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‘How to Steal an Election’: The dirty politics musical of 1968!
02.02.2017
09:50 am
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Like science fiction becoming reality, or worse, satire becoming reality, this 1968 off-Broadway musical—or to quote the subtitle, this “dirty politics musical”—immediately opens eyes very wide in the ironic early days of America 2017. Some things never change, they just get worse.

In a New York Times review of a revival of the play in 2000, Scarlet Cheng wrote:

In the year of Richard Nixon vs. Hubert H. Humphrey vs. George Wallace, “How to Steal an Election” offered a compact off-Broadway primer on presidential elections bought, bartered and swiped throughout American history.

Librettist William F. Brown and composer-lyricist Oscar Brand had the notion of Jazz Age prez Calvin Coolidge materializing in the present day (that is, 1968). There he meets a couple of fervent young protesters, just back from the skull-cracking Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Disillusioned, these two have no taste for the political machine. But what’s wrong with pragmatism, Coolidge wonders? What about learning to work within a corrupt system? Thus Coolidge begins his history lesson, with vignettes and songs depicting cynical power grabs of yore.

 
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The two stars were Carole Demas who was the original Sandy in Grease on Broadway, even before it was turned into the musical we know now (It was originally a much darker, dirtier production). The cast was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (don’t even get me started). She was also one of the two strange hippie hostesses of the weird early seventies TV show The Magic Garden, a program that even as a child had me running for the remote (not that we even had a remote) to avoid twee folk songs sung to flowers.

Also starring was Clifton Davis who appeared in countless films and television shows, making all the Love Boat/Vega$/Police Story rounds right up to the present. His TV biggie was co-starring on The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show in 1972 (or perhaps the That’s My Mama sitcom in 1974). His lifetime biggie was that he wrote the huge hit “Never Can Say Goodbye” for The Jackson 5! Now he’s a minister.

 
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Oscar Brand who passed away last year at 96 was an original folkie who, among many other things (he wrote a hit record for Doris Day, collaborated on musicals, had a TV show called Let’s Sing Out, wrote children’s records, etc.) had the longest running radio show in history.

He hosted the radio show Oscar Brand’s Folksong Festival every Saturday at 10 p.m. on WNYC-AM 820 in New York City, which ran into its 70th year. The show ran more or less continuously since its debut on December 10, 1945, making it the longest-running radio show with the same host, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Over its run it introduced such talents to the world as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Huddie Ledbetter, Joni Mitchell, Peter, Paul & Mary, Judy Collins, the Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger and The Weavers. In order to make sure that his radio program could not be censored he refused to be paid by WNYC for the next 70 years.

 
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Brand, whose radio show was referred to as a “pipeline of communism” by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and who told stories of buying food for Leadbelly when the two traveled together in segregated areas, also participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. He said the character of Calvin Coolidge in the play was originally written by him to be Satan.

...he was Satan, who had decided that the electoral process was the most interesting thing he could join in on since he got kicked out of heaven.

 
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The producer of the play Steve Mellow had this to say:

I was the producer of this play Off Broadway in 1969. It was a labor of love. I got the idea from my uncle Jake Arvey, who was a powerful political broker in Chicago.The play took three years to get on and went thru five different authors. Oscar Brand was with me from the beginning. He has written many political campaign songs over a period of seventy years. Nixon was running for President. His campaign manager asked what we were doing on him in the play. I told him to buy a ticket.

 
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If all this sounds classic, the fate of the show is a true tale of American-style “land of the free” business Hell.

From the New York Times:

“How to Steal an Election” opened to favorable reviews and was packed nightly. After 50 performances, the show was set to move to Broadway. But there was a glitch. Turns out, says Brand, the $80,000 lined up for the move was mob money, and it would only be delivered after someone on the production helped with some securities laundering. The producer ducked out, and Brand refused to cooperate. End of deal, end of production.

