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The original guide to identifying criminals from 1909
10.12.2017
09:46 am
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About three years ago, defenders of civil liberties were understandably angsty over the news the F.B.I. had launched its Next Generation Identification system—a billion dollar operation intended to replace the old fingerprint system with “the world’s largest and most efficient electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information.” This meant investigators could identify perps from stored information like DNA, voice recognition, latent prints, personal history, and iris and face recognition technology culled from mugshots, surveillance camera footage, and even selfies taken from social media.

A lot of people were blaming the government, Big Brother, fascism, communism, and all the usual suspects for this monumental change to detective work and our privacy. But personally, I blame Alphonse Bertillon, coz he was the dude that started the whole thing off in the 19th-century.

Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914) was a French detective. He believed everything had its place and that the world had an order. Bertillon had an unremarkable early career first as a soldier then as a lowly clerk with the Prefecture of Police in Paris. It was while working as a police copyist that Bertillon first recognized the random way in which cops investigated crimes. There was no proper system for identifying criminals and no code by which detectives could investigate crime scenes. Sure, there were crime scene photographs and artists sketches, but these were all rather ad hoc.

To solve these issues, Bertillon came up with the mugshot as a means of identifying criminals and codified a precise photographic process for documenting crime scenes in the 1880s—both of which are still in use today.

He also gave investigators a biometric system for identifying criminals. This involved measuring their height, the length of their arms and legs, the size of their heads, the shape of eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, and any other identifying characteristics like wrinkles, scars, birthmarks, etc. This system of breaking down criminals into identifiable component parts was known as Bertillonage. It included an early form of facial recognition, which gave cops a “cheat sheet” for getting their man.

Bertillon’s Tableau synoptic des traits physionomiques (Synoptic Table of Physiognomic Traits) helped the cops identify criminals and criminal types. It was rather like identikit pictures. It was used as a tool of capturing ne’er-do-wells right up to the turn of the last century when it was quickly superseded by fingerprints.
 
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See more of Bertillon’s ‘Synoptic Table of Physiognomic Traits,’ after the the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.12.2017
09:46 am
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Why can’t you read the punk history ‘American Hardcore’ in California state prison?
09.28.2017
07:53 am
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If you get sent up the river in California and you like to read about music, better stick to biographies of Tommy Dorsey and Rudy Vallee. State prisons have banned the book American Hardcore: A Tribal History on the grounds that it “shows obscene material displaying penetration of the vagina or anus.” That’s false, says the book’s publisher, Feral House: “Not a single risqué image in the whole book.”

American Hardcore, now in its second edition, is the popular history of hardcore punk that was the basis for the 2006 documentary of the same name. Earlier this week, Feral House’s Facebook account posted a letter from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to the book’s author, Steven Blush:

Dear Steven Blush-Feral House Publishing:

This letter is to advise you that your publication entitled, American Hardcore, A Tribal History, Second Edition, by Steven Blush has been placed on the Centralized List of Disapproved Publications by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and will not be delivered to CDCR inmates statewide.

This decision is based on the violation of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 15, Section 3006, Contraband. The publication shows obscene material displaying penetration of the vagina or anus and shall not be delivered to the inmate(s), as it violates Department policy.


Last year, the Virginia Department of Corrections banned the GWAR coffee-table book Let There Be GWAR, which at least includes some pictures of genitals and bodily fluids that might keep a reader company during the cold penitentiary nights. As I recall, the worst obscenities in American Hardcore are musical, along the lines of Discharge’s Grave New World or SSD’s How We Rock.

“Hardcore.” They must have mistaken it for a book about porn, you think.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.28.2017
07:53 am
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Through a Lens, Darkly: Weegee’s photographs of death and disaster
07.12.2017
09:27 am
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Murder was easy. The stiff would lie on the sidewalk for an hour or two until the wagon took his body downtown to the morgue. The stiff was slumped in the doorway of an Italian cafe, head to the door, feet on the sidewalk. Weegee sized up the scene. Every other photographer was taking the close-up. Bloodied face. Bloodied hands. Legs at strange angles. Weegee clocked the people hanging out of their tenement windows looking down on the scene below. Moms, Dads, kids reading the funnies. This was the drama. One stiff was the same as another. Weegee wanted his pictures to show some humanity. He walked back about a hundred feet. Set up his camera. Used flash powder and Kazam! There was the whole scene. The corpse. The blood. The cops. The balcony seat of people looking out to see what had just happened. Drama. Humanity. Crime.

