Grace Jones with Jimmy Baio, Divine, Julie Budd, Nona Hendryx and a few unnamed dancers
In the ‘70s and ‘80s we all had our fun, and now and then we went really too far. But, ultimately, it required a certain amount of clear thinking, a lot of hard work and good make-up to be accepted as a freak.—Grace Jones
If a single photo series could encapsulate ‘70s disco dust debauchery and fun… this document of Grace Jones’ 30th birthday party held at LaFarfelle Disco in New York on June 12, 1978 would be IT. Famous guests included Elton John, Divine, Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Jimmy Baio (Scott Baio’s cousin, of course), Julie Budd and Nona Hendryx.
To have been a fly on the wall for this birthday party. Can you imagine all the shit people were up to when the cameras weren’t flashing?!
The saying “the higher the hair the closer to God,” usually only applies to women’s 60s-style bouffants, but in this case I’m applying the saying to men’s pompadours. Let’s face it, a lot of TLC, hairspray and wax goes into such a manicured coiff. And sometimes they’re HUGE. I mean like insanely large hairdos. (Campy early rock and roller Esquerita wore two wigs to get his hairdo to be just the right height.)
Now I know a few of you will be like, “Well, what about Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Gene Vincent?” Yes, they did indeed sport pompadours, but this post is about especially tricked-out, large ones.
These are totally badass. Artist Luke Drozd is responsible for these “Alternative Scouting for Girls and Boys Merit Badges.” The badges are based on a comic strip from his Threnodies book.
The patches are standard merit badge size, about 4.5 cm diameter, and can be sewn or ironed-on to your favorite jacket or scouting sash.
If these had been around when I was a kid, I may have actually joined the Cub Scouts. They almost make me wanna have a kid, just to pridefully watch them try to earn some of these lovelies. The full line includes badges for Grave Robbing, Arson, Violent Revenge, Curses & Hexes, Espionage, Money Laundering, Cryptozoology, Spirit Medium, Prank Calls, Home Dentistry, Mind Control, Cannibalism, Invisibility, Time Travel, Necromancy and Mob Justice.
Home dentistry! Now that’s a skill that will come in handy throughout one’s life. Math can’t help you perform a root canal. Fuck math.
It’s something of a miracle that The Height of Goth: 1984: A Night at the Xclusiv Nightclub exists. According to Patrick Torsney, who was at the venue in Batley, West Yorkshire, near Leeds, that night and who posted it to YouTube in 2011, it was created by Ann and Pete Swallow, who managed the Xclusiv Nightclub, as a promotion and only about 50 VHS copies were ever made. The video Torsney found so many years later was “trashed, mildewed, beyond junk” but the restoration did a pretty good job of making it watchable on YouTube. The first few minutes are a little wonky but it settles down after that.
At the outset we see the impressive edifice that houses the Xclusiv and meet the Swallows—Pete hilariously says that his club’s clientele are mainly “way out young people.” The Height of Goth is a remarkable bit of amateur documentary, showing exactly what a night on the town at a typical, Goth-y nightclub was like in northern England in the halcyon year of 1984. It’s two solid hours, and almost all of it is just regular folks gyrating on a dancefloor while tunes like the Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way” supply the soundtrack.
About halfway through the dude pretending to be a local reporter type interviews some of the attendees; his attitude is actually pretty dismissive of all the crazy fashions and stuff, but hardly anyone seems to notice. The first couple he interviews, bedabbed with goth-y face paint, in all apparent sincerity claim to like Glenn Miller better than anyone else, a note that is also struck by the DJ, named Paul, at the beginning of the video. I don’t know what’s up with that except to say that where there’s dancing, you might find Glenn Miller fans?
One of the last songs in the DJ’s set, a little after the 1:55 mark, is David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?”—the homespun choreography for that bit has to be seen to be believed.
This was a goth-y kind of affair but in fact, what’s quite apparent is that a paying audience of adults (even if this was a special night for the filming) aren’t going to want just wall-to-wall Siouxsie and Echo, so there’s REM and Bowie and “The Monster Mash” and the Stranglers and goth-y precursors the Doors mixed in with New Order and Blancmange.
Wear Dinner, the apparel purveyors who gave the world that wonderful Black Sabbath/Minor Threat mash-up we told you about last summer, have upped the I-want-one stakes with their new Bernie Cash shirt, which plops the face of encouragingly popular left-wing insurgent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders onto Jim Marshall’s indelible image of Johnny Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin prison in 1969, a juxtaposition that aptly captures a lot of the anti-establishment hostility expressed by some of the candidate’s backers.
The shirts are available only in black because duh. $5 from each shirt sold will benefit the Sanders campaign.
If you want your baby or toddler to look like they need to use a litter box, you might be interested in these cat-tail onesies with bonus buttcrack. Of course these distinctive cosplay for kiddies onesies are coming out of Japan—where else?—and can be yours for 4230 yen (or around $35).
I’m holding out for the adult version. You know it’s going to happen.
A 23-year-old Peter Gabriel of Genesis in costume as “The Watcher in the Skies,” 1973
During the tour for their cosmic 1974 double record, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (the subject of an excellent book by the same name by Kevin Holm-Hudson), Peter Gabriel and his many different theatrical personalities took center stage. But that wasn’t the first time Peter Gabriel tripped his bandmates out with his on-stage personas.
