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Angry woman: Lydia Lunch’s gun is loaded
01.19.2017
02:12 pm

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Art
Feminism
Politics

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During the decade of the 1980s, I saw Lydia Lunch perform maybe fifteen+ times and I caught some pretty seminal performances of hers, including the premiere of Fingered, the gleefully violent porn film she made with Richard Kern and South of Your Border, the two-person theatrical play she did with Emilio Cubeiro that ended in a blood-covered, naked Lydia trussed up on a giant “X” onstage pissing all over him!

To truly appreciate the aggressively confrontational nature of her powerful one woman shows—just her and a mic—you had to be in, or very near, the front row. As with fellow in-your-face monologists like Eric Bogosian and Brother Theodore, it was fucking scary and rather intimidating to be anywhere near the stage for one of her rants, but I always figured why not get all of the Artaudian benefits from having someone scream in your face for an hour at close range? If anyone can deliver on the cathartic promise of Theatre of Cruelty, it’s Lydia Lunch. Audiences leave her shows limp. I mean, what do you say in the cab going home about a show that unexpectedly ends in blood-stained golden showers? (Incidentally, she drank an entire six-pack during the play’s penultimate scene. What she unleashed on Cuberio the night I saw the show was not merely a trickle, I can assure you. Good times!)
 

 
Lunch’s The Gun Is Loaded video, an angry nihilistic rant about life in Reagan’s America, long out of print, is now available to watch free online via MVDVideo (who also put it out on DVD). I actually saw this show twice when she did this material at the Performance Garage space in New York (and yes, I was in the front row both times). Here’s how the filmmakers describe the project:

THE GUN IS LOADED is a 37-minute performance video featuring former punk rocker, political satirist and sexual provocateur Lydia Lunch.

This video trails Lydia in 1988 through a series of staged sets and location shots in New York City as she fires her spoken word manifesto directly into the eye of the camera, and in haunting voice-over.  Underscoring Lydia’s onslaught is cinema verité footage of bottom-rung Americana: racecar crowds, dead-end streets and meat packing plants effectively illustrate her ruthless examination of “the American dream machine turned mean.” J.G. Thirlwell’s ominous score magnifies this brutal desolation.

Identifying herself as “the average, all-American girl-next-store gone bad,” Lydia vivisects her own sustained damage as a product of this emotionally ravaging environment.

Co-director Joe Tripician wrote to me on about the piece:

This was partially shot at the Performance Garage, but without an audience. Lydia asked me and my former partner Merrill Aldighieri to record her show, but we wanted to expand the production from its theatrical base and exhibit her in an outside environment. So, this video is also a document of the ‘80s NYC street life—from the 14th Street Meat market to Wall Street. We called it a “video super-realization” of her spoken word performance.

In the video she fires her venom directly into the camera lens, and in an intimate voice-over. J. G. Thirlwell supplied the original music score - a one-of-a-kind aural onslaught.

It was released on VHS in the late 80s, but has never aired on TV. The one response we received was from PBS, who called the video in their rejection letter “exceptionally unacceptable.”

They were probably right about that…
 
Watch ‘The Gun is Loaded’ after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Speed Queens: The fearless female drag racers of the 60s and 70s
01.17.2017
12:40 pm

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Feminism
Heroes
Sports

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Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney on the cover of ‘Sunday News Magazine’ in 1978.
 
Like many fields of work, the drag racing scene was and is fairly well dominated by men. During its heyday, specifically the mid-1960s through the early 1970s, the National Hot Rod Association incorporated the use of gorgeous women/models to help appeal to the fanboys. If you were into that scene, you probably spent a lot of time fantasizing about Pam Hardy aka “Jungle Pam” who accompanied driver “Jungle Jim” Liberman across the country clad in go-go boots and form-fitting, barely-there outfits that showcased her bodacious “assets” while she showboated on the track and in the pit for her adoring fans. Though Liberman would pass away unexpectedly in 1977, Hardy would continue to appear at racing events. But this post isn’t about buxom blonde race track cheerleaders. It’s about the ballsy women who drove the cars during that era—and there were actually quite a lot of “speed queens” that not only gave their male counterparts a run for their money, but also blazed a trail for other women who wanted smoke up the track.

