“Satan’s mother” placed an advert in Sweden’s daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Tuesday announcing the baptism of her daughter Lucy on Saturday 23rd May in Elmsta.
The advert read “Welcome to the world beloved LUCY,” and carried a picture of a cherubic (demonic?) child with dark piercing eyes and 666 kiss curls. The ad included an RSVP email address from “rehtom.snatas”—which as all good occultists know is “Satan’s mother” backwards.
Alas, for all those expecting the end of days, fire, brimstone and alike, the announcement is part of a “guerilla” advertising campaign promoting the Elmsta 3000 Horror Fest.
Some eagle-eyed journalists noted their paper had been duped and carried a story about the advert later that day. This was the second time something unusual had ended up in the paper’s pages recently. On Sunday an essay in the culture section of the paper contained capital letters at the start of each paragraph that spelt out the word “P E N I S.”.
Art Spiegelman’s career has produced a wide-ranging body of work. There are punk favorites Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, his comics for Playboy, his New Yorker covers, and (of course) his Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, a complex and stylized account of his father’s reflections on the Holocaust. Spiegelman has worked in the “highest” and “lowest” of artistic milieus, and while Garbage Pail Kids are probably considered the nadir of his vulgarity, his lesser-known Wacky Packages series are their obvious predecessor.
Drawn primarily by Spiegelman and then painted in full by pulp master Norman Saunders, these parodies of household brands were sold in packs of five with a stick of gum. Although packaged as trading cards, they were actually stickers you could pop out, presumably for easy defacement of public property. The work was juvenile and snide, but this stuff was the Clickhole of the late 1960’s, and although reboots and new series of Wacky Packages were launched in later years (with art by the likes of Kim Deitch, Drew Friedman and Bill Griffith) it’s the early ones from Spiegelman and Saunders that really skewered brands in a fresh, irreverent way.
While Wonder Bread actually ended up including the cards as giveaways to get kids to ask their moms to buy their product, other companies got pretty peeved and tried to sue. As a result, each series only ran for a little while, so the stickers quickly developed a cult following, and are now seriously collected by fans. In fact, in 2013, the Topps company tried to sell the original art for the “Band-Ache” sticker for $1 million!
Kellar. Thurston. Carter. These names are forgotten to us, but once they motivated throngs of people to attend their mystical performances of occult hoodoo and magic. Their posters are models of the seductive appeal, with their bold names and strange images of impossible creatures. The prominence of the name in these posters is far from accidental—only after years of painstaking labor rising up through the ranks might a magician become one of the select handful whose name alone could draw crowds.
Harry Kellar was called the “Dean of American Magicians” and one of his main illusions was the “Levitation of Princess Karnack,” which trick he pilfered from a rival magician by bribing a member of the other guy’s theater staff. He also had a trick that involved decapitating his own head, which would then levitate over the stage.
Howard Thurston (it does sound more alluring without the “Howard,” doesn’t it?) was a partner of Kellar’s, a master of tricks involving playing cards. You can see that one of the posters says “THURSTON: KELLAR’S SUCCESSOR.” Thurston eventually did become the best-known magician in America.
Charles Joseph Carter perfected the classic “sawing a woman in half” illusion and also had an especially macabre trick in which his shrouded body would vanish just as it dropped from the end of a hangman’s noose.
Some of you might remember a diverting 2001 novel called Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold, a thriller, somewhat like Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, about a fictionalized version of Carter.
Ah, ye olden days of analog porn! During that barbaric, pre-Internet, pre-VCR era of smut, one had to make their way to actual theaters—most of these venues were “adult,” but some were just local cinemas (or even drive-ins) that played the dirty stuff late at night (Imagine being a gleeful teenaged boy—or angry parent—with a house situated behind a drive-in showing X-rated films).
Below you can see some great ads for vintage skin-flicks which (for obvious reasons) could usually only be promoted with handbills or in alternative papers. The aesthetics are delightfully trashy; obviously they couldn’t run explicit images, and the limitations of size and newsprint really relegated the ads more to “design” rather than “art.” Still, there’s excellent use of lascivious little scenes, combined with a whole lotta’ sensational font-work. My favorite is the one with the quote on censorship by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart—sort of makes one feel perversely patriotic, doesn’t it? There are some classics in the mix—the Deep Throat ad is surprisingly humble, while Behind the Green Door is modern and arty. For fun I’ve included Fritz the Cat which, while not a proper porno, was advertised alongside other X-rated material.
