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  • Vintage cinema sleaze: Remarkable ‘neo-retro’ video covers and poster art
    05.25.2015
    10:31 am

    Topics:
    Art
    Movies
    Pop Culture

    Tags:
    VHS

    They Live BluRay box art, 2014
    John Carpenters’ They Live Blu-Ray cover art (UK), 2014
     
    In the early 80’s it was rumored that the UK had the largest number of VHS players per household, than anywhere else in the world. This interesting and perhaps plausible factoid (since the first home video recorder, The Telcan hit the UK consumer market in 1963), comes straight from the mouth of UK born illustrator, film poster designer and VHS aficionado, Tom Hodge, aka “The Dude Designs.
     
    King of New York for DVD/BlueRay art for Arrow 2012
    King of New York DVD/Blu-Ray cover art for Arrow, 2012
     
    Like so many of us, Hodge’s obsession with cinema began thanks to easy access to VHS (Video Home System) tapes and frequent visits to his local “video van man.” Much like the movies themselves, the glorious cover art that continues to entice VHS collectors from all over the world, was quickly burned into his psyche. In 1995 Hodge began his formal education with graphic design and visual communication before launching his career as a professional designer in 2000. Since then, Hodge has designed dozens of DVD and Blu-Ray covers as well as salacious film posters for titles put out by Arrow Films, Scream Factory, and Magnet, among others. His art is seemingly possessed by the spirit of the seedy underbelly of vintage grindhouse, horror and exploitation cinema.
     
    Brian DePalma's Obsession DVD/BluRay cover 2011
    Brian De Palma’s Obsession DVD/Blu-Ray cover art, 2011
     
    If you also love all things VHS with a passion as Mr. Hodge, Yale University’s film archive would make you weep. The Ivy League school boasts a collection of almost 5,000 titles; 2,700 of them on VHS. Of particular interest in Yale’s archival is the fact that it is primarily comprised of horror films, thanks due in part to the “direct to video” marketing tactic used by fringe filmmakers in order to circumvent the Hollywood machine. What is also significant about both Yale and Hodge’s cultural curation of VHS, is that there are an endless number of VHS titles that simply cannot be found (or never will be released) on DVD or Blu-Ray. In other words, the only way to see many of the films that reside in Hodge’s or Yale’s archives requires that you pull your VCR out of storage, and view it on old-school magnetic tapes. 
     
    Hobo with a Shotgun movie poster for Magnet, 2011
    Jason Eisner’s Hobo with a Shotgun. Movie poster for Magnet, 2011
     
    Recently, Hodge put together an archival of his own that is chronicled in his book, VHS Video Cover Art: 1980’s to Early 1990’s. Nearly half of the VHS films featured in the book are straight from Hodge’s own collection. Although many of the titles in Hodge’s book may be more recognizable to a UK video junkie, any child of the 80’s will undoubtedly recall many of the hundreds of images of VHS tapes (front and back mind you, squeee!) within the books covers.
     
    From Parts Unknown film poster, 2014
    From Parts Unknown (Fight Like a Girl) film poster, 2014
     
    Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla (Australia) film poster, 2013
    Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla (Australia) film poster, 2013
     
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    East beats West: Sensational Japanese posters of popular 70s films
    05.25.2015
    09:28 am

    Topics:
    Design
    Movies

    Tags:
    Japanese film posters
    seventies

    019rollerballjpnpost5647832019.jpg
     
    Japanese movie posters of the sixties and seventies kick ass. They always seemed more exciting than their American or British counterparts, managing to take choice images and compose them like frames from a comic book. Even when the posters were just cut and paste jobs there always a sense of drama, as if you have joined the story at a key scene—explosions blossom, machine guns rip, heroes do battle.

    This little mix of classy posters show how good graphic art can make average movies like Caged Heat, Serpico, Black Belt Jones and Dracula A.D. 1972 seem like masterpieces.
     
