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That time the most famous director in Mexico shot a film critic in the balls
12.29.2016
07:36 am
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Even if you’ve never seen one of Emilio Fernandez’s movies—even if you’ve never seen him in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch or Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia—you’ve seen Emilio Fernandez. According to legend, he was the model for the Academy’s Oscar statuette.

Another legend attached to Fernandez is that he shot a film critic in the balls at one of his parties. Bob Dylan mentions this tale in Sam Shepard’s one-act play Short Life of Trouble:

BOB: You know, Emilio Fernandez used to shoot the critics that didn’t like his movies. At parties.

I first heard this story from the writer Barry Gifford after I tracked him down in Berkeley years ago. He’d heard it from the director and actor Alfonso Arau, who played the part of Herrera in The Wild Bunch. Like a no-nose bike seat, the account in Brando Rides Alone, Gifford’s book about One-Eyed Jacks, supports everything but the testicles:

Mexico’s most famous (along with Luis Buñuel)—certainly most infamous—director, Emilio Fernandez, known as “El Indio” because of his mother’s origins, made many unforgettable films, several featuring María Félix (Enamorada) or Dolores Del Rio (María Candelária, called by Beatriz Reyes Nevares “the classic and most memorable of all Mexican films”); he also directed a version of John Steinbeck’s story The Pearl/La Perla, starring Pedro Armendáriz. […]

Arau told me that after completing a new film Fernandez invited to dinner at his estancia the most prominent film critics from Mexico City. After dinner and undoubtedly many drinks, El Indio screened for them his latest effort, then solicited their opinions. One after another, the critics, stuffed and glowing from whiskey and Tequila, praised the film, telling their host what he wanted to hear, that it was his best to date, possibly another masterpiece, as moving as María Candelária. Then a journalist rose and begged to differ, not impolitely, but making clear his opinion that the new movie, while reasonably effective as melodrama, was not a particularly worthy addition to the maestro’s oeuvre. A silence fell over the room. El Indio, initially uncomprehending and a good two-and-a-half sheets to the wind, finally realized that he was being disrespected on his own turf and drew from beneath his coat a revolver. Without hesitating, he shot the disputatious fool, killing him in front of his fellow guests.

Arau said that for the offense of murdering a critic Fernandez was forced to spend some time in jail (where he was well treated), but since he was a national hero, and the insulting behavior of the deceased was compounded by the fact that at the time of the incident he had been availing himself of El Indio’s hospitality, the director’s sentence was cut short. Emilio Fernandez is a legend. (He died in 1986.) Nobody remembers the name of the dead critic.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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12.29.2016
07:36 am
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Patty Hearst sexploitation films were a ‘thing’ in the 1970s
12.14.2016
10:41 am
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‘Patty’ poster available at WestgateGallery.com
 
Although the notion of rushing a “cash in” product to market to capitalize on a story or scandal in the headlines isn’t exactly a new thing, even in the more freewheeling 1970s a porno “cash in” was still, historically speaking, a fairly novel phenomenon. Case in point, when publishing heiress Patty Hearst was abducted by the left-wing terrorists known as the Symbionese Liberation Army.

If you weren’t around then or need a refresher course, on February 4th, 1974, Patty Hearst, then a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley was abducted from her apartment by the SLA, a radical leftist urban guerrilla group led by escaped convict “Field Marshal” Donald DeFreeze. She was raped, beaten, constantly threatened with death and basically brainwashed/coerced into participating in various highly illegal activities, including an infamous April 15, 1974 San Francisco bank robbery, helping to make improvised explosives and driving a getaway car.
 

 
Hearst was arrested in a San Francisco apartment with another SLA member on September 18, 1975. At her police station booking she listed her occupation as “Urban Guerilla” and asked her lawyer to “Tell everybody that I’m smiling, that I feel free and strong and I send my greetings and love to all the sisters and brothers out there.” Hearst was just 87 pounds when she was apprehended, and despite being described by the prominent psychologist Dr. Margaret Singer, who examined her, as “a low-IQ, low-affect zombie” and clearly having suffered psychological and physical trauma, she was convicted by a jury of several crimes and sentenced to decades in federal prison. Jimmy Carter commuted her prison sentence after 22 months served and Bill Clinton gave her a full pardon in 2001. Hearst appeared in two John Waters films and has been active in charity fundraising, concentrating her efforts towards pediatric AIDS.