And that’s no trumped up charge.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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02.02.2017
09:50 am
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Inappropriate and just plain WRONG vintage Valentine’s Day cards
02.01.2017
11:46 am
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An image paints a thousand words..or in this case just one…
 
It’s February. Time for the corporations to make some money selling Valentine’s Day cards and heart-shaped candy to lovers, couples, lonely-hearts and creeps for a made-up “holiday.”

Not that I’m cynical about these things. But to be frank, the only card I really want to see on the fourteenth of this month is your credit card so I can max it to the hilt.

Now, I know you’re gonna say Valentine’s Day is fun, Valentine’s Day is romantic, it gives lotsa lonely guys the chance to stalk women they don’t know yet. Maybe you’re right. Maybe it is all good. So if you do dig Valentine’s Day then you might appreciate these inappropriate vintage cards which look like the kind of thing nice weirdoes and freaks sent their loved ones in the past.
 
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How did this even get published?
 
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You know this guy’s a serial killer, right?
 
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Cop with a gun card—what could go wrong?
 
More heartbreaking cards, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.01.2017
11:46 am
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Some of the best (trust me, they are tremendous) protest signs from the Women’s March
01.23.2017
10:23 am
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One of the many signs I saw and photographed during the Seattle ‘Women’s March,’ January 21st, 2017.
 
On Saturday I spent the better part of the day walking the streets of Seattle with a few of my “delicate snowflake” friends and approximately 175,000 other like-minded women, men and children during our Women’s March. The event, which was the largest protest in the history of the city, was by far one of the most powerful and empowering things I have ever personally experienced in my life. And while it’s not an alternate fact that our work is just beginning, judging from the numbers of people who collectively participated in the massive march in Washington DC, and the local support marches around the globe, there is still room for hope.

Many of the images of the signs in this post, were taken by yours truly and by friends of mine, old and new, who I walked with in Seattle. Others were culled from the Facebook page Pantsuit Nation and I’ve done the best I can to attach locations to each photo. While I have plenty to say on the subject when it comes to why millions of people took to the streets all over the country and the world, I’d much prefer to let the images of the protest signs that marchers carried with them on Saturday do the talking. So to the new administration and our new Commander-in-Grief, get ready because you haven’t seen anything yet. Viva la VULVA!
 

Seattle Women’s March, January 21st, 2017. Photo taken by a member of my marching group.
 

Seattle. Photo by Cherrybomb.
 

A 91-year-old retired doctor protesting in Los Angeles.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.23.2017
10:23 am
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Extremely ‘Childish’ Donald Trump posters
01.12.2017
03:23 pm
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GOP Info Poster

British cult artist/musician/poet/author and anti-authoritarian legend Billy Childish has just announced publication of a trio of specially commission poster prints commemorating “the occasion of Donald Trump being crassly maligned by the world’s press.”

The posters were created at the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop. Each measure 52.5 x 35 cm and are in stamped and numbered editions of 113 for £25.00 each. All posters come folded and in a deliberately distressed condition. The first orders will be dispatched on January 19th.

Mr. Childish is represented by L-13 in London, Neugerriemschneider in Berlin and Lehmann Maupin in New York.
 

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More extremely Childish Trump posters after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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01.12.2017
03:23 pm
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Fire Damage: Photographer documents the devastation of Gatlinburg
12.27.2016
11:32 am
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On November 23, 2016, a series of wildfires spread through the Smoky Mountains devastating Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in Sevier County. The fires were one of the worst natural disasters in Tennessee history—claiming fourteen lives and injuring 134.

When the blaze was first reported along the ridge of Chimney Tops mountain “no suppression activities were initiated.” On November 24, park rangers started containment procedures in a hope to stop the fire’s progression. Four days later the blaze had spread to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Pittman Center, as a result of sparks and downed power lines.

The worst of the inferno—what the fire department called “the apocalypse”—destroyed the majority of wooded areas surrounding the center of Gatlinburg. In total some 1,413 properties were destroyed.

