FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
Vintage violence and the ‘dance of death’: Wild images of the ‘Apache’ dancers of Paris
05.11.2017
11:03 am
Topics:
Tags:


Two ‘Apache’ dancers hanging out in a cafe in Paris in 1938.
 
I’m going to roll the clock back to my earliest recollection of seeing what was essentially a version of the “Apache” dance that was featured on, of all things one of the original installments of the Popeye the Sailor cartoon series that I saw on TV as a child during the 1970s. The short in question was the seventeenth ever produced, in 1934, called “The Dance Contest.” In it Popeye and his gangly girlfriend Olive Oyl enter a dance contest which of course Popeye’s nemesis Bluto attempts to disrupt. When Bluto finally gets his chance dance with Olive he recklessly and abusively hurls her around—much in the style of an Apache dance. Naturally, Popeye is having none of that and after downing a can of his famous spinach, he takes over the lead dancer role with Bluto who he then essentially beats to a pulp while his famous theme plays out in the background. The cartoon itself, as you may recall, was already notoriously violent so it made perfect sense to incorporate one of the most popular and viciously aggressive dance crazes of the time into its storyline. But all of that would have gone over the head of pretty much any kid watching the show several decades later and it wasn’t until I was conducting my very important “research” for this post that I actually realized that the old-timey cartoon was riffing on what some referred to as the “Dance of Death” or the “Dance of the Underworld,” aka, “the Apache dance.”

If you are not familiar with this style of dance then it’s important to note that female dancers played a pivotal part in creating the savage scenarios in the dance by helping to develop its complicated choreography. The word “Apache” was derived from a name given to members of Parisian street gangs who were formerly known as “no goods.” After a particularly heinous crime involving the murder of a man who was found with his face, nose, and neck pierced with several women’s hat pins, the news reported the story with the headline “Crime Committed by the Apaches of Belleville.” From that point forward, the dance, its dancers, as well as teenage hooligans (who were often one and the same) became synonymous with the name. The earliest known appearance of the Apache was in the 1900s, perhaps as early as 1902. Like many dances, it is thematic in nature with storylines involving arguments between two lovers or perhaps a prostitute and a john. There were full-fledged stage productions involving complexly choreographed dance numbers. Dancers, especially amateurs, would often break bones and sustain other injuries during the heated and violent routines. Some routines were so egregious looking it was difficult to tell if something wasn’t actually going very fucking wrong while everyone sat back swilling booze, smoking cigarettes and watched. The craze dominated Paris for nearly 30 years and would also be featured in several films including one from the wildly popular Charlie Chan series, 1935’s Charlie Chan In Paris.

LIFE magazine wrote a rather extensive piece on the Apache dance craze/culture in 1946, and interviewed female dancers regarding their feelings about the dance. They said they “liked being thrown around,” which at face value appears to describe an act of domestic violence, only set to a jazz soundtrack. Which brings me to another important distinction about the Apache—it’s not just the ladies who get roughed up. No. In the Apache, the female dancers also get to gracefully kick the shit out of their male counterparts. So you see, everyone wins when they do the Apache dance at one point or another.

I’ve posted some gorgeous images of Apache dancers hanging out around Paris as well as some incredible footage from Charlie Chan in Paris featuring an Apache dance scene with actress Dorothy Appleby that you just have to see. I’ve also posted that Popeye the Sailor short I referenced at the beginning of this post because, well, why not?
 

 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
05.11.2017
11:03 am
|
Murder, self-crucifixion & suicide by guillotine: Old-school paper ‘The Illustrated Police News’
05.05.2017
10:51 am
Topics:
Tags:


July, 1895.
 
The first issue of what is best described as a pioneering tabloid-style publication, The Illustrated Police News hit the street corners of London back in 1864. It was modeled after The Illustrated London News (established in 1842) which used illustrations in their news reports, as their readers quite literally could not get enough of them. Essentially The Illustrated Police News ran with the notion that “readers” would rather look at pictures of the crimes that were being committed from Manchester to Birmingham than actually “read” about them. Ah, how little has changed since the eighteenth century, wouldn’t you agree?