I don’t like beer. It’s not that I didn’t like it “back in the day.” Budweiser was truly the king of all party beverages when I was in high school. Which is also probably the reason I don’t drink beer anymore. Nostalgic thoughts only meaningful to me aside, after I heard this audio clip from a vintage 1983 radio ad that Ronnie James Dio did for Budweiser, I immediately felt the need to raise a tall boy to my lips in honor of the late, great king of metal. When toothing through the comments on YouTube (generally an ill-advised practice at best) someone actually made the observation that there was seemingly nothing Ronnie James Dio could do wrong. Not even when he’s shilling for a beer that tastes like someone took a warm fizzy piss in a can.
Usually when an artist you admire “sells-out,” it’s an utter disappointment. An exception to that rule (and there are a few) would be the super-snappy jingle written by Brian Jones that the Rolling Stones recorded for a 1964 Rice Krispies television commercial. Here’s a line: “You wake up in the morning and there’s a crackle in your face.” Brilliant. The jingle matches the perky cereal’s personality perfectly. As with the Stones, hearing Dio singing the praises of Budweiser to the tune of one of his best-known anthems, “Rainbow in the Dark” is absolutely one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard. The trademark slogan “this Bud’s for you” even gets the heavy metal treatment at the end. Will it make me drink Budweiser again? No. It did however bring me back to days, now long past, when listening to Dio and drinking beer out of cans on a Friday night was all you needed.
I’m just a few months shy of two years as an excavator here at Dangerous Minds, and in that short a span, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been asked “How do you FIND all this stuff?” —even by people who’ve known me forever and should know damn well. In truth, I can’t answer that, I just find all this stuff because it’s what I’m into doing, and I don’t think any of my colleagues at DM, or my counterparts at other sites that burrow through the internet for mutant cultural produce would say anything terribly different. I’ve always been into digging for weirdness, so the question of “how I find all this stuff” is kind of beside the point, and sometimes even actually annoying, because I hear it so often and there really is no concise answer besides, “I dunno.”
AND YET, If I ever get to meet the people who run Network Awesome, I will surely break down and ask them where the hell they find all their stuff. On a daily basis, they post well thought out thematic programming for which someone has clearly dug DEEP. Some of the stuff they find completely blows me away, and I’ve been an obsessive collector/curator type my entire life. I applaud and bow to those people. So recently, in the course of indulging myself in a day of surfing around that site, I came across a program of theirs that collected commercials starring Iggy Pop. Each of them is a great watch, because Iggy Pop is Iggy Pop, and I already knew a fair few of them, but one jumped out at me, both for its awesomeness and its howdidinotknowaboutthisness.
Just a couple of years ago, an ad agency in Madrid did a Schweppes lemon soda poster campaign with Pop. It got around—even DM did a piece. What I did not know about, and what Network Awesome had posted, was the television commercial that went with it, which starred the 65ish-year-old proto-punk legend out on the town with his father, Mr. James Newell Osterberg Sr., the very pop whom Pop credited with his choice to become a singer, in a 2007 Esquire interview:
Driving down a nice two-lane highway, summer day, Ann Arbor, Michigan. I’m in the backseat of a ‘49 Cadillac. Always had a good car, my dad. Frank Sinatra’s singing: “Fairy tales can come true/It can happen to you/If you’re young at heart.” My dad’s singing along. From that moment on, when people asked me what I wanted to be, I would say, “A singer.” As I got older, I realized that might not be realistic. So then I thought, I’ll become a politician.
All I can say to that is right fuckin’ on. Here’s the commercial. It’s been uploaded to YouTube by a fair few users, but every single upload has a ridiculously low view count, which seems to me absurd for such a gem.
After the Roxy closed, Barry Jones joined the London Cowboys, who stayed intact through 1986.
