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The Demon Dog: Filming with James Ellroy in L.A., 1994
06.24.2015
07:21 am

Topics:
Books
Crime
Heroes

Tags:

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James Ellroy sits reading Jack Webb’s The Badge in the Clark Gable-Carole Lombard suite of the Alexandria Hotel, downtown LA, in the Fall of 1994. I’m there as interviewer—asking him questions for a documentary on the “Demon Dog of American Literature” called White Jazz. A preliminary Q&A was filmed the day before at a motel off Hollywood where Ellroy gave his pitch (“Woof, woof! Hear the Demon Dog bark…”) and want to find out who’s the man behind this well-rehearsed front.

We talk books: Ellroy’s telling me how his father Lee gave him a copy of The Badge for his eleventh birthday—a book of true tales of LA crime and the LAPD, in amongst which was the “brutally, graphically sexually explicit” story of the unsolved murder of 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, which became known as the Black Dahlia killing.  Ellroy said this explicit ten-page tale had haunted him.

I thought it a strange book to give a kid who was used to reading the Hardy Boys and especially a child whose own mother, Geneva Hilliker, had been strangled with her own stockings and her body dumped in El Monte just a year before in 1958. So, I ask him: Didn’t he think this was a strange book to give a child? Ellroy stops. He says he doesn’t get the question. I think he’s stalling, but ask again. Still he doesn’t get the question—doesn’t seem to understand or want to understand or really want to answer the question.
 
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The Badge is part of Ellroy’s myth—a key to understanding what he wants to be known about himself as it deflects as much as it reveals. It’s the book that pointed his imagination towards writing crime fiction and was the source of his teenage obsessions where he merged the murder of his mother with that of the Black Dahlia—feeding his fantasy of saving Dahlia/Hilliker from person or persons unknown and setting the world to right. Setting the world to right is perhaps why some writers do write—the world they create is containable.
 
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Director Nicola Black, camera Jerry Kelly with James Ellroy, LA 1994.
 
The documentary White Jazz was produced and directed by Nicola Black. It came about after Black had filmed Ellroy (in cold damp Victorian prison cell off the banks of the River Clyde in Scotland) for a previous documentary on the world’s first private detective Allan Pinkerton—a drama-doc which starred Peter Capaldi. Made over one intense week with Ellroy in LA, October ‘94, White Jazz followed the Demon Dog around the sites of his childhood, his criminal youth, and sober years as a writer. The film then opens out to follow Ellroy’s personal investigation into the unsolved murder of his mother, with the help of ex-County Sheriff’s Department Detective Bill Stoner—a calm, lean, genial man, eyes twinkling, full mustache, whose quite demeanour belies the horrors he has seen—he helped solve the Cotton Club killing—picking-up a victim’s exploded, shattered teeth on a desolate hillside. Stoner takes Ellroy through Hilliker’s morgue file—the black and whites of crime scene, body, ligature marks, bruises, and autopsy report—before visiting her last known locations where seen and the suggesting possible suspects. Ellroy’s collaborative investigation with Stoner became his non-fiction book My Dark Places (1996).

This award-winning documentary is seldom seen online—though pirate copies can switch hands for mucho dinero—and it’s a moving, fascinating and revealing portrait of James Ellroy, in which he takes the viewer on a personal odyssey through his life, his work and his obsessions with the city of Los Angeles—his “smog-bound Fatherland.”

But time moves on, and Ellroy is currently selling his Hollywood Hills residence for $1.39m—if you want to take a peak at his monkish orderly abode check here. He also has a new book out LAPD ‘53, in which he illuminates 85 duotone photographs from the LAPD archive that are “representative of a day in the life of America’s most provocative police agency.”
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Robert Mitchum gets busted for ‘reefers,’ making weed seem hip to middle America
06.09.2015
07:19 am

Topics:
Crime
Drugs
Movies

Tags:

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The cops were hiding in the bushes outside a bungalow at 8443 Ridpath Drive, peeking in the windows scoping actress Lila Leeds in her scanties having her hair styled by her roommate, dancer Vicki Evans. The cops, Det, Sgt, Alva Barr and Det. J. B. Mckinnon were working on a tip-off that tonight there was gonna be a reefer party with some big name Hollywood bad boy whose arrest would deliver them kudos down the precinct and a shitstorm unto the Studios.

