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Peep Shows, Pimps and Prostitutes: A Walk on the Wild Side of New York in the 1970s

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Leland Bobbé started his career as a photographer in the mid-1970s shooting street scenes around Times Square and the Bowery in New York City. Bobbé was living downtown near the Brooklyn Bridge. He played drums with a band on the CBGBs/Max’s Kansas City scene.

Because I didn’t write music, I eventually realized through taking pictures I was able to make more of a personal statement than playing rock n’ roll written by others.

At night Bobbé drove a taxi. He scouted the streets in different neighborhoods. During the day, he returned to these neighborhoods to take photographs of the people who hung around the sidewalks, peep shows, bars, and flop houses.

Hard as it is to remember now, at that moment New York was kind of on its ass. Crime was at a high. Destitution and poverty were spreading like plague. Drugs and vice seemed to be the only booming enterprises. The Son of Sam slayings terrorized New Yorkers. The city was virtually bankrupt—President Gerald Ford told New York to “drop dead,” as the New York Daily News famously had it. He eventually relented and stumped up a loan to save the Big Apple. Bobbé‘s photos captured the city long before its gentrification as a rich hipster’s playground.

Bobbé often shot from the hip using a 28mm to avoid detection. Others were shot with a telephoto lens. The resulting photographs are stunning, gritty and powerful—filled with character and atmosphere that captured the city at an unforgettable point in its history.
 
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More of Leland Bobbé‘s gritty photographs of New York in the 1970s, after the jump…..
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
What kind of person is dumb enough to become a Scientologist?
05.20.2016
11:39 am

Topics:
Belief
Crime
Kooks

Tags:
Scientology
L. Ron Hubbard


 
If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, depending on where you live or what you’ve “liked,” lately you may have seen several promoted tweets and sponsored posts put out by the Church of Scientology disparaging the reputation of Scientology leader David Miscavige’s father, Ron Miscavige, himself a longtime Scientologist who left the Church in 2012. The senior Miscavige has recently published a rather damning tell-all memoir, Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me, about his sociopathic seed and the authoritarian sci-fi religion of which he is the “ecclesiastical leader.” The Co$ social media alerts wanted to make sure that you’re aware of some things in his past to discredit him as his book climbs up with NY Times bestseller list. Miscavige Sr.‘s story was featured on a riveting recent segment of ABC’s 20/20 newsmagazine as well, something I think it’s pretty safe to say that his thin-skinned, used-to-getting-his-own-way, nasty-little-man son didn’t like very much.
 

 
Much much (maybe too much) more after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Nasty Terrible T-KID 170’: New doc on one of NYC’s greatest and most legendary graffiti writers
05.16.2016
09:32 am

Topics:
Art
Crime

Tags:
graffitti
T-KID 170


 
World-renowned graffiti artist, Julius Cavero aka T-KID 170,  began his “career” in the mid ‘70s tagging under the name “King 13” for gangs The Bronx Enchanters and The Renegades of Harlem, where he learned how to paint trains. After a gang-related shootout, Cavero suffered three shots to the leg, nearly killing him.

In three weeks of hospitalization following the shoot-out, Cavero sketched endlessly, recreating himself as T-KID 170. At that time, Julius Cavero gave up gang life for street art. That’s not to say he went “straight,” mind you—he was still committing criminal acts of trespassing and vandalism, but those acts made a name for him as one of the most important NYC graffiti artists of the ‘70’s and ‘80s.

T-KID 170 became famous for his unique lettering, illustration style, and extremely prolific train-bombing. In addition to his notable artistic ability, T-KID gained a reputation in the early to mid 1980s as being one of the most feared writers. T-KID’s crew, The Vamp Squad, allegedly robbed and beat many writers attempted to tag trains on their “ghost yard” turf. These guys didn’t fuck around.
 
