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‘OK, no job!’
01.11.2012
10:16 am

Topics:
Books

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OK, no job


 
Here’s a scan from the book More Picture Stories: Language and Problem-Posing Activities for Beginners which is “perfect for students with little or no literacy skills in English.”

Basically, this a picture book for people who speak little or no English and are just arriving to the United States. The above picture depicts the classic “casting couch” scenario.

(via reddit)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Dream Queens: ‘Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of NYC 1989-92’


 
Now here’s something that was sure to be found in the more fabulous Christmas stockings this past festive seasons. Published by the respected London-based record label Soul Jazz, Voguing: Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 is a collection of photographs by Chantal Regnault documenting the titular scene just as it gained worldwide attention thanks to the likes of Malcolm McLaren and Madonna.

Don’t be fooled if you think that voguing was a mere fad that came from nowhere to disappear just as fast as it sprung up 20-odd years ago. Yes, Madonna brought the dance form to the public consciousness, but if you think she invented it, then child, you need educatin’. Voguing started in Harlem in the 60s, where black and latino drag queens and transexuals had started to host their own balls (beauty pageants) outside of white society, and pioneered a new form of dance based on poses copied from Vogue magazine.

But the history of the drag and gay ballroom scene goes back much further than that - by about another hundred years, as explained by noted author and disco historian Tim Lawrence, in his foreword to this book:

Harlem’s Hamilton Lodge staged its first queer masquerade ball in 1869, and some twenty years later a medical student stumbled into another ball that was taking place Walhalla Hall on the Lower East Side. He witnessed 500 same-sex male and female couples ‘waltzing sedately to the music of a good band.

How things have changed - the modern voguing ballroom scene is/was anything but sedate! Lawrence goes on to put into context the concept of a “house” (in effect a surrogate gay family or gang), which has long been a central aspect of vogue and drag culture:

Referencing the glamorous fashion houses whose glamour and style they admired, other black drag queens started to form drag houses, or families that, headed by a mother and sometimes a father, would socialise, look after each other, and prepare for balls (including ones they would host and ones they would attend).

...

The establishment of the houses also paralleled the twists and turns of New York’s gangs, which flourished between the mid 1940s and the mid 1960s as the city shifted from an industrial to a post-industrial base while dealing with the upheavals of urban renewal, slum clearances and ethnic migration. As historian Eric Schneider argues, gangs appealed to alienated adolescents who wanted to earn money as well as peer group prestige.

Despite the faddish nature of Madonna’s daliance with this scene, voguing and ballroom documentaries like Wolfgang Busch’s How Do I Look and Jennie Livingston’s Paris Is Burning (not to mention performers like the late Willi Ninja and his extant House of Ninja) have done much to establish the history of this world and inspire new generations to take part. And it’s not hard to see the appeal - in a recent interview with The Guardian, Chantal Regnault eplained how voguing and its culture helped re-invigorate New York’s nightlife at the peak of the AIDS crisis:

...the Ball phenomena kind of revived New York nightlife, which had shrunk drastically as the first wave of AIDS related sicknessses were decimating the community. The Queens became the stars of the straight New York clubs, and began to be recognized, appreciated and photographed. They appeared on TV shows and were interviewed by TV icons. The voguers also became a big attraction and soon everybody wanted to emulate their dancing style. Two figures were instrumental in launching the trend in the awakened downtown clubs: Susanne Bartsch and Chichi Valenti, two straight white females who both had a knack for the new and fabulous and a big social network.

Why 1989-1992? What happened next?

1989-1992 was the peak of creativity and popularity for the ballroom scene, and when the mainstream attention faded away, the original black and Latino gay ballroom culture didn’t die. On the contrary, it became a national phenomena as Houses started to have “chapters” all over the big cities of the United States. But I was not a direct witness to most of it as I moved to Haiti in 1993.

As Regnault states voguing is still going strong today, with balls in many of America (and the world’s) largest cities, and this book is a perfect introduction to a compelling, not to mention often over-looked, aspect of gay and black history. Regnault managed to capture some of the most recognisable faces from that world showing off in all their finery, while there are fascinating interviews with some of the key players like Muhammed Omni, Hector Xtravaganza, Tommie Labeija and more. Voguing And The House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 is quite simply an essential purchase for fans of underground culture.
 