The LAPD was being squeezed to crack down on the drug use rife among the Hollywood’s boho cognoscenti. Every two-bit actor and lounge room muso was getting high on some kinda illegal DOPE. This had to be stopped, it was sending out a bad influence on middle America.

Lila Leeds was bottle blonde perfection, the sort of girl who left men drooling. She was pitched as the next Lana Turner, but being pitched as someone else is never the same as being pitched as yourself—it meant you were a copy and a copy is always expendable. Add in a few cat fights at the Mocambo and an accidental overdose to her resume and Lila knew she was on her last chance to make it big. Then she met Robert Mitchum—tough handsome Bob Mitchum with the sleepy-eyed look that gave girls goosebumps. Lila figured with Bob things might just be on the way back up. Mitchum was in a temporary split from his wife—she’d moved back east with the kids leaving Mitchum to his own devices in Hollywood—working hard and making the most of his time alone.
 
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‘It’s a bust!’: Mitchum and Leeds arrested.
 
September 1948, Mitchum was out house-hunting, getting the tour from part-time friend and real estate agent Robin Ford. Mitchum had seen Lila a couple of times—they’d hit it off as both liked to party, both liked to booze, and both liked to smoke weed. Mitchum suggested a reefer party some night and a date was set. Lila told Vicki about the plans. Mitchum told Ford. One of them snitched.

As Vicki fixed Lila’s hair, Mitchum phoned to say he was on his way up. Lila had two new boxer puppies who scampered out to meet Mitchum and Ford as they pulled into the drive. Lila put the puppies out on the closed-in back porch. Mitchum asked for the lights to be dimmed, said he thought he’d seen someone prowling around the bushes out front. He checked but saw nothing. Detectives Barr and Mckinnon had moved when the boys had arrived, taking up position at the back porch, just itching for the back door to be opened so they could make their arrests.

Mitchum dropped a pack of smokes on the living room table. Lila opened it up—brown and white, she said, before lighting them up. Later she recalled how Vicki Evans hadn’t taken a smoke when offered, only asking “Will they knock me out?”

Out back the pups started yapping at the cops lurking in the bushes. Vicki said she go let them in. As she opened the back door, Barr and Mckinnon burst in. Mitchum picked up a table and got ready to hurl it at the intruders. “Police officers! Freeze!” Mitchum froze. The spliff in his fingers was smoked right down and it burned his fingers. No one moved, only Vicki said, “Gee, it’s just like the movies!”
 
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Mitchum and Leeds up before the judge.
 
Mitchum, Lila, Vicki and Ford were taken downtown. Their statements read as if they’d been written by a B-movie screenwriter. Mitchum supposedly said:

“Yes, boys, I was smoking the marijuana cigaret when you came in. I guess it’s all over now. I’ve been smoking marijuana for years. The last time I smoked was about a week ago. I knew I would get caught sooner or later. This is the bitter end of my career. I’m ruined.”

While Lila Leeds is quoted as saying:

“I have been smoking marijuana for two years. I don’t smoke every day. I was smoking that small brown stick when you came in. I’m glad it’s over. I’m ruined.”

Even Ford ‘fessed up to being “ruined.”

The cops were all yukking it up and back slappin’ that they caught their big tough guy movie star. This bust at the hillside “reefer resort” was going to put an end to drugs in Hollywood and the pernicious influence of bad boys like Mitchum on godly American youth. The truth though is that hardly anyone knew Mitchum smoked weed—certainly no one in the hinterlands of smalltown America had any inkling about the actor’s penchant for “reefers.”
 
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‘Just the facts, Bob…’
 
As if to signal a job well done, the Chief of Police went on a fishing holiday. But it didn’t go exactly as the cops had hoped.

