Veterans For Peace, a UK organization of war veterans, has recently set up a website in opposition to child recruitment of soldiers. Their mission is to raise the minimum UK recruitment age from sixteen to eighteen. The site makes its point with a set of (VERY) darkly humorous parody action figures: “PTSD Action Man,” “Paralyzed Action Man,” and “Dead Action Man.”
The site also features a set of (brilliant) fake commercials detailing the realities of war casualty.
An amusing side-effect of the ‘90s post-Nirvana OMFG SIGN EVERY BAND WITH WEIRD CLOTHES RIGHT NOW moment was the attention given to quality strivers who would likely have escaped the mainstream radar altogether had the corporate music sector not taken to throwing entire scenes at the wall to see what would stick. And while yes, we had to suffer the temporary ubiquity of 4 Non Blondes and Crash Test Dummies, moments like this almost made up for it: sometime in the mid-‘90s, MTV took Melvins singer/guitarist King Buzzo mansion shopping in Beverly Hills.
I’m having trouble pinning down the actual date of this, but judging from Buzzo’s hair, my best guess would be between 1994-1996ish, give or take. (And I love the idea of Buzzo’s hair functioning as rock ‘n’ roll carbon-dating. Surely someday it’ll serve as an oracle.) This was squarely within the short period during which Melvins were on Atlantic records, but though they’d influenced very very successful bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, the Melvins themselves weren’t really filling stadia in accordance with their accolades. Which, along with Buzzo’s natural charm and warped sense of humor (that ridiculous fake evil laugh gets me every time), is exactly what makes this video hilarious—America’s love affair with quality notwithstanding, he’s not a guy who’s ever going to be buying a Beverly Hills mansion.
Hanging with Kim Thayil? Cool, no doubt, but no mansion. Maybe a nice bungalow?
Hanging out with Kurt Cobain? STILL no mansion. Sorry, Mr. Influential.
And he hammers that point home at the end, attempting to pay for the place with indie-cred, in the form of magazine articles full of accolades for how influential he was. But of course, all that influence didn’t really make Melvins any real cash. The real estate agent, who took this shameless waste of her time in admirable stride, then proceeds to state the incontrovertible fact artists of all stripes have been trying to tell cheapshit clients for ages: praise and exposure for your work don’t support you if you don’t get MONEY for it. And really, in that era of overwrought and myopic Fugazi-purity, that it took a goofy prank on a real estate agent to point out something so screamingly obvious is actually kind of unsurprising.
By the way, Melvins are on tour, and Butthole Surfer Jeff Pinkus is serving as their bassist (he and BHS guitarist Paul Leary played on the last Melvins album Hold It In. If there’s a show coming your way, do try to make it out to see them. After over 30 years, they still bring it HARD.
Thanks, Rob Galo, for letting me know this exists.
This remarkable gallery of Mel Brooks making the most of his entirely rubbery face appeared in a 1982 issue of Best magazine, a French publication. Here’s a typical cover of Best, also from 1982:
Anyway, here was the spread as it appeared in the magazine. As you can see, Brooks is giving his impression of 12 core emotions, including fear, joy, astonishment, and sadness. In each case Brooks has supplied a little comment on what the emotion means. If you click on this image, you will be able to see a larger version.
Here are better views of the panels, with inexpert translations that were enabled in large part by Google Translate.
Hatred: I do not practice it.
Shyness: The very big girls
Seduction: I cannot go to the discos without locking myself in the bathroom because the women are so beautiful.
Joy: A girl named Sheila, against my expectation, gave me her address.
Love: A good book in the hand of a beautiful naked girl when I’m in a hotel room that she paid for.
Provocation: A waiter spills soup on me, I leave without paying.
Ennui: All the Jews who borrow money from me under the pretext that am one.
Fear: When there are many people at the table but they bring me the check.
Stupidity: Believing the promises of politicians.
I blogged about Tumblr Seventies Blowjob Faces back in 2011 here on Dangerous Minds and I was curious to see if new images were still being added to the site. To my delight there are more many, many more images of ‘70s “pornstache” dudes perfecting their orgasmically blissful O-faces.
This is one of those ideas I hate myself for not thinking of first. It’s simple, crude and rude (and therefore probably a big money maker). Lead Balloons is a company that makes these black balloons with surly messages like “You are a waste of blood and organs,” and “Don’t forget, you are a terrible human being.”
You can buy an assorted pack of thirteen rude balloons for around $7.00 at Incredible Things.
As I side note: I can think of far worse messages to write on these balloons.