Weegee came out of Złoczów now part of the Ukraine. He was born Arthur Fellig in June 1899. He emigrated with his family. They landed New York 1909. Lived in the Lower East Side. His father was a hatmaker and part-time rabbi. Weegee took whatever work came. He became a janitor. Got the nickname “Squeegee Boy.” He hung around with the bums on the Bowery. Started taking photographs. First passport pictures, then commercial work. At the age of thirty-five, he upped his game, quit commercial work, became a freelance news photographer.

He went out nights, hung around the police station waiting for the stories to come in over the teletype. Off he went taking pictures of murders, fires, fender benders, wacko kids on their way to juvie hall. He spent two years with no accreditation following the police all around town. In 1938, the cops gave him his own police radio. Weegee could tune in and pick up on what was happening. Most times he got to the crime scene before the cops. The cops thought he must be psychic. This gave rise to the apocryphal story his nickname was the phonetic spelling of “Ouija.” Weegee added a darkroom to the trunk of his car. He took his picture, developed it at the scene, put his print on the back, and sold it to the papers. During his ten years at police headquarters, Weegee said he must have photographed 5,000 murders—“at least one murder every night.”

Weegee wanted to capture the perfect picture. He always claimed he photographed things just as he found them but this wasn’t always so. The famous pic of rich tiaraed dames in white furs off to the opera with a dirty-faced down-and-out lady beside them was staged. The bum was a drunk from a bar in the Bowery. She was paid a few drinks to stand next to the patrons going to the Met. Even so, it’s a damn fine photograph.

Taking people’s pictures wasn’t easy. At first, Weegee felt nervous, scared, but he knew he had to show confidence. He had to be in control. When he was, he found out people liked getting their pictures taken. One day his editor asked him why was it that when cops arrested perps and threw them in the back of the wagon, the criminals always covered their faces? Weegee came up with a solution for that. One night, Weegee asked a moll if she wanted the picture the papers used just to be her mugshot? Cause that’s certainly what they’re gonna use. Wouldn’t it be better if he took a good picture the way she wanted to be seen, well-lit like a Rembrandt, looking her best rather than some guilty lowlife? After that, most perps wanted Weegee to capture their best side.

Weegee photographed a world of crime and violence, murder and death. He changed the way we look at the world. He made an art form of the crime scene, which appealed to both the sensation-hungry readers of the tabloid press and the leafy, middlebrow, intellectuals. Weegee’s photographs created a style that is often copied but never bettered. This is film noir. This is every classic gangster movie you’ve seen. This is life as it happened.
 
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More of Weegee’s shots of death & disaster, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.12.2017
09:27 am
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Bad Bunny: True children’s stories of violent, drug-fueled family life presented as a kids’ book
07.07.2017
10:48 am
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Childhood is sometimes described by those privileged enough to know as the best years of our lives. This may be the case for the few but not always so for the many.

An American educational charity called Youth Ambassadors, which helps underprivileged kids reach their full potential, has come up with a rather simple idea to highlight the often grim reality of how some young people spend their childhoods. It’s a fake children’s book called Welcome to My Neighborhood.

It’s presented just like any other kids picture book with friendly, cuddly bunnies, cats, and mice telling the story of their lives. The big difference is this ain’t no Beatrix Potter or Wind in the Willows. This is a collection of disturbing true stories of domestic violence, drugs, crime, murder, and prison as recounted by disadvantaged children from some of America’s most deprived places. Not even the seemingly family-friendly illustrations can disguise the brutality of the children’s lives as drug-addict Daddy Rat beats his kids, the Bunny Brothers whack people, and Mister Fox is a gung-ho, trigger-happy cop.