Watching the devastation on television, Nashville-based photographer Jeremy Cowart decided to do something to help the victims of the fire. Together with a volunteer crew, Cowart documented the aftermath of the Great Smoky Mountains wildfires. Using a camera attached to a drone, he photographed many of the families and individuals whose lives had been devastated by the fire as they lay on a white mattress surrounded by the remnants of their homes.

A website Voices of Gatlinburg was set up to share the stories, images and most importantly help with the needs of those worst affected.
 
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I went to work that morning, like I always do. By 9am I knew that something was wrong. I was working on Sevier County Ambulance Service. We did business as usual until later that evening. It was about 10 or 11pm that evening when I first got pulled into Gatlinburg for mutual aid with EMS response. On my way to staging I passed by my residence and it was still there. We continued to run several more calls and about 1–2am I was going to meet up with another GFD EMS unit. That’s when I passed my residence, and that’s when I saw that my house was gone.

 
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It was scary because the smoke was so bad and sirens just kept passing going both directions. We finally got to my sister’s but the sky was bright orange.

 
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More voices from the Gatlinburg fire, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.27.2016
11:32 am
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Stripping and Kissing: Ukrainian singer has a novel approach for winning Eurovision 2017 (NSFW)
12.16.2016
08:47 am
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Well, where do I begin with this little gem? Probably the history….

So, the Eurovision Song Contest that tacky annual sing-a-long started off as a way of bringing together those many battle-weary nations of Europe after the long bloody devastation of the Second World War. It was the brainchild of Marcel Bezençon—a Swiss TV exec who pinched the format from an Italian music festival where unreleased tracks vied in competition for the title of best new song. So far so good—though it behoves me to mention that Switzerland was neutral in WW2 which might explain why Eurovision is such a bland, inoffensive and unbearably condescending idea…anyhoo...

Since the Eurovision’s first appearance in May 1956—when it was called Eurovision Grand Prix—the competition has come around every year with that unenviable certainty of death, taxes and a visit to the in-laws every Christmas. Over the years there have been some fun things—ABBA, Sandie Shaw, Lulu, that heavy metal band Lordi and the first transgender winner Conchita Wurst. Then of course there has always been a lot of crap—way, way too much to mention. Still the Eurovision remains incredibly popular—some 200 million people watched the show go out live in 2015.

Winning Eurovision usually guarantees a lot of money, fame and shedload of sequins. The stakes are always high for anyone hoping to be win the privilege of officially representing their country in the competition. To find the most suitable artiste—each year, every participating country holds a national televised contest to find the person they think is going to win. As you can imagine, this brings out some of the most talented, strange and downright weird.

All of which brings me to Alex Angel who auditioned this week for the honor of representing the Ukraine in next year’s Eurovision. Most acts have a good song. Most acts can sing. But Alex doesn’t need any of that. He has a novel approach to booking his place in the final—his stripping partner Natasha Olejnik. This week Alex and Natasha tried their best to impress Ukraine’s Eurovision selection panel with their song “Running For Love.”

Let’s just say, they made an impression….
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.16.2016
08:47 am
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Women write President-elect Donald Trump’s actual quotes on their bodies (NSFW)
12.13.2016
09:18 am
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For 18-year-old photographer Aria Watson’s final project in her Introduction to Photography class at Clatsop Community College in Oregon, she chose to shoot actual quotes from President-elect Donald Trump’s mouth painted onto women’s bodies. I think the results speak for themselves. They’re even more sobering in this context.

Also, don’t say “What about Hillary or Bill Clinton quotes.” You’re deflecting if you do that. Neither one of them is about to become the most powerful man in the entire world. Donald Trump is. These are real quotes about women that came out of his mouth. Stay on topic. Thanks.

Aria Watson’s photo series is titled “#SignedByTrump.”