Avis Pendavis, 1991
 

Cesar Valentino (right), Copacabana, 1990
 

RuPaul, Red Zone 1990
 
Voguing: Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 by Chantal Reignault (with an introduction by Tim Lawrence) is available to buy from Soul Jazz Records.

With thanks to Legendary Ballroom Scene for the scans.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Paris Is Burning’: Vogue Realness

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
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Ed Sanders’ brain-groping memoir is a real mindfugger


 
One of the defining moments of my life was when I picked up the debut album by The Fugs in a People’s Drug Store in Falls Church, Virginia in 1966. And when I say “picked up” that’s exactly what I mean. I didn’t even have to listen to it. All it took was picking up the album and looking at the cover to have my 15-year-old mind scrambled forever. A grainy black and white photograph of five scruffy-looking hippies holding musical instruments standing among rubble in front of an ancient looking brick wall somewhere in NY City’s East Village was not your usual teenybopper rock and roll imagery. If parents didn’t want their daughters to marry a Rolling Stone, they wouldn’t want them within 20 square miles of a Fug. This was punk rock in beatnik drag. Ten years later The Ramones would release their first album with a similarly New Yorkish cover. I stared at The Fugs with the awe of a kid coming upon a creature from outer space.

Of course, I bought the record (along with a copy of the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out) and went home and eagerly put it on the turntable. The rest, as they say, is history. The Fugs were the hippest thing I’d yet encountered on vinyl. Their mix of the sacred and the profane, poetry and street talk, beauty and coarseness, was intellectual and spiritual manna for my hungry teenage brain and heart.

I wanted to be a part of whatever world The Fugs existed in so I ended up taking a bus to New York City and immediately went to The Fugs’ co-founder Ed Sanders’ bookstore, Peace Eye. There I began my serious Beat education, thumbing through the pages of books by Michael McClure, Alexandra David-Neel, Ginsberg, Burroughs, Kerouac, the whole underground scene…and it was still relatively underground at the time.

(While writing this I’m listening to the hugely underrated Fugs’ psychedelic/folk-rock masterpiece It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest .)

As much of a Fugs fan as I was, what eventually really knocked me out was Ed Sanders’ prose and poetry. He had a Whitmanesque/Blakean vision and bardic style coupled with gutter humor that bridged the heavens above and the mud below. He could undercut literary pretense with the foul-mouthed rants of a heavy-maned hillbilly cranked up on a ten dollar bag of crystal meth. His beatnik/hippie sensibilities were the foil to his truckstop cowboy skepticism. In other words, Sanders knew how to yin his yang, keeping the whole beautiful cosmic mess balanced between words of worship and the laughter on the tongue of a drunken whore. Within his howling vowels and clanging consonants, Sanders located that strange geography where the mythic mingles with tabloid headlines and TV commercials, where Jimmie Rodgers knocks back cheap bourbon while staring at the reflections of Isis and Ra in the bottom of his shot glass.

Drink up oh mighty yodellers and scribblers who praise the Dharma. The truth that envelopes us all and sends us squealing like delirious pigs into the arms of unbearable bliss is upon us like an ambergris-scented robe made of the pubic hair of two thousand and twelve Aztec virgins. Get naked, now! Or get the fuck out!

Yes, Ed Sanders was my guru of the gobble grope, my slum God of the Lower East Side, the dopethrill psychopath who pointed the way to a place where there is no shame in the flesh, the fuck or the flame that ignites the holy sacraments of the good lord Ganja. With Sanders as my shamanic guide I became a full-fledged member of the skin flower army, bravely facing the future with my hair flapping in the wind, a flag made of a million love tendrils.

That was then, this is now. And it is with great pleasure that I share with you good news indeed. The almighty Fug and editor of “Fuck You: A Magazine of The Arts,” has published a new memoir, Fug You, that covers his early days as a peacenik, poet, rabble rouser and musician in New York during the Sixties. It’s a great read full of fascinating anecdotes, essential counter-culture history, downtown bohemia, wrangles with the law, appearances by hundreds (yes, hundreds) of Sixties’ icons including Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, Frank Zappa, Kenneth Anger, The Velvet Underground and tons of photos, images and manuscripts from his archives.

Unlike many a chronicler of those stoned days, Sanders has kept his wits about him. This isn’t a wobbly sentimental journey. The writing is sharp, witty and full of precise detail and facts. Of course, who would expect less of the author responsible for one of the best (and darkest) non-fiction books on the Aquarian Age, The Family. Sanders has always shown an abiding respect for form and tradition, even when fucking with them. Fug You is not only a personal history, it is history in the big sense. It is one of the few books that deals with the hippies and the counter-culture from the inside that doesn’t read like an amnesiac trying to reconstruct a past life or a brain-addled Deadhead recalling the time he caught the clap in a crash pad in the Haight as he desperately tries to keep his drool cup from toppling off his beer gut. Or worse, those guilt-ridden confessionals by former junkies who used to play in hair bands. Sanders doesn’t sound like an old fart spinning tales or pathetically trying to revive the good old days.

What kept Sanders interesting from the very beginning is still very much in operation in this new book: the clarity of his bullshit detector and his irreverent take on virtually everything, including himself. Which is not to say he doesn’t care about things in a deep sense, he does. He just approaches life with a Zen perspective knowing that getting overamped over shit ain’t gonna change a thing. He continues to be a revolutionary with a sense of the ridiculous. His strategy has always been to see the absurdity in the horror show and to shine a cosmic light on it. We see the Fug and Abbie Hoffman style of revolutionary theater echoed in today’s Occupy Movement. When The Fugs went to Virginia to levitate the Pentagon in 1967 not everybody was laughing, but they were certainly paying attention.

“You ask about my philosophy, baby, yeah? Dope, peace, magic gods in the tree trunks, and GROUP GROPE, BABY!”

The book ends in 1970, so I’m hoping this is the first in a series. More than four decades after I first encountered him, Sanders is still manna for my hungry brain.

Fug You: An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, the Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side
is available here.

Here’s a little video mashup of some vintage film footage with selections from Sanders’ ode to rednecks, hippies and the trailer parks of absolute reality, Sanders’ Truckstop.

1. “Jimmy Joe, The Hippybilly Boy”   2. “Maple Court Tragedy”     3. “Heartbreak Crash Pad”     4. “Banshee”     5. “Plaster Song”     6. “Iliad”
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Grant Morrison talks about songs that have inspired him the most
01.05.2012
11:27 am

Topics:
Books
Current Events
Music

Tags:
Grant Morrison
KCRW


 
Nice interview between KCRW host Eric J. Lawrence and Grant Morrison on the five songs that are the most dear to the comics giant. You can read the full transcript on KCRW

Tracklist:
1 - The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
2 - Mogadishu - Baader Meinhof
3 - The Heater - The Mutton Birds
4 - Blue Flowers - Dr. Octagon
5 - Joe Public - The Rutles
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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More animated comic book covers

 
Artist Kerry Callen is back with his animated version of Lois Lane #29, from 1961. There’s also a fun animated GIF of Nick Fury, Agent of Shield #4 at Kerry’s site!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:

Excellent Animated Comic Book Covers

(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Alan Moore: ‘Don’t Let Me Die in Black and White’

alan_moore_northampton_1993
 
Buttonholed by Alan Moore, as he presents Don’t Let Me Die in Black and White, a fascinating personal travelogue (part history, part politics, part autobiography) of his home town, Northampton, from 1993.

Starting outside the railway station, at the “smoldering, steaming belly” of the town, Moore delivers a series of enjoyable pieces-to-camera, which take in his childhood, and youthful ambition to be a superhero; through to the stories of respected local figures, such as the 18th century radical politician, Charles Bradlaugh; then on to why Moore believes anti-semitism started in Northampton’s Gold Street; to finally arrive at how the present day town’s streets and precincts (which are protected by a mystical pentangle of the same logos, the same names, the same products) are creating a parallel universe, a wallpaper society, which is endlessly repeating itself.

Though Moore hasn’t traveled much in his life (“because the world moves fast enough, anyway”), he believes that by understanding Northampton (“home of the lager lout and the credit consumer”), he will have a better understanding of the wider world.