Incredibly popular with the working class population, the paper often found itself in hot water for its ultra-sensational illustrated pictorials concerning booze-hungry monkeys run amok, a fatal impalement at a traveling carnival or an old man being eaten by his cats. The more stupefying the news, the better. Police News was Yellow Journalism at its best though the actual term “Yellow Journalism” would not actually be coined until the late 1890s. The tabloid didn’t even shy away from reporting news items that concerned folklore or supernatural shenanigans like gun-toting ghosts or a chance encounter in the woods with a giant serpent. Kind of like when the Weekly World News discovered Bat Boy (the internationally-known boy/bat hybrid created by WWN artist Dick Kulpa) hiding in a West Virginia cave in 1992. Did your neighbor drop her baby in the bucket full of boiling water? The artists behind the IPN would draw a titillating grim depiction of it to print for their blood-thirsty fans as fast as possible. In a detailed article about the publication, The British Newspaper Archive notes that in 1886 the readers of the classy sounding Pall Mall Gazette, which touted itself to be the voice of the “higher circles of society” voted The Illustrated Police News as the “worst newspaper in England.”

The owner of the IPN George Purkiss was so dedicated to capturing the essence of a crime scene that he would deploy his large team of 70 to 100 artists to wherever there was a dead body or some sort of mayhemic event had transpired as soon as the story was reported. In fact, the paper enjoyed a rise in circulation after running stories and illustrations of Jack the Ripper and “Negro Jack the Ripper” stories when the killer was stalking streetwalkers in the late 1800s. Purkiss also didn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about what the stuck-up Pall Mall Gazette had to say about his salacious paper. Here’s more from Mr. Purkiss on why he believed The Illustrated Police News was so important:

“I know what people say, but as I replied to a friend who asked me why I did not produce some other paper than the Police News I said that we can’t (have) all have Timeses and Telegraphs. And if we can’t have the Telegraph or the Times, we must put up with the Police News.”

The fearless leader of the IPN would pass away in 1892 from tuberculosis but the paper would continue to report the news using its graphic depictions of murder and crimes of passion until 1938. There’s a motherlode of images from the paper for you to eyeball below. Some are NSFW.
 

 

 
More murder and mayhem, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
05.05.2017
10:51 am
|
Body of prolific ‘White City’ serial killer H.H. Holmes to be exhumed
05.04.2017
10:49 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
In 1893 Chicago unveiled its massively impressive World’s Columbian Exposition, which had been organized under an extremely tight schedule by Daniel Burnham, and the impact of the idealized (white) urban setting, complete with newfangled electrical lighting, is difficult to overstate. The attractive power of Chicago and its fair, however, drew many thousands of unattached females to the city in search of clerical work, a startling percentage of which a medical doctor named H.H. Holmes would end up dismembering. Holmes’ totally creepy “Murder Castle” featured a gas chamber, a dissection table, and a crematorium to dispose of the cadavers.

Both sides of this story, the fair and the murderer, had become mostly forgotten until they were exhumed with great effectiveness by Erik Larson in his 2003 book The Devil in the White City, which rapidly became a bestseller and has become a fondly remembered staple of reading lists ever since. (As it happens, I reviewed The Devil in the White City for Publishers Weekly—you can read my review on the book’s Amazon page—and I’ve been joking ever since that I “made” the book.)
 

Diagram of the layout of Holmes’ “Murder Castle”
 
That word “exhumed” is an interesting one, because that’s what’s about to happen to Holmes’ body. One of the key points of Holmes’ life is that, in addition to his dozens of murders going unnoticed for quite a long time, there has arisen speculation that “he actually conned his way out of the death penalty and escaped to South America,” in the words of Stephen Gossett at Chicagoist.