    009deathrace2000jpnpst09875rtgv009.jpg
     
    008logansrunjpnpost097656789008.jpg
     
    010battleplntapesjpnpost09874escv010.jpg
     
    More Japanese movie posters, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    The Mummies’ infamous ‘fuck you’ letter to Sub Pop and some other ‘fuck yous’
    05.25.2015
    08:27 am

    Topics:
    Punk

    Tags:
    garage rock
    The Mummies


     
    San Francisco’s The Mummies were kings of the 1990s garage punk “budget rock” scene. Known for their outrageous and insulting stage antics, the group, clad in tattered bandages, straight tore shit up until their demise on New Year’s Day of 1992—as the video at the end of this post will attest. Since their break-up, the group has reunited several times, and are currently scheduled to headline The Burger Boogaloo festival, hosted by John Waters, the weekend of July 4th, this year… Maybe…

    You see, The Mummies recently posted a punk-as-fuck open letter to Burger Records, which had a lot of ticket-holders on the Internet scratching their heads.
     

    Click on image for larger version.
     
    Now, we’re in no position to second-guess The Mummies’ intentions or veracity of their letter—so we’re not going to speculate one way or another whether or not the group intends to ditch their Burger Booglaoo gig.

    We will, however, point out what many fans of the group already know: that the Burger Records “fuck off” letter seems to be an homage to an earlier “fuck off” letter sent to Sub Pop Records back in 1993.
     

    Click on image for larger version.
     
    According to The Underestimator:

    The Mummies` reply to Sub Pop`s offer to include them on their monthly singles collection was a fake Sub Pop Singles Club bootleg self-release with this “Fuck You” note, back in the early `90s, when Sub Pop had become a major player in the record business, signing Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and many more grunge bands from Seattle.

    The Mummies put out their own “bootleg” Sub Pop “Singles Club” 45, with that letter included, as the ultimate two middle fingers in the air punk gesture.

    The discogs entry for this “unofficial release” indicates:

    Released in response to Sub-Pop requesting the band appear on a Singles Club release. The record’s sleeve copies the layout of a Singles Club single, but it is not a Sub-Pop release. The labels on both sides of the record are blank.

     

    Could this even happen in 2015 without serious legal repercussions?
     
    This gesture may have itself been inspired by Sub Pop’s own infamous “Dear Loser” rejection letter:
     

    Click on image for larger version.
     
    You see, in the early ‘90s EVERYONE was an asshole.

    Let’s hope The Mummies reconsider their stance against the Burger Boogaloo “love in” before July 4th…

    Because the world needs a little of what you’ll see after the jump…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    San Francisco police need your help locating a stolen Residents eyeball head mask
    05.23.2015
    03:53 pm

    Topics:
    Crime
    Music

    Tags:
    The Residents


     
    The San Francisco Police Department has issued a statement detailing the theft of one of the original Residents’ eyeball head masks.

    The mask, valued at $100,000 (yeah, OK), was signed for by an unknown person and is now missing. Along with the mask is an original photograph of the Residents which is valued at $20,000 (yeah, OK).

    SFPD has included an anonymous tip line, should you happen to see the famous eyeball in your local pawn shop.
     

    The missing mask
     

    And the case it came in
     

    A local San Francisco resident had a famous “Eyeball with Hat” mask and an original album cover photo from the musical band called the “Residents” taken from him by an unknown suspect.

    In this incident the victim loaned the mask, which was valued at $100,000.00, to a museum in Seattle for a predetermined period of time. On May 5th, at the conclusion of the loan, the curator sent the mask back to the victim using a major delivery courier service. Unfortunately, the victim was traveling and was not present to receive the shipment.

    The package was delivered and signed for by an unknown person using an illegible signature. The mask has been used on a record album cover and is periodically displayed throughout the country. The pictured top hat is now black instead of white and was contained in a shipping crate (photo attached). Stolen along with the mask was the original album cover photo which the victim values at $20,000.00.

    Anyone who recalls seeing the mask, photo, or crate or has information on this case is asked to contact the Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and include “SFPD” at the beginning of the message.

    NBC Bay Area has a story posted about the theft with a short video.

    Here, a young Penn Jillette attempts to reveal what lies beneath those giant eyeballs:
     

     
    Via SFPD

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Vintage photos of ‘drag queens’ before it was safe to be out and proud
    05.22.2015
    11:20 am

    Topics:
    Fashion
    History
    Queer

    Tags:
    transgender
    Cross-dressing


    Brigham Morris Young
     
    Here’s a collection of historical “drag queens” dating back to the 1800s and then onwards. The reason I’m using “drag queen” in double quotes is because I’m not entirely sure if these people were transgender, cross-dressers, dressing up as women for theatrical purposes or just for the of fun it. The information is very limited for each image. Either way, they’re all gorgeous and seem quite comfortable with themselves in front of a lens during a time when society looked down on such self-expression.