The Hearst story was quite a big deal in the mid-70s, daily frontpage news, on the cover of TIME, Newsweek, the Saturday Evening Post and People and the subject of frequent TV news stories. You could buy “special edition” magazines devoted to Hearst’s travails next to the TV Guide and Reader’s Digest at the grocery store checkout line. And there were two, arguably three, exploitation films made about her at the time.
 

 
The most curious of the three was a film simply called Patty (no last name is ever mentioned) a mockumentary that came in hardcore XXX-rated, softcore X-rated and R-rated versions. The only “star” worth mentioning was 70s porn stalwart Jamie Gillis and the film was directed by Robert L. Roberts the same low budget sleaze auteur who gave the world Sweet Savior, the 1971 “love-thrill murders” Manson Family-themed exploitation film starring former teen heartthrob Troy Donahue as a shaggy hippie cult leader.

Essentially Patty seems like it was a bunch of sex scenes with various pairings (group sex, lesbian, interracial and even a little girl-on-snake action according to a VARIETY review) held together with a framing device of “a Freudian psychologist and four of his colleagues” (along with the director himself) conversing about “Patty.” The film’s tagline was “The story of a revolutionary, told in highly erotic terms.” NY Times film reviewer Vincent Canby dubbed it “a frisky romp.”

According to the Temple of Schlock blog, the film had been considered “lost” but that:

The negative for all three was rescued from a condemned movie theater in New Jersey almost seven years ago and sold on eBay to a DVD company on January 14, 2008. A DVD/Blu-ray will hopefully come out sometime soon.

(Apparently a 2017 release has already been announced by Synapse, but with no further information available.)
 

 
And then there is Tanya AKA Sex Queen of the SLA a comedy directed by one “P. Duncan Fingersnarl” (Nate Rogers) in 1976. Here’s what one reviewer on IMDB said about it:

This film is a fun spoof, based on the real-life 70s Patty Hearst kidnapping. In the movie, a young affluent woman named Charlotte Cane, is kidnapped and held for ransom. Her kidnappers are a group of radical revolutionaries, who are holed-up in a grungy hideout, in the Oakland ghetto.

They’re a mixed-race bunch, who are committed to camaraderie, and saving the ‘people’ from the oppressive ‘insect pig’ capitalists. This band of freedom-fighters, are also dedicated to having lots of sex with each other. There’s plenty of juicy sex scenes, including both interracial and lesbian trysts, between the group members. The sex in this film, is very graphic indeed, including showing lots of male full- frontal nudity.

Charlotte gets caught-up in the lustful antics of her kidnappers, and has marathon sex sessions with them all. She enthusiastically enjoys her newly uninhibited sexuality, that the kidnappers have awakened in her. Charlotte also becomes sympathetic, to the radical extremist cause of the group. She even renounces her name, choosing to be called Tanya instead. So, Tanya has to decide if she really wants to return to her former affluent, sheltered existence, when she gets the chance to do so.

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.14.2016
10:41 am
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Murderers and Meths Drinkers: A strange, grim tour of ‘The London Nobody Knows’
12.08.2016
09:46 am
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The great actor James Mason stands in a Victorian urinal in London talking about goldfish. Here, Mason says referring to this Holborn convenience, is true democracy as “All men are equal in the eyes of a lavatory attendant.” It’s one of the many quirky moments in an excellent documentary called The London Nobody Knows.

Another instance is Mason turning up at the door of a resident on Hanbury Street to view the garden where Jack the Ripper brutally murdered Annie Chapman. The streets look little changed in the seventy-nine years since her killing—dark, derelict, and foreboding.

Mason was a major box office star when he fronted this delightful short. He had recently starred in Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita and Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and was yet to make the few ill-considered choices that briefly dimmed his star at the start of the seventies. Between acting commitments in early 1967, Mason donned his brown brogues, wool cap and camel jacket to play—or rather perform—the role of inquisitive tour guide across the cobbled lanes, the dereliction, the people, the buskers, the down and outs, the nooks and crannies of a radically changing city.