Man, the fuckin’ ‘70s… It’s no secret or surprise that teen magazines’ content started to skew a bit more adult in that decade, mirroring significantly more permissive times, but I was floored by the August, 1974 issue of SPEC, a sometimes quarterly, sometimes bimonthly, typically more pin-up heavy special publication of 16 Magazine. While 16 tended to keep details of teenybopper stars’ sexual lives obscured in favor of probing questions into Bobby Sherman’s favorite (sorry—FAVE, always fave) color or David Cassidy’s fave dessert, SPEC offered up a Grand Funk “Be Our Groupie” contest, a ridiculous shirtless crotch-shot centerfold of Rick Springfield, and an advice column addressing how to touch a guy if you want to turn him on, fittingly written by a gentleman named “Rod.”
And as if to prove that clickbait is nothing new, here’s what ultimately grabbed me:
OK, I was curious what I’d need to do to marry an Osmond, too…
It speaks volumes about values dissonance over the decades that that could be printed at all, let alone on the COVER of a magazine, let alone the cover of a magazine for junior high and high school girls. And not even JUST on the cover:
Sooooooo I’m still confused—is Alice Cooper or is he not a fag? We’ll have to refer to the ridiculous interview to find out:
SPEC: People say all kinds of things about you. Alice: I know, I know.
SPEC: So what’s the story, Alice? Are you gay? Are you straight? Are you bisexual? Which? Alice: Oh, I’m straight. I’m attracted only to members of the opposite sex—girls, that is.
SPEC: But you have a girl’s name, you wear all that make-up. Don’t you expect people to get the impression that you’re not straight? Alice: Well, I have a girl’s name, but that’s kind of a goof. And lots of men who perform wear make-up—that’s a theatrical tradition, it has nothing to do with sexuality. And I do not attempt to look like a girl, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m not a transvestite—I don’t imitate women. Did you ever see a woman who looked the way I do? If one did, she’d really get called a weirdo!
SPEC: Nevertheless, we get all these letters saying “Alice s a fag!” I’m sure you get them too. How do you account for that? Alice: To some extent, I must admit, we do encourage that impression. But I’m not a “fag”—you know I don’t like using that word because it’s insulting to gay people.
SPEC: What impression do you encourage? Alice: Oh, you know, bizarre, kinky, neither-here-nor-there. But I never went out of my way to lead people to believe that I was actually homosexual. After all, make-up and costumes have nothing to do with homosexuality—the only pertinent behavior is whether or not you’re attracted to people of your own sex.
SPEC: I understand you’ve been criticized by people in the gay liberation movement for exploiting homosexuality and making fun of it. Alice: I’m sorry they feel that way, but there are a lot of gay people who don’t mind what I do also. It’s all in fun, and it’s certainly not meant to be malicious in any way whatsoever.
SPEC: Don’t you think a lot of your fans want to believe that you’re gay? Alice: Yes, I know they do. Isn’t it curious? They’ll read this interview, and they’ll say “Bull! We know he’s queer!” Nothing I could say or do could convince them that I’m not.
SPEC: Why do you think that is? Alice: I figure it probably makes these kids feel far-out to think that they can dig a performer who’s supposedly gay. I think it’s groovy of them.
SPEC: Would you admit it if you were homosexual? Alice: Of course, and I wouldn’t just admit it, as if it were something you’re supposed to conceal. I’d just be it. I’d be natural about it, and I don’t see where it would be very much different for me, except I’d be making it with men instead of women.
SPEC: Aren’t you even just a little bit bisexual? Alice: You mean do I mostly like girls, but do I like boys sometimes? No, I only like girls, but if I could have chosen my own sexuality, I think I might have chosen to be bisexual.
SPEC: Why is that? Alice: It would give me twice as many people to pick from!
SPEC: Do you really mean that? Alice: Sure—I think in the future everyone will be bisexual. And everything would be so much simpler then—you’d just make love with anyone you liked, and it wouldn’t matter what sex they were, and maybe it also wouldn’t matter what color they were, or what age, or anything, except that you liked them.
That’s a way better chat than you were expecting, no? Me too. I’ve conducted a fair few interviews and I can’t imagine in a million years bluntly asking someone if he or she is gay, and Cooper handled that all really well—especially for 1974. It goes on for a bit longer, with a lot of silly, if period-appropriate, shockrocker gobbledygook about pansexuality as a panacea for social ills blah blah blah. What’s transcribed above is the worthy stuff.
Here’s some more rare ‘74 vintage Alice—a mimed version of the Billion Dollar Babies cut “Sick Things,” from a short-lived TV mystery series called The Snoop Sisters. They were actually NAMED “Snoop” AND they were snoops, you guys. Why did that not last?