More Mitchum and marijuana after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
For Sale: Beatles ‘White Album’ signed by members of the Manson Family, including Charlie
06.08.2015
07:48 am

Topics:
Crime
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
A curious artifact recently turned up on ioffer.com. Listed for sale is a copy of The Beatles White Album, allegedly autographed by Charles Manson, and members of his “family”: Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, Charles “Tex” Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel. If this thing is real, it’s one of the most intense pieces of music/murder memorabilia we’ve ever seen. And it can be YOURS for the low, low price of only $49,005.00

The significance of the item won’t be lost on anyone with cursory knowledge of the “cult” of Charles Manson and the murders associated with the “Manson Family.” It was argued by Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi in court and in his book, Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, that several of the songs on The White Album were interpreted by Manson as signs to a coming racial revolution that would lead to Manson emerging as a Christ-figure.

According to this UMKC site which also details Manson’s specific interpretations of White Album songs (at least according to Bugliosi):

Manson believed that the Beatles spoke to him through their lyrics, especially those included in the White Album, released in December 1968.  Several songs from the White Album crystalized Manson’s thinking about a coming revolt by blacks against the white Establishment.  He interpreted many of the songs idiosyncratically, believing, for example, that “Rocky Raccoon” meant black people and “Happiness is a Warm Gun” was a song about getting firearms to carry on the revolution rather than—more obviously—a song about sex.

The White Album played a key role in forging Manson’s warped ideology. 

According to Family member Paul Watkins, “Before Helter Skelter came along, all Charlie cared about was orgies.”

The listing from seller popculturesignatures seems legit:
 

 

The White Album of course contains the song “Helter Skelter”, very significant to the whole Manson saga.

All are signed in blue ballpoint or biro pen except Leslie Van Houten, who is signed in black. Manson added the inscription: “Can you live in sin or in it LAST WORD-NO easy, Charles Manson” and added a swastika through his signature.

The signatures were obtained by a gentleman who was at one time associated with the Manson family at the Spahn Ranch, I choose not to post his name here. He acquired them at the respective prisons where they are incarcerated in California, including Corcoran State Prison, and the California Correctional Institution for women.

The top and bottom seams are cut through with a knife, as the album was checked for possible contraband as it was brought into the prison. Because the seams were cut, the cover is now separate from the inner gatefold… The album cover shows other signs of wear, including a water stain in the lower left corner, the result of a fire in the previous owner’s home. Both vinyl records are included. There are a number of scratches on both which I expect would affect play.

As further provenance, I have two additional items from the same source: a bible from the prison chapel signed by the same five individuals, and a Life Magazine signed by Charles, see other photos. I am currently offering the bible here also. An iconic image of the sixties, and perhaps the ultimate signed Manson relic. I will also issue a certificate of authenticity with a photo of the item, the signing details, and will have it notarized as I sign it.

 

 

 
The price seems a bit STEEP to us—but it does include shipping, which is very generous of the seller. For spending nearly $50k, we’d hope, at least, for a Squeaky Fromme hand-delivery.

Via ioffer.com

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
San Francisco police need your help locating a stolen Residents eyeball head mask
05.23.2015
03:53 pm

Topics:
Crime
Music

Tags:


 
The San Francisco Police Department has issued a statement detailing the theft of one of the original Residents’ eyeball head masks.

The mask, valued at $100,000 (yeah, OK), was signed for by an unknown person and is now missing. Along with the mask is an original photograph of the Residents which is valued at $20,000 (yeah, OK).

SFPD has included an anonymous tip line, should you happen to see the famous eyeball in your local pawn shop.
 

The missing mask
 

And the case it came in
 

A local San Francisco resident had a famous “Eyeball with Hat” mask and an original album cover photo from the musical band called the “Residents” taken from him by an unknown suspect.

In this incident the victim loaned the mask, which was valued at $100,000.00, to a museum in Seattle for a predetermined period of time. On May 5th, at the conclusion of the loan, the curator sent the mask back to the victim using a major delivery courier service. Unfortunately, the victim was traveling and was not present to receive the shipment.