The London Nobody Knows is a delightful yet oddly haunting film. The tone is set at the beginning when Mason visits the derelict Bedford Music Hall—the favorite venue of the legendary Marie Lloyd, the queen of music hall. As Lloyd is heard singing “The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery,” Mason recounts how the ghost of a little known performer Belle Elmore was said to haunt the theater. Belle, Mason explains, was better known as Cora Turner—wife and victim of one Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen—the notorious murderer. This mix of the comic and the darkly tragic filter through the whole film—as can be seen by the later sequences of down and outs and meths drinkers—those poor unfortunates who sought inebriation—and usually blindness and death—in the consumption of denatured alcohol. Even an almost picturesque scene by the River Thames is tinged by the tale of pirates chained hand and foot by the edge waters to drown. Locals came and ate picnics while watching these poor brigands die.

As a side note: the Bedford Music Hall was where Peter Sellers parents performed and Sellers was born and raised in a tenement apartment next to the theater. Sellers later claimed he was a reincarnation of another Bedford artiste—Dan Leno.
 
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Now, when I said Mason performs as “tour guide”—he is in fact giving his interpretation of Geoffrey Scowcroft Fletcher—a journalist, writer, artist and long forgotten pioneer of what is now ponderously termed “psychogeography”—on whose work the film is based. Fletcher wandered London drawing its inhabitants, noting down events, sights and things of historical importance which he then wrote up in a weekly column for the Daily Telegraph. Fletcher’s books—The London Nobody Knows (1962), Down Among the Meths Men (1966) and a pinch of London’s River (1965) are the source material for Mason’s journey. (The Situationists were, of course, also known for taking similarly drifting “revolutionary” strolls, which they termed “dérive.”)

The London Nobody Knows was directed by Norman Cohen and produced by Michael Klinger. Cohen went onto make his name as a director of hit British comedy films like Till Death Us Do Part (1969), Dad’s Army (1971), and Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall and the series of seventies sex comedies—-Confessions of a Pop Performer, Confessions of a Holiday Camp and Confessions of a Driving Instructor. While Klinger who produced Roman Polanski’s early films Cul-de-Sac and Repulsion went on to produce Michael Caine in Get Carter and Pulp and the Lee Marvin/Roger Moore feature Shout at the Devil.
 

 
If there’s one thing you are going to watch today then make it this—as it’s a rewarding look back at a world long gone (London during a year change) the year of so-called psychedelia and the “summer of love.” As can be seen from this film—that world was media hype—the world of The London Nobody Knows was very, very real.
 
Watch ‘The London Nobody Knows’ after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.08.2016
09:46 am
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Married to the Mob: Dames and Molls who hung with Mafia Wise Guys
11.23.2016
11:54 am
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Mob molls are tough dames. They gotta put up with a lotta shit and a lotta bad juju. Not every broad has what it takes to hang with the Mob. Take bit-part actress Alice Granville (above) who was shot twice in the arm by her hitman husband Pete Donahue. Apparently she didn’t even wince. Donahue was a trigger-happy lieutenant for mob boss Dutch Schultz. Granville said her mob beau only shot her to prove how much he loved her. Hate to think what he got her for Valentine’s Day.

Or take fifteen-year-old Carmen Martinez (below)—who was willing to kill for her mob bf. That’s her struggling with cops on her way to Felony Court having been charged with the murder of seventeen-year-old Raul Banuchi in 1951. What says “I love you” more than whacking someone?

Being a Mob moll takes a lotta guts, a lotta loyalty and a helluva lotta just plain dumb. Here’s a rogue’s gallery of some hardboiled Mob molls.
 
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Mob moll Smitty White claims the fifth while getting the third degree from New York’s finest after her boyfriend Ralph Prisco was shot and killed during a failed holdup in 1942. The word “moll” comes from “molly” as in the old 17th century English term for prostitute—though like many English words when transposed to America (fanny being an obvious example) the word developed a different meaning—as in the girlfriend or female accomplice of a gangster.
 
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Big Mama Virginia Hill—the so-called ‘Queen of Mob Molls’ looks like butter wouldn’t melt…. when testifying she knew nothing about her boyfriend Bugsy Siegel’s crime record and Mob connections after he was whacked in 1951.
 