Whether Welcome to My Neighborhood will actually make any real difference to the plight of these youngsters other than being something the chattering class will smile knowledgeably about over their quinoa salads and tofu chai latte, I ain’t so sure. But it’s certainly 10/10 for originality and effort. Download a PDF of this book here or, if you’re interested in doing some good, find out how to help Youth Ambassadors here.
 
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More sad tales, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.07.2017
10:48 am
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Night Stalkers: Disturbing illustrated covers from Serial Killer Magazine
07.06.2017
09:50 am
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An illustration of Richard Ramirez aka “The Night Stalker” on the cover of issue #25 of Serial Killer Magazine.
 
Serial Killer Magazine got its start in 2014 and to date has put out 25 issues dedicated to the dark world of serial killers. The page-turner is the holy grail for anyone into “murderabilia,” and the mag takes the business of providing in-depth information about serial murderers very seriously, often utilizing real experts in the field and in some cases, the killers themselves. As someone who has a macabre interest in these kinds of things, I’m embarrassed to admit that I had no knowledge of Serial Killer Magazine until today and was instantly captivated by its grim, illustrated covers.

As I’m sure you are aware, there is a pretty robust market for ephemera associated with serial killers. Paintings and illustrations done by one of the most well-known serial killers, John Wayne Gacy (you know, this guy) have sold for several thousands of dollars. However, it should be noted that some of Gacy’s “collectors” purchased his art to destroy it including the families of Gacy’s 33 victims. Another important point to make here is that the magazine wants to be clear that their product isn’t a means of glorifying the notorious crimes it details within its pages, but is intended to be a resource for anyone that has an interest in real crime. That said, the magazine sells for $15 an issue which you can get here. I’ve posted a few of my favorite covers from Serial Killer Magazine below that I am sure many of our more dangerously-minded readers will enjoy checking out.
 

Issue #11 featuring a portrait of Carl Panzram by the great Joe Coleman. Panzram was a prolific criminal who in addition to being a serial killer was also an arsonist, rapist, and burglar. 
 

Issue #23 featuring a super creepy illustration by Rowan Andrews of John Wayne Gacy.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.06.2017
09:50 am
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Phone scammers called *this one programmer* and immediately regretted it!
06.27.2017
11:51 am
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Face it, we live in an era defined by “fake news,” identity theft, and countless nefarious schemes to separate you from your money through false pretenses, especially using social media. Just a few months ago, the feds indicted dozens of scammers working out of India, an operation that targeted 56 individuals and 5 companies, for frauds perpetrated against over 10,000 people that cheated them out of literally hundreds of millions of dollars.

The good news is that the feds occasionally get help from unexpected sources, such as Project Mayhem, which is described as the work of “a security developer who tries to prevent victims from being scammed by different types of scams.”

A group of phone scammers had the misfortune to approach this particular security developer, who goes by the username “YesItWasDataMined,” a move that it quickly came to regret. In this case the scammers were pretending to work for the IRS calling about a “miscalculation error” in past taxes with some scarifying language about attempting to defraud the government—the hackers then proceeded to attempt to secure the “total outstanding amount,” which was purportedly $8,219.

Project Mayhem instantly recognized the scam for what it was, and decided to take action. He wrote a script that dialed each of their phones 28 times per second with an automated message, tying up their lines and making it impossible to reach other potential victims. Crucially, he recorded many of the scammers as they contended with the same impersonal recording endlessly stating the following:
 

Hello! It has been detected that you are a scammer. Because of this, we are now flooding your phone lines to prevent you from scamming additional people. This will not stop until you stop.

 
The method worked wonders, as we can hear the increasingly frustrated responses of the scammers, which range from sarcasm (“Hi, it has been detected that you are trying to fuck me up”) to prideful rage (“YES I KNOW I AM A SCAMMER, AND I’M PROUD TO BE A SCAMMER MOTHERFUCKER!”)