More T-KID 170 after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Someone is stabbing trees with meat-wrapped knives
05.12.2016
11:07 am

Topics:
Crime

Tags:
trees


 
It all started about a year and a half ago, a person or persons stabbing trees with meat-wrapped knives in Leavenworth Park. The park is located in Omaha, Nebraska and residents of the area are totally freaked out as to why this keeps happening.

“It is very strange,” said John Costanzo with the Leavenworth Neighborhood Association. “Probably for about the last year, year and a half, neighbors have been finding steaks or other various pieces of meat pinned to the tree with knives.” 

Via KETV:

Costanzo said neighbors have called in dozens of these incidents. Police reports have been filed and the crime lab has visited the scene. But the mystery of the meat-wrapped knives continues.


 
Apparently, people in the area not only find it fucking weird, but worrisome as well. Police have confirmed the meat is not human (whew!).

If you know anything about this mysterious “knife stabbing meat tree person,” you’re encouraged to call the police.

 
via Arbroath

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
All About the (counterfeit) Benjamins: Play drug-dealer with fake drugs & fake money from Amazon
05.09.2016
05:11 pm

Topics:
Crime
Drugs
Movies

Tags:
movie props


 
We’re not going to ask what you want to use them for, but in case you do want optically convincing fake drugs and fake money for your own amusement, Amazon’s got you covered.

Amazon has several products that are intended for use as movie props to substitute for illegal drugs (and illegally obtained cash). Up top you will what Amazon calls “PROP MONEY Combo 4,” with two bricks of marijuana, a few plausibly schwaggy dime bags, and some fake moolah.

If Combo 4 doesn’t grab you, you might prefer “Combo 3,” which is another variation on the pot dealer set of props, but with a higher class of weed.
 

 
Then there’s the “XMAS SPECIAL,” which may or may not be a reference to “snow”:
 

 
Fake drugs don’t endanger one of being convicted of drug dealing felonies, but the same can’t be said of fake money and counterfeiting charges, where the distinction is a bit more subtle. That’s the reason the money is comically wrong when you get a closer look (also why the bundles don’t persist past the first bill):
 

 
All of the above products cost around $50, and they are all purely props. There’s nothing preventing you from supplementing them with useful and legal items that actual drug dealers would use. For instance, a gun. OR there’s Amazon’s #1 rated money counter, the “G-Star Technology Money Counter With UV/MG W/Counterfeit Bill Detection.” It costs $99.99:
 

 
By comparison, the American Weigh 100g x 0.01g Digital Scale is a steal at $8.84.
 

 
That scale is purportedly so popular among drug dealers that the “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Bought” section on its Amazon page has become a kind of informal Amazon Guide to Dealing Drugs, with links to various, erm, “spice” grinders, a scientific spatula, a digital caliper, and so on.

We hope you have fun fooling your buddies into thinking you’ve become some kind of Tuco Salamanca, but be careful—it’s impossible to list all the ways flaunting items like this could get you into trouble. Don’t blame us if you land in hot water!
 
via Boing Boing

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Murder, Madness and Miss Marple: The Secret Life of Dame Margaret Rutherford

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Sunday afternoon matinees on television first introduced me to the utter delight of watching Margaret Rutherford’s acting on screen. Her appearance as the much loved Miss Marple in a series of 1960s whodunnits loosely based on the novels by Agatha Christie left such an indelible impression that for all of those great actresses who have since played the inquisitive spinster from St. Mary Mead not one has eclipsed her unforgettable performance.

There was always something special about Margaret Rutherford. No matter what she did, she was always likeable. Over a thirty-year career on stage and screen she consistently delivered performances of quality and distinction, of grace and beauty, of comedy and excellence that made her sparkle in even the most second rate production.

Nowadays she is best remembered for her scene-stealing turn as Madame Arcati in David Lean’s movie adaptation of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit in 1945. Or her fighting the battle of the sexes as headmistress of a girls school in The Happiest Days of Your Life from 1950. Or her 1963 Oscar-winning role as the Duchess of Brighton in the Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor movie The V.I.P.s.