 

 

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.13.2016
09:18 am
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Krampus wrapping paper for all your unholy gifts
12.12.2016
11:18 am
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You know the drill—it’s Christmas when everyone buys presents and shit. So if you have to do the festive shenanigans of giving, then why not wrap that godawful gift you bought—just because you couldn’t think of anything else to buy and well there was a game on and the bar was doing two-for-one Mai Tais—in some quality skin? Like this rather fabulous Krampus gift wrap from Aeron Alfrey?

Aeron Alfrey is an artist who “creates unique imagery inspired by the fantastic, grotesque and monstrous.” His work has been featured in lots of different stuff but you really don’t need to know about just now. Why? Because we’re talking Krampus giftwrap. And look at it—25 awesome Krampus monster heads on a neat repeating pattern. The paper comes in a festive green and orange—which is handy because any leftover wrap can be used for next Halloween. Get yours here.
 
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More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.12.2016
11:18 am
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A final ‘Fuck You’ from 2016
12.05.2016
12:43 pm
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As we all know 2016 has been a spectacularly shitty year. Bowie. Prince. Leonard Cohen. President Trump. Okay, scratch that, it’s been the fucking worst year ever in the history of humankind. To add insult to injury, this annus horribilis (pronounce that however you wish) just got even worse, as Joseph Sudiro points out on Twitter: All the holidays in December fall on the weekend. No one gets a goddamned day off work.

I can’t wait for 2016 to be behind us, although frankly I see no silver lining for 2017 either. Shit’s just going to get worse. It’s in the air, ain’t it kids?

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.05.2016
12:43 pm
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The sad and heartbreaking reality of Shelley Duvall’s mental health
11.30.2016
11:00 am
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“Oh, we went to a party, found a girl, and you’ve got to meet her. She is special!” Robert Altman remembered being told after screenwriter Brian McKay and assistant director Tommy Thompson returned from an engagement celebration for a local artist in Houston. They were in the lone star state location scouting for Altman’s upcoming film Brewster McCloud. At the time Shelley Duvall was studying nutrition and diet therapy at South Texas Junior College and working as a cosmetics salesperson at Northwest Mall’s Foley’s department store. Without formal acting experience or training, Altman cast her in the key role of the Houston Astrodome tour guide Suzanne Davis and a star was born. Over the next two decades, she would go on to appear in classic films such as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, Robert Altman’s Nashville and 3 Women, and Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. Besides a successful film career she created, hosted, executive produced, (and even wrote the theme music) for the award-winning live-action children’s anthology series Faerie Tale Theatre.
 
In 1993 Shelley sold the rights to Faerie Tale Theatre to a small British entertainment company after she began to struggle financially. As an independent producer, Duvall was finding it increasingly difficult to fund new projects with tight credit and mounting production costs due to the recession. She was forced to lay off over a dozen employees that worked out of her production company, Think Entertainment, whose offices were located on the second floor of a nondescript San Fernando valley strip mall over a Chinese restaurant and a dry cleaner. Shelley retired as a producer but continued taking acting parts. In 1994 her Studio City home was damaged in the Northridge earthquake and she relocated to the small city of Blanco, TX (approximately 50 miles north San Antonio and 50 miles west of Austin) which boasted a population of 1,500 residents.
 
While she remained single without any children, Shelley moved into a modest ranch in Blanco with her collection of exotic birds and reptiles that she had begun acquiring in Los Angeles. “At home, it’s a menagerie: 70 birds, all different kinds, ten dogs, one cat, a leopard tortoise, a rabbit, four iguanas, and two desert lizards,” she said during her interview on the Marilu Henner Show in 1994. Shelley continued to accept acting roles and television appearances throughout the late ‘90s but in the early 2000’s the roles got smaller before dwindling completely. Her 2000 independent film Dreams in the Attic which shot in and around Houston and Galveston was pitched to Disney but never sold or released. Duvall’s final acting performance was in the outsider film Manna from Heaven in 2002.
 
Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Doug Jones
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11.30.2016
11:00 am
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