As part of the TeenTech awards, an annual competition to reward the ingenuity of teenage inventors, a trio of students younger than 15 have developed a condom that changes color if a sexually transmitted infection is detected, in the name of reducing the spread of disease. The trio consists of 14-year-old Daanyaal Ali, 13-year-old Muaz Nawaz, and 14-year-old Chirag Shah, and they have named their intriguing creation the S.T. Eye, in a punning reference to STIs, or sexually transmitted infections.
Called the S.T.EYE, the condom concept includes a layer impregnated with molecules that attach to the bacteria and viruses associated with the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
These would then cause molecules incorporated in the condom rubber to fluoresce a certain colour in low light, according to the infection detected.
So the condom might glow green for chlamydia, yellow for herpes, purple in the presence of the human papillomavirus which causes genital warts, and blue for syphilis, explained the designers.
Although still a concept at the moment, the students hope it may be possible to turn their idea into a reality in the future.
Ali said, “We wanted to create something that makes detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before, so that people can take immediate action in the privacy of their own homes without the invasive procedures at the doctors. ... We’ve made sure we’re able to give peace of mind to users and make sure people can be even more responsible than ever before.”
Inherent in the product, should it ever come to pass, is that both partners might well learn of the existence of an STI after the act of sex, which would lead to a, er, highly charged conversation. Or consider this example, if one partner knows he has an STI but the other partner supplies the condom, the S.T. Eye would effectively catch one of them in a lie, which is one of the most awkward circumstances of all the condom could uncover. Eye-yi-yi!
UPDATE:Peter Yeh is calling shenanigans on the STI condoms.
Once upon a time, a king lay dying. His loyal subjects were overcome with grief—and non-payment of wages.
So begins Cucumber Castle, a 1970 BBC film and an oddity in the Bee Gees’ oeuvre. Of course, if the Bee Gees are known for their involvement in a film, it’s Saturday Night Fever, the ‘70s disco movie that became so popular as to pose an existential threat to rock ‘n’ roll itself, but all the really good Bee Gees fans know about their original psychedelic period. If you need to be brought up to speed, this can be done briefly: the early Bee Gees’ four albums from 1967’s Bee Gees 1st to 1969’s masterpiece Odessa are indispensable psych-pop GEMS with which no fan of that era’s rock would be unfamiliar in a better world. I feel like having a home without Bee Gees 1st is as incomplete as having a home without a dog or cat. Sure, it can be done, but why would you want that?
After Odessa, the band experienced a falling-out. Vocalist Robin Gibb (RIP 2012) left the band for a brief period, leaving the group as a trio of his twin brother Maurice (RIP 2003), elder brother Barry, and drummer Colin Petersen, who himself would be soon out the door. The remaining band’s next endeavor was Cucumber Castle, an affably goofy, mildly Pythonesque musical film about a dying king (TW3 comic Frankie Howerd hamming it up through the damn roof) dividing his kingdom between his sons Frederick and Marmaduke (Barry and Maurice Gibb) into the Kingdom of Cucumber and the Kingdom of Jelly, over which spoils the brothers immediately proceed to quarrel. The Gibbs aren’t half bad comedic actors in a stilted, they’re-not-really-actors way, and the film includes appearances by Bind Faith, Spike Milligan, Vincent Price, and Lulu (who was married to Maurice at the time), with abundant uncredited cameos whom I won’t name, as it’s more fun to watch the hour-long special and do your own trainspotting. And of course there are shloads of musical numbers—though it should be mentioned here that I know of nobody who considers the Cucumber Castle LP essential.
The Brothers Gibb played host to Hit Parader’s Margaret Robin during Cucumber Castle‘s filming, and Barry offered this take, published in that mag’s April, 1970 issue.
The concept was of a Laugh-In type of show, but set roughly in Tudor England. The way that a lot of the sketches worked out was that the punch-line was in the sudden contrast between the Tudor times and a confrontation with the 20th Century.
We are very pleased with the results we have seen so far, but we know that the real art of making a comedy film is in the editing, and we are getting the best professional help that we can in that department.
It was when we began to really work on the story that we both realized that the outline of the story contained so many parables relating to reality. So it worked out that several of the sketches—for us, anyway—have a meaning above and beyond the obvious joke.
Slightly more interesting, is a recently released video short—a “remake” of Jurassic Park done by two kids (David Chakris and Michael Raisch ) with a video camera back in 1993, using toy dinosaurs, cars, and Kenner action figures.
