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‘Love Letters From Craig’ serves up ‘casual encounters’ as read by a robot

Love Letters From Craig” is the delicious brainchild of an Amsterdam-based company called Cartelle that appropriates and recontextualizes posts from the “casual encounters” section of Craigslist, certainly one of the steamiest (and frequently, most X-rated) sections of the well-known free personals website.

Those Craigslist posts basically consist of people spelling out the exact kinky thing they’re looking to do with a stranger, using a curiously encoded manner of communication—most messages feature at least 1 or 2 acronyms whose meanings aren’t immediately obvious. On “Love Letters From Craig” those messages are read aloud by a robotic voice of the type you might hear emanating from your GPS, while images of items signifying sex and/or oral stimulation (disembodied boobs, a lipstick, a glazed donut, a lollipop, cherries, bananas, pills, etc.) blandly float by. The formal register lends even such attention-getting phrases as “love making out, mutual oral, rimming, toys, spanking, w/s, shower play” an odd kind of dignity.

Cartelle is calling this strange exercise in voyeurism “a romantic exploration into the perversions of modern-day digital hookups.” According to Cartelle, “The contents are not moderated and completely automated, only enhanced by sensual porno beats and tasty, sexy visuals.” “Love Letters From Craig” scrapes new content from the Craigslist servers on an hourly basis.

I don’t know what it all means, but I find watching it strangely mesmerizing.

via Kill Screen

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Cheeky vintage ashtrays featuring nude ladies and racy pinup models
10:34 am



Vintage ashtray, 1950s
Back in the 40s, 50s and throughout the 60s and beyond, hotels, diners and and other establishments (especially casinos) used ashtrays as a means to advertise their business. In many cases, the middle of the ashtray contained an image or illustration of a scantily clad and sometimes nude pinup model. As it had also become more acceptable for women to smoke, ashtrays also evolved into beautiful ornate sculptures in order to appeal to female smokers.
Nude woman ashtray, 1950s
Ashtray with nude woman, 1950s
Vintage topless woman Art Nouveau style ashtray
Vintage topless woman Art Nouveau style ashtray
As I mentioned, the idea to put an image of a nude woman on an ashtray was quite the thing for a few decades, and there were a few cool designs. Such as what is often referred to as a “nodder” in the collectable world of vintage ashtrays (below). Contrary to popular belief, I’m no ashtray expert, but if I understand it correctly, nodders generally hail from Japan and were made of ceramic or porcelain. Parts of the piece are movable (as with the legs of the nodder below) and have a hollow core in which to deposit your spent butts in, but by far my favorites are the pinup novelty ashtrays that bore the names and numbers of a local divey hotel or tavern looking to attract new customers.

“Nodder” style ashtray, 1950s
If you find these kinds cheeky chachkies appealing, they are fairly easy to find on auction sites like Etsy and eBay. Some of the more rare nodders are on the spendy side running a couple of hundred dollars a pop, while the super kitschy pinup ashtrays can be had for around $20 - $50 depending on the state of undress of the illustration and its condition. NSFW images follow, but that’s part of the fun now, isn’t it?
Travel Inn Cafe, Harmony, MN pin-up ashtray
Travel Inn Cafe, Harmony, MN pin-up ashtray
Aleman's Club Rodeo, California nude pin up ashtray
Aleman’s Club Rodeo, California nude pin up ashtray
Many more nudie ashtrays after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Sexist stereo ads from the 70s are a total turn-off
02:28 pm



Sony HP-188 stereo ad, 1970s
Buy a Sony HP-188, get a threeway for free! 1970s
Ah, the 70s. If I could pick a decade to live in forever, that would be the one. From punk rock, to movies and television, cocaine… pretty much everything was better in the seventies. Except of course if you happened to be a woman. A fact that can be proven over and over again by simply taking a quick look back at how women were portrayed in advertising during the decade.
Pioneer stereo ad, 1970s
Pioneer SX-424 AM/FM Stereo receiver ad, 1970s
From cigarettes to cars, advertising in the 70s was demoralizing at best for women. So today I thought we’d take a look at some ads for stereo equipment that push the limits of taste. Listen, it’s not beyond my ability to comprehend that sex sells. Boobs are as beautiful as they are persuasive, and that will never change. While some of the ads I dug up are somewhat lighthearted, most are ridiculous, blatantly sexist and downright rape-y if you ask me. That said, some of the following images, which probably mostly appeared in men’s magazines and the likes of the National Lampoon should be considered NSFW.
Empire Grenadier speaker ad, 1970s
Empire Grenadier speaker ad, 1970s

“Great Indoors” Sony stereo ad, 1970s
More after the jump…

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Magazine ads from the heyday of cocaine chic
01:12 pm



Who was the Don Draper of magazine ads for cocaine and cocaine accessories? (That turn of phrase can’t help put me in the mind of Hank Hill.)