The package was delivered and signed for by an unknown person using an illegible signature. The mask has been used on a record album cover and is periodically displayed throughout the country. The pictured top hat is now black instead of white and was contained in a shipping crate (photo attached). Stolen along with the mask was the original album cover photo which the victim values at $20,000.00.

Anyone who recalls seeing the mask, photo, or crate or has information on this case is asked to contact the Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and include “SFPD” at the beginning of the message.

NBC Bay Area has a story posted about the theft with a short video.

Here, a young Penn Jillette attempts to reveal what lies beneath those giant eyeballs:
 

 
Via SFPD

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Restaurant shut down for selling human flesh
05.18.2015
07:23 am

Topics:
Crime
Food

Tags:

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Waiter there’s an eye in my soup…

A restaurant in Nigeria has been shut down after it was found to be selling human flesh.

According to a news report on BBC Swahili, local police raided the hotel restaurant in Anambra, after being informed human meat was being served to customers. The police discovered various cuts of human flesh and two freshly severed (“still bleeding”) human heads stored in the kitchen.

Eleven people, including the restaurant’s owner, were arrested.

One local resident told the BBC:

“Every time I went to the market, I observed strange things going on at the hotel.

“Shifty, strange looking people made their way in and out of the hotel and behaved in a very suspicious manner. I was not surprised when the police uncovered such an illegal trade.”

Though “not a societal norm,” cannibalism is not illegal in most countries—including America and parts of Europe. Cannibalism has been seen in many wars—including the Siege of Stalingrad during the Second World War and most recently in Liberia and the Congo. According to those who know, human flesh has a texture like beef—though is a little sweeter and a little softer.

A priest who had recently eaten at the restaurant told the BBC that he had been surprised when presented with a bill for 700 Naira ($3.50) for a small cut of “beef.” The price was extortionate when considering the average daily expenditure in Nigeria is roughly 95 cents a day. The priest added:

“The waiter noticed my surprise and told me the bill so high because of the small piece of meat I had eaten.

“I did not know I had been served with human meat, and this was why it was so expensive.”

A cache of automatic weapons (AK-47s), hand grenades and several cell phones were also discovered in the raid.

Though rumors of cannibalism have long been rife in Nigeria, this is allegedly the first time a restaurant has been discovered selling human flesh.
 
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However, this is not the first time this story has been reported. On September 5th, 2013, the exact same story appeared in the Osun Defender:

On Thursday Onitsha police arrested 11 people after they discovered 2 fresh human heads in a hotel (name withheld) very close to the popular Ose-Okwodu market in Anambra state. 2 AK47 rifles & other weapons were also discovered in the hotel.

The arrest followed tip-offs from area residents on Thursday morning. The hotel owner, 6 women and 4 men were arrested.

After police got access to the hotel, they made a startling discovery of two human heads wrapped in a cellophane bag, two AK47 rifles, two army caps, 40 rounds of live ammunition and so many cell phones.

The quotes from a resident and a local priest tally with those carried by the recent article on the BBC and today’s Metro newspaper.

“Each time I came to market, because the hotel is very close to the market, I always noticed funny movements in and out of the hotel; dirty people with dirty characters always come into the hotel. So, I was not surprised when the police made this discovery in the early hours of yesterday,” said a vegetable seller in the area

A Pastor who was among the people who tipped off the police on Thursday said: I went to the hotel early this year, after eating, I was told that a lump of meat was being sold at N700, I was surprised. So I did not know it was human meat that I ate at such expensive price.”

What is this country turning into?

What is news reporting turning into? is perhaps a more relevant question, as the high demand for a constant stream of interesting and unusual news reports means many stories are just lifted and processed without checking sources or whether the story is even genuine “news.”

From its first appearance on Osun Defender in September 2013, this tale was lifted almost verbatim onto the IB Times in February 2014 and then Live Leak without apparently seeking any verification. A year-and-a-half later, the story is now being “regurgitated” by quite a few respected newspapers who should know better.

It would appear the latest version of the story merely relates to the restaurant being recently closed down, following on from the police raid last year. What has happened to the eleven who were arrested is not known.

Via BBC Swahili and Metro.