Holmes has a plot at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. In order to put the scuttlebutt about his escape to bed, officials in Philadelphia and Holmes’ descendants have chosen to open up Holmes’ sepulcher and see what’s inside. If the official sources are to be believed, Holmes died in Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia in 1896 at the age of 34.
 

H.H. Holmes
 
The exhumation comes at the request of Holmes’ great-grandchildren John and Richard Mudgett, who hope that DNA tests will settle the controversy of the identity of the body. A Pennsylvania court has approved the request.

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have been said to have been working on adaptation of Larson’s book for several years, but that possibility is looking increasingly unlikely. Perhaps the exhumation is a last-ditch attempt to revive interest in the project?
 
via Chicagoist
 
Newspaper clippings: Illinois State Historical Library
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
|
05.04.2017
10:49 am
|
Bad girls behind bars: Vintage ‘women in prison’ exploitation movie posters
04.18.2017
01:45 pm
Topics:
Tags:


A movie poster for the 1986 film ‘Reform School Girls’ with Wendy O. Williams, Sybil Danning and Andy Warhol pal Pat Ast (pictured prominently above).
 
The “WIP” (“women in prison”) film genre has several sub-genres ranging from nuns in prison to an interpretation favored mostly by European filmmakers who loved to include Nazis in their chick-centric prison flicks. Italy, Germany, and France put out quite a few WIP films back in the 70s and 80s, as did the U.S. of A. and the Philippines. When the first women in prison films made their way to the big screen they were more dramatically inclined. One of the very first films to tell the tale of a girl behind bars is Hold Your Man starring the profitable on-screen power couple of Jean Harlow and Clark Gable. The film is full of some pretty salacious stuff. Thankfully, this was 1933 and Hollywood films were still getting away with more on screen prior to the enforcement of rules laid out in the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930 being widely adopted within the industry as it wasn’t really wasn’t policed until late in 1934. Which made a film like Hold Your Man—whose plotline involved a gorgeous blonde getting stuck behind bars while she’s knocked up with her lover’s baby—possible.

You can find WIP films in every decade but because both the 1970s and 1980s are so near and dear to my heart—and because I’d quite frankly love the opportunity to do another one of these posts—we’re going to stay put in those two consecutive decades. The genre can be pretty strange and runs anywhere from girl-heavy drama which would generally fall into the “redemption” film category to straight-up pornography. In the 1950s WIP films were heavily influenced by pulp fiction novels but it wouldn’t take long for the films to evolve (or devolve perhaps) into exploitation flicks with lots of nudity, sex, violence, rape, and notably deviant plotlines.

The popularity of the genre and its many sub-genres soared during the 70s and 80s which would bring us , Chained Heat starring teen queen Linda Blair and Wendy O. Williams’s prison warden in Reform School Girls. So now that I think I’ve given you more than a few compelling reasons to take a deep dive into this strangely complex film genre, I’ve posted a large selection of WIP movie posters that are mostly NSFW as you would expect them to be.
 

‘The Big Bird Cage’ with Pam Grier and Sid Haig
 

A German movie poster for ‘99 Women.’
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
04.18.2017
01:45 pm
|
Crime and punishment in Japan during the Edo Period included tattooing the faces & arms of criminals
04.14.2017
11:35 am
Topics:
Tags:


An example of the various face tattoos given to criminals in Japan during the Edo Period.
 
The art of tattooing has a very long history in Japan and artifacts that date back as far as 5,000 BC such as figurines made of clay with etchings on their faces or that have been painted with designs in the spirit of body art have been discovered.

Tattoos have many different symbolic meanings in Japanese culture and can denote where an individual ranked in society or serve as a permanent means of defense against evil forces or perhaps members of the animal kingdom. With the arrival of the seventh-century, the idea of tattooing one’s body in order to make it more beautiful began to lose its appeal due to the strong influence of Chinese customs in Japan—specifically when it came to identifying and tracking criminal activity. Around 720AD during the Nara Period, it appears that tattooing as a form of punishment began to infiltrate Japanese culture. Once the dawn of the Edo Period began the art form was more widely used as a punishment for criminals as at the time there was really no such thing as a prison to send lawbreakers off to. There was a sharp rise in crime in Japan prior to the development of epicenters such as Tokyo or Osaka.