And since I know you’re curious, here’s a shot of “Jungle Pam.” Though her attire says otherwise, it must have been cold that day.
 

 
Although there were many notable women drag racers who were active during the 60s and 70s, today I’ll be focusing your attention on three of them: Janet Guthrie, the first woman ever to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and in the Daytona 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race; the “First Lady of Drag Racing,” Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney; and Carol “Bunny” Burkett, who famously worked at the Playboy Club in Baltimore for a brief period in order to help fund her racing career.

Let’s start with my favorite of this kick-ass quad, Shirley Muldowney. Muldowney got her National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) license in 1965 and subsequently became the first woman to compete in the “supercharged gasoline dragster” category. When the NHRA did away with the category, Muldowney set her sights on the ever-popular “funny car” category. Despite their amusing sounding name, there’s nothing actually amusing about “funny cars” as they are insanely dangerous, supercharged pieces of methane-powered machinery that can kill you. But that didn’t phase Muldowney who won her first funny car race in Lebanon Valley, New York. Her success with funny cars led her to compete in the “Top Fuel” category and in August of 1975 she became the first woman to smash through the “five-second barrier” in Martin, Michigan at the Popular Hot Rodding Championships. Fast-forward to 1982 (and many other accolades and awards) when Muldowney became the first woman to receive three national championships from the NHRA making her the first female Top Fuel driver to ever receive this distinction. Make no mistake, Muldowney was a badass in every sense of the word. However, as I mentioned previously, drag racing is a risky pursuit for anyone—male or female alike.

In 1984 Muldowney nearly lost her life after one of the front tires of her nitro-powered dragster blew out while she was screaming down the track at 250 mph. The horrific crash sent Muldowney to the hospital with many injuries including two broken legs that were so messed up that there was a distinct possibility that she might never walk again, never mind get behind the wheel of a race car. But she did indeed walk again and in 1986 she returned to race in the NHRA. In 1989 she became the first woman to join an elite “Crager Four-Second Club” by reaching a mind-shattering 284 MPH in her Top Fuel car in 4.974 seconds. Muldowney would continue to race throughout the 90s until she retired in 2003. Muldowney’s remarkable life and career was the basis for the 1983 film Heart Like a Wheel starring actress Bonnie Bedelia (“Holly Gennaro McClane” of the Die Hard franchise).
 

The earliest known photo (though undated) of Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney taken at the Dragway 42 in West Salem, Ohio.
 
Janet Guthrie was another pioneer in women’s drag racing though she didn’t start out with that goal in mind necessarily. In 1964 at the age of 26 Guthrie was accepted into the very first “Scientist-Astronaut” program and though she made it through the first round of eliminations she didn’t make it all the way. Before she entered the wild world of professional car driving she held several fascinating jobs such as a flight instructor (Guthrie was a skilled pilot), an aerospace engineer, and she spent thirteen years building and maintaining race cars she personally owned. In 1976 Guthrie became the first female competitor to race in the NASCAR Winston Cup stock car race. One year later she competed in the Indianapolis 500 and drove in the Daytona 500. Both of these occasions marked the first time that a woman had participated in both prestigious events. A force to be reckoned with, Guthrie garnered the praise and respect of her peers. Here’s NASCAR legend William Caleb “Cale” Yarborough on Guthrie’s racing prowess back in 1977:

There is no question about her ability to race with us. More power to her. She has “made it” in what I think is the most competitive racing circuit in the world.

Thanks to her legendary (albeit short) career Guthrie’s racing suit and helmet are a part of a permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute. Her 2005 autobiography Janet Guthrie: A Life at Full Throttle was praised by The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. In 2006 Guthrie was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Lastly—but not least by a long-shot—is Carol “Bunny” Burkett. Born in the poverty-riddled hills of West Virginia she and her family were fortunate enough to move to Virginia when Burkett was young. According to Burkett, her then boyfriend got her interested in racing when she was just fifteen when he let her speed around a racetrack in his 1955 Mercury. Burkett was hooked and a few years later she purchased her first car—a 1964 Mustang. A year later she was cleaning up at the track winning race after race. In an interesting turn of events Burkett would leave the racing circuit due to financial troubles and got a job at the Playboy Club in nearby Baltimore, Maryland so she could earn the cash necessary to keep her racing career going. The cheeky stint would earn her the nickname of “Bunny” which she emblazoned on her cars.

By the time the 1980s came along Burkett was once again winning championships and in 1986 she won the very first International Hot Rod Association/Alcohol Funny Car (IHRA AFC) championship and is the only female driver to have done so, earning her the title of “First Lady of Funny Car.” Almost a decade later Bunny narrowly avoided being killed after one of her fellow competitors hit her car at more than 200 MPH. Like Cha Cha Muldowney, Bunny would soon enough return to racing for a number of years before ultimately retiring. Burkett is a breast cancer survivor and has spent the later part of her life working for charitable special-needs organizations. According to Burkett all she really wants is to be remembered as is a “good drag racer, a good driver and most of all, a good person.” And to that I say, “mission accomplished” Bunny. And then some.

I’ve included some incredible photos of all of these equally incredible, barrier-busting women below including images from both Bunny’s and Cha Cha’s horrific crashes, as well as other shots of the badass gals behind the wheel and standing by their cars instead of a man. Because horsepower = girl power.
 

Cha Cha Muldowney presiding over her then husband Jack and her dragster.
 

Another awesome shot of Muldowney on the beach with white go-go boots beside one of her cars.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Boss Babes: A Coloring & Activity Book for Grown-Ups
01.16.2017
09:06 am

Topics:
Books
Feminism

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Since the Women’s March on Washington is coming up on January 21, I thought that it be a good time to blog about this coloring book: Boss Babes: A Coloring & Activity Book for Grown-Ups. The fun-filled book is by Michelle Volansky and it’s an ode to strong women.

BOSS BABES is a coloring and activity book filled with fun facts and whimsical black-and-white line drawings celebrating female powerhouses from Beyonce to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dolly Parton to Malala, Tina Fey to Serena Williams. On every page is a portrait to color or an activity to complete: Connect the dots to conjure J.K. Rowling’s patronus. Complete the Beyonce crossword (12-DOWN: Who run the world?). Decorate Flo-Jo’s nails, decode Cher’s most recent tweet, design a new jabot for RBG, color in Frida Kahlo’s flowers, and more!

Even though it says in title that it’s a book for “grown-ups,” I think it would be an awesome activity book for little girls (and boys, too). Kids are wiser and hipper nowadays, so I’m sure they’d totally get the references in it. Be warned, though, there are a few “naughty” words.

It’s a 96-page paperback activity book and sells for $10.95 here. Dig it.


 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Kool Thing’: Kim Gordon’s 1989 interview with LL Cool J that inspired the Sonic Youth song
01.04.2017
09:14 am

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Feminism
Hip-hop
Music

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In the September 1989 issue of SPIN magazine, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon interviewed LL Cool J to get a feminist perspective on the male-dominated world of hip-hop. The result was an awkward and unintentionally hilarious conversation that served as the inspiration for the 1990 song “Kool Thing” which was Sonic Youth’s first major label single). At the time, LL was promoting his third studio album, Walking with a Panther, the cover which depicted the rapper posing alongside a cuddly and adorable black panther sporting gold chains.

“I had a thing for male Black Panthers, I also loved LL Cool J’s first record, Radio, which was produced by Rick Rubin.” Kim recounts in her memoir Girl in a Band. She had said publicly that Radio was one of the albums that turned her on to rap music, and that “Going Back to Cali” was one of her favorite music videos because as someone who grew up in L.A. she appreciated “the humorous way it made fun of the 1960s archetypal Southern California sexy white-girl aesthetic.” LL’s publicist couldn’t believe that anyone in Sonic Youth knew about LL Cool J and happily granted an interview which took place during a rehearsal break for an upcoming tour. “I’ve never interviewed a pop star before, and having just seen LL on The Arsenio Hall Show I’m nervous.” Kim prefaced in the SPIN magazine interview titled “Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy.”

“When I — the Lower East Side scum-rocker, feeling really, really uncool — arrive at the rehearsal studio, the dancers are taking a break. They’re real friendly; we talk about my shoes for a second. They are three girls — one of whom, Rosie Perez, is in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing — and a young boy. A bunch of other people are just hanging out. LL is preoccupied talking to some stylists, gesturing about clothes. Occasionally he shoots a look my way; I have no idea if he’s expecting me or he’s just looking at my out-of-place bleached blonde hair. LL slowly approaches, checking me out but stopping to talk to friends. I jump up, walk over, grab his hand, introduce myself and say, ‘Can I shake your hand?’ He’s aloof. I marvel how boys who’re tough or cool to cover up their sensitivity keep attracting girls and fooling themselves.” Kim and LL sat down at a nearby empty studio and she began the interview by asking him to sign her Radio CD. She then gave him a copy of Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album (a pseudonymous side project of Sonic Youth and Minutemen/Firehose member Mike Watt). When she told LL Cool J that The Whitey Album sampled beats off his records he laughed out loud and said, “I got a CD in a couple of my cars, I’ll play it.”

They began discussing sports cars and LL’s newly purchased home he called “Wonderland,” as LL flipped through The Whitey Album CD packaging. He pulled out and unfolded an insert which featured a photograph of a young girl with dozens of black & white flyers for hardcore shows plastered all over her bedroom wall. “Who’s this girl? It must have been a long time ago for it to say The Negroes.” LL mistook a flyer he noticed for Necros (a punk band from the Detroit music scene.) “That’s the Necros, an early hardcore band. Are you familiar with the early hardcore scene?” “Uh-uh, what is that, like heavy metal?” “No, not at all! It was basically kids talking to other kids. The Beastie Boys were part of that. I remember when they were a hardcore band.” LL processes the information and then quips, “The Young and the Useless?” (referring to an early 1980s punk band that included future Beastie Boys member Ad-Rock, and so, cool points for LL Cool J). “That was another band. The Beastie Boys had their same name when they were a hardcore band. Hardcore was so fast that if your ears weren’t attuned to it you couldn’t understand it. It wasn’t meant for anyone outside the scene. Like rap music, some of it is so fast, unless you’re familiar with the slang you can’t get it. That’s why so many people who were into hardcore listen to rap. It’s something that excludes white mainstream culture.” Gordon explained. “That’s interesting, I never really knew anything about that.” Cool J said.
 

Photo from Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album CD insert fold-out
 
While Kim Gordon’s connecting the dots between hip hop and the early hardcore music scene made for a great start to the interview, things then took a dive when she asked him about the females fans who admire him. “What about women who are so into you as a sex object that they take a picture of you to bed with them and their boyfriends or husbands start freaking out?” “It’s not my problem,” LL responded. “The guy has to have control over his woman.” Gordon plays along without confronting LL Cool J about his misogynist comments. “Are there any female sex symbols that you relate to?” Kim asks, “Oh yeah, every day on the way to work.”

“It was totally ridiculous for me to assume that we had anything in common” Gordon later admitted in a 1991 telephone interview with the Phoenix New Times. “That’s why I tried to make the article show how elite and small the downtown scene that I come out of is. I was trying to make fun of myself. I don’t know if that came across.” Six months after the interview was published, Sonic Youth recorded the song “Kool Thing” at Sorcerer Sound Recording Studios in New York City. Although LL Cool J’s name is never mentioned, the song’s lyrics contain several references to the rapper’s music. Kim Gordon sings “Kool Thing let me play it with your radio” (a reference to LL Cool J’s single “I Can’t Live Without My Radio”). The lyrics “Kool thing walkin’ like a panther” are a reference to the LL Cool J album Walking With a Panther. She repeats the line “I don’t think so” over and over again which is also a repeating line in the LL Cool J hit “Going Back to Cali.”

Elissa Schappell, author of the short-story collection Blueprints for Building Better Girls, perfectly summarizes the clash between Gordon and Cool J in an essay she wrote for the anthology book Here She Comes Now: Women in Music Who Have Changed Our Lives:

“Kim was able to take the disastrous interview and elegantly turn it into something much larger than its parts. Working at SPY I was used to putting myself into the path of trouble, and when it found me I took notes. Kim had taken notes and then transformed the experience into a sharp and witty social critique of gender, race and power that you could dance to. ‘Kool Thing’ is more than Kim’s assault on LL Cool J’s ego, but a self-mocking jibe at her own liberal politics. The sarcasm in her voice when she addresses ‘Kool Thing’ (Public Enemy’s Chuck D) in the breakdown is self-mocking — the female voice inflated by privilege and naïveté. (‘I just wanna know, what are you gonna do for me? I mean, are you going to liberate us girls from the white male corporate oppression?’)

More after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
When White Chicks Ruled the Jungle: The comicbook women who rivaled Tarzan
12.19.2016
10:38 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Books
Feminism

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014princesspantha.jpg
 
The prototype of the modern “jungle girl” first appeared in the novel Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest by W. H. Hudson in 1904—eleven years after the man-cub Mowgli popped-up in The Jungle Books and eight years before Tarzan the ape man started swinging from tree-to-tree.

Hudson’s jungle girl was a dark-haired beauty called Rima who dwelt in the uncharted forests of Guyana. Hudson was inspired by tales he’d heard of white families living wild and free in the jungles of South America. Rima was a smart cookie—she was kind and loyal but was smitten by the love of a white man and so ended up as firewood. But good old Rima started a trend that has filled up the content of many books, comics and even pop songs for over a hundred years.

Jungle girls can be generally divided into two camps—the rich abandoned white kids who were nurtured through childhood by friendly animals and the feral kids who kick ass and have incredible supernatural powers over their animal pals.

The first fully-fledged comic book to feature one of these dames was Sheena, Queen of the Jungle in 1937. Sheena was one hot powerful blonde who looked she’d come straight out of the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Sheena not only had looks she was adept at fighting with knives, spears and deadly hand-to-hand combat. She could also talk to animals—a big bonus when trying to outwit those pesky big game hunters. 

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle was the first comic dedicated solely to a female character. Its great success spawned a host of imitators with names like Tegra, Zegra, Jann, Princess Pantha and White Princess Taanda. These women were always white and most definitely blonde or brunette. They were guardians of nature and usually dwelt in some dusty savannah or unknown jungle in a mythic Africa. 

The main era for these no-nonsense broads and their perilous adventures was the 1940s when a literal army of jungle girls made their appearance—some of which you can see below.
 
010shena1938no1.jpg
Sheena Queen of the Jungle—Issue #1 1938 (US) 1937 (UK).
 
009princesspantha1947june.jpg
Princess Pantha—June 1947.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Girls and guns: Brave female freedom fighters from around the world on the battlefields of war
11.30.2016
10:47 am

Topics:
Activism
Feminism
Heroes
Politics

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The first female combat veteran Margaret Corbin helping to load a cannon being shot by her husband John Corbin during the Battle of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island, 1772. Though Corbin is depicted in the painting above wearing a dress she disguised herself as a man in order to contribute to the efforts on the battlefield.
 
During the Revolutionary War it was commonplace for the wife of a soldier to accompany her husband to war only to mostly perform activities such as doing laundry, preparing meals and attending to he injured. Though this is exactly what Margaret Corbin did initially when she joined her husband John as a member of the Pennsylvania military at the age of 21, four years later Corbin would disguise herself as a man to help her husband load his cannon during the Battle of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island. During the fighting John was killed leaving Margaret alone to “man” the cannon. Which she did until she nearly lost her left arm due to British army fire. Corbin would survive and for her participation in the Battle of Fort Washington she was officially recognized as the first woman “combat veteran” and subsequently became the first woman to receive a military pension.

Many other women would follow in Corbin’s pioneering footsteps including Deborah Sampson who dressed as a man in order to fight in George Washington’s army in 1782. Sampson’s heroic charade lasted for a year until she became injured and was no longer able to hide the fact that she was a woman and was honorably discharged. During the Civil War and the Spanish American War in 1898 there are several accounts of women masquerading as men in order to fight on the front lines along with their male counterparts, as well as serving their country assisting with war related activities such as espionage. Though women would participate in WWI and WWII and lose their lives as a result, it was not until 1976 that women were allowed to enlist in the military. Instances of women fighting in other wars and acting as snipers, and members of resistance efforts in places like France during WWII were common.

Speaking of snipers, the story of Red Army sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko is a compelling one. Pavlichenko was an expert female sniper from Ukraine who fought the Nazis during WWII and was credited with killing 187 Germans during her first 75 days as a member of the Soviet resistance. That number would grow to 309 with 36 of her total kills being German snipers, though it’s widely believed that her actual kill count is likely much higher as there was not always a third-party to witness them all. The German army was rightfully so terrified of Pavlichenko they took to broadcasting appeals over loudspeakers to have the 25-year-old killing machine join their troops instead of wiping them out. Pavlichenko would of course turn down the offer (which according to historians included the promise of “candy”). There were 2000 female snipers who fought with the Red Army during WWII—and Pavlichenko would be one of the 500 who walked away with their lives.

Below, I’ve included some pretty stunning images of women taking up arms. I’ve also posted the trailer for the 2015 film based on Lyudmila Pavlichenko’s brave exploits Battle for Sevastopol. Stay strong, sisters.
 

Red Army sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko.
 

Armenian guerilla fighters during the Hamidian massacres, 1895.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Ugly Xmas sweater with Rick from ‘The Young Ones’
11.28.2016
03:11 pm

Topics:
Feminism
Punk
Television

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The last few years have seen an explosion in “ugly Christmas sweater” designs. On DM alone we’ve brought you designs keying off subjects like the Friday the 13th franchise, Blondie, Iron Maiden, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Motörhead, among many others.

It’s gotten so prevalent that we’ve actually started passing on some of them. If we showed you all of them, this would turn into a ugly holiday sweater blog, and who wants that? But every now and then, one stands out from the pack, and those we’re more than happy to show you.

The design for today isn’t actually a sweater, it’s a sweatshirt done to resemble a sweater. Not only does it feature the “People’s Poet” Rick from The Young Ones, it actually references a specific scene from “Bambi,” unquestionably one of the better episodes of the series, which only ran for 12 episodes. It premiered on the BBC on May 8, 1984, and on MTV a year or two later. That episode featured perhaps the best musical performance of the series, with Motörhead kindly obliterating “Ace of Spades.” It’s also the episode with the University Challenge competition that has the fantastic scene in which Neil preps Rick on a train on the way to the quiz show.

The line “Hands up who likes me?” is something only the desperately disliked and needy Rick would ever say, and it immediately conjures an image of the rest of the flatmates thrusting their hands down as far as possible while Rick alone pointlessly flings both of his hands above his head. The scene is exquisitely played by the entire foursome but especially Rik Mayall, also one of the main writers of the series, who sadly passed on in 2013.

