were dancing in the aisle. Much respect to amazing CynthiaRobinson.

    In this rarely scene promo video from 1968, a button-downed, short-haired Sly is playing guitar and shoutin’ lyrics but it’s Robinson (in a perm destined for a blow-out comb) that cuts to the chase of what the song is all about, and when she growls “all the squares go home” her voice practically melts the microphone. Little Ms. Richard wants the party to begin and this ain’t no place for the weak of heart. And when she unleashes the full artillery of her trumpet the whole band revs its engine and the roof begins to wobble and shake.

    The video is particularly noteworthy for putting Robinson in the foreground where she really belonged. She’s every bit the front person as Sly and it would have been a trip to see her share the front of the stage more often back in the day. She was one of those women who knew her place. Everywhere.

    Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
    ‘It’s not cranberry sauce!’: Thanksgiving-themed ‘80s slasher film is gory good fun

    Blood Rage
    As Dangerous Minds readers surely know, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez incorporated fake movie trailers into their brilliant 2007 collaboration, Grindhouse. These previews for exploitation films that didn’t exist were made to resemble the type seen at grindhouse cinemas in the 1960s-1980s. One of the trailers was made by actor/director Eli Roth, most famous for the violent and controversial Hostel films, which have been labeled by some critics as “torture porn.” For his Grindhouse trailer, Roth came up with the delightfully deranged, Thanksgiving, which both celebrated and poked fun at the crop of holiday-themed slasher films that arrived after the major success of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978).

    My friend Jeff, who plays the killer pilgrim [in Thanksgiving]—we grew up in Massachusetts, we were huge slasher movie fans and every November we were waiting for the Thanksgiving slasher movie. We had the whole movie worked out: A kid who’s in love with a turkey and then his father killed it and then he killed his family and went away to a mental institution and came back and took revenge on the town.

    As it turns out, there were at least two ‘80s horror films based around Thanksgiving, 1981’s Home Sweet Home, and 1987’s Nightmare at Shadow Woods (a/k/a Blood Rage). The latter has been given the deluxe, Blu-ray treatment, and will be released by Arrow Films on December 15th.
    Blood Rage
    The film opens at a drive-in in 1974. Eight-year-old twin boys, Terry and Todd, witness a teenage couple having sex in a car. While Todd is content to leer at the teens, Terry pushes his brother aside so he can bludgeon the two with an ax.
    Ouch! The carnage in ‘Blood Rage’ is just beginning. 

    Terry blames it all on Todd, who’s understandably in shock and can’t defend himself. Fast forward ten years, and we are informed via an awkward voice-over (I initially thought the commentary track had accidentally been engaged) that Todd has been institutionalized. Terry, on the other hand, has been going about a normal life.

    Louise Lasser, star of iconic ‘70s TV series, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, plays Maddy, Todd and Terry’s loving mother. As the family is sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, Maddy is informed that Todd has escaped from the mental institution. From this point on, it’s both alarming and amusing to watch Lasser’s character go progressively bonkers, as Maddy hits the bottle and becomes increasingly unglued. 
    Need a hand?
    Need a hand? Maddy loses her shit.

    As for Terry, Todd’s escape has stirred the wild beast in him, and he goes on a joyous killing spree, mutilating friends and neighbors in the process.
    It's not cranberry sauce
    “It’s not cranberry sauce.”

    Naturally, everyone thinks Todd is responsible. Meanwhile, man child Todd has indeed returned home, and the two brothers face off in a totally disturbing (yet still kinda funny) finale, which also involves Lasser’s Maddy and her shattered mental state.