More mob molls, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.23.2016
11:54 am
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The real ‘Mickey and Mallory’: Candid pics of mass-murderer Charles Starkweather & Caril Fugate
11.10.2016
02:26 pm
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A photo of Caril Fugate and Charles Starkweather in happier times while the two were ‘dating.’
 
The horrific murder spree of Charles Starkweather and his fourteen-year-old girlfriend Caril Fugate ended much like bank-robbing folk heros Bonnie and Clyde—in a hail of bullets. The only difference was that both Fugate and Starkweather survived and were finally apprehended after leaving eleven people dead in their wake—including Fugate’s parents and her two-year old sister who Starkweather stabbed to death.

The pair served as inspiration for actor Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis’ portrayals of “Mickey and Mallory Knox” in Oliver Stone’s over-the-top 1994 film Natural Born Killers. Their gruesome story is also paralleled in Quentin Taratino’s script for 1993’s splatter-fest True Romance, and was the basis for the 1973 flick Badlands. The character of “The Kid” from Stephen King’s epic 1978 novel The Stand was (according to King) based on Starkweather. The brutality of the crimes committed during Fugate and Starkweather’s spree at times rivals the cinematic exploits of their Hollywood counterparts. After Starkweather murdered Fugate’s stepfather, mother and sister the couple brazenly took up residence in the home posting a note on the door stating that everyone inside had the “flue” and that all visitors should stay away. The note itself gave credence to the speculation that Fugate was being held against her will as it was signed “Miss Bartlett.” A tactic allegedly used by Fugate in an attempt to arouse suspicion as to the legitimacy of the note being written by Velda Bartlett (Fugate’s mother) who as she was married would have signed it as “Mrs. Bartlett” as well as spelling the word “flu” correctly.

When Fugate’s grandmother finally resorted to threats of calling the police the pair left town and quickly added three more victims to their growing body count. The details regarding the deaths of two teenage victims—Robert Jensen Jr. and Carol King, who unfortunately gave their killers a ride—are when things really go off the rails and they escalate the savagery of their crimes. Both Jensen Jr. and King were murdered in a storm cellar—but not before Starkweather raped King (who rather resembled Fugate). When the police recovered the bodies they found that King’s genitals had been slashed, a heinous revelation that Starkweather insisted was committed by Fugate saying that his young (and likely unwilling) accomplice was motivated to assault King because she was “jealous” of her.

The details of Starkweather and Fugate’s eventual apprehension are as violent as the fictionalized depictions of their exploits. After murdering three more people in Lincoln, Nebraska and stealing their car, the pair then attempted to ditch that car for another occupied by Merle Collison. When Collison refused to give up his automobile Starkweather filled the car and Collison with nine bullets. Shortly after what would be Starkweather’s last homicide another motorist happened upon the scene and after noticing the bullet riddled car and bloody body inside attempted to subdue Starkweather. During the scuffle Deputy Sheriff William Romer rolled up to what he thought was merely a manly roadside dispute that suddenly saw a frantic Fugate hurtling toward him screaming “He’s crazy! He just killed a man!” Starkweather jumped back into the car he’d stolen back in Lincoln and began a high-speed chase that would end in Douglas, Wyoming with the arrest of both young fugitives.

To end this grim tale I’ve got a large assortment of photos of Starkweather (who as you will see was a huge admirer of James Dean) and Fugate (now 72 who has always maintained her innocence—a claim supported by many including the authors of the 2014 book The Twelfth Victim: The Innocence of Caril Fugate in the Starkweather Murder Rampage), as well as other crime-scene artifacts from the couple’s bloody rampage through Nebraska and Wyoming for which Starkweather went to the electric chair in 1959.

Some are definitely NSFW.
 

The mugshot of Charles Starkweather, the spree-killer who terrorized Wyoming and Nebraska in 1958.
 

Caril Fugate.
 

Charles Starkweather, then nineteen, covered in blood after being taken into custody in Douglas, Wyoming.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.10.2016
02:26 pm
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‘Pot Brownies’: Texas lawyers’ country song about insane drug laws is actually really awesome!
11.10.2016
10:30 am
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The Waco, TX law firm of Hutson & Harris is a diverse practice, covering personal injury & wrongful death, criminal law, probate, family law, and even immigration (immigration law in Texas must be a lively gig even without the wall we’re TOTALLY GONNA BUILD, HE PROMISED), but their true distinguishing mark is that Will Hutson and Chris Harris are country singers who give legal advice in song on their YouTube channel.