As the actor Robert Morley once said, Margaret Rutherford was “everyone’s Maiden Aunt—a woman of enormous integrity who acted naturally…and was always frightfully funny.” Yet behind all this talent to amuse was a terrible secret worthy of a Miss Marple mystery—a story of madness, suicide and murder that haunted the great actress throughout her life.

To unlock this family secret we have to go back to the decade before Margaret Rutherford’s birth—to the marriage of her parents William Rutherford Benn and Florence Nicholson at All Saints Church, Wandsworth in December of 1882.

William was the son of the Reverend Julius Benn, an eminent social reformer and church figure and the grandfather of politician Tony Benn. Florence was of similar middle class stock but her parents were dead and one sister had committed suicide a few years before—which was an intimation of things to come.

Not long after their honeymoon, William had a serious psychotic breakdown. It has been suggested this was caused by his failure to consummate the marriage. Exactly a month after their wedding, William was admitted to Bethnal House Lunatic Asylum, where he was described as suffering from:

...depression alternating with unusual excitement and irritability.

William was detained at the asylum for several weeks until his condition improved. On release, his parents decided it best that William should not return immediately to Florence but instead take “a rest cure in the country.” William’s father the Rev. Julius decided to take his son to the spa town of Matlock in Derbyshire.

On February 27th, 1883, the two men checked into their room at a boarding house run by a Mrs Marchant in Chesterfield Road. Father and son appeared “on the most affectionate of terms” and were “very attached to each other.” They were described as “abstemious” and were seen taking long walks to various local sites.

But on Sunday March 4th something terrible happened.
 
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The first indications of there being wrong was the strange ghastly noises coming from their room. When neither men appeared for breakfast:

Mrs Marchant, accompanied by her husband, entered the Benns’ room to find William Benn, his night shirt covered in blood, pointing to his father, who lay on the bed quite dead.

William had killed his father with a single blow to the head with an earthenware chamber pot. William had then attempted suicide by cutting his own throat. He stood in the room making feral noises blood bubbling from the gash in his throat.

This self-inflicted was not fatal. William was arrested and treated at the local infirmary. A few days later he attempted suicide again this time by jumping out of a second story window. He suffered injuries to his back and cuts to his body but was not seriously hurt. He was recaptured and held at the hospital.

At the inquest, the jury unanimously decided William had “wilfully murdered” his father. He was committed to the mercy of the Derbyshire Assizes for sentencing. William’s condition deteriorated drastically. He was declared “insane” and admitted to Broadmoor hospital. All charges against him were dropped on grounds of insanity.

What caused this tragic psychotic episode is unknown. William was treated at Broadmoor for seven years, after which he was released into the care of his wife Florence.

In a bid to escape the association with his murderous past, William changed his name from Benn to Rutherford by deed poll. This time the marriage was consummated and Margaret Taylor Rutherford was born on May 11th, 1892.
 
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William moved his family to India, where he worked as a merchant or “shipping clerk” and sometime journalist. Little is known of what happened during these years other than the suggestion (from Tony Benn) that William was deeply moved by the poverty he encountered and dedicated his time to helping those in direst need.

During their time together in India, Florence became pregnant. At some point during her pregnancy, Florence fell into a deep depression and exhibited signs of severe mental illness. Aware of his wife’s deteriorating condition, William made plans to move back to England. It came too late. Florence committed suicide. Her body was discovered one morning hanging from a tree in the garden.

In 1895, William and Margaret returned to England. He handed his daughter over to his wife’s remaining sister Bessie to raise. William then suffered a series of severe mental breakdowns that led to his incarceration at the Northumberland House Asylum, Finsbury Park, London in 1903.

