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That time Jack Kerouac finked out on helping Allen Ginsberg promote ‘Junkie’
09.07.2016
11:42 am

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Books
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History

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Allen Ginsberg was a hustler. He was always on the make. But if Ginsberg was getting a piece of the pie then everyone was getting some pie—that was the kind of guy he was.

In 1953, Ginsberg was one of the young writers loosely identified as the Beat Generation. There was Jack Kerouac—nominally the Beat daddio who had his first book The Town and the City published in 1950. It was a coming of age novel that lacked the Beat prosody (“spontaneous prose”) that illuminated Kerouac’s later, better known work.

There was John Clellon Holmes who had written Go—a depiction of the hip counter culture world of parties, drugs, jazz and “the search for experience and for love.”

And then there was William S. Burroughs.

Ginsberg had encouraged Burroughs to write. He grooved over the letters he wrote—he dug his style. He told Burroughs to write a book about his experiences as an unrepentant drug addict. Nelson Algren had already written and had published his tale of heroin addiction The Man with the Golden Arm in 1949. The book received rave reviews and won Algren a National Book Award. Ginsberg figured Burroughs—an actual junkie—could deliver a better, more powerful book if only he would sit down and write it.

Burroughs grudgingly took the advice. He had already co-authored an as yet unpublished novel with Kerouac And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks in 1945 about the murder of friend and associate David Kammerer by one of the original Beat gang Lucien Carr. The book had been a literary experiment with Burroughs and Kerouac writing alternate chapters. Now he would give the facts of his life some color in the manner of Thomas De Quincey—writing the semi-autobiographical Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict.

Ginsberg helped edit the book. Then he brought it to Carl Solomon—a publisher contact he’d met at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey where both men received treatment. Solomon’s uncle was publisher A. A. Wyn—owner of the pulp paperback firm Ace Books. Through Ginsberg’s endeavors, Solomon convinced his uncle to publish Burroughs novel—written under the alias “William Lee”—as part of the Ace imprint.
 
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Ginsberg as ‘seen by Burroughs’ on the rooftop of his Lower East apartment, New York, 1953.
 
Kerouac’s reply and Burroughs’ ‘Junkie,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Judas Priest’s racy photoshoot with a Penthouse Pet
09.07.2016
09:57 am

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Judas Priest having fun with Penthouse Pet of the Year (1977) Cheryl Rixon in an outtake from a photoshoot for Kerrang! magazine, 1982.
 
I was a hardcore fan of Kerrang! magazine back in the 80s until it ditched its heavy metal roots when bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains started stealing the spotlight from my headbanging heroes. But for what seemed like a long time Kerrang! was about as metal as a magazine got and I loved it. So when I came across these images from issue #10 of Kerrang! from February of 1982 of Judas Priest and Penthouse Pet of the Year Cheryl Rixon appearing in a naughty comedic caper titled “What Rock ‘N’ Roll Dreams are Maid Of: Room Service” that featured Rixon dressed as a French maid and the members of Priest acting exactly like what you’d expect the members of Judas Priest to be behaving back in the 80s, I had to share them with you.
 

Rob Halford and Cheryl Rixon.
 
While you might think that the goofy photos went over really well with Kerrang’s readership, you wouldn’t be entirely correct. Apparently the magazine received a number of ‘letters to the editor” complaining about the photo shoot (shot by Steve Joester)  calling it “sexist” and “trashy.” Both words—by my estimation and experience as a lifelong metalhead—that are synonymous with heavy metal in (mostly) all the right ways. Here’s a letter likely written by a mom who after looking through young Johnny’s stack of magazines hidden under his bed decided to tell the magazine off old-school style with a handwritten letter admonishing them for the photos that were corrupting her kids brain:

In one foul swoop Kerrang! has plummeted from being ‘The Times’ of heavy rock to being the ‘Daily Star’. No wonder heavy rock is damned for being sexist if the critics see this sort of trash.

If you just screamed “But trash is my LIFE!” then I’m with you. God, the fucking 80s really were weird times. And while I’m not entirely sure how Halford got his motorcycle inside a hotel I’ve always said that Rob Halford can do anything he wants, really, so I applaud him for coming to Rixon’s “rescue” before KK Downing got first dibs on the Penthouse Pet of 1979. I’m sure many of you will also enjoy the photos of Rixon and Halford (who Rixon says she loved working with back in her modeling days) as they bring you back to a time when nobody for a hot second wondered if Halford was gay (not that it matters one goddamn bit) as he posed next to Rixon clad in leather bondage gear and a whip. 
 