     

     

     

    Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton AKA “Fanny and Stella.”
     
    More after the jump…
     

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Fart terrorist’s secrets revealed
    05.22.2015
    07:12 am

    Topics:
    Amusing
    Food

    Tags:
    recipe
    fart
    dip


     
    So many of the great scientists have suffered or sacrificed for their work. Jonas Salk gave the world a vaccine for polio without patenting it (and therefore majorly profiting). Marie Curie actually died from prolonged exposure to radiation as a result of her research. Giordano Bruno was imprisoned and executed by the Catholic Church for his belief that the stars were actually distant suns! All of these guys are total chumps though, because food writer Dennis Lee has actually broken ground on a “fart dip” using his own body as the test subject—now that is commitment. What would inspire someone to develop such a dangerous chemical weapon?

    I imagined myself at a fancy party where I served a magical delicious dip. It would be addictive and wonderful, but what people would not know is that every ingredient was picked to maximize flatulence. Then, a few hours later, everyone would secretly start farting uncontrollably and pass out. Everyone would be so embarrassed that all these dumb fancy food parties would go away forever

    Chaos, destruction—I like it! (He is also about to be unemployed, which I think might be a factor, if not a motivation.) Unfortunately the dip—made up of onions, lima beans, sour cream, cabbage and prunes (some of the most flatulence-inducing foods, according to Lee)—looks disgusting every step of the way, and results in a flavor he initially likens to vomit, and later “hummus that has been mixed with French onion dip and sweet dried fruit.” As for its efficacy, Lee felt sick after eating an entire bowl, and from what he could tell, the dip only produced a single (though massive) fart.

    We’ll call it a prototype?

    The recipe, after the jump…

    Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
    Palettes of Picasso, Matisse, Degas and Van Gogh are works of art unto themselves


    Vincent Van Gogh
     
    Some years ago the inventive German photographer Matthias Schaller who specializes in what he calls the “indirect portrait” was in the studio of Cy Twombly and happened to glance at the painter’s palette, smeared with pigments of various hues, but mainly a shade of red fairly close to the color of blood. It occurred to Schaller that the palette is arguably as identifiable to an artist as the artist’s work itself, even if created purely by accident. As he puts it, “The palette is an abstract landscape of the painter’s artistic production.”

    Schaller has created a series of marvelous photographs of the palettes of famous artists, each of which measures at roughly 190 x 150 cm. The collection, called “Das Meisterstück” (The Masterpiece), has appeared as an exhibition and is available in book form as well—for more information write an email to thepalettebook@gmail.com.

    These are all utterly fascinating to gaze at; my favorites are those of Bacon and Kokoschka. They’re all pretty wonderful.
     

    Pablo Picasso
     

    Claude Monet
     

    Salvador Dalí
     
    See the palettes of Matisse, Manet, Kandinsky, Kahlo, Bacon and many more after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Got old before he died: Roger Daltrey threatens to stop Who gig over audience pot smoking
    05.22.2015
    06:42 am

    Topics:
    Drugs
    Music

    Tags:
    marijuana
    The Who


     
    Ultimate Classic Rock reports that Roger Daltrey threatened to stop a Who concert at New York’s Nassau Coliseum this week when he smelled marijuana smoke coming from the audience. The singer claims he is allergic to the smoke and it stops his voice from working.

    You can see Daltrey scold the audience member with the wicked bud in the [below] video. He asks him to stop puffing or he would walk offstage. Then Pete Townshend gets a few words in too, before the fan apparently put away his stash and let the band continue on with its 50th-anniversary tour show.

    Newsday‘s review notes that “the smoke’s impact was almost immediate on his voice, which went from crystal clear and potent for the opening ‘I Can’t Explain’ to something rougher and more limited during ‘I Can See for Miles.’”

    Talk about their generation—apparently Daltrey and Townshend have managed to get old before dying.
     

     
    Via Ultimate Classic Rock

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Watch the first silver screen portrayal of Aleister Crowley in 1926’s ‘The Magician’
    05.22.2015
    05:43 am

    Topics:
    Movies
    Occult

    Tags:
    Aleister Crowley
    W. Somerset Maugham


     
    W. Somerset Maugham based Oliver Haddo, the titular character in his 1908 novel The Magician, on Aleister Crowley, whom he had met in literary circles in Paris. It was not an altogether flattering portrait, and Crowley, writing in Vanity Fair as “Oliver Haddo,” argued that Maugham had plagiarized multiple sources in a scathing review of the book.