Bessie took full charge of raising her niece. She told Margaret her parents were dead. All went well until one day a tramp approached Margaret as she played in the garden. This disheveled man told the young girl her father was very much alive and sent her his love. Margaret was terrified by the man and deeply troubled by what he had said.

She asked her aunt about her father. Bessie eventually told the truth. Margaret was devastated. She became depressed, withdrawn and non-communicative. Rutherford was terrified that she had inherited her parents’ insanity. She suffered the first of many mental breakdowns that she endured throughout her life, in later years going as far as undertaking electric shock therapy as a hopeful cure for her depression.

Margaret Rutherford never spoke publicly of her family’s history. In her autobiography, she made no reference to her father’s illness instead describing him as a:

...complicated romantic who changed his name to Rutherford as it was more aesthetic for a writer. My father died in tragic circumstances soon after my mother and so I became an orphan.

William had in fact been re-admitted to Broadmoor where he was incarcerated until his death in 1921. It is not known whether Margaret ever visited her father. However, he did write many letters to his daughter that caused her family considerable concern.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Watch Keith Haring get arrested on national TV, 1982
04.19.2016
01:09 pm

Topics:
Art
Crime
Television

Tags:
Keith Haring


 
On October 20, 1982, The CBS Evening News, hosted by Dan Rather, ran a segment about a fellow in New York City who was currently upending the typical view of graffiti artists as untalented thugs. Charles Osgood did the report on the artist, who of course was Keith Haring.

Haring’s practice during that time was evidently to use chalk instead of spray paint, which (it seems to me) calls into question the fundamental law-and-order premise of whether Haring had actually damaged any property (Osgood says something vaguely similar). My guess would be that public hysteria over graffiti was just unreasonably high during the 1970s and 1980s. During the segment Osgood says that Haring sometimes gets arrested for his graffiti, and then, weirdly enough, that’s exactly what happens. (It almost feels staged.)
 

 
Osgood points out that the sentences are never very harsh, and that Haring is willing to assume that risk in order to bring his art to regular people. The segment makes a lot of hay on the idea that hoity-toity people in the art world pay high prices for artworks that you can see for next to nothing on the subway, but that irony seems like a big shrug to me.

Early on you can catch a glimpse of a large advertisement for the most recent issue of Penthouse (“Special Back to School Issue!”). All you New Yorkers out there, when was the last time you saw an ad for a porno magazine on a subway platform? 

After the jump, watch the CBS news report, followed by a gallery of Keith Haring stalking the subways…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Man says too much music and masturbation caused him to vandalize home
04.13.2016
10:31 am

Topics:
Crime
Current Events

Tags:
Vandalism


 
Stop me if you heard this one before: Meet 25-year-old Clearwater, Florida (natch) resident William Timothy Anderson Thomas who allegedly vandalized a home and then told cops he had “listened to too much music” and masturbated “too much,” which apparently caused him to feel like “going out and destroying stuff.”

Isn’t it supposed to work the other way around? Men! Florida men!

From the ____:

Largo police officers responded to a home at 2066 N. Belcher Rd. around 2 p.m. on April 8 after someone reported seeing a man smashing a mailbox.

When police arrived at the home, they say they found William Timothy Anderson Thomas, 25 on the property, shirtless and covered in dirt.

According to an arrest affidavit, a trailer tire had been flattened, a window on the house was broken, and a mailbox, a real estate sign and a garden angel were completely destroyed.

According to police, Thomas admitted to the crimes and destroying the property. “He also stated he had listened to too much music and masturbated too much.” What odd details to volunteer to officers of the law, I think we can all agree?

Thomas was arrested and booked in the Pinellas County Jail with the bond set at $7,000.

What I’m really dying to know is WHAT WAS THOMAS LISTENING TO???