More, after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.27.2017
11:51 am
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Manson, Larry Flynt, Abbie Hoffman, O.J. and other infamous folks depicted by court sketch artists


Abbie Hoffman’s Viet Cong flag tug-of-war with deputy marshal Ronald Dobroski during the Chicago Eight trial as depicted by Howard Brodie.
 
Courtroom sketches in the United States date back to the 17th Century Salem Witch Trials, and were a necessary staple of reporting on court cases up until recent years when the courtroom was off-limits to photographers and television cameras. It wasn’t until 2014 that all 50 states allowed cameras in the courtroom, though by the late ‘80s most states already had. 

As portraits that exist solely out of the necessity for historically documenting legal proceedings, such sketches have never been considered high art, but a current exhibition of sketches housed at the Library of Congress shines a spotlight on some of the talents behind these documents.

The Library of Congress’ exhibition, “Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustrations,” features a selection of the Library’s collection of more than 10,000 courtroom drawings, many of which were donated to the library by the estates of the artists themselves.

From the Library of Congress’ website:

The exhibition begins with the work of Howard Brodie, who popularized reportage-style courtroom illustrations with his documentation of the Jack Ruby trial in 1964 for CBS Evening News.  Brodie supported and encouraged the first generation of artists who created the artwork for television and print media.  Brodie donated his trial drawings to the Library of Congress, which spurred the development of the courtroom-illustration collections.

In addition to Brodie, the artists represented in the exhibition include Marilyn Church, Aggie Kenny, Pat Lopez, Arnold Mesches, Gary Myrick, Joseph Papin, David Rose, Freda Reiter, Bill Robles, Jane Rosenberg and Elizabeth Williams.

The exhibition is being held in the South Gallery on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building and runs through Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. It is free to the public.

Enjoy, below, a gallery of some of the more interesting pieces in the collection:


The New York Black Panther trial as depicted by Howard Brodie. Twenty-one members of the New York Black Panther Party faced charges of conspiracy to bomb several sites in New York City. They were acquitted of all 156 charges on May 12, 1971.


Bobby Seale, sketched by Howard Brodie, taking notes while bound and gagged at the Chicago Eight trial.


John Hinckley, failed assassin of Ronald Reagan, shown by artist Freda Reiter in front of a television broadcasting his obsession, Jodie Foster.

Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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06.23.2017
06:04 am
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The Algiers Motel Incident: Detroit police play murderous ‘death game’ with teens during 1967 riot
06.08.2017
02:37 pm
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The Algiers Motel Incident
 
At 2:00 am on July 26th, 1967, the Detroit Police Department received a call: “At the Algiers Motel, check for dead persons.” When police arrived, they found the bodies of three black teenagers. It was Day 4 of rioting in the city, which would prove to be one of the most damaging community events in American history. What became known as “the Algiers Motel incident” is the most infamous episode to take place during the uprising.

There were a number of issues in the city of Detroit that led to the July 1967 rebellion (it’s still debated how the event should be categorized), but police brutality—namely the use of violence by the largely white police force against the city’s majority black residents—was front and center. During the early hours of July 23rd, police raided a blind pig located at 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue on the city’s near west-side. As rumors circulated that officers had beaten some of those arrested, a young black man threw a rock at a cop car. It wasn’t long before someone broke a store window and people began looting. Hundreds of fires were set over the next few days, as residents clashed with local and state police, and eventually the National Guard, while looting continued. On July 27th, order was restored and the disturbance officially ended. All told, they were over 7,000 arrests, nearly 1,200 injuries, and 43 people died. Many of those who lost their lives were killed because they were—mistakenly—thought to have been snipers.
 
12th Street, July 23rd, 1967
12th Street, July 23rd, 1967.

National Guardsmen and city residents
National Guardsmen, with weapons drawn, as city residents look on.

A National Guardsman watches for snipers
A National Guardsman watches for snipers amidst the chaos.

Not long after midnight on the morning of July 26th, sniper fire was reported coming from the area around the Algiers Motel—specifically the Algiers manor house, which was adjacent to the Woodward Avenue motel on Virginia Park Street. Police and National Guardsmen moved in quickly on the manor. By the time law enforcement left the scene, Aubrey Pollard, 19, Fred Temple, 18, and Carl Cooper, 17, were dead. Five days later, the Detroit News broke the story. In his 1968 book on the subject, The Algiers Motel Incident, author John Hersey noted what had become evident.