 

 
More mayhem after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Narcos en fantasyland: Pablo Escobar’s 1981 trip to Walt Disney World
09.07.2016
09:21 am

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Crime
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The Escobars visit Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom in 1981
The Escobars visit Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom in 1981

In the early ‘80s, Pablo Escobar was at the top of his game. He was the richest man in Colombia, he had the family he had always dreamed of, and he was supplying 80% of the world’s cocaine via the Medellín drug cartel. The best part for Escobar was that he was not yet a known criminal. Just a few years later he would be outed as a drug lord, a merciless killer, and he would become the biggest target in Reagan’s “war on drugs” facing a real threat of extradition. For now, he was still legally doing business, buying properties, and traveling under his own name. He used his political influences in Colombia to gain diplomatic immunity and a visa which allowed him to visit the United States as often as he wanted with red carpet treatment.

In May of 1981 Pablo used those privileges to vacation in Walt Disney World Florida with his family. His sister Alba Marina Escobar helped organize the trip and Pablo was joined by his wife Maria Victoria Henao, his five-year-old son Juan Pablo, his mother Hermilda, brother Roberto, and cousin Gustavo Gaviria. The Escobars left their Miami Beach vacation home which was supposedly rented from Julio Iglesias and one of the Gibb brothers of the Bee Gees, then headed 230 miles north to Orlando. While Pablo did not yet have any enemies or scores to settle with the law, his growing economic power made it necessary for him the use bodyguards for the very first time so friend John Jairo Arias Tascon (aka “Pinina”) accompanied the family to the Disney theme park.

The Escobar family reportedly spent ridiculous amounts of money on their vacation, filling dozens of suitcases with souvenirs and clothing. Pablo hired a personal consultant to advise them on attractions as well as a driver to escort them around. Free to do and buy whatever they wanted to in the park, Pablo was overjoyed and acted like a child alongside his son Juan Pablo. Although he was afraid of roller coasters, Pablo rode them all to make his son happy. “Our family life hadn’t yet become encumbered by complications. That was the only period of pure pleasure and lavishness that my father enjoyed,” said Juan Pablo (who later changed his name to Sebastian to protect his anonymity) in his book Pablo Escobar, My Father.

The hit Netflix series Narcos even brushed on the Escobar’s trip to Disney World in a recent episode titled “Deutschland 93.” In a scene where a very emotional Pablo (brilliantly played by Brazilian actor Wagner Moura) is reflecting on his past, he asks “Have you ever been to Disney World? It’s beautiful. It’s very organized. Very clean.” Pablo definitely kept the Disney spirit and thirst for fun alive at Hacienda Nápoles, his vast and awe-inspiring ranch in Colombia about 100 miles east of Medellin. The ranch which put Michael Jackson’s Neverland to shame included three zoos full of exotic animals, 27 artificial lakes, go-karts, and even a mechanical bull. In 2014 a private company appropriately turned the ranch into a fully operational theme park which includes a Jurassic Park simulator. “Pablo World” (if you will, whose mascot is a female Hippo named Vanessa) is currently accessible to anybody with 32.000 pesos (around $15) willing to sit through a three-and-a-half hour bus ride from Medellín.
 
Pablo's son Juan Pablo meets Mickey Mouse in Tomorrowland
Pablo’s son Juan Pablo meets Mickey Mouse in Tomorrowland
 
The Escobars walking through the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland
The Escobars walking through the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
That time Alice Cooper moved next door to Gene Wilder
09.06.2016
10:20 am

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R.I.P.
Television

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Alice Cooper and Gene Wilder on the set of the short-lived TV sitcom ‘Something Wilder’ in 1995.
 
After Gene Wilder’s passing last week I’ve been trying to clap my eyes on anything from Wilder’s long cinematic career. I even rewatched 1974’s classic Young Frankenstein even though I could recite lines from that film in my sleep. Today I’m really excited to share with you one of my finds: an episode from Wilder’s sadly short-lived mid-90s sitcom on NBC Something Wilder guest-starring none other than Alice Cooper playing himself as Wilder’s annoying neighbor.
 