Whitehouse? Mötley Crüe? The most recent Hanson album? I’ll bet it was something especially sick.

via WFLA

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Beastie Boys designed an egg gun for kids
04.01.2016
08:58 am

Topics:
Crime
Hip-hop
Punk

Tags:
Beastie Boys
egg gun


MCA in costume as a deviled egg
 
The Beastie Boys had a thing for eggs. Their first release, 1982’s Polly Wog Stew EP, concluded with “Egg Raid on Mojo,” a hardcore blast about getting revenge on the doorman at a NYC club by unloading a few cartons of eggs on his person. But as the Reagan/Bush years wore on and anomie set in, the Beasties’ use of eggs became less judicious. During the sessions for Paul’s Boutique, the trio egged hapless pedestrians from windows: those of Ad-Rock’s Manhattan apartment, their rooms at LA’s Mondrian Hotel, and MCA’s “macked-out” car. They also infamously egged the heavily-hyped British “supergroup” Sigue Sigue Sputnik during their big US debut on Halloween night of 1986. (Mike D: “We threw eggs at them when they were at the New York Palladium, it was the least we could do.”)

If you think the Beasties’ random eggings were bad, they were nothing compared to the doomsday device of mischief the band was sitting on which, had they unleashed it, would have made childhood and adolescence a lot more interesting for me and a number of DM’s readers. The line “Put him in check correct with my egg gun,” from “Egg Man,” described a Beastie Boys business venture that could have turned the world’s major cities into slimy, shell-specked hellscapes. From Dan LeRoy’s excellent 33⅓ book on Paul’s Boutique, which just reached its tenth anniversary (and spawned a worthy sequel):

[T]he egg gun mentioned in the song was more than just a rhetorical device. [Dust Brother] Mike Simpson recalls the band “actually employed some toy designers—maybe they were from Hasbro?—to come up with a Beastie Boys egg gun. And I believe there were a couple of prototypes, which Yauch probably still has.”

[Mike D], however, says the prototypes came tantalizingly close to being developed, yet were never completed. “But imagine if we had,” he muses. “The egg business would have blown up. Chicken farmers would be like oilmen today.”

 

 
But Simpson, who mentioned the egg gun in an interview about Paul’s Boutique with Seattle’s KEXP recorded last July, maintains the designers did make some kind of visual representation of the finished product:

Yauch took it so far as to hire toy designers from Mattel to come up with prototypes for the Beastie Boys Egg Gun. Somewhere in the world, there are these amazing renderings of these potential egg guns with the Beastie Boys brand on it, which is hilarious.

Can we get the Beastie Boys Egg Gun in stores, please, or at least in my hands? Isn’t this what crowdfunding was invented for?

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘I always got weed on me’: Texas man busted in high-speed chase because of weed
03.21.2016
02:31 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Crime
Drugs

Tags:
weed


 
Shouldn’t “Texas Man” join “Ohio Man” and “Florida Man” as snarky shorthand for “what this guy did makes no sense whatsoever… because Florida (or Ohio)”?

Meet 26-year-old Jonathan Davis. Davis is a lawyer’s worst nightmare. This dude should never, ever open his mouth. Especially when there are cameras rolling! After this, I think we need to expand the lexicon of American idiocracy to include “Texas Man,” too.

Incredibly, Davis—who modestly refers to himself an “adrenaline junkie”—decided to try to outrun law enforcement across five counties, which he was doing quite successfully—at times going well over 100 mph and going the wrong way—all because he had some weed on him and didn’t want to get busted again. Davis called the high speed chase a “thrill” and admitted that he’d been on Instagram during it. He decided to flee police after a traffic stop, complaining that his prior marijuana convictions had led to him not being able to get a “normal” job and that he had weed on him.

He sure picked an interesting, unassuming way to avoid any further interaction with the law.

And I must admit, I wonder what Davis’ definition of a “normal” job is, don’t you?

Do consider the fact that if this was Colorado or Washington or any one of our more enlightened, cannabis-friendly states, this probably never would have happened. Not saying Davis is exactly making a good case for legalizing marijuana, but you know what I mean.
 

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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