    Almost 20 years later, Rex Ingram brought The Magician to the silver screen with the German actor and director Paul Wegener as the bloodthirsty Haddo. Crowley was living in Paris at the time, and he sought to prevent the movie’s French premiere by legal means. Richard Kaczynski’s definitive Beast biography, Perdurabo, mentions the incident in connection with Crowley’s student Gerald Yorke (the brother of the novelist Henry Green):

    [...] Yorke kept AC’s pipe dreams in perspective: one such scheme involved Metro-Goldwyn’s film adaptation of Maugham’s The Magician, which was opening on the Grand Boulevard March 23. Since Crowley received no compensation as the model of Oliver Haddo, he filed an injunction against showing the film. However, when representatives from the film company offered to pay Crowley, he refused. “The lawsuit is a pretext for a business deal,” he explained to Yorke. “I’m holding out for publicity and power.” Crowley wanted a contract to produce a series of educational films on magick. Yorke was pessimistic about the scheme.

    (In the event, Crowley got nothing. “I cannot say that I think you will get any damages from Metro-Goldwyn over The Magician film,” Yorke had warned Crowley. “Your reputation is too bad to be damaged by that.”)
     

    Paul Wegener as Oliver Haddo: finally, an unbiased cinematic portrait of Aleister Crowley
     
    “He looks as if he had stepped out of a melodrama,” the movie’s hero says when he first meets the sorcerer, giving the game away. Briefly: a diabolical sculpture crumbles in a Latin Quarter studio, crushing artist Margaret Dauncey’s spine. Her dashing lover, the famous surgeon Arthur Burdon, cures her paralysis with a scalpel. We first see Haddo in the audience at the operating theater, looking at the beautiful young quadriplegic on the table as if she were a hamburger. Poring over occult books in search of the secret of creating life, the magician has discovered an alchemical working that requires “the Heart Blood of a Maiden.” Can you guess whom he might have in mind for a donor?

    There are many visual treats in store—among them a freak show and a snake charmer—but if you’re impatient or easily bored, skip to the 29-minute mark, where Haddo brings Dauncey under his spell, magically transports her to a rite of Pan, and awakens an unnatural lust within her.
     

     

    Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
    There’s a Roku channel just for cheesy old sex-ed and exploitation films


     
    When streaming players boast about their huge numbers of channels, I’m generally even less impressed than I am by the “wealth” of offerings on the grossly overpriced wasteland that is cable TV. I have absolutely no use for thousands of impossibly granular channels like The Christian Comedy Channel, Firewood Hoarders, NRA Women, and Cruise Addicts. Those are all real. But in their favor, I don’t have to pay $75 a month to not watch them.

    But sometimes, that nanoscopic specificity does pay weirdness dividends. The Shout Factory channel proffered by the music/video label of the same name holds some treasures, as do the handful of channels that compile old cartoons that have passed into the public domain. And not so long ago, I ran across a channel, called Stop It Or You’ll Go Blind!, devoted exclusively to old sex ed films, with some “educational” exploitation thrown in. (Why is “Sex Ed-sploitation” not a term? It’s a thing, it needs a word…)
     

     

     
    Unsurprisingly, a lot of these are a riot. There’s “Miracles in Birth,” a graphic depiction of live births shot in grainy black and white so blown-out it looks less like a miracle and more like outtakes from Begotten. There’s “Dance Little Children,” a creepy VD scare flick directed by Carnival of Souls auteur Herk Harvey, which teaches us all a valuable lesson about not letting slimy rich dudes boink us on the first date. The 1938 Sex Madness, Dwain Esper’s follow-up to Reefer Madness is streaming, as is the bizarre Test Tube Babies, a tale of swinging and sterility. And the ‘60s classic “Perversion for Profit” is there, the notorious and INSANE 30 minute anti-indecency screed in which L.A. newsreader/talk show host (and, later, NewsMax columnist *shudder*) George Putnam blames pornographers for everything from juvenile crime to child molestation. The brilliant thing about “P4P” is that if anyone actually held on to even half of the smut rags displayed for *ahem* viewer edification, they could be an eBay millionaire today.
     
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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