Though tattoos were still used as a way to distinguish various classes of citizens, they were also used to designate ne’er do wells such as murderers who were recipients of head tattoos so everyone would see what they had done. Designs differed across the country so in Hiroshima, you might see the symbol for “dog” on someone’s face who has broken the law. Hiroshima also utilized a “three-strike” rule in which the Chinese symbol for “large ” (大) was used to log the number of crimes committed by an individual. The completion of the symbol was the equivalent of a death sentence for the person adorned with it. In other regions, you might see a series of lines on a criminal’s arm (one for each new crime) or perhaps an arrangement of dots on a forehead. In what is now known as Nagasaki an image of a cross which for the purpose of identification translated to “bad” would also be affixed forever on the forehead.

While this all sounds pretty terrible it’s important to note that tattooing criminals replaced the far more barbaric practices of limb removal, cutting off an ear or perhaps a nose depending on the severity of the crime that was committed. The decapitated heads of criminals were also used as a deterrent to help dissuade bad guys from doing bad things. All of which make the idea of tattooing criminals seem pretty damn tame comparatively.

Images of the outlaw tattoos follow.
 

 

A depction of a criminal receiving a tattoo for his crime.
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
04.14.2017
11:35 am
|
Remember the Alamo: The lengthy list of crimes committed by the members of Black Sabbath
04.03.2017
09:37 am
Topics:
Tags:


Black Sabbath clearly thinking about doing all kinds of illegal stuff.
 

“I wonder what jail I’ll wake up in tomorrow?”

—Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne musing about what might happen after one of his routine drug and alcohol induced blackouts back in the day.

If you could only use one word to describe what it’s like to be a part of the world of rock and roll it is this one: dangerous. First of all, the job isn’t really built for longevity, and it’s well known that many notable icons punched out of their mortal time clocks before they reached the age of 28 (aka, the 27 Club). There are the non-stop parties involving two good old heathen vices—sex and drugs, which at some point catches up with you in one way or another. Another job hazard of this (apparently) illustrious gig includes the occasional skirmish—or worse—with law enforcement. Let’s face it. If you’re in a successful touring rock band and you don’t already have a mugshot in your photo album, just wait. It’ll probably happen. And this leads me to the following breakdown highlighting the many crimes committed by the members of the greatest heavy metal band in history, Black Sabbath. And since Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne’s rap sheet is the longest, let’s start with him, shall we?

Though Ozzy’s bad behavior is infamous, he was apparently never arrested while he was with Sabbath, despite the fact that he was prone to relieving himself in places other than a toilet and was stark-raving drunk most days. Prior to joining the band, Ozzy held several strange jobs including working in a factory that produced car horns, a funeral home, and even a slaughterhouse. Since Ozzy and a straight job didn’t really get along, he turned to burglary to make a living. This landed the great and powerful Ozz in Winson Green prison for six weeks for petty theft after his father refused to pay his bail. While behind bars, Ozzy gave himself his famous “OZZY” knuckle tattoo using a sewing needle and graphite polish, as well as getting the two adorable smiley faces that adorn his kneecaps.
 

Ozzy being Ozzy in the 1970s. 
 
While Sabbath’s antics are about as epic as they come, Ozz would completely run amok once he was kicked out of the band in 1979. His arrest record would grow to include public urination and intoxication after he took a piss close enough to the beloved historical landmark the Alamo in 1982 (wearing a dress no less) that he was banned from entering San Antonio for a decade. This was also the same year that Ozzy famously bit the head off of a live bat on stage in Iowa. In 1984 Ozzy was once again arrested for public intoxication and was sent off to the drunk tank after being found completely inebriated traipsing up and down the streets of Memphis’ Beale Street entertainment district. In 1989 he was charged with the attempted murder of his wife Sharon Osbourne whom he tried to strangle with his bare hands while completely blotto on whatever he could snort, pop or swill. Let’s also not forget that before Ozzy’s wife Sharon took over as his manager during his solo career, it was her father Don Arden (known not-so-affectionately as the Al Capone of pop managers), who called the shots. Arden was quite literally one of the most feared members of the music scene in England and once hung rival manager Robert Stigwood (Cream and the Bee Gees) by his feet from his office window over a dispute involving the Small Faces. Damn.