    Little-known actress Julie Gordon plays Terry’s girlfriend, Karen. Gordon’s only appeared in a handful of films, so it was a cool surprise to see her onscreen here (she’s the female lead in one of my all-time favorite ‘80s movies, Super Fuzz). In Blood Rage, she has the coveted role of “Final Girl.”
    Julie Gordon
    The production wrapped in 1983, but the film didn’t see wide release until 1987 when it came out under the title, Nightmare at Shadow Woods. The violence was toned-down for the theatrical release, with some additional footage added. For the Blu-ray, Arrow Video has included three versions of the film: the restored, uncensored cut of Blood Rage, which was released on VHS; a restored Nightmare at Shadow Woods; plus a new composite edit.
    Nightmare at Shadow Woods
    In addition to the holiday theme, like many horror flicks from the period, it borrows liberally from Halloween. But even John Carpenter had his influences, and was surely swayed by the groundbreaking holiday slasher that preceded Halloween, Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974).
    Black Christmas
    Though Blood Rage is low on fright (we know who the killer is early on and almost always see him coming), the film more than makes up for it with heavy doses of gleeful butchery.
    He lost his head
    If you like your ‘80s horror movies goofy and able to induce flashbacks from the era—the hair, the fashion, the video games—you’ll dig Blood Rage.
    Good times
    It’s really too bad Eli Roth didn’t see this one back in the day. He surely would’ve enjoyed this silly slice of slasher cinema.
    Bloody popcorn
    Of course it’s never too late for Roth or anyone else to check out film—and there’s no time like the present. You can pre-order the Blood Rage Blu-ray/DVD combo, which includes tons of extras, on MVD or Amazon. In the meantime, check out the NSFW preview below.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Happy Thanksgiving

    Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
    William Burroughs’ ‘Thanksgiving Prayer’—now more than ever!
    09:08 am


    William Burroughs
    Thanksgiving prayer

    “A Thanksgiving Prayer” by William Burroughs was written 30 years ago and it is as relevant now as the day Burroughs put it to paper. AIDS, the war on drugs, cops killing Blacks, homophobia, Big Brother…If anything, it’s gotten worse.

    So what is there to be thankful for? The right to talk about it.

    To John Dillinger and hope he is still alive.
    Thanksgiving Day November 28 1986

    Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts.
    Thanks for a continent to despoil and poison.
    Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger.
    Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin leaving the carcasses to rot.
    Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes.
    Thanks for the American dream,
    To vulgarize and to falsify until the bare lies shine through.
    Thanks for the KKK.
    For n*gger-killin’ lawmen, feelin’ their notches.
    For decent church-goin’ women, with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces.
    Thanks for “Kill a Queer for Christ” stickers.
    Thanks for laboratory AIDS.
    Thanks for Prohibition and the war against drugs.
    Thanks for a country where nobody’s allowed to mind their own business.
    Thanks for a nation of finks.
    Yes, thanks for all the memories—all right let’s see your arms!
    You always were a headache and you always were a bore.
    Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

    Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
    Cthulhu fhtagn: 2016’s ‘Lovecraftiana Calendar’ makes an eldritch Christmas gift
    10:03 am


    H. P. Lovecraft
    John Coulthart

    Are you a fan of H. P. Lovecraft? Or, maybe just seeking that perfect something for the Lovecraftian in your life? Then look no further than John Coulthart’s Lovecraftiana Calendar for 2016, which contains twelve sumptuous illustrations of some of Lovecraft’s best known creations.

    Coulthart is an artist, designer, writer and curator of the website {feuilleton}—an essential compendium of his interests, obsessions, and passing enthusiasms. Coulthart earliest artwork was for the album Church of Hawkwind in 1982. Since then, he has created a splendid oeuvre of artwork for books, magazines, comics and albums—for the likes of Steven Severin, Cradle of Filth, Melechesh and many, many others. Coulthart illustrated the “definitive” edition of Lovecraft’s The Haunter of the Dark and Other Grotesque Visions, and was involved in creating the legendary and infamous comic Lord Horror published by Savoy Books. He also has the “dubious accolade of having an earlier Savoy title, Hard Core Horror #5, declared obscene in a British court of law.”

    With the Lovecraftiana Calendar, Coulthart has brought together a selection of his mixed media illustrations of such mythical figures as Hastur,  Night Gaunt, Shoggoth, and locations such as the lost city of R’lyeh to powerful effect. And if this product twists your melon, then you can order your calendar here.