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Woman charged with serving milk contaminated with dead foot skin shavings
05.11.2015
08:15 am

Topics:
Crime
Current Events

Tags:


 
This is one of those stories where the headline instantly makes you want dry-heave. Maryland woman, Sarah P. Schrock, was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly putting dead foot skin shavings in her family’s milk. She is being charged with food contamination and committing a second-degree assault on Jessica Whitney Hurry and Allison Depriest.

Schrock was alone at the home that day until Hurry and Depriest arrived at dinner time, and they were drinking the milk when Depriest began choking and coughed up what looked like dead human skin, according to court papers filed by St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputy Jaime Davis.

Hurry also gagged, court papers state, and a witness found dead skin shavings in the milk after pouring it into a strainer.

According to reports, Schrock has really dry feet due to diabetes and collects her dead foot skin shavings in trays. Doesn’t everyone?

Schrock has denied all claims against her. She was also charged with “violating a protective order issued last week requiring that she have no contact with Hurry.”

So far, there’s been no reason given as to WHY this happened. But it did (allegedly). And now I feel terrible.

via SoMdNews, Gawker

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The actual Ku Klux Klan application form
04.10.2015
10:22 am

Topics:
Belief
Crime
Race

Tags:


 
The Ku Klux Klan are America’s leading terrorist organization—there isn’t really much competition, it wins that contest by a wide margin. If you want a quick ‘n’ easy way to find out everything about the darker side of our country’s history, you really can’t beat a tour of the KKK, and if you have any real problem with my description of the KKK as a terrorist organization, you need to go read any random four pages of Eric Foner’s Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877.

Rebecca Onion at Slate posted this incredible find yesterday—it’s an application to the Ku Klux Klan from (most likely) 1921. The KKK’s status as America’s foremost secret organization obscures the fact that in the early decades of the twentieth century, the Klan was almost respectable—it was the second resurgence of the group, the first obviously coming right after the Civil War (the third would come during the Civil Rights Era). Bolstering the theory that this application derives from 1921, we have this chunk of text from Wikipedia:

Starting in 1921, it adopted a modern business system of recruiting (which paid most of the initiation fee and costume charges as commissions to the organizers) and grew rapidly nationwide at a time of prosperity. Reflecting the social tensions of urban industrialization and vastly increased immigration, its membership grew most rapidly in cities, and spread out of the South to the Midwest and West. The second KKK preached “One Hundred Percent Americanism” and demanded the purification of politics, calling for strict morality and better enforcement of prohibition. Its official rhetoric focused on the threat of the Catholic Church, using anti-Catholicism and nativism. Its appeal was directed exclusively at white Protestants. Some local groups took part in attacks on private houses and carried out other violent activities. The violent episodes were generally in the South.

According to the same page, by 1924 the enrollment of the KKK had risen to nearly six million from almost nothing. Just a few years earlier, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation, which extolled the KKK, had become the world’s first monster box office hit; President Woodrow Wilson famously described it as follows: “It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” Baseball fans interested in history get upset about supposed racist Ty Cobb while generally ignoring the KKK membership of Hall of Famers Tris Speaker (allegedly) and Rogers Hornsby. The point here is that KKK membership in the 1920s was not incompatible with being one of the most famous athletes in the country. In his book The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, James notes:
 

The KKK in the 1920’s had a populist phase in which it toned down its racism, and drew in hundreds of thousands of men who were not racists, including Hugo Black. When Larry Doby broke the color line in the American League, Speaker was strongly on his side, worked with him daily in the outfield, encouraged and supported him, and was remembered by Doby in his Hall of Fame induction speech…

 
Doby’s speech, by the way, is here. That, more than anything, explains the semi-official and semi-innocuous tone of this document. If not for the content, the form is in many ways indistinguishable from the kind of information HR’s gonna need for you to start getting a weekly paycheck for your cubicle job. Of course, at the same time, simply reading the questions will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the Ku Klux Klan.