When it comes to Tony Iommi and breaking the law we start back In 1968 when the buzz-killing police raided Iommi’s home in Birmingham and found *gasp* marijuana residue for which the guitarist received the British equivalent of probation for two years. In 1973 he nearly lost his life to an overdose, technically a crime in itself, at a Sabbath show at the Hollywood Bowl. And that was after helping his bandmates snort $75K worth of blow in 1972. In 1983 he blew up a bunch of prized carp belonging to businessman and airline mogul Richard Branson while the band was recording Born Again at Branson’s studio in Oxfordshire. Then he trashed drummer Bill Ward’s car at a go-cart track and let it burn after it caught fire. Iommi has a long history of getting his kicks by blowing stuff up which he thankfully documented in his 2011 book Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
04.03.2017
09:37 am
|
They Live by Night: Photos of gangsters, prostitutes & drag queens from Tokyo’s red light district
02.23.2017
11:04 am
Topics:
Tags:

001gangskab.jpg
 
Kabukichō is the red light district in Shinjuku, a commercial and administrative ward in central Tokyo. Apparently Kabukichō took its name from plans to build a kabuki theater in the district sometime in 1940s. This never happened. Instead the area became a busy red light world of nightclubs, hostess clubs and love hotels. It’s estimated there are some 3,000 such enterprises operating in Kabukichō today. At night, the busy neon-lit streets thrive with the curious and the criminal—around a thousand yakuza are said to operate in the area. All this relentless activity gave Kabukichō its nickname as the “Sleepless Town” (眠らない街).

Among the curious drawn to Kabukichō was photographer Watanabe Katsumi (1941-2006). During the 1960s and 1970s, this seemingly quiet and unassuming character prowled the streets camera in hand offering to take pictures of the sharp-suited yakuza, the pimps, the prostitutes and the drag queens who lived and worked in and among this red light district’s narrow streets. Watanabe thought of Kabukichō as his theater and the men and women who posed for him as his actors.

He approached each of his subjects and offered to take their picture.  He took the pictures quickly. But whatever he said to make each individual sufficiently relaxed worked. His photographs captured something unguarded and utterly spontaneous about his subjects. The next night he would return, deliver three prints of each photograph for 200 yen—roughly around a dollar back then. This was how he made his living.

In 1973, the first volume of Watanabe Katsumi’s photographs The Gangs of Kabukichō was published. This book was reissued in 2006, details here.
 
002gangskab.jpg
 
005gangskab.jpg
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
02.23.2017
11:04 am
|
Gangsters and guns in Tokyo: Sydney Pollack on directing Robert Mitchum in ‘The Yakuza,’ 1974
02.20.2017
01:18 pm
Topics:
Tags:

02yakpos.jpg
 
Robert Mitchum hated being a movie star. Being famous meant nothing to him. After all, as he often pointed out, one of the biggest stars in the world was Rin Tin Tin, “and she was a four-legged bitch.” Acting wasn’t real work. Real life was always more important than any two-bit ham who turned up, hit his mark and said his lines on cue. 

Mitchum once claimed he had only two types of acting, one type for when he was on a horse and another when he was off. There was always this sense he was somewhat embarrassed by all the adulation from fans and sycophantic journalists who thought they owned a piece of him. It made Mitchum hate Hollywood with “all the venom of someone who owed it everything he had.”