It sounds like this could be highly goofy, but they’re no joke—Hutson & Harris sing and harmonize together very well, and their songs are highly informative, too! For example, here’s a thing I never would have guessed: in Texas, marijuana edibles are considered marijuana for purposes of weight. Since felony possession is 4 ounces (according to NORML), a half dozen pot brownies equals a jail sentence and a ten thousand dollar fine irrespective of how much pot is in the brownies. That Texas penal codes can be draconian is sufficiently well-known that it’s a national punch-line, but putting people away for narcotics felonies based on the weight of flour, cocoa, and eggs is goddamn crazy.

Hutson & Harris have a song about it. Wanna hear it? Here it goes:
 

 
They have songs about other subjects as well, including how not to talk to an insurance company, and an actually totally awesome parody of Waylon Jennings’ “Amanda” called “Miranda.” But they have enough material covering marijuana laws to prompt wonder if they themselves don’t, um, partake from time to time themselves?

After the jump, enjoy the virally popular “Don’t Eat Your Weed”

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.10.2016
10:30 am
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Russian prison tattoo-themed plateware (NSFW)
10.31.2016
12:34 pm
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In Russian tattoos, the cat symbolizes a successful thief
 
It was just a couple of weeks ago that we brought you old-school ceramics with pictures of German nuclear power plants on them. There may be something of a trend happening here, for today our offering consists of similar ceramic plateware with astonishing illustrations derived from Russian prison tattoos.

Valeria Monis is the “multidisciplinary designer” who creates these amazing plates and vases, invariably in cobalt blue. Every object is handmade, so they are also quite individual; there is no mass production here. Monis was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and currently lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The title of Monis’ project is “From Russia With Love.” It combines “the subversive art of Russian criminal tattoos” and “traditional blue porcelain design,” bringing together “two opposed but equally important and influential strands of Russian art history.” As Monis writes of this Russian tradition, “In the criminal world, a man with no tattoos has no status. ... The illustrations they wear on their skin tells the story of their closed society, a society with its own hierarchy and social structure.”

While transmitting information to others about a person’s crimes and prison terms, the tattoos more fundamentally express a kind of folk understanding of sex, love, honor, sacrifice, and happiness. Many of the images are deeply misogynistic, bestowing warnings of the perils of “whores” and “bitches,” although others celebrate sex, orgasm, and the delights of “playing with your body.” 

Not all of the tattoos are bawdy or boastful or are intended to denote status. Some of the tattoos depict visions of failure or loss, while others are markers of connubial bliss.
 

Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I, by Danzig Baldaev
 
Monis’ source material is FUEL Publishing’s remarkable series of Russian prison tattoo books by Danzig Baldaev.

These intriguing items are available for purchase. Small plates (roughly 6 inches in diameter) cost $95 or $99, large plates (11 inches) cost $120, and the vases cost between $250 and $300.
 

Vologda Transit Prison, 1950s
 

“Girls, find yourself a generous hand. You’ll be fed, dressed, and entertained, and you’ll play with your body….”
 
Many more of these marvelous ceramic items after the jump…....

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.31.2016
12:34 pm
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The ‘Cutting Monster’: Bizarre 18th century illustrations of London’s stab-happy lady stalker
10.17.2016
11:20 am
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A bizarre illustration/caricature by James Gillray of the ‘Monster’ (aka the ‘Cutting Monster’) assaulting one of his female victims, 1790.
 
Nearly a century before Jack the Ripper terrorized the streets of London, a serial lady-stalker dubbed the “Monster” (or the “Cutting Monster”) would attack his first victim in May 1788. During a short walk in the early evening to a friend’s home, Mrs. Maria Smyth had the misfortune to cross paths with a man who, according to a vintage account of the incident, made a loud, lascivious request of Mrs. Smyth. Smyth picked up the pace of her evening stroll which in turn caused her harasser to increase his lurid taunting. By the time Smyth got to her friend’s doorstep the man lurched quickly with a knife and stabbed her in the breast and thigh—something that would become somewhat of a signature move for the Monster.