In the summer of 1993 inspired by the release of Jurassic Park, Michael and David set out to recreate the excitement and visuals of the hit film. Over a period 6 months in New Jersey they filmed multiple versions of the film until they were pleased with their final version. Equipped with the best VHS era technology, [Michael and David] re-created the movie magic of Jurassic Park with hand drawn sets, action figures and fishing line.
Production sketch from “1990s Kid Version of Jurassic Park,” courtesy Raisch Studios.
The perhaps not a masterpiece, but nonetheless adorable 2008 Michel Gondry film, Be Kind Rewind, introduced the concept of “sweded” films. In Be Kind Rewind, a struggling VHS rental store loses its entire video collection after being inadvertently magnetized. The protagonists, played by Mos Def and Jack Black, attempt to replace the store’s video collection by recreating films using a camcorder, claiming they are “special editions from Sweden.” These “sweded” films are the centerpiece of Be Kind Rewind, and a (now defunct) tie-in website, SwededFilms.com, was created—serving as a database for sweded movies, both from the film and fan-made. That website contained the rules for creating sweded videos:
1. Must be based on an already produced film
2. Range 2-8 minutes in length
3. Must not contain computer generated graphics
4. Based on films less than 35 years old
5. Special effects must be limited to camera tricks and arts ’n crafts
6. Sound effects created by human means
The 1990s Kid Remake of Jurassic Park was produced before Be Kind Rewind and the concept of sweded movies, but it certainly fits the criteria of and ranks among the best sweded films. The dinosaur attack scenes, in particular, had us cackling.
Check out the “edited” version here and be sure to hit up the website for lots of behind-the-scenes photos and info.
Today, June 23, 2015, is Glenn Danzig’s 60th birthday. Danzig, of course was the founding vocalist of the cartoonish New Jersey horror-punk band Misfits and the similar Samhain, and he moved on from those bands’ B-Movie lyrical tropes when he founded the eponymous metal band he’s led since 1987. Nothing about him is understated—his stage persona combines gothic affectation with some pretty ridiculous macho posturing, an unswervingly and grimly imperious mien, and grandiose baritone singing.
And it’s that distinctive singing voice that makes Danzig’s signature song “Mother” so damn sticky. It was initially released in 1988, on Danzig’s self-titled debut LP, and it saw an unlikely rise to hit status years later when a live version on a stop-gap E.P. called Thrall-Demonsweatlive suddenly started getting radio and MTV play. The videos for both the original studio single and the 1993 live version were treated to the ministrations of Beavis and Butthead (“These guys are pretty cool but this lead singer looks like Patrick Swayze”), which back then actually helped.
Danzig discussed the song with Jeff Kitt of the short-lived Flux magazine:
FLUX: Why do you think “Mother” became a hit six years after its initial release?
GLENN DANZIG: We wanted to put out an EP after Danzig III, but the record company told us we were crazy because EP’s don’t sell. As far as I was concerned, it was too soon to do another studio album or record a live album, so I thought an EP with four live tracks and three studio tracks would be the best thing to do. So we went into the studio and recorded “It’s Coming Down,” “Violet Fire” and “Trouble” in one day. We put them together with some live tracks, and put it out as Thrall-Demonsweatlive.
“Mother” was one of the live songs, and it just started getting airplay. So we decided to shoot a live video for it. MTV had to play it because it was doing so well on radio. It was kinda cool because no one called us a “sell-out” since “Mother” was already six years old when it became a hit. [laughs]
FLUX: Is it possible that when Danzig was first released back in ‘88 the mainstream music scene just wasn’t ready for a song like “Mother”?
DANZIG: That’s exactly what happened to us. When we first came out, we were doing things that few bands did - we had to go up against all the hairspray/glam bands of the late Eighties. A lot of people liked “Mother,” and some deejays played it, but people called us Satanists and all kinds of crap - they just didn’t understand us. That’s not to mention the fact that the first “Mother” video freaked MTV out and they pretty much banned us from the station for the next few years. Hell, MTV had a heart attack when they saw our video for “It’s Coming Down” - and that was just us on stage! [laughs]
FLUX: Did you notice something special about “Mother” when you first wrote it?
DANZIG: Yeah, I did. I remember calling [producer] Rick Rubin in the middle of the night and telling him that I wrote an incredible song - probably the best song I’d ever written. It was the song I always wanted to write. The first time we played it, people went crazy. But I never wrote that song to make it a hit - I never wrote that way, and I still don’t. I write songs so that they say something and do something, and if people like ‘em, great - and if they don’t, they don’t.