Yet for all his bravado, Robert Mitchum was one of Hollywood and cinema’s greatest actors. Over fifty-four years, Mitchum appeared in 110 movies. Many which were then and are still now considered among the best movies ever made—and this was often down to the quality of Mitchum’s performance whether he on or off a horse.

While he was happy to share stories about his life and career with family and friends, Big Bad Bob had a reputation of being difficult to interview. Chat show host Michael Parkinson once had a very awkward interview with Mitchum where every question asked by Parkinson was met by the sleepy-eyed actor’s answer “Yep.” After about twenty minutes, Parkinson had had enough of this monosyllabic performance and asked if Mitchum if he ever said anything other than “Yep”? To which Mitchum replied, “Nope.”

In January 1974, Mitchum arrived in Tokyo, Japan, to star in a gangster movie called The Yakuza. The script was written by two young writers, brothers Leonard and Paul Schrader. The film came about after Leonard Schrader went to Japan to dodge the draft in 1968. He found a job teaching, but when this fell apart, Schrader started to hang out with young yakuza gangsters. He was intrigued by their sharp suits, wraparound sunglasses and strict code of honor. He wanted to write a book about these gangsters but his brother Paul convinced him to turn it into a movie script instead.
 
01yakbk.jpg
Leonard Schrader’s book ‘The Yakuza.’

Written over a few weeks The Yakuza tells the story of a retired detective Harry Kilmer (Mitchum) asked to rescue a friend’s daughter who has been kidnapped by a yakuza gangster, Tono (Eiji Okada). Kilmer worked as a military policeman in Japan after the Second World War where he formed a relationship with a local woman Eiko (Keiko Kishi) who was working the black market to obtain penicillin for her sick daughter. Eiko’s brother Ken (Ken Takakura) a recently returned Japanese soldier was outraged by his sister’s friendship with the enemy. Kilmer ended the relationship with Eiko after helping her find the drugs for her child. He then returns to Tokyo to enlist Eiko and Ken’s help in saving his friend’s daughter from the yakuza.

The script was hyped as “The Godfather meets Bruce Lee.” It started a bidding war among the studios which eventually delivered a $325,000 payout to the brothers and their agent—though Leonard only made twenty percent of the take. A young Martin Scorsese read the script but Paul Schrader wanted a big name to direct. Robert Aldrich was hired with Lee Marvin as lead. When Marvin dropped out, Mitchum took over. However, Mitchum stipulated he did not want Aldrich as director—there was bad blood between the two. Mitchum said he wanted Sydney Pollack instead.

Pollack may have seemed an odd choice. He had just finished making The Way We Were a slushy romantic feature with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. However, he had also directed the war movie Castle Keep, the western The Scalphunters, both starring Burt Lancaster, and the Oscar-nominated They Shoot Horses Don’t They? starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin.

Pollack liked the script but thought it needed a rewrite. He brought in Robert Towne, who had written Villa Rides for Sam Peckinpah, The Last Detail for Hal Ashby and was then working on Chinatown for Roman Polanski. Towne later explained his involvement with The Yakuza:

...in Japan, Yakuza films are sort of B-movies, where these gangsters … they’re sort of a combination of … if you took out soap operas on daily television and our B-gangster movies and mashed them together, you’d get a Yakuza film. Because the Japanese are very melodramatic, particularly in these films, in almost everything. And all these gangsters are stricken with this terrible sense of duty and obligation, that they’re obliged to do these things, so that in the end they end up killing 25,000 people or themselves or both or mutilating themselves. What was interesting to me was that the story deals with an American who goes over there to do a favor for an old friend. And in order to do this favor for an old friend, he has to see a Japanese gangster whose sister he had once been in love with, and asks him to help him rescue this friend’s daughter from other Japanese gangsters. And the kind of tangled web of obligation that results from this was interesting to me to work with, to make actions that are almost kind of … they’re really like a fairy tale. You just don’t imagine some guy getting to the point where he’ll be able to kill 25 people. To try and make that credible was interesting to me. And it deals with things like loyalty and friendship and abiding love, and it’s very romantic. And it was fascinating to me.