These vintage advertisements appeared in popular magazines like High Times and Hustler as well as magazines with, er, lower profiles. (Credit goes to The World’s Best Ever for unearthing these gems.) Somewhat surprisingly, these ads were perfectly legal—it wasn’t until 1986 that a statute was passed making it a crime to “sell, transport through the mail, transport across state lines, import, or export drug paraphernalia as defined.”

I really enjoy the names of the companies you were supposed to write in order to receive your high-end coke spoons or whatever: Paraphernalia Head-Quarters, Alpine Creations, Johnny Snowflake, Cocaphernalia, Elite Distributors, Leasure Time Products (sic), Klimax Novelties Inc.

I really want one of those vacuum cleaner-shaped coke straws!


Many more awesome coked-up ads after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Pre-Velvet Underground Nico in Spanish brandy advertisements, 1964
02:10 pm


Andy Warhol
Velvet Underground

These Centenario Terry brandy ad, made for Spanish TV, dates back to 1964 and feature a young and impossibly beautiful Christa Päffgen who would soon go on to join the Velvet Underground at the behest of Andy Warhol.

Years later we have this entry from Andy Warhol’s Diary on Monday October 6th, 1980:

“Went to C.Z. Guest’s for drinks. A guy there told me, “We have someone in common.” He said that his family owned all the brandy and sherry in Spain and that in the sixties Nico was the girl in all their advertisements in all the posters and subways and magazines, that she was famous all over Spain. He wanted to know where this beautiful girl was now and I said that it was a whole other person, that he’d never believe it, that she was fat and a heroin addict. He wanted to see her and I said that if she was still playing at the Squat Theatre we could go see her.”

There used to be a few more of these ads on YouTube, but most seemed to have vanished.

The actor here, Hans Meyer was apparently closely associated with this particular brand of cognac.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Cringeworthy Bud Light ‘grunge’ ad is totally 90s
02:00 pm


Bud Light

They might not have known it yet, but anyone who ever felt the remotest fandom for/identification with Kurt Cobain, Mark Arm, or Kim Thayil back when the word “grunge” still needed to be clarified for a mass audience on a regular basis (1991, say) was about to learn a harsh lesson in the pleasures of corporate cooptation. Once Nirvana’s Nevermind hit #1 on the U.S. charts in January 1992, the feeding frenzy was on, with Marc Jacobs introducing a “grunge” fashion line for Perry Ellis and a receptionist for Sub Pop Records successfully passing off a bunch of made-up grunge slang to the New York Times.

In truth, the attempts to cash in on grunge were only partially successful. Cameron Crowe set his 1992 movie Singles in Seattle and populated it with well-known and authentic grunge practitioners like Tad Doyle, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament, but that didn’t make the movie any good or (even if you liked it) any less stilted. Grunge resisted the spotlight, and in the long arc of history, the big winners ended up being, er, Matchbox 20 and Foo Fighters maybe?

Exhibit A in the deliciously tricky process of marketing the grunge mindset is this hilariously awkward “grunge” commercial that Bud Light put out, apparently in 1993, which ought to have induced a gag reflex in anyone who might be considered the prime target audience. According to the YouTube info, this commercial ran for four years, but I barely remember it, which may mean that it was just barely innocuous enough to escape the derision it so richly deserved.


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Limbo, NYC’s ‘Tuned-in Generation’ 60s fashion emporium (and their amazing artist-in-residence)

It all started a few weeks ago with a nice lady dropping by the record store with two cardboard moving boxes full of old newspapers. “I thought I’d see if anyone here wanted these before I threw them out.”

I looked into the first box and on top was an issue of The Village Voice from April of 1969. Without even hesitating I said “Yep, I’ll be happy to take these in.” Digging further, I saw that I was looking at two boxes full of old Voice issues from the late ‘60s—mega score. All I had in my pocket was ten dollars, but I offered it to the nice lady. “These are cool, please take my ten bucks. And THANK YOU!”