It is by now, on Monday, July 31, clear that the killings in the Algiers were not executions of snipers, looters, or arsonists caught red-handed in felonious crimes in the heat of a riot, but rather that they were murders embellished by racist abuse, indiscriminate vengeance, sexual jealousy, voyeurism, wanton blood-letting, and sadistic physical and mental tortures characterized by the tormentors as ‘a game.’

The Algiers Motel Incident was written quickly and was controversial upon release; Hersey received much in the way of criticism for its seemingly haphazard structure. Reading it nearly fifty years after it was published, I would argue that the narrative is purposeful, with often powerful results. Hersey interviewed everyone he could, including traumatized witnesses, distraught family members, and, incredibly, the security guard and three police officers suspected of wrongdoing. The book is undeniably harrowing and heartbreaking.
 
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Aubrey Pollard’s parents: Aubrey Pollard, Sr. and Rebecca Pollard. Their grief is palpable in the pages of ‘The Algiers Motel Incident.’

When I’m not writing for Dangerous Minds, I’m working as an archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library, which is a part of Wayne State University in Detroit. Danielle L. McGuire, an associate professor in the history department at Wayne State, has been conducting research at the Reuther for a book she is writing on the Algiers episode. Her essay, “Murder at the Algiers Motel,” has been included in the new anthology, Detroit 1967, published by Wayne State University Press. We have an excerpt from Danielle’s stirring account of the waking nightmare that was the Algiers Motel incident.

 
The Algiers Motel
View of the Algiers Motel, with the manor in the background, July 1967.

In the early-morning hours of July 26, 1967, a flurry of Detroit police officers, National Guardsmen, and state police officers, led by Senak and two of his colleagues, raided the Algiers Motel after hearing reports of heavy “sniper fire” nearby. The Algiers, a once-stately manor house in the Virginia Park neighborhood of central Detroit, was a relatively seedy place, what Hersey described as a “transient” hotel, with a reputation among police as a site for narcotics and prostitution. But that night, because of the uprising and citywide curfew, many people sought refuge at the Algiers, including two white runaways from Ohio, a returning Vietnam veteran, and the friends and members of the Dramatics, a doo-wop group who performed songs like “Inky Dinky Wang Dang Do” at the Swinging Time Revue, headlined by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, downtown at the Fox Theater.

According to one witness quoted in the Detroit News on August 2, it was a “night of horror and murder.” Just past midnight, police and soldiers tore through the motel’s tattered halls and run-down rooms with shotguns and rifles. They ransacked closets and drawers, turned over beds and tables, shot into walls and chairs, and brutalized motel guests in a desperate and vicious effort to find the “sniper.” At some point during this initial raid, David Senak and Patrolman Robert Paille encountered Fred Temple, a teen on the phone with his girlfriend. Senak and Paille barged into the room, startling Temple, who dropped the phone. According to Senak, quoted in Sidney Fine’s Violence in the Model City, he and Paille fired “almost simultaneously” at Temple, who crumpled to the ground in a pool of blood.

When Senak and Paille failed to find any weapons, Senak ordered all the guests against the wall in the first-floor lobby. One of the young black men at the hotel that night, seventeen-year-old Carl Cooper, rushed down the stairs and came face-to-face with a phalanx of heavily armed police and guardsmen. A witness, quoted in a report by Detective Inspector Albert Schwaller, heard Cooper say, “Man, take me to jail—I don’t have any weapon,” just before hearing the gunshot that tore through his chest.

Police herded the other guests, a group of young black men and two white women, past Cooper’s bloody corpse, into the gray and beige magnolia- papered lobby, and told them to face the east wall with their hands over their heads. Even though two young men were already dead, the lineup was the beginning of what Hersey called the “death game.”