~snip!~

I took it to be my task in reworking it, in the structural changes I made and in the dialogue changes and the character changes, to make it, from my point of view once you accepted the premise, credible that this American would go over there, would do this, would get involved in the incidents that he got involved in the script which would involve recovering a kidnapped daughter and then ultimately killing his best friend and killing 25 other people along with it and immolating himself. And I thought that in my reading of it, I just didn’t feel that he was provoked in the right way to do all that. It’s hard to make it credible that somebody would do that, and I tried to make it, from my point of view and the point of view of the director, more plausible. Not absolutely plausible, but plausible in the framework of this kind of exotic setting. […] When I had read it, I said these are the things that I felt should be done, and they agreed with me, so I did them. But it was pretty much agreed upon with the director and myself.

 
More on ‘The Yakuza’ plus video of Pollack giving his own insight into the film, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
02.20.2017
01:18 pm
|
That time the ‘world’s dumbest’ terrorist blew up the Rolling Stones’ equipment
02.16.2017
01:10 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
Despite what recent political rhetoric would have you believe, terrorism is hardly the sole property of Muslims from the Middle East. Timothy McVeigh and his pals blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the left-wing Red Army Faction in Germany killed as many as 34 people in multiple incidents, and the Weather Underground destroyed the sub-basement furnace room of a townhouse on West 11th Street in 1970. One can multiply the examples.

Indeed, depending on the time and place, there have been terrorist incidents where the most likely suspects—the suspects many would have instantly guessed—were radical French separatists in Canada. Such a case occurred in the summer of 1972 during the Rolling Stones’ legendary American Tour that year, when a bomb destroyed part of a truck and several speakers of the group’s gear several hours before a gig.
 

New Musical Express, July 22, 1972
 
Rolling Stone reported at the time:
 

The two equipment vans had arrived from Toronto and were parked on a ramp at the Montreal Forum. The dynamite blast that exploded under the ramp blew out a slew of windows in a nearby apartment and the cones of 30 speakers inside one of the trucks.

“Whoever it was was the world’s dumbest bomber,” said press agent Gary Stromberg. “First he put the bomb under the ramp instead of the truck, and the other truck was the one with most of the stuff inside.”

 
Air Canada bumped luggage from a flight out of Los Angeles to accommodate the replacement cones, and the show was able to go on just 45 minutes later than planned. However, some sort of unrelated snafu left 3,000 disappointed Stones fans outside the venue without a ticket—they proceeded to engage in significant civil unrest, including pelting the building and police with rocks, wine, beer bottles, and bricks. Jagger himself was hit by a flying bottle inside the venue.

In his essential book S.T.P.: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones, Robert Greenfield provides this account:
 

Later that night the phone rings in Peter Rudge’s room. He picks it up, talks for a while, then begins making phone calls. “Rudge-O here,” he tells Gary Stromberg. “This is rather important. Could you come down to the hall? We’ve been bombed.”

Some person (or persons) has placed one to three sticks of dynamite underneath one of the trucks. Fortunately, it is the one that holds the steel loading ramp, so all it does is blow a four-by-eight hole in the bottom of the truck, disintegrate the ramp, and destroy all the cones in the speakers. The driver, who usually sleeps in the rig, is off somewhere, which saves him from at least a heart attack, if not actual death. All of the windows are broken in the apartment buildings on the street facing the Forum where the truck is parked.

The street is roped off. The police are making diagrams and gathering shards and pieces and a very French Sergeant de Detectif is in charge. Rudge persists in calling him “captain.” Someone says to him, “Certainly this is the work of one of your French separatists.”

“OH NO M’SEIU!” he replies with classic Gallic outrage. “C’est une American draft dodgeur. Zey are all over. Zey come up here with impunity.”

-snip-

The bomb at the Forum was just the first of four timed to go off at intervals during the day. They wake Jagger up to tell him about it. “Who did it?” he asks sleepily. No one knows. “Well,” he yawns, “why the fuck didn’t they leave a note?”