Here are the questions:
 

1. Is the motive prompting your inquiry serious?
2. What is your age?
3. What is your occupation?
4. Where were you born?
5. How long have you resided in your present locality?
6. Are you married, single or widower?
7. Were your parents born in the United States of America?
8. Are you a gentile or a jew?
9. Are you of the white race or of a colored race?
10. What educational advantages have you?
11. Color of eyes? Hair? Weight?
12. Do you believe in the principles of a PURE Americanism?
13. Do you believe in White Supremacy?
14. What is your politics?
15. What is your religious faith?
16. Of what church are you a member (if any)
17. Of what religious faith are your parents?
18. What secret, fraternal orders are you a member of (if any)?
19. Do you honestly believe in the practice of REAL fraternity?
20. Do you owe ANY KIND of allegiance to any foreign nation, government, institution, sect, people, ruler or person?

 
This is a weird thing to confess, but I was always a good test-taker in school, and as I read through this list I find myself idiotically looking for the smoking gun question that will disqualify me. “Aw, shoot! My mom was born in Austria, was half-Jewish and a socialist! Darn! Just missed!”

Here’s the application itself—note that clicking on the image will let you read a larger version.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Say WHAT? Deputy sheriffs force prison inmates to fight like gladiators—and bet on the result
03.27.2015
08:32 am

Topics:
Crime
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:


 
It’s been a bad time for law enforcement, as scandals involving abuse of authority (oftentimes with lethal results) have been a mainstay of news coverage since last summer, after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY; and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio at the hands of police officers. The three killings, which seemed to point to serious structural race issues not only in the police but in society at large, sparked large-scale protests about police brutality and racial equity. In addition to that the stop and frisk controversies in New York and the recent attention paid to subjects like the militarization of police forces around the country and civil forfeiture have given ordinary citizen cause to be suspicious of the motives and methods of law enforcement personnel.

Yesterday the San Francisco Chronicle published a remarkable story that threatens to add to the list of at best questionable and almost certainly felonious practices among law enforcement personnel—San Francisco deputy sheriffs purportedly forcing inmates to “fight each other, gladiator-style, for the entertainment of the deputies.”
 

Since the beginning of March, at least four deputies at County Jail No. 4 at 850 Bryant St. threatened inmates with violence or withheld food if they did not fight each other, gladiator-style, for the entertainment of the deputies, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said.

Adachi said the ringleader in these fights was Deputy Scott Neu, who was accused in 2006 of forcing inmates to perform sexual acts on him.

-snip-

“I don’t know why he does it, but I just feel like he gets a kick out of it because I just see the look on his face,” said Ricardo Palikiko Garcia, one of the inmates who said he was forced to fight. “It looks like it brings him joy by doing this, while we’re suffering by what he’s doing.”

-snip-

Neu told Garcia and Harris that if they required medical attention, they were to lie and say they fell off a bunk, Garcia said.

“And he told me anything goes,” he said. “Just don’t punch the face, so no one can basically see the marks. But anything goes, other than the face.”

Garcia said that at 5 feet 9 and 150 pounds, he was the smallest man in the pod while Harris, at 6 feet and 350 pounds, was the biggest.

During the first fight, which took place in a part of a hallway that was blocked from view, Neu appeared to have been betting on Harris, Garcia said, who tapped out after the smaller man got him in a headlock.

 
These accusations come from public defender Jeff Adachi, who called the nightmarish bouts “outrageously sadistic scenarios, that sound like its out of Game of Thrones.” In one of those denials that don’t sound all that convincing, an attorney for the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the union representing the deputies, said that the allegations were “exaggerated,” and characterized the fighting as “little more than horseplay.”

Harris said Neu had a tattoo on his right arm and lower leg reading, “850 Mob,” possibly in connection to the jail’s location at 850 Bryant St.

Here’s a report from KNTV, the NBC affiliate in the Bay Area:
 

 
via SFist
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Watch The Fall break up into a million shards, live at Brownie’s in NYC, 1998
03.26.2015
10:19 am

Topics:
Crime
Music
Punk

Tags:


 
This exchange happened after the Fall’s gig at Brownie’s on the Lower East Side of NYC on April 7, 1998:
 

Fan 1: “That was the scariest thing I ever saw. Now I know who I want to go as for Halloween.”
Fan 2: “You mean Mark E. Smith? You don’t understand…he’s not usually like this.”
Fan 1: “Oh, that’s too bad. I feel like I finally saw my first real punk band! That was the greatest show I ever saw in my life.”

 
That reaction merely scratched the surface of what happened that night. An actual fight broke out between longtime Fall drummer Karl Burns and frontman Mark E. Smith midway through the set. Before the sun would rise the next morning, Mark E. Smith would be arrested for assault. Even more momentously, it would emerge that the three members of the then-quintet who left the stage in the middle of the final song had played their last Fall gig ever, including Burns, who had been with the band since 1977, and Steve Hanley, the Fall’s utterly essential bassist who had been slogging it out with Mark E. Smith since 1979. The combination of Hanley and guitarist Craig Scanlon, who had left the band in 1995, was every bit as crucial to the Fall’s elusive brilliance during the early 1980s as MES himself, as can be witnessed on such phenomenal albums as Perverted by Language, This Nation’s Saving Grace, and Hex Enduction Hour. (Few pieces of music bring me as much joy as the lengthy “Garden” off of Perverted by Language.)

It couldn’t have been easy being such a close compadre of volatile genius/crabapple Mark E. Smith for two decades, but in April 1998 frustrations boiled over. Three days earlier, tempers had flared during a show in Philadelphia; Hanley and Smith got into a “fight,” according to WPRB DJs who attended the gig, and half the band quit the stage in disgust, leaving just Smith and keyboardist Julia Nagle on the stage (which would happen again a few days later at Brownie’s). After the show there was an extensive discussion of the fracas on WPRB (this clip is very entertaining). Julia’s rebuttal, written ten years after the fact, can be found here, along with that clip:
 

the UK tour prior to the US had also been a shambles, as the group had received a large VAT/TAX bill and were not happy chickens (threats of houses being lost etc. were the main topic of conversation or argument). Also, regarding to the incident at the beginning of the US tour, I defended myself with my fists during an argument about sharing a room with Mark and in the morning he had a black eye from that fracas. (there were many fracas’s during this time in The Falls history and they were nothing to be proud of).

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘How the Rules of Evidence Handcuff the Piano Man’ and more from the Billy Joel law conference
03.24.2015
09:11 am

Topics:
Crime
Music

Tags:


Billy Joel surveys the damage done by a rock-throwing hoodlum
 
If you’re like me, you can’t hear the Billy Joel song “All for Leyna” without wondering whether Leyna would have benefited a solid grounding in tort and accident law. And Brenda and Eddie, from “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” who “got a divorce as a matter of course,” who represented them in that legal matter? Well,  wonder no more.

In Central Islip, NY, legal scholars from all over North America gathered to honor Long Island’s foremost bard, Billy Joel with academia’s most esteemed form of celebration: the academic conference. Yes, that’s right: the Touro Law Center hosted a two-day conference called “Billy Joel and the Law” at the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center on March 22 and 23.

The program promised the following: “Speakers at the conference will include judges, lawyers, law professors, and music scholars, who will discuss ways in which Billy Joel’s work relates to American law, society, and culture.” The brainy festivities included “a wine and cheese reception with musical performances related to the educational content of the program.” No, in case you were wondering, Billy Joel did not supply the music for the conference. 

There were the usual paper titles that played on Joel’s song and album titles, such as “Downeaster Alexa: a Perfect Storm of Regulations,” “Behind the Nylon Curtain: Billy Joel, the Reagan Revolution, and the Unraveling of the ‘Me’ Generation,” and “The Minstrel Testifies or How the Rules of Evidence Handcuff the Piano Man.” How did they neglect to do anything with “You May Be Right.” And not a single mention of “Lawyers in Love”!! (Oh wait, that’s Jackson Browne.)

Here’s my best guess as to what Billy Joel would have looked like had he not become a rock and roll troubadour but instead had decided to become a law professor:
 

 
via Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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