More than 50 similar attacks by the roving slasher would occur over the course of a three-year period in which the Monster would seemingly go out of his way to stab his victims in the same areas—the breast, buttocks or thigh—after verbally accosting them in the street when they were not in the company of a male companion or chaperone. The slash-happy assailant also incorporated the use of a bouquet of flowers to conceal a knife which he would use to stab his targets in the face when he was able to convince them to get close enough to the flowers to smell them. It’s also been theorized that whoever the “Monster” was. he enjoyed slashing up his victim’s clothing almost as much as plunging his knife into their flesh. As you might imagine the incidents were covered by the newspapers of the day and in 1790 a rather terrifying and wildly out-of-proportion caricature was done by Scottish artist Isaac Cruikshank (pictured at the top of this post) and was published by S.W. Forest, which was based on a first hand account by three women who were attacked by the Monster.

In the summer of 1790, florist—and frequent visitor to London’s many brothels—Rhynwick Williams was picked-up by the Bow Street Runners (who were essentially functioning as an early version of the police during the time) on suspicion of being the man behind the sexually-charged attacks. William’s not only insisted he was innocent but was able to bring forward numerous witnesses that would vouch for his whereabouts during the crimes. As the furor surrounding the assaults had reached epidemic levels around London the prosecution in the case decided that charging Williams’ with “destruction of property” would bring the longest sentence—a possible seven years per crime. The destruction of property in this case being the clothing the Monster had such an affinity for shredding up while attacking his female victims.

The charge didn’t stick and Williams was tried a second time four months later and convicted of “three counts of wounding” which sent him to chokey for six years. Though the attacks all but stopped once Willams was locked up, he would continue to profess his innocence (noted in the 2002 book The London Monster: A Sanguinary Tale by Jan Bondeson) in letters from jail where he would cite criminal cases that were similar to the ones he was accused of in an attempt to perpetuate the idea that the “Monster” was still “out there” and that the cops were even covering up crimes to save face. When he was finally released Willams apparently married a woman who wasn’t afraid of sharp objects and according to historians of the case no further references to “Rhynwick Williams” were ever recorded with the exception of one that strongly suggests Williams changed his name to “Henry” so he could avoid further association with the Monster.
 

A strange depiction of London’s the ‘Monster.’
 

The second panel from Cruikshank’s depiction of the ‘Monster’ featuring his victim outfitted with protective ‘copper bottom.’ And yes, ‘copper bottoms’ were a thing back in the 18th century though they were used by women to ‘enhance’ their appearance.
 

The ‘Monster’ (now with three heads) attacking a pair of ‘old maids,’ 1790.
 
More of the Monster after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.17.2016
11:20 am
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Watch the infamous ‘Disco Demolition Night’ fiasco of 1979 in its entirety
09.22.2016
10:52 am
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A bounty from the Internet! Some outstanding personage has uploaded the entire broadcast of the WSNS Channel 44 Chicago broadcast of the July 12, 1979, double-header between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, better known to you as “Disco Demolition Night,” a promotion spearheaded by DJ Steve Dahl at Chicago rock station WLUP. The event notoriously became a single-header after the second game had to be canceled because of the mayhem brought upon by the antics of the mostly white audience of rowdy rock music lovers.

On that day, disco-haters were enticed by inexpensive admission (98 cents and a disco record to add to the pile) to come out in droves. The gimmick was that between the two games, a large box containing hundreds of disco records would be blown up. Some time earlier, Dahl had lost his job after WDAI switched to a disco format, which inordinately pissed him off, and he turned that ire into a big part of his schtick at WLUP, and eventually the idea for “Disco Demolition Night” was born. In the event, the large crowd was full of rowdy stoners who didn’t give a hoot about baseball and just wanted to heap scorn on disco music. The detonation of the disco records had the double effect of rendering the field unusable and causing the throngs to descend into truly lawless chaos. 

The uploaded video is nearly three and a half hours long. It shows the entire first (and, it turned out, only) game of the twin bill, in which the visiting Tigers defeated the hometown White Sox 4-1. By the way, Harry Caray, who later became a national icon for his work with the crosstown Cubs, was a White Sox employee at this time, and he is one of the announcers calling the action. (In fact, Caray’s true mark on baseball history came decades earlier, during his quarter-century of radio broadcasting for the St. Louis Cardinals.)
 