Gene Wilder, Alice Cooper and Wilder’s TV wife actress Hilary B. Smith on the set of the fourteenth episode of ‘Something Wilder.’
 
On what would be one of the last Something Wilder shows (the fourteenth episode called “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper”) Cooper moves in next door to Wilder’s character “Gene Bergman” and since this is Alice Cooper we’re talking about, things don’t go so well. For Gene.

After being kept up all night listening to the same song being blasted out of Cooper’s windows over and over again Wilder heads over in his adorable plaid robe to see what’s happening. And again, since this is Alice Cooper we’re talking about, Wilder walks in on a wild party that includes a tall red-headed dominatrix, a rat and for some reason a juggler (Now that’s kinky....) After hearing of Wilder’s death, Cooper posted this heartfelt message on his Facebook page about his experience working with one of the greatest screen comedians of our time:

I count working with Gene Wilder on his TV sitcom Something Wilder to be one of the most precious memories of my entire career. Doing ‘one on one’ comedy with Gene was like jamming with the Beatles. It doesn’t get any better. Gene Wilder is IRREPLACEABLE and will always be an American treasure.

I don’t want to give anything else away but if you love the image of Cooper and Wilder at the top of this post, there’s more where that came from. I don’t recall seeing the show myself back in the mid-90s, but seeing it now made my day. Since Something Wilder had such a short run and never really connected with an audience, the show hasn’t made its way to DVD yet.

Watch ‘Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper’ after the jump…

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Prankster plants hilarious fake occult spell book at a metaphysical shop
09.06.2016
10:19 am

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Art
Occult

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Jeff Wysaski is an artist working in the medium of putting fake signs, flyers, and products into spaces to create a transformative or, usually, comedic effect. Working under the project name Obvious Plant, he has hilariously put fake art into museums, fake self-help books into bookstores, and fake wine recommendations into liquor stores.

You can read more about Wysaski’s work HERE.

The latest “installation” by Obvious Plant involves the placement of a fake occult spell book in a metaphysical shop. The book generically-entitled Ancient Magick Spells of the Occult, contains several “spells” with completely ludicrous casting instructions (though maybe not any more or less ludicrous than many “legitimate” wiccan spell books).

Check these pages out here. I pretty much lost it at “Spell of the Gemini’s Clone.”

As funny as the spells are, it’s even more hilarious to imagine someone picking this book up in the shop and taking it seriously.
 

 

 
More magick after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Pinball machine featuring the Stones, Elton John, The Who, AC/DC, KISS and many more
09.06.2016
10:17 am

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Amusing
Games
Music
Pop Culture

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The pinball arcade was where the boys in leather jackets hung out. The guys into Heavy Metal, Hell’s Angels and books by Sven Hassel. That’s what I recall from growing up. The pinball machines were always situated at the far end of the arcade—past the lines of slot machines with itchy-fingered retirees spending their hard-earned cash and the whey-faced office clerks on their lunch break in off-the-peg suits and white socks.

In those days smoking was permitted indoors—so the back of the room where the pinball machines and the boys in denim and leather hung out was always thick with blue cigarette smoke. Just go down to the back of the room and inhale a few breaths—it saved you on the cost of buying smokes.

For some reason pinball machines were associated with being tough. I was never really quite sure why. Manliness and the ability to use flippers dexterously meant—obviously in some secret code I was unable to fathom—that you were a tough guy. These boys sneered at punk. Tolerated Prog. Hated Glam and Mod—which was strange as most liked Slade and The Who. What they did like was Black Sabbath. Deep Purple. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. AC/DC. And The Rolling Stones—post 1968.

Their bravado was all front—like the flashing lights and bells of the pinball machines they played. The pinball was a totem for their nascent identity. In a few years time, some of these boys would be in their own off-the-peg suits playing slot machines during their lunch breaks.

Pinball has always had that macho outsider image—which probably explains why certain hard rockin’ bands and artistes have opted to merchandise their product through pinball machines.
 