    JANUARY: Necronomicon (digital, 2015)


    FEBRUARY: The Yellow King (acrylics on board, 1996)


    MARCH: Nyarlathotep II (digital, 2009)

    More ‘Lovecraftiana’ after of the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    The two most pointless people in California demand strip clubs and the McDonald’s McRib sandwich
    09:41 am

    Current Events


    Of the 14,000+ McDonald’s franchises in the United States only 8,000 of them carry The McRib sandwich. Your chances of finding a McRib are about 55%. And that’s freaking some people out. So much so that there’s a McRib Locator on the Internet that “was created to help McRib fans locate this tasty yet elusive sandwich.”  Apparently, a shitload of folks are hankering for a slab of pig guts tossed with yoga mats, 70 additives, chemicals, fillers, and GMO ingredients all held together by glue and slathered in barbecue sauce that tastes like liquid diabetes.

    When it comes to the McRib, sometimes you just gotta make a stand. Strip clubs too. Donald Trump has been strangely silent on these subjects. Not so the fine folk of Santa Clarita, California.

    Santa Clarita is the third largest city in Los Angeles County so you’d figure that the city council would be up to their elbows in all kinds of important civic issues. But who is to judge what is important and what is not? This is a democracy gawdammit! So at most city council meetings there’s a period for public comment on any topic… as you will see.

    In the following video two Santa Claritians (?) address the council on two pressing matters very near and dear to their hearts: strip clubs and the McRib sandwich. The first one up is a guy who looks like the love child of an overstuffed scarecrow and The Cure’s Robert Smith - a lap dancer’s equivalent of a hard day at the office. But he’s merely the opening act for the pink-haired goofball up next. You can feel the young woman’s pain as she laments that the nearest MaCrib was “seen” 350 miles north of Santa Clarita in the Bay Area. She looks like she’s about to cry over the anguish that it’s caused her poor family, not to mention the Santa Clarita “foodie community” who she claims to represent. Can’t the Mayor call up McDonald’s and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS???

    Update: Okay here’s the scoop. I hate to be the guy to blow the cover off a great prank, but according to our super secret source, the “foodie” with the Manic Panik dye-job is fledgling comedian Xanthe Pajarillo . She’s pulled off an ingenious stunt. Had us fooled. She’s definitely got a future in comedy and that future is now.  So who’s the dude? Robert Benjamin. Another comic. Brilliant guys, brilliant.

    The Service Industry’s homage to the McRib “Liquid Meat (Into A Form).”



    Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
    Um, wait, so is EVERYONE in this town a pedophile? Watch insane cartoon ‘The Cautious Twins,’ 1960
    09:22 am


    Sid Davis
    The Cautious Twins

    Last weekend I was privileged to have attended a performance by Mystery Science Theater 3000 writers/puppeteers/mad scientists Trace “Dr. Clayton Forrester” Beaulieu and “TV’s Frank” Conniff. They did live movie riffing in the now-familiar MST3K style, and it was really quite an excellent time. They have two shows coming up in the next few months, In St. Louis on Saturday, December 12, 2015, and as part of the San Francisco Sketchfest on January 15, 2016. If you’re an MST3k fan at all, this is a show you really have to see, especially since Beaulieu and Conniff are not going to be a part of Joel Hodgson’s forthcoming reboot of the series. (I’m optimistic about the performers chosen to serve as the new host, mad scientist & robots, though.)

    I won’t reveal the feature film they riffed just in case they plan to use it at any of the forthcoming shows—I’d hate to spoil a welcome surprise. But as a warm-up, the pair also ably mocked a couple of preposterous cartoon shorts, one of which was so completely around the bend that they could have kept their mouths shut and it still would have been a riot to watch. It was a don’t-talk-to-strangers scare PSA produced by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, called “The Cautious Twins,” and was the animated counterpart to a contemporary pamphlet.