Moments after hundreds of disco records were exploded in center field
 
As Slate’s Matthew Dessem astutely points out, the tone of the day’s action was set early on, during the National Anthem, during which a fan’s cry of “Faggot!” can clearly be heard (it’s at the 6:44 mark).

In retrospect, the spasm of hatred directed towards a pleasure-oriented music genre that was inclusive in terms of African-Americans, Latinos, and homosexuals seems positively Trumpist in spirit. The United States is the only country that has had a strong “anti-disco” movement. I like the Allman Brothers and Black Sabbath as much as the next music lover, but you know, enough’s enough!

More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.22.2016
10:52 am
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Narcos en fantasyland: Pablo Escobar’s 1981 trip to Walt Disney World
09.07.2016
09:21 am
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The Escobars visit Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom in 1981
The Escobars visit Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom in 1981

In the early ‘80s, Pablo Escobar was at the top of his game. He was the richest man in Colombia, he had the family he had always dreamed of, and he was supplying 80% of the world’s cocaine via the Medellín drug cartel. The best part for Escobar was that he was not yet a known criminal. Just a few years later he would be outed as a drug lord, a merciless killer, and he would become the biggest target in Reagan’s “war on drugs” facing a real threat of extradition. For now, he was still legally doing business, buying properties, and traveling under his own name. He used his political influences in Colombia to gain diplomatic immunity and a visa which allowed him to visit the United States as often as he wanted with red carpet treatment.

In May of 1981 Pablo used those privileges to vacation in Walt Disney World Florida with his family. His sister Alba Marina Escobar helped organize the trip and Pablo was joined by his wife Maria Victoria Henao, his five-year-old son Juan Pablo, his mother Hermilda, brother Roberto, and cousin Gustavo Gaviria. The Escobars left their Miami Beach vacation home which was supposedly rented from Julio Iglesias and one of the Gibb brothers of the Bee Gees, then headed 230 miles north to Orlando. While Pablo did not yet have any enemies or scores to settle with the law, his growing economic power made it necessary for him the use bodyguards for the very first time so friend John Jairo Arias Tascon (aka “Pinina”) accompanied the family to the Disney theme park.

The Escobar family reportedly spent ridiculous amounts of money on their vacation, filling dozens of suitcases with souvenirs and clothing. Pablo hired a personal consultant to advise them on attractions as well as a driver to escort them around. Free to do and buy whatever they wanted to in the park, Pablo was overjoyed and acted like a child alongside his son Juan Pablo. Although he was afraid of roller coasters, Pablo rode them all to make his son happy. “Our family life hadn’t yet become encumbered by complications. That was the only period of pure pleasure and lavishness that my father enjoyed,” said Juan Pablo (who later changed his name to Sebastian to protect his anonymity) in his book Pablo Escobar, My Father.

The hit Netflix series Narcos even brushed on the Escobar’s trip to Disney World in a recent episode titled “Deutschland 93.” In a scene where a very emotional Pablo (brilliantly played by Brazilian actor Wagner Moura) is reflecting on his past, he asks “Have you ever been to Disney World? It’s beautiful. It’s very organized. Very clean.” Pablo definitely kept the Disney spirit and thirst for fun alive at Hacienda Nápoles, his vast and awe-inspiring ranch in Colombia about 100 miles east of Medellin. The ranch which put Michael Jackson’s Neverland to shame included three zoos full of exotic animals, 27 artificial lakes, go-karts, and even a mechanical bull. In 2014 a private company appropriately turned the ranch into a fully operational theme park which includes a Jurassic Park simulator. “Pablo World” (if you will, whose mascot is a female Hippo named Vanessa) is currently accessible to anybody with 32.000 pesos (around $15) willing to sit through a three-and-a-half hour bus ride from Medellín.
 
Pablo's son Juan Pablo meets Mickey Mouse in Tomorrowland
Pablo’s son Juan Pablo meets Mickey Mouse in Tomorrowland
 
The Escobars walking through the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland
The Escobars walking through the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland

Posted by Doug Jones
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09.07.2016
09:21 am
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