If you do research about the 1970s with any regularity, as all DM contributors do, it becomes immediately apparent how ubiquitous black-and-white photography was and how expensive printing in color must have been. One of the aspects that makes Jones’ gig posters so marvelous is that, in addition to being totally too much and overwhelming the onlooker with visual data, they’re just full of brimming color. Not suprisingly, they were supposed to be in B&W too, as Jones revealed in the pages of The Roxy London WC2: A Punk History by Paul Marko:
I loved color and I loved collage. I loved Andy Warhol and I loved the mass production thing. I’d found the place on Regent Street where Bowie shot that cover of Ziggy Stardust in the telephone booth right near the Xerox copy place. There were very few copy places around at that time—colour copiers anyway. We found this place that was conveniently near us and I did some paste ups. I was in love with magazines; if you went to my flat there were stacks and stacks of colour magazines from Vogue to colour supplements. I would go through them and pull out images I loved and the typefaces I wanted to copy. I had reams of references. At that time I was also really into Spiderman comics and their graphics. I loved the depth of feel that they got. I didn’t know what I was doing but I liked that the fact there was more to read in them than my earlier posters which were flat graphic.
When I came to do the posters it was just like a natural transition to me and include things I liked. So basically I slung together these collage things. The first three were for the Yanks. I liked them and they were gonna be B&W because that was all we could afford at the time; we weren’t making that much money. I remember going down to get them printed. I ran them through the B&W copier and they were pretty disappointing and I thought just for me I’ll do a colour one and that was it. Boom! Off the page it was phenomenal. and I just made the decision on my own that these were going to be colour. It’s a special gig; it’s the Yanks, it’s the Heartbreakers. They were expensive and had to be strategically placed rather than smothering the town.
(If available, clicking on an image will spawn a larger version.)
Cherry Vanilla: “That vibrator was drawn in. It was actually a microphone in my hand, but they made it into a vibrator. I had no control over that, but I didn’t mind it. I was sexual and I didn’t mind being portrayed that way.”
Jones: “Leee Childers was so gracious because I’d spelt Heartbreakers wrong. I had this kind of dyslexic thing where I would do a layout and one in ten I would do a misspell. I spelt it ‘Heartbrakers’... He was so gracious saying ‘it doesn’t matter they’re beautiful.”
More of Barry Jones’ posters from the Roxy, after the jump…
Thanks to Russian start-up Tittygram, you can now buy ad space on the voluptuous rack of a faceless model, because (for some reason people in Russia still think) sex sells.
Its titillating tagline is “Our boobs. Your message.”
For $10, individuals can have something deep and meaningful scribbled on the exposed nipple-free chest of an anonymous woman ($30 for businesses) within an hour. Self-described as the “Uber for Boobs” (Boober?), Tittygram sounds more like a fly-by-night “Fotomat for Jugs” to me.
Too rich for your blood? “TigerPaws” is doing the same service on Fiverr for $5/message.
Fear turned up in some strange places in the ‘80s—a time when punks on TV or in movies were generally fakey cartoon caricatures of the real thing. The crucial reference, Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film, is an excellent resource in studying the ridiculous “punxploitation” in ‘80s media. Fear racks up no less than fifteen entries in that tome.
Now, one could argue that Fear themselves had a bit of a cartoonish image to begin with, but it’s still rather bizarre that some ad agency thought it was a good idea to hire them to do this series of “pro-wrestling promo” style ads for a chain of radio stations. These were top 40 stations, so it’s unclear what audience the advertisers were trying to appeal to by putting Fear on TV. Especially for the time and context, these are simply weird.
Ohhh boy. Yesterday, when Crystal O’Connor said that her family’s restaurant, Memories Pizza, in Walkerton, Indiana, would be obliged to deny a request to cater a mozzarella-themed wedding reception for a gay couple due to their religious “beliefs,” she surely didn’t anticipate the wrathful response on social media by homosexuals and/or fans of civil rights and “the American way.” Given that Memories is a local restaurant that serves pizza, the natural social media venue for a vigorous response was Yelp, the website that publishes crowd-sourced reviews of local businesses.
That response has been intense indeed—and hilarious:
The overall rating for Memories, at this writing based on 1,127 reviews, is hovering at about 1.5. Of course, not all of the people glomming onto the site are out to attack Memories; like Chick-fil-A, it has plenty of defenders too.
And lest we forget, Yelp allows reviewers to upload pics as well. Interestingly, there are currently fewer pictures than just a couple of hours ago, so Yelp or someone is seeking to remove the obvious trolls. Here, check some out: