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Amanda Lear: 70s disco diva, fashion model, TV star and Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse

Model, painter, disco diva, TV personality and the absolute fiercest of the pioneering transsexuals (along with Candy Darling), Amanda Lear was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap in Saigon, 1939. Or it could have been Paris. Or Hong Kong. The year might have been 1941, 1945 or as she now claims 1950. There is much competing information about her parents, none of it conclusive. In general, not much is known for sure about the early life of Amanda Lear and she would very much like to keep it that way. She claims to have been educated in Switzerland and she eventually made her way to Paris in 1959, taking the stage name “Peki d’Oslo,” performing as a stripper at the notorious drag bar, Le Carrousel.

Amanda Lear’s mid-60s model card.
The story goes that the gangly, yet exotic Eurasian beauty Peki had a nose job and sex change in Casablanca paid for by none other than the Surrealist master Salvador Dali, who frequented Le Carrousel, in 1963. Amanda, as she is now known, then makes her way to London to become a part of the swinging Chelsea set where she is rumored to have had a relationship with Rolling Stone Brian Jones. She models for Yves St. Laurent and Paco Rabanne and is a constant muse for the Divine Dali, but her career is held back by rumors that she was born a man or was a hermaphrodite.

‘For Your Pleasure’ cover
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry saw Lear on the runway during an Ossie Clark fashion show and invited her to be the model for Roxy’s For Your Pleasure album cover, walking a black panther on a leash. They were briefly engaged and that image has become iconic. Lear also had a yearlong affair with David Bowie who serenaded her with “Sorrow” in his “1980 Floor Show” (broadcast on The Midnight Special in 1974). Bowie helped Lear launch her musical career and by the late 1970s she had become a bestselling disco singer and television personality in Europe with hits like “Follow Me,” “Queen of Chinatown” and “I Am a Photograph.”

The David Bailey photograph of Lear that appeared in the infamous 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue
Amanda Lear’s autobiography, My Life With Dali came out in 1985 and it begins when she would have been approximately 24 or 25 years of age. Almost no mention whatsoever is made of her life before arriving in London in 1965. When Dali biographer Ian Gibson confronted her on camera about the gender of her birth in his The Fame and Shame of Salvador Dali TV documentary, Lear angrily—and not at all convincingly—stonewalled him. She has always vehemently denied that she was a transsexual despite it being a well-established fact. She even posed nude for Playboy and several other men’s magazines and often sunbathed naked on beaches to dispel the rumors. All this really proved was that she had a kickin’ bod, but if you ask me, I think it’s sad that she choses to keep up this pretense. She should be rightfully celebrated for her biggest accomplishment in life—ironically, being true to herself—but apparently Amanda Lear just doesn’t see it that way.

Amanda Lear vehemently denies having had a sex change on German television 1977.
Today Amanda Lear still looks amazing—she’s practically ageless no matter what her real biological age might be—and continues to perform all over Europe. She’s sold somewhere in the vicinity of fifteen million albums and 25 million singles. She also has a thriving career as a painter and an original painting of hers can sell for $10,000 or more. She’s done stage acting and was the voice of Edna ‘E’ Mode in the Italian-dubbed version of The Incredibles. Lear was a judge on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars.
“The Stud” from 1979’s ‘Sweet Revenge’ album

Much more of Amanda Lear, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Cool T-shirts featuring Ken Russell, Klaus Nomi, John Waters, Sylvia Plath & more

It’s getting near that time for buying presents and shit. The one present I’ll certainly be adding to my holiday wish list of hoped-for Christmas goodies is a Ken Russell T-shirt from Hirsute History.

The l’enfant terrible genius of British cinema, Unkle Ken—the man responsible for such classic movies as Women in Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils, Tommy and Altered States—is just one of the many hirsute heroes to be found on a range of colorful clothing available from Hirsute History at Amphorphia Apparel. Here he joins Sylvia Plath, John Waters, Susan Sontag, Jerry Garcia, Ada Lovelace and a whole bunch of other artists, scientists, ideas and stars that’ll look good on your body.

So, if you fancy wearing a Ken Russell or an Ada Lovelace, then hop over to the site or get a retina burn from the selection below.
Ken Russell.
Sylvia Plath.
Groucho Marx.
More fab T-shirts, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kenneth Anger launches official ‘Lucifer Rising’ baseball jacket in time for the holidays
10:40 am


Kenneth Anger

The headline above came straight from the press release because it made me laugh. Can’t think of what to buy your favorite magus for Christmas? [Or Noel Fielding, wait, he’s already got one.] Yes that’s right, Kenneth Anger, avant garde underground filmmaker is now in the fashion business. Back in September Kenneth Anger “signature” tees went on sale, and now you can keep warm this winter with an “official” Lucifer Rising baseball jacket available only at his website.

Hollywood, CA November 23, 2015 – The story behind Kenneth Anger’s undisputed masterpiece, Lucifer Rising, is as exciting and bizarre as the film itself. Featuring such pop icons as Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithfull, Donald Cammell (co-director of the film Performance) and Bobby Beausoleil (member of the Charles Manson family and convicted murderer), the production was plagued with bizarre coincidences and sinister backlashes. After thirteen years of filming Kenneth Anger was determined to complete the film despite the almost surreal obstacles that materialized every step of the way.

A recognized master of avant garde film, Kenneth Anger’s influence can be seen in filmmakers as diverse as Martin Scorsese (who calls him “without a doubt, one of our greatest artists”), Roger Corman, George Lucas, Gus Van Sant, Guy Maddin, and David Lynch, not to mention the pop art of Andy Warhol, and almost every music video. He also gained notoriety as the author of the bestseller, Hollywood Babylon, a tell-all book revealing scandals and controversies in Hollywood among the rich and famous. The interest in Anger’s work shows no sign of abating in 21st century. The objects seen in his films, such as Anger’s custom made ‘Lucifer’ and Scorpio Rising jackets have now become cult icons in themselves.

I’ve been told that the Lucifer Rising jackets are already selling like the proverbial hotcakes and they aren’t planning a second run of these puppies, so if you want one you might not want to hesitate. The production run was described to me as “just a handful.”

In addition, there’s a second newly listed Lucifer Rising item for sale on, a signed reproduction of “The Magick Lantern Cycle” poster, as originally painted by Page Wood.

Each poster will be signed in the area with the negative space by Kenneth Anger personally. Can an official Scorpio Rising motorcycle jacket be far behind?

Below, a clip from Brian Butler’s Raising Lucifer documentary:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The ultimate granny panties: Yep, there’s a 4 pack of ‘Golden Girls’ underwear
09:19 am


The Golden Girls

I love this. I mean really, really love this! A 4 pack of Golden Girls “panties” by Etsy shop Bullet and Bees. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice the Blanche Devereaux panty is crotchless! Perfect, right?

The Golden Girls underwear set sells for $160.00 (which is a bit steep, in my opinion). If you can’t afford the set—or only want the naughty Blanche lingerie—you can buy them separately anywhere from $38.00 - $52.00.

Blanche crotchless panties $52.00.

Dorothy Zbornak low-rise panties $40.00.

Sophia high-waisted granny panty. $48.00.

Rose sheer panty $38.00.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Debbie Harry’s dress, Kim Gordon painting and other NYC punk artifacts in the Mudd Club rummage sale

Though it only existed for five years, from 1978 to 1983, NYC’s Mudd Club served as one of New York—and American—underground culture’s most crucial incubators. Talking Heads and Blondie were fixtures there, and artists that emerged from the scene it galvanized included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Madonna, the B-52s, Kathy Acker… you get the point. It was the gnarly, buoyantly creative flip-side of Studio 54’s disco-glamour coin, a lightning-in-a-bottle moment that can’t be recreated.

This week, Mudd Club co-founder Steve Mass has contrived a Mudd Club rummage sale to benefit the Bowery Mission, a long surviving homeless shelter/food kitchen that remains in NYC’s onetime Skid Row, now, like basically all of Lower Manhattan, a playground for the privileged. The event will be held on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 at Django at the Roxy Hotel. Admission ain’t cheap. It’s $200 a head to get in, but again, the money goes to a homeless mission. What that gets you is a chance to buy a Vivienne Westwood dress donated by Debbie Harry, an original painting donated by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, and other items donated by Sting, Maripol, Patti Smith, and other members of the Downtown demimonde.

Via Bedford and Bowery:

Mass assures us that, rather than being a Sotheby’s-style auction, the rummage sale will be “like we had it in the old days,” with $50 dollar trinkets casually laid out next to more expensive items. “If Marc Jacobs donates a dress from that period and it’s $4,000 or $5,000, it might be next to a pair of shoes of someone who lost them in the Mudd Club in 1980.”

That pastiche, Mass said, was true to the club’s sensibility. “We were merging all these disciplines, which hadn’t been done before in a club,” said Mass, citing the presence of filmmakers like Kathryn Bigelow, writers like Candace Bushnell and Jay McInerney, photographers like Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin (both of whom are hosts), and fashion designers like Anna Sui (another host) and Marc Jacobs, both of whom had early shows there.

The event will be open-bar, and will feature performances by the B-52s Kate Pierson and the Patti Smith Group’s Lenny Kaye, plus DJs and more to be announced.

Here’s some BADASS footage of the Cramps at the Mudd Club in 1981, from the contemporary NYC access cable program “Paul Tschinkel’s Inner-Tube.”

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The story behind the photo of Albert Einstein on the beach in those open-toed sandals
02:55 pm


Albert Einstein


Einstein and David Rothman, 1939

There’s actually great back-story to Albert Einstein and those open-toed sandals. The man pictured with Einstein above is David Rothman, and he was the one responsible for selling Einstein the fancy footwear back in 1939. From Chuck Rothman’s “Albert Einstein’s Long Island Summer”:

In the summer of 1939, Albert Einstein spent his summer on Nassau Point, in Peconic, NY on eastern Long Island. My grandfather, David Rothman, was owner of Rothman’s Department Store in nearby Southold.

One June day, Einstein came into the store. Of course, my grandfather recognized him at once. He decided, though, to treat him just like any other customer.

“Are you looking for something in particular?” he asked

“Sundials,” Einstein said in his thick German accent.

Now, Rothman’s has always had a large variety of items—just about everything from housewares, to fishing tackle and bait, to hardware, to toys, to appliances. But no sundials. Not for sale, anyway. But…

“I do have one in my back yard,” my grandfather said.

He led Einstein—who seems a bit bewildered—to the back yard, to show him the sundial. “If you need one you can have this.”

Einstein took one look and began to laugh. He pointed to his feet. “No. Sundials.”

Sandals. Those, he had.

E=mcFAAABUloussss! Who knew Einstein had such wonderful gams?!


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
There are limited edition ‘Trent Reznor boots’ for $1,100.00
10:20 am


Trent Reznor
Nine Inch Nails

Since the holidays are coming up, I’d thought I share with these limited edition Trent Reznor boots by N.I.C.E. Collective. The Reznor Combat Boots sell for $1,100 (which isn’t so nice).

The Reznor Combat Boot is a limited edition black ink & wax finish that we recently created for our friend Trent Reznor of NIN. The vibram lug sole is the perfect all-terrain tread for the modern explorer.  Built locally in San Francisco, this unique adaptation of the N.I.C.E. Collective Combat boot will only be sold through our online shop for a limited time.  Starting today.

So if you have money to burn, or you’re a trust fund kid industrial music lover who needs to prove what a deeply hardcore NIN fan you are, these shit-kicking “Reznor boots” are for you! It’s not as if you couldn’t find something similar enough for ten bucks somewhere, but here ya go…



Via Coilhouse on Facebook

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Marilyn Monroe in a black wig, imitating Jackie Kennedy (1962)
10:55 am

Pop Culture

Marylin Monroe
Bert Stern

Here are some photos of Marilyn Monroe you may have or may not have seen before. I’m so used to the iconic “blonde bombshell” images of Monroe, that I was slightly taken aback (in a pleasantly surprised way) when I saw these.

The photos were shot by Bert Stern for Vogue magazine in 1962 (six weeks before Monroe died). What you see are some outtakes from the the photoshoot. Monroe is paying homage to Jackie Kennedy by donning a black wig in the style popularized by the First Lady.

I love these.




More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Good… and long’: Blaxploitation ads for Winston cigarettes, 1970-1973

The term ‘Blaxploitation’ was coined by NAACP head/film publicist Junius Griffin in the early 1970s to describe the genre of African American action films that followed from the examples set by Cotton Comes to Harlem and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, but the term certainly could have had other applications—racially targeted marketing that sought to move destructive commodities like malt liquor and menthol cigarettes to underclass populations has long been, and justifiably remains, a highly contentious matter, and is inarguably more literally exploitative than any “exploitation” film. compiled a lode of eye-popping examples from a print campaign for Winston cigarettes.

After World War Two American tobacco companies started to explore new markets to maintain their not insubstantial prosperity. The growth in urban migration and the growing incomes of African Americans (called at the time the “emerging Negro market”) gave the tobacco companies what was sometimes called an “export market at home”. Additionally, a new kind of media started to appear after the war when several glossy monthly magazines including Negro Digest (1942, renamed Black World), Ebony (1945) and Negro Achievements (1947, renamed Sepia) began to be published.

These relatively expensively produced magazines were far more attractive to the tobacco advertisers than the cheap ‘negro’ daily newspapers of the pre-war era, with glossy pages and a far wider national distribution. The magazines meant for a purely African American audience also meant that advertisers could produce adverts aimed and featuring African Americans away from the eyes of white consumers.


“Rich.” “Long.” Got’cha. Wink wink.

The juxtaposition of aspirational fashion, rogue-ish male confidence, and burning cigarettes carries an unmistakable message so old it’s hardly worth spelling out. The longing looks from the women in the near-backgrounds aren’t terribly nuanced in their subtext, either. But all the problematics of death-dealing aside, these are objectively awesome photos, amazing snapshots of a time and place when African American culture was asserting a more prominent place in the US mainstream. Airbrush out the cigarettes (or don’t) and change the captions, and these would be amazing menswear ads, too.


More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
You put your weed in it: Vape on the go with smokable hoodies
02:43 pm



Although most credible observers think all fifty states will see legal pot by 2020, today there are still quite a few holdouts, places where you might want to keep things a little more discrete and on the down-low…

Enter VAPRWEAR, a newly-launched apparel company that makes “Smokable Hoodies.” The collar of each one of their stoner sweatshirts comes with a vape system built in where the hoodies’ drawstrings normally are. How convenient!

Now this is what I call functional fashion: You put your weed in it. And not just your weed, VAPRWEAR‘s system is friendly to hash oil, wax, e-juice and other similar preparations. They’re also open to making custom vaporizer apparel.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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