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More rock and pop pinball machines, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
For sale: Massive collection of mannequins with ginormous breasts
09.06.2016
10:07 am

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A collection can function as a cultural value scale revealing the collector’s priorities, and the very existence of a collection can be as revealing as the collection’s content—it’s one thing to say you like trumpet music, and another altogether to have every record Al Hirt ever made in a display rack in your living room. The line between collecting and hoarding can be a fine one (I am no longer friends with someone who casually referred to my shelves full of books and music as a “hoard”), and discussion of a hobby that entails surrounding one’s self with amassed stuff always has an uncomfortable discussion of the commodity fetish lurking underneath it. But all in all, life’s fucking short and happiness doesn’t always come easily, so if there’s something out there that makes you smile, why not fill your world with it?

Some people are into model trains. Some people are into vinyl LPs. Some people are into Barbies.

And Beloit, Wisconsin electrician Mike Martin was into department store mannequins. Department store mannequins with really huge tits.

Per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Nearly 60 in all and dressed for an evening out, they stand shoulder to plastic shoulder in four different rooms of the home Mike shared with his wife, Maxine, until his death in July at age 88.

“Some people are making fun of it online. But everybody collects something,” said Rich Ranft of Beloit Auction & Realty and a longtime neighbor of the Martins.

“Whenever he heard there was a mannequin for sale, he’d go get it. They had a small Ford or whatever it was, and he would strap them to the top or put them in the backseat, wherever he could put them,” Rich said.

Then Mike would rely on his skill in automotive body work to repair and paint the figures. He used Bondo, the fix for rusted-out fenders, to augment the mannequins’ breasts until they were the size of cantaloupes.

 

 

Martin with some of his harem in 2007. Above photos: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The collection is now being auctioned by Martin’s family. Online bidding ends on Thursday, September 9th, and mannequins will not be shipped, so winning bidders have to be willing to pick up their prizes in Beloit. (It’s about halfway between Madison and Chicago, right on the Wisconsin/Illinois border.) So far, the bids are fairly low, between $10-20, with only a couple of outliers like the mermaid one (oh, yeah—I didn’t mention that there’s a mermaid one) fetching above $50. Of course, most of the action happens in the last hour of an auction so who knows, but the auctioneer’s unwillingness to ship could keep the final sale prices on the lower side. If this is your kink but you’re not handy with Bondo, yourself, you might be in luck. Photos that follow are from Beloit Auction and Realty’s online catalog.
 

 
More big-boobed mannequins than you can shake Russ Meyer at, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Grab life by the nuts with these ‘desk balls’
09.06.2016
08:44 am

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Well, now everyone can get a pair…

Think of them as stress balls. Something to help offload anxiety, anger or you know just blow off steam as your boss berates you for something minor and petty. You just smile, absorb his asshattery and imagine squeezing his balls until he shrieks in pain. All in good fun!

Nice Balls is a squeezable pink bawbag. A “pendulous prosthetic supplement” which can be attached to the underside of any work or school desk “in a simple, discreet and efficient manner.” Once in place the user can then squeeze this nut sack to their heart’s content or their hand gets sore…

Nice Balls manufacturer Imagine claim these “balls” swing in a “Euclidean curve” which (apparently) “generates” a sense of relaxation. (Who knew?. Also, Nice Balls people: why a female in the promotional photos?)

Although it’s difficult to understand why someone over the age of 11 would think this is funny (or bring them into the workplace) fascist leader Benito Mussolini used to touch his crown jewels to ward off the evil eye, so maybe there’s something similar going on here?
 
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More balls out fun after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Father of Combat TV’ Wally George annihilates jerk who thinks there’s ‘no such thing’ as date rape
09.02.2016
09:28 am

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Feminism
Television

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Hot Seat was a syndicated talk show, running from 1983 to 1992, hosted by raving reactionary conservative commentator (and estranged father of actress Rebecca De Mornay), Wally George, who termed his delivery “combat TV.” The show’s format was a precursor to the popular “shock talk” shows hosted by the likes of Morton Downey, Jr. and Jerry Springer, with a profoundly right-wing posture. Hot Seat‘s studio audience was generally comprised of aggressively out-of-control meatheads, and George was a fist-pounding, screaming, Reagan-worshipping bully whose shtick was so over-the-top that one often wondered if the whole thing wasn’t a put-on.

In an interview I conducted last year with Nikolas Schreck who appeared on Hot Seat three different times, Schreck described George as “a consummate showman, no more or less insincere or fake than his showbiz idol Ronald Reagan, who both cunningly played exaggerated roles for their niche Neanderthal audience in the grand old tradition of American populist demagoguery.”