    The titular twins Dorene and Dan have the opposite of a helicopter mom, who sends them off to explore the town on their own. (To be clear, I’m not being critical here, I grew up really free-range, myself.) But mom might reconsider her permissiveness if she properly understood that every adult male in town save for one cop is a sleazy, leering, predatory pedophile. In fact, merely being more watchful might not suffice. She should really consider moving as far away from this nightmarish place as possible. Her poor kids can’t go ANYWHERE without getting hit up by a creeper.



    That the story is told with cheap, stilted, limited-motion animation, and narrated in awkward doggerel over a calliope soundtrack elevates it from merely creepy to completely demented, and the wide eyed, perma-grin expressions the preternaturally chipper twins wear only add to that effect.

    Notably, “The Cautious Twins” was directed by one Sid Davis, a director and producer who also gave the world scare films like “The Dangerous Stranger,” “Say No To Strangers,” and the massively homophobic “Boys Beware.” If you happen to be a collector of such oddball cultural produce, you might like to know that “The Dangerous Stranger” and “The Cautious Twins” are included as extras on Something Weird’s DVD release of Hitch Hike to Hell.

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    Punish your Fox News-watching relatives this Thanksgiving with 2 hours of Barry Manilow’s ‘Mandy’
    08:52 am


    Barry Manilow

    Here’s one to take home to the family for Thanksgiving.

    When your Fox News-watching parents or drunk racist uncle starts slipping the talk about Syrian refugees or Black Lives Matter protesters into the holiday dinner conversation, you’ll need to diffuse the situation fast—and as music hath charms to soothe the savage beast, Barry Manilow’s music is the most soothingest.

    Here we have a lovely remix of Barry Manilow‘s 70s AM radio classic, “Mandy,” normally 3:14 minutes long, here extended to a punishing two hours and fifteen minutes.

    Delight or threaten your family with this timeless ballad, now seamlessly drawn out to inhumane lengths.

    Make it a game. Anytime someone brings up how much they appreciate how Trump “tells it like it is,” give ‘em fifteen more minutes of “Mandy.” If Rush Limbaugh’s name comes up, that’s probably worth a half hour of “Mandy” waterboarding. If anyone says they “like that Ben Carson,” well, just make them leave.

    This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for YouTube user Richard Shuping‘s remorseless gift that, like the titular Mandy, came and gave without takin’...

    And it keeps giving and giving and giving… IT DOESN’T STOP GIVING:

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Amanda Lear: 70s disco diva, fashion model, TV star and Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse

    Model, painter, disco diva, TV personality and the absolute fiercest of the pioneering transsexuals (along with Candy Darling), Amanda Lear was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap in Saigon, 1939. Or it could have been Paris. Or Hong Kong. The year might have been 1941, 1945 or as she now claims 1950. There is much competing information about her parents, none of it conclusive. In general, not much is known for sure about the early life of Amanda Lear and she would very much like to keep it that way. She claims to have been educated in Switzerland and she eventually made her way to Paris in 1959, taking the stage name “Peki d’Oslo,” performing as a stripper at the notorious drag bar, Le Carrousel.

    Amanda Lear’s mid-60s model card.
    The story goes that the gangly, yet exotic Eurasian beauty Peki had a nose job and sex change in Casablanca paid for by none other than the Surrealist master Salvador Dali, who frequented Le Carrousel, in 1963. Amanda, as she is now known, then makes her way to London to become a part of the swinging Chelsea set where she is rumored to have had a relationship with Rolling Stone Brian Jones. She models for Yves St. Laurent and Paco Rabanne and is a constant muse for the Divine Dali, but her career is held back by rumors that she was born a man or was a hermaphrodite.

    ‘For Your Pleasure’ cover
    Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry saw Lear on the runway during an Ossie Clark fashion show and invited her to be the model for Roxy’s For Your Pleasure album cover, walking a black panther on a leash. They were briefly engaged and that image has become iconic. Lear also had a yearlong affair with David Bowie who serenaded her with “Sorrow” in his “1980 Floor Show” (broadcast on The Midnight Special in 1974). Bowie helped Lear launch her musical career and by the late 1970s she had become a bestselling disco singer and television personality in Europe with hits like “Follow Me,” “Queen of Chinatown” and “I Am a Photograph.”