But he’s shook. The French separatists, it is well known, are cray-zee. They’ll stop at nothing, and all day long he keeps referring to the event uneasily, worried that they plan to pull something off at the show. But the show itself goes off peacefully, the bomb squad having turned the building upside down more than once. Outside the hall, the kids and the cops get down to it and fourteen people are injured, thirteen arrested, and a TV news cruiser is set on fire. UPI, in an inspired piece of fiction, reports that the Stones leave the Forum by means of a helicopter that takes off from the roof and circles the crowd announcing, “THEY HAVE LEFT THE BUILDING: GO HOME” in both French and English.

 
This difficult stretch of the tour was by no means over with. The very next day, in Rhode Island, the Stones’ entourage got into a fight with photographer Andy Dickerman, landing Jagger and Richards in jail.

New Musical Express image courtesy of the Library and Archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Posted by Martin Schneider
|
02.16.2017
01:10 pm
|
This national park in India protects rhinos—by killing the poachers
02.15.2017
11:55 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
The recovery of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros since its near-extinction in the early 20th century has been a remarkable boon for our planet’s ecosystem—even as it has generated considerable financial opportunities in a part of the world where most of the people have very little. Certain parts of Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, has somehow come to believe that the rhino horn has almost magical curative properties, and that has driven the price of the commodity sky-high on the black market—as much as $6,000 for 100 grams. One-horned rhinos have smaller horns than most rhinos, but their horns are especially prized as being extraordinarily potent.

With about 2,400 one-horned rhinos, Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam in northeastern India is home to a majority of the world’s one-horned rhino population, about two-thirds of the total. The inflated prices for rhino horn have created an incentive for the population of Assam that is all but impossible to ignore. This means that Kaziranga has a serious poaching problem—one that more than doubled in 2013. After several years in which the average number of rhino killings was in single digits, in 2013 and 2014 the number suddenly skyrocketed to more than 25 per year.

As a response to the problem, officials at Kaziranga National Park have adopted an almost unthinkable measure—they permit their park’s security guards to shoot poachers on sight. Such killings of poachers was an uncommon occurrence before 2013—22 documented kills in the eight years before 2014—but it’s spiraled totally out of control, with 22 poachers killed in 2014 and another 23 in 2015. Last year the trend seems to have ebbed, with “only” five poachers meeting their untimely demise at the hands of park security. If you’re keeping track, that’s 72 dead poachers in the span of eleven years.


 
Everybody thinks that rhinos should be protected from poachers, but this seems seriously out of control.

On top of everything else, not all of the casualties were actually guilty of doing anything wrong.

Justin Rowlatt, South Asia correspondent for the BBC, has done some excellent reporting to shine a light on this shocking situation. He asked Avdesh, a guard at Kaziranga, what he is supposed to do if he spots a poacher off in the distance going after a rhino. “The instruction is whenever you see the poachers or hunters, we should start our guns and hunt them,” he said instantly.

“You shoot them?”

“Yah, yah. Fully ordered to shoot them. Whenever you see the poachers or any people during night-time we are ordered to shoot them.”

Avdesh says that he has never been involved in an incident in which anybody was killed, but he has taken stray shots at poachers twice.

Dr. Satyendra Singh, the director of the park, concedes the basic situation as described above but demurs that the phrase “shoot on sight” is perhaps an exaggeration. Guards are supposed to call out and make inquiries as to who the people are before taking that step. According to Singh, the guards only shoot after they have been fired upon themselves. He says that the goal of any encounter is to achieve an arrest because that is the only way to get further information on the identity of the gangs who undertake poaching.

On one occasion last summer, guards shot a seven-year-old boy named Akash Orang was making his way home along the main track through the village, which borders the park—the blast seriously compromised much of the calf muscle of his right leg.
 
via Bored Panda

Posted by Martin Schneider
|
02.15.2017
11:55 am
|
Page 2 of 24  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›