I started plowing through the contents of the two boxes when I got home that evening. All tolled, there were forty-five issues of the Voice dating between 1967 and 1969—one of the most interesting periods in U.S. history for art and radical politics. The Voice, at that time, was one of the major mediums carrying the anti-war message, not to mention reporting on the explosion of art, psychedelic thought, and counterculture. Every issue in those two boxes was a treasure trove of Vietnam era cool: Andy Warhol shot. Abbie Hoffman arrested. Eldridge Cleaver lecturing. Burroughs and Ginsberg hit up Timothy Leary’s LSD Center. Jimi Hendrix is playing this weekend. Janis Joplin is playing another. Hair is on Broadway. I Am Curious (Yellow) is at the cinema. EVERYONE is protesting. Cops are busting heads. I’m completely enthralled and lost in these stacks.

As I’m meticulously poring over the issues, I begin to notice the ads for one particular shop: Limbo. To say there was something special about these mystifying “anti-ads” is an understatement. My eye was drawn magnetically to the Limbo graphics. There was at least one in every issue. The designs were sort of a Dada/Pop Art hybrid, but actually quite unlike anything else—definitely unlike anything else in the Voice at that time. Sure, there were lots of era-typical psychedelic graphics advertising everything from fur coats to futons… but the Limbo ads weren’t exactly psychedelic… and they weren’t exactly advertising anything other than their own unique form. They seemed completely and beautifully out of place and time, something a step beyond the pop iconography of Warhol’s work from a few years prior. Familiar, yet obscure. Every image stopped me in my tracks and had me guessing at its mysteries.

Ads for Limbo as they appeared in the Village Voice.
I became obsessed. I went through every issue, specifically hunting each Limbo ad. They were all different. They didn’t repeat. All arresting and confounding.

Mesmerized, curious, needing to know more, I went to the Internet for information and with very little effort found that this long-defunct shop had both a handy Wikipedia entry and Facebook presence.

From what I discovered, I was surprised I hadn’t already known about Limbo. It was apparently the IT shop in the East Village. Writing in eye Magazine, Norman Steinberg described Limbo as “much more than just a clothing store. It is a social, intellectual, and entertainment experience that appeals to people of all ages, races, creeds, colors and political persuasions.”

Beyond being simply a retail shop, Limbo was a countercultural HUB for disaffected New Yorkers. The store, through a wholesale sales agreement with Fillmore East, dressed rock stars from Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, to the New York Dolls and Velvet Underground. John Lennon, Yoko Ono,  Andy Warhol and his “superstars” Baby Jane Holzer, Nico, Viva and Edie Sedgwick were all frequenters.

“Dress as decoration. Dress as defiance. Dress as decorum, or its opposite. That was at the heart of Limbo.”
Limbo sold not only typical “peacenik” clothes like Indian cottons and silks, but also military surplus for the Yippie warriors of the day. Limbo was one of the first sellers to make “vintage” clothing “hip,” calling the inventory on their flyers: “Dead Man’s Clothing.” Limbo is also often credited with starting the trend of “distressing” blue jeans before sale. As a retail shop, it served as a cultural focal point in the East Village—much in the same way that its successor served the early punk scene. Many of our readers may be familiar with the store which Limbo became after being sold in 1975: Trash & Vaudeville.

“Carefully Selected Dead Men’s Clothing For The Heads of All Nations”
As I thought about the notion of a shop like Limbo being a community axis, I was reminded of my own recent experience with the nice lady dropping off the two boxes of Village Voices at the record shop and felt connected to that tradition of storefronts being places that can exist beyond their capitalist function of exchanging goods and services for money—places that offer a space for like-minded individuals to meet and share ideas or pass things along simply because that’s a “cool thing to do.”

Scouring the photo galleries on Limbo’s Facebook page, I found many of the same striking ads I had seen in those Village Voice issues. Scanning through those, I located the name of the artist who had designed them: Ira Kennedy.
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Vintage Godzilla posters from around the world are indescribably awesome!
12:27 pm



Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, 1977 (Poland)
We’ve done galleries of amusing or startling movie posters from abroad before, but none of them have ever been quite this focused before, to my knowledge. Godzilla, that most protean of radioactive monsters, has inspired posters that range all over the goddamn map. As is often the case, the Polish posters of the late 1960s and early 1970s are hard to beat for sheer inventiveness and oddity, but the Czechs and the French, not to be short-changed, contribute bizarre wonders as well.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla gets a dashing Peter Max treatment, while the creature from Godzilla vs. Gigan is anachronistically, and energetically, pimping his radioactive RSS feed. Meanwhile, the creature on the poster of Son of Godzilla resembles a drunken Wookiee. My favorite might be the Polish poster for Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, an impressionistic masterpiece with flaming red eyeballs in the monster’s midsection and silhouettes of factories inhabiting his feet.