    The David Bailey photograph of Lear that appeared in the infamous 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue
    Amanda Lear’s autobiography, My Life With Dali came out in 1985 and it begins when she would have been approximately 24 or 25 years of age. Almost no mention whatsoever is made of her life before arriving in London in 1965. When Dali biographer Ian Gibson confronted her on camera about the gender of her birth in his The Fame and Shame of Salvador Dali TV documentary, Lear angrily—and not at all convincingly—stonewalled him. She has always vehemently denied that she was a transsexual despite it being a well-established fact. She even posed nude for Playboy and several other men’s magazines and often sunbathed naked on beaches to dispel the rumors. All this really proved was that she had a kickin’ bod, but if you ask me, I think it’s sad that she choses to keep up this pretense. She should be rightfully celebrated for her biggest accomplishment in life—ironically, being true to herself—but apparently Amanda Lear just doesn’t see it that way.

    Amanda Lear vehemently denies having had a sex change on German television 1977.
    Today Amanda Lear still looks amazing—she’s practically ageless no matter what her real biological age might be—and continues to perform all over Europe. She’s sold somewhere in the vicinity of fifteen million albums and 25 million singles. She also has a thriving career as a painter and an original painting of hers can sell for $10,000 or more. She’s done stage acting and was the voice of Edna ‘E’ Mode in the Italian-dubbed version of The Incredibles. Lear was a judge on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars.
    “The Stud” from 1979’s ‘Sweet Revenge’ album

    Much more of Amanda Lear, after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Cool T-shirts featuring Ken Russell, Klaus Nomi, John Waters, Sylvia Plath & more

    It’s getting near that time for buying presents and shit. The one present I’ll certainly be adding to my holiday wish list of hoped-for Christmas goodies is a Ken Russell T-shirt from Hirsute History.

    The l’enfant terrible genius of British cinema, Unkle Ken—the man responsible for such classic movies as Women in Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils, Tommy and Altered States—is just one of the many hirsute heroes to be found on a range of colorful clothing available from Hirsute History at Amphorphia Apparel. Here he joins Sylvia Plath, John Waters, Susan Sontag, Jerry Garcia, Ada Lovelace and a whole bunch of other artists, scientists, ideas and stars that’ll look good on your body.

    So, if you fancy wearing a Ken Russell or an Ada Lovelace, then hop over to the site or get a retina burn from the selection below.
    Ken Russell.
    Sylvia Plath.
    Groucho Marx.
    More fab T-shirts, after the jump….

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Candid photos of Johnny Thunders, Siouxsie Sioux and The Clash from the mid-1970s

    Steve Severin and Siouxsie Sioux, 1976
    Steve Severin and Siouxsie Sioux, 1976
    Photographer Ray Stevenson, the brother of former Sex Pistols’ road manager and early manager of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nils Stevenson (RIP), took some pretty remarkable photos of the punk rock movement back in the mid-70s. Many of his snapshots had punk players like Siouxsie Sioux, Johnny Thunders and fashion designer and icon Vivienne Westwood just hanging out being punks together.
    Vivienne Westwood, John Lydon and Jordan, 1976
    Vivienne Westwood, John Lydon and model/muse Jordan, 1976
    Thanks to some convincing from his brother, Stevenson and his camera often found themselves at parties held at the legendary Marquee Club and in Linda Ashby’s hotel room at the St. James Hotel. His images were among a few of the punk time capsules captured by the (then) young photographer showcased at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London just last week. Some of Stevenson’s remarkable photos can be purchased, here. Super snotty and beautifully candid images taken by Stevenson follow.
    Johnny Thunders, Nils Stevenson and Lee Black Childers (RIP)
    Johnny Thunders, Nils Stevenson and photographer/manager Leee Black Childers (RIP)
    Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of The Clash on an elevator
    Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of The Clash on an elevator
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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