Don’t Let Me Die in Black and White was originally made for Channel 4 in 1993.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Behead the Currency: Alan Moore on OWS and why THIS generation has to do something NOW

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Holmes as Hamlet: Billy Wilder’s ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’

private_sherlock_holmes
 
Billy Wilder spent seven years with his co-writer I. A. L. Diamond working on the script of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The finished film originally lasted over 3 hours, but the studios panicked over the failure of such long form films (Doctor Doolittle with Rex Harrison, and Star! with Julie Andrews and Michael Craig) and demanded cuts. The film was hacked down to an acceptable 93 minutes. Diamond didn’t speak to Wilder for almost a year

It was a terrible act of vandalism that robbed cinema of one of its greater Holmes, as portrayed by Robert Stephens. It was also bizarre that Wilder, who believed in the primacy of the word, allowed his script to be so drastically altered, turning what was an original meditation on Holmes into a mildly distracting caper. In the process we lost Wilder and Diamond’s analysis of Holmes not as just a fictional creation, but in comparison to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The clues are all there to be found. Let’s start with the casting, Stephens, who was one of the most gifted and brilliant actors of his generation - who sadly only graced the screen in a handful of films: scene-stealing in A Taste of Honey, adding flesh to the boney The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,  and as the BFI states, “sublime” in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Stephens was stage actor, the heir apparent to Laurence Olivier, indeed a far better actor than Olivier, who depended for success by flirting with the audience - Olivier could never be bad as he needed, demanded, the love of his audience.

When Wilder cast Stephens, the actor asked the great director:

‘“How do you want me to play it for the movie,” I asked Billy. “You must play it like Hamlet. And you must not put on one pound of weight. I want you to look like a pencil.” So, that’s the way we did The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.’

 

 
The game’s afoot on ‘The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The NeverEnding Story-themed E-reader cover
12.29.2011
10:36 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Movies

Tags:
Etsy
Kindle
Nooks
The NeverEnding Story


 
If you’re an 80s kid like I am, then you might appreciate Etsy shop GrimcatProductions’ handmade NeverEnding Story tablet cover. From the description:

Customize your reader with a cover that will for sure bring back the nostalgic moments of luck dragons, noble warriors, and epic quests. These book covers are hand-crafted from high quality leather and suedes and bound with filigree and an auryn on the cover, just like the book we all know and love. These are made to fit Kindles and Nooks, and for an added cost can be done up for an iPad or a Galaxy tablet.

NeverEnding Story eReader / Tablet Covers

(via The Daily What)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Alfred Hitchcock Presents: ‘Back for Christmas’

hitchcock_presents_xmas
 
Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Back for Christmas, based on John Collier‘s story of a man who plans to murder his wife, and bury her in the cellar. Collier’s short story was originally printed in the New Yorker magazine in 1939, this was the story’s first TV outing, there were 3 different versions made for radio, including one with Peter Lorre, and was latter remade for Roald Dahl’s series Tales of the Unexpected in the 1970s.

Collier wrote dozens of stories, many of which were successfully produced for various radio, TV and film productions - including “Green Thoughts”, the basis for Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors. He also contributed to such screenplays as the Humphrey Bogart / Katharine Hepburn movie The African Queen and the play based on Christopher Isherwood’s “Berlin Stories” I Am A Camera. Towards the end of his life, Collier jokingly said of himself:

“I sometimes marvel that a third-rate writer like me has been able to palm himself off as a second-rate writer.”

Hitchock’s version of Back for Christmas stars John Williams as Herbert Carpenter and Isobel Elsom as Hermione Carpenter, and was first broadcast in March 1956.
 

 
Part 2, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Vincent Price: ‘A Christmas Carol’ from 1949

vincent_price_haunted_palace
 
Close the door against the chill and draw yourself a little closer to the fire. There. Comfortable? Then we’ll begin…

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Vincent Price hosts this short TV adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Taylor Holmes as Ebeneezer Scrooge, Pat White as Bob Cratchit, and Earl Lee as the Ghost of Jacob Marley, directed by Arthur Pierson, from 1949.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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