The details of exactly what happened next are complicated and convoluted—clear memories forever lost to the chaos of the moment, the tricks of time, and the disparate recollections of the survivors traumatized by violence and terror. But this is the gist of what we know: three Detroit policemen, David Senak, Ronald August, and Robert Paille, and a private guard, Melvin Dismukes, took charge of the brutal interrogation. They wanted to know who had the gun, who was the sniper, and who was doing the shooting.

 
Federal conspiracy trial
L-R: Ronald August, Melvin Dismukes, Robert Paille and David Senak. Federal conspiracy trial, February 25th, 1970.

When the young men and women who were lined up against the wall denied shooting or having any weapons, the officers mercilessly beat them, leaving gashes and knots on the victims’ heads and backs. According to another witness interviewed by Schwaller, a police officer “struck [a] Negro boy so hard that it staggered [him] and almost sent him down to his knees.” A military policeman, part of the contingent of federal paratroopers and National Guardsmen sent to help restore order in Detroit, who arrived at the Algiers in the midst of the raid, is cited by Fine as seeing a Detroit patrolman “stick a shotgun between the legs of one male and threaten to ‘blow his testicles off.’” Senak and his colleagues raged against the two white women working as prostitutes at the Algiers, Karen Malloy and Juli Hysell, calling them “white niggers” and “nigger lovers.” Both women testified that police ripped off their dresses, pushed their faces against the wall, and smashed guns into the their temples and the small of their backs. Roderick Davis, the stocky Dramatics singer who sported a stylish conk and moustache, told Hersey that Senak sneered, “Why you got to fuck them? What’s wrong with us?” Another witness told Schwaller that he heard one of the cops say, “We’re going to get rid of all you pimps and whores.”

Then, the “death game” really began. The police pulled the unarmed men one by one into different rooms and interrogated them at gunpoint. Davis told Schwaller that Senak took him into a room, forced him to lie down, and then shot into the floor. “I’ll kill you if you move,” Senak said as he left the room and returned to the lobby.

 
Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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06.08.2017
02:37 pm
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Try to imagine how insane this TV footage of Roxy Music (with Brian Eno) looked in the early 1970s

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Roxy Music: Not just another guitar band.
 
The great Roy Wood said on some late-nite radio show that for a long time he thought Ike and Tina Turner were a cool-sounding R&B band called I Can Turn A Corner. Easy mistake. For a long time, I thought Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was singing about “wee-wees up the walls, and mashed-potato smalls…” when he sang “weary of the waltz, and mashed-potato schmaltz” on “Do the Strand.”

That I thought Roxy Music could sing about urination as decoration or squidgy y-fronts and not consider it at all out of place in their repertoire gives but some small idea as to how radical, how shocking, how breathtakingly original Roxy Music seemed when they first landed. Their debut single was named after a packet of cigarettes (“Virginia Plain”—actually a painting of a packet of cigarettes). They sang about blow-up dolls (“In Every Dream Home a Heartache”), and a kind of Ballardian love interest contained/hidden in a car’s license plate—the CPL 593H on “Re-make/Re-model.” So why not edible undergarments? It seemed all too feasible in an era of instant mash, Angel Delight, moon landings, Teflon frying pans, group sex, safari suits, and silver hot pants.

Roxy Music sounded as if they had just beamed down from outer space and brought along the music of the spheres. In fact, they had. Roxy Music was the sound of the future—but we just didn’t realize it then. Roxy was so overwhelmingly new. No one knew what to think. The group was originally comprised of Bryan Ferry (vocals, keys, and chief songwriter), Graham Simpson (bass), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (saxophone and oboe), Paul Thompson (drums and percussion), and last but not least, Brian Eno (VCS3 synthesizer, tape effects, backing vocals and “treatments”). Ferry had started the band alongside Graham Simpson. The cool suave vocalist came from a poor working class background. His grandfather had courted his grandmother on a horse and plow for ten years before getting married. Times were tough. Ferry later claimed his parents lived “vicariously” though they were always better dressed than everyone else. It was via his mother that Ferry got his introduction to rock ‘n’ roll—she took him a Bill Haley concert in the 1950s. But Ferry preferred jazz and soul and his ambition was for a career in art and possibly teaching if that didn’t work out.