Godzilla, 1954 (Germany)

Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, 1956 (France)

Godzilla, 1956 (Czechoslovakia)
More international Godzilla posters after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Pesterminator,’ the shit video game that advertised Western Exterminator
10:42 am


Western Exterminator

The 1990 video game Pesterminator: The Western Exterminator is not as Burroughsian as one could hope. In fact, it’s not Burroughsian at all; it’s a disappointment in every way. The box promises nine infernal levels, the perfect number for a Dantesque descent into a rat-infested hell, but in fact the game only contains eight, one of which is the moon. Yes, the moon, from which Ronnie the Super Rat is “radiating the Earth with his powerful PEST BEAM,” causing our planet’s rats and bugs to rise up and demand what’s theirs. Do you really want to interfere with Ronnie’s project? I, for one, incline to the view that these noble species deserve their turn at the top of the food chain.

The hero of Pesterminator is the Western Exterminator mascot, the stern-looking, long-nosed person with the top hat and the hammer who overlooks L.A.‘s Hollywood Freeway and is variously known as Kernel Kleenup, Inspector Holmes, Mr. Little and the Little Man. Though he’s probably best known in the states where Western Exterminator has offices (California, Nevada, Arizona), I once saw a Kernel Kleenup figurine in a Philadelphia warehouse, and Van Halen fans will recognize his image from 1984 tour merch.

The game was produced by Color Dreams, a notorious manufacturer of unlicensed cartridges for the Nintendo Entertainment System whose subsidiary Wisdom Tree later produced many of your favorite Bible-themed video games. As an irate video game reviewer says on YouTube:

Games like Pesterminator are so horrible that they make you wonder why they were ever made at all. Who in their right mind would want to waste their time on such a futile endeavor? Color Dreams made it? Huh—well, that explains everything. They always seem to waste everybody’s time making shit, but this game is really dreadful, even for them.

“ANOTHER FINE AMERICAN MADE GAME,” the copy on the box boasts:

When you’re bugged by nasty pests, it’s time to call Kernel Kleanup [sic], the familiar character from Western Exterminator. Ronnie, the super rat, and his friends are pushing for a hostile takeover and their territories cover Houses, Office Buildings, Warehouses, Hotels, Swamps, and even the Moon. Watch out bugs, PESTERMINATOR has a big surprise waiting for you!

In the early days of the home video game console, one of the fun things that used to happen was this: you would visit your schoolmate at his mom’s condo and he would spend an hour or two “showing you how to play” his favorite games, after which it would be time for you to move on to a different activity or go home. Today, you can relive those precious moments by watching someone else play Pesterminator below. Let’s hope Ronnie and his army of plague-carriers annihilate the human race this time!

H/T Ben McKean

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Graphic anti-smoking ads from around the world
12:11 pm



Anti-smoking ad, Finland
Anti-smoking advertisement, Finland
With all due respect to those who struggle with nicotine addiction (especially my good pal, the “indestructible” Lemmy Kilmister), these anti-smoking advertisements make me wish I never smoked for the week or so that I did back when I was fifteen.
Anti-smoking ad, India
Hi, Hitler! Anti-smoking advertisement, India
Unless you don’t watch television or read print media (which is of course plausible), then you may not be aware of how much anti-smoking crusaders have stepped up their campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, and to help people quit. Television ads featuring graphic testimonies and images of former smokers that have lost limbs, lips and teeth thanks to their habit are now commonplace. It’s no longer legal to smoke in clubs or bars in many places in the U.S. and starting on October 1st of this year, it will no longer be legal to smoke in your car in England or Wales if a child (or anyone under 18) is present.
Anti-smoking ad, UK
Anti-smoking advertisement, UK
For people that treat the world as their ashtray, while I sympathise with your plight (I’ve watched friends go through withdrawals trying to quit - it’s not pretty), I will never understand the lack of respect or empathy most smokers seem have when it comes to the environment, or deciding to light up by a public doorway, a playground full of kids, or at the damn beach. It is not my goal with this post to be judge-y of smokers. I’ll just leave you with fact that smoking is a real fucking, life sucking drag. On us all. Thought provoking NSFW images that will hopefully help you quit, follow.
Anti-smoking ad, Brazil
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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