In an 2012 interview, Gabriel recounted how the audience reacted the first time he appeared on stage in his wife’s dress, and a custom made fox head back in 1972 during Genesis’ tour for their album Foxtrot.
With the costumes, I started wearing bat wings and stuff, and getting a little more outlandish, and then on Foxtrot I wore the fox head and the red dress. My wife, Jill, had a red Ossie Clark dress which I could just about get into, and we had a fox head made. The first time we tried it was in a former boxing ring in Dublin, and there was just a shocked silence.
Peter Gabriel as “The Fox” during the tour for the 1972 album, ‘Foxtrot’ with his wife’s red dress and a custom made fox head
When it comes to how the other members of Genesis felt about Gabriel’s getups, he said that “some of them hated it” (I’m looking at you Phil Collins). According to Gabriel, none of the members of Genesis knew what “clothing” he had packed in his suitcase for the six-month Lamb tour, until he arrived to rehearsals. After the last performance of the tour, Gabriel left the band.
Peter Gabriel as “Old Man Henry” during a performance of “The Musical Box” from the album ‘Nursery Cryme’
If for some reason you’re not acquainted with this era of Genesis (which is perfectly understandable if you are of a certain age), the following images of a young Peter Gabriel, will probably blow your mind (man). Even if you are long-running fan of the band, it’s nearly impossible to not admire Gabriel’s pioneering weirdness, and chameleon-like ability to look like anyone but himself.
Peter Gabriel as the deformed “Slipperman” (Phil Collins’ most hated costume of the ‘Lamb Lies Down’ tour)
That the music underground is so engaged with Bernie Sanders’ worker-friendly, anti-1% presidential campaign comes as no surprise—punk and left politics have always been extremely comfortable bedfellows (sorry not sorry Michale Graves), and it’s a big plus that Sanders’ oppositional candidacy is being run within one of the mainstream parties, and thus won’t serve as a potential election spoiler like the Nader insurgency that ultimately spelled disaster for both the Green Party and the USA. Last autumn, we at Dangerous Minds told you about Berned in DC, a Facebook group producing image macros of the candidate paired with invented quotations that mirrored hardcore scene purism, to utterly hilarious effect. Today, our task is to show you the work of L.A. artist Mark Mendez and Portland printer Rob Campbell, who’ve created a wonderful series of Sanders shirts based on well-known punk band logos. In an interview with Visual News, the pair offered:
It’s hard to think of Bernie as “punk rock” by his appearance alone. He’s a 74-year-old, white, veteran politician from Vermont. But his ideals are what make him the most punk rock candidate who ever ran for office. He’s been speaking about economic inequality, civil rights, and antiestablishment politics for over four decades. It is people like us who do what we can to support his campaign and raise awareness about who he is, what he stands for, and how we the people can make a difference.
They’ve named the t-shirt line “Bern the White House” (simply brilliant—how has nobody used that before now?), and the shirts can be bought from the pair’s Etsy shop or from bernthewhitehouse.com. The profits from the sales will of course benefit the Sanders campaign up to the amount legally permitted for individual contributions, after which proceeds will go to “Bernie-friendly charities and grassroots organizations.”
The latest supposed craze in Japan are upskirt umbrellas featuring images of popular schoolgirl anime characters. Certainly something like this would never fly in the states, but Japan is Japan and so we must experience brain freeze and go with it, I suppose. Anyway, the underside of the umbrella—called an “Un-burera” which is a play of “umbrella” and “underpants”—showcases the underpants while the topside features the anime character’s face.
Apparently the umbrellas come with strong warnings that they will cause, “extreme embarrassment for the user” and that the owner uses the item in public “at their own risk.”
Gee, I wonder why? Nope, nothing sleazy about this at all!
(You’ll note that I didn’t end the title with a question mark.)
If you’ve ever toiled at a daily newspaper—I worked at the LA Times for a year once—then you’ll know how many layers—copy editors, photo editors, editor editors, graphic designers—are between what you initially write and what ends up on the printed page. Eventually whatever text the original writer got the ball rolling with, is pounded like a sheet of tin into the official “voice” of the publication by many often very opinionated hammers as it is pushed down the assembly line towards the printing presses. At any point, a concerned party might ask “Are you sure about this?” and then perhaps there would be further debate.
And this is what makes this item—ostensibly a fashion tribute to the late David Bowie taken from the pages of a newspaper in New Zealand—all the more perplexing.
Who along the way looked at this at any stage in its production in the hallowed halls of the Timaru Herald and gave the thumbs up?
Take a moment to absorb the magnificent and dumbfounding stupidity of it all. Imagine any workplace conversations that took place before, during and maybe even after this glorious idiocy saw print. It’s not successful on any level. Not as “fashion” reporting, and certainly not as a tribute to one of the greatest fashion icons in all of history. It’s got no information that’s useful, or even entertaining whatsoever. It’s just ludicrous from top to bottom. Arguably there might be worse Bowie tributes out there, but this one, I think you’ll agree is at least, as my mother might say… “different.” Certainly it’s the worst Bowie tribute that Smash Mouth weren’t involved with.