This all changed after Ferry hitchhiked to London to catch an Otis Redding concert. Redding was one of the greatest soul singers/performers of all time. It was a life-changing experience. Ferry knew he had to be a singer.
 
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Roxy model for the IKEA catalog.
 
Most of his life Ferry had felt out-of-step with his contemporaries. He felt like “an oddity.” It wasn’t until he started studying Fine Art under the tutelage of pop artist Richard Hamilton at Newcastle University that he found the confidence to push forward with his own ideas and believe in his own talents. Inspired by Redding and by Hamilton’s pop art aesthetic, Ferry started writing songs. He also started singing and performing. Graduating in 1968, Ferry moved to London. After a couple of false starts with the bands the Banshees and Gasboard, Ferry formed Roxy Music with Simpson in 1970. Andy MacKay and Eno soon joined, then Thompson and finally Phil Manzanera.

As Manzanera later recalled, the rich diversity of those early sessions together created Roxy sound:

“We’d start off with ‘Memphis Soul’ Stew, and then we’d go into ‘The Bob (Medley)’, this heavy bizarre thing about the Battle Of Britain with synths and sirens. We had everything in there from King Curtis to The Velvet Underground to systems music to ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll. At the time we said this was ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s rock’n'roll. Eno would respond to something that sounded like it came off the first Velvets album, then Ferry would play something ‘50s and I’d play my version of ‘50s. I was always a terrible session player. I could never learn a solo and I stuck that ‘not quite right’ approach onto Roxy. Six people in a band created this hybrid.”

More early Roxy Music, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.26.2017
11:41 am
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Explicitly perverse and provocative illustrations of Russian criminal underworld tattoos
05.22.2017
10:07 am
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“Satan and the Devil’s agent in Russia.” This illustration by Danzig Baldaev was copied from the chest of a criminal named “White” in 1991 who had recently completed a 32-year bid in prison.
 
During his time as a prison guard in Russia, and then later as the warden of the notorious Kresty Prison in Leningrad, Danzig Baldaev would become the curator and historian of tattoos worn by the convicts he watched over for nearly 40 years.

Baldaev’s illustrations, 3,000 or so in all, have been compiled into a popular series of books—the first of which was published in 2004 under the title Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I. Had it not been at the urging of his father—who was no friend of the infamous NKVD (the politically repressive Stalin-era “secret” police group, The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs)—the stories behind the tattoos might never have been publicly chronicled. According to Baldaev, after he showed his father photographs of prisoners held in solitary confinement he advised him to start “collecting” images of the prisoner’s tattoos, for if he did not, the stories behind them would “all go to the grave with them.” The tattoos themselves served multiple purposes such as distinguishing a captive’s alignment within the prison population, what kind of crime they had committed or perhaps their affiliation with a specific Russian gang.

In 2009 the duo behind publishing house FUEL, Damon Murray, and Stephen Sorell purchased 750 illustrations done by Baldaev from his widow, which were then compiled in editions of the Russian Criminal Tattoo volumes. Here’s an example of the grim stories that would have gone undocumented by way of one heavily tattooed prisoner (who you can see here), who was photographed by Baldaev collaborator and fellow prison warden Sergei Vasiliev during a visit to the Strict Regime Forest Camp Vachel Settlement in the Penza Oblast Region of Russia.

This prisoner’s tattoos display his anger and bitterness towards Communist power; the tattoos on the face signify that he never expects to go free. He works as a stoker. Text under the eyes reads “Full / of Love;” on the chin “Danger of Death;” around the neck “To each his own;” above each head of the double-headed snake “Wife’ and ‘Mother-in-law;” on the chest “It is not for you whores, to dig in my soul;” on his arm “Communists, suck my dick for my ruined youth.”

Below is a selection of Baldaev’s illustrations, most of which, as you might have already figured out, are absolutely NSFW.
 

Top text reads “The Scary Dicks of the Land of Fools.” The text printed on the penises reads “Everything for the People!”
 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.22.2017
10:07 am
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