I love watching old Hot seat clips on YouTube. Although I find myself disagreeing with George’s positions 99% of the time, his delivery is just so much fun in a pro-wrestling sort of way that you can’t turn away from it. Generally Wally and his guests are both playing the part of the heel, and the “debates” almost instantly devolve into name calling and posturing with the rabid audience members getting into the mix, shouting everyone, including Wally, down. If you’re not a conservative, Wally is still a guy you “love to hate.”

But then there’s that really weird 1% of the time that you find yourself actually agreeing with him. For instance, when he appeared as a guest on (White Aryan Resistance leader) Thom Metzger’s public access hateshow, Race and Reason to debate him about racism having no place in conservatism. And then there’s this clip we’re going to look at today, with Wally debating a man named Mike Hubbell who claims that there’s “no such thing” as date rape.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Monumental Nobodies’: Artist paints civic sculptures with a subversive twist
09.01.2016
12:34 pm

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‘Rockstar.’
 
In Glasgow, the city where I live, there’s an equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington. This category-A monument situated on Queen Street, outside the Gallery of Modern Art, is famous not for its subject but rather for the regularity that traffic cones are placed on the grand Duke’s bonce. No one knows who puts them there. No sooner is one removed than another has replaced it. The Duke and his orange and white headgear are a symbol of the gallus nature of the city.

According to the city council, it costs $15,000 a year to have these pesky cones removed. A few years ago, the council considered raising the statue higher onto a second plinth—thus preventing any cheeky wee monkeys from hoisting yet another one on its head. In response, a Facebook campaign was started to save the cone. It received 75,000 “likes” in the first 24-hours. Since then the council installed CCTV cameras in a bid to capture the culprit(s) cone-handed.

This morning as I walked past the statue a fresh cone sat a jaunty angle on the Duke’s head. It’s not a mark of disrespect but rather a questioning of our inherited values, identity and history. History, after all, is written by the victors.

Matthew Quick asks similar questions about history, identity and inherited values with his series of paintings Monumental Nobodies. His starting point was “the monuments of empire and what happens to the things left behind, how they might be represented, or reutilised or reinterpreted.” He was also inspired by the sonnet “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley that tells of:

Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

The broken visage is all that remains of the once great king. Though there is a slight irony in the sonnet’s conceit that Ozymandias’ memory lives on in the lines of Shelley’s immortal posey.

Quick was reminded of this poem after watching television footage of American soldiers pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad during the Iraq War in 2003.

Removing the contemporary politics of the moment, I thought: ‘This is an invading army going in there and basically destroying art’.

The soldiers actions made Quick think of the ancient sack of Rome—“Except that the Visigoths were barbarians and the Americans did it for the cameras. It was a deliberate and stage-managed act,” as he explained in an interview

This led Australian Quick to produce Monumental Nobodies—a series of paintings re-examining our relationship with civic and classical sculptures.

Quick was late to his career as an artist. He had been a graphic designer, author, lecturer and art director before he started painting in earnest. When he was thirty-six, he was diagnosed with melanoma. The doctor’s prognosis was not good. It was suggested he may only have five years left to live. This caused Quick to reevaluate his life.

If you have only got a certain amount of time, what would you really like to be doing? It was the wake-up call I needed. Now I’m in a big rush. I am making up for lost time – what I’m doing now is what I’ve always wanted to do.

Thirteen years on, Quick is thankfully still alive and continues with his chosen career. It’s been over a decade since he turned “pro.” Since then he has won over sixty awards for his artwork and has exhibited in Australia and Europe. Technically brilliant, his work is powerful iconic and wonderfully cerebral. 

Quick started Monumental Nobodies before ISIS began thuggishly destroying historic buildings and artwork.

When you think about what ISIS is doing now, destroying artwork, we condemn that justifiably … but when the Americans did it, it was celebrated. These sorts of things intrigue me.

A statue of Saddam Hussein can be replaced but ancient monuments and temples cannot.

The irony is that when I started working on this series, the stuff with ISIS hadn’t happened. It has given it an extra layer of gravitas.

More of Matthew Quick’s work can be seen here.
 
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‘The Great Cover Up.’
 
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‘The Eternal Struggle.’
 
More ‘Monumental Nobodies,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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