Here’s the scene in dialogue form; the episode was written by Mayall, Ben Elton, and Lise Mayer with “additional material by Alexei Sayle”:
 

Rick: [stands up abruptly] Why don’t you like me?
Vyvyan: Because you’re a complete bastard.
Rick: Vyvyan, I’m being serious!
Vyvyan: So am I. You’re a complete bastard and we all hate you.
Rick: [shaking his head] I find that rather difficult to believe.
Vyvyan: Do you want to bet on it? I’ll put down a fiver.
Neil: Yeah, me too.
Mike: You can count me in as well.
[Vyv, Neil, and Mike put their money on the table]
Rick: Yes, eh, I…I don’t bet.
Vyvyan: Coward!
Neil: Yeah, yellow chicken!
Rick: Alright, I’m not scared!
Vyvyan: Right, then, a fiver!
Rick: Oh, I haven’t got any money.
Neil: What about that tenner I lent you this morning? For your sister’s operation?
Vyvyan: You haven’t got a sister, Rick! You’re the classic example of an only child.
Rick: Alright, alright, are we going to bet or are we going to piffle around all night? [slaps money on the table] There’s a tenner!
Vyvyan: Quiet, everybody, the bet’s on!
Rick: Right. Hands up, who likes me! [Rick throws both arms into the air, while the other three guys drop their hands to the floor] DAMN! Right, that’s it, I’m going to kill myself. [He removes his belt] Then you’ll be sorry!
Vyvyan: No, we won’t. [Rips the tenner in half and gives one half to Mike]

 
After this Rick becomes temporarily despondent and tries to kill himself and if you know the episode at all well you know exactly where that leads.

TeeChip is selling the sweatshirt for just $31, but you can also get the design on a shirt or mug or smartphone case if you prefer, those options are all a little less expensive. Note that you can only get them in the next two days, then the sale is over.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘A Pig is a Pig’: Wendy O. Williams on sexism and female objectification in 1981
11.14.2016
10:40 am

Topics:
Activism
Feminism
Heroes
Music

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The Plasmatics at The Rathskeller in Boston. Photo generously provided by Mike Mayhan.

 

You Can Dress Up In Disguises
You Can Try To Mesmerize ‘em
You Can Surround
Yourself With Friends
Who Tell You What You Want To Hear
But In The End No Matter What You Do
You Will Come Shining Through

 
A few lyrics from the Plasmatics 1981 song “A Pig is a Pig”
 
I wasn’t old enough to truly appreciate Plasmatics vocalist and heavy metal crusader Wendy O. Williams during her punk-era heyday. But by the time I figured out who I wanted to be sometime in the late 80s I was fully in awe of her.

Williams was an inspiration for me back when I had become brave enough to put myself out into the world—writing about music, weirdness and other lowbrow pursuits. She was confident, strong and never ever took a backseat to anyone. Not the press who hounded her, people who flat out didn’t understand her and chose to label her as “obscene,” or the cops who sent her to the hospital when she defied them. Last week was a challenge to me as a human. I know I wasn’t the only one who laid in bed a lot because the contemplation of what our future looks like was too much for me to handle while standing up. I’m now past my “mourning” period and have moved on to being very fucking angry.

Basically, I hate conformity. I hate people telling me what to do. It makes me want to smash things. So-called normal behaviour patterns make me so bored, I could throw up!—W.O.W.

As a woman, forward thinker—and a mother—I want you to listen to Wendy share her feelings spoken some 35 years ago about sexism and female objectification—two negative attitudes that have become even more magnified (as well as seemingly completely acceptable to half of the residents of the U.S.) of late. They echo the spirit of lyrics of the Plasmatics powerful (and timely) song, “Pig is a Pig” (from the band’s second release Beyond the Valley of 1984) which Williams’ references during the short interview with Jeanne Beker on the Toronto-based The Music Show back in 1981. While trying to sort through all the madness that has been the past week, like many of you I relied on music to get me through as nothing else made any fucking sense. When I came across the footage of Wendy O’s interview I felt a distinct wave of reassurance thanks to her powerful words and point-blank fuck-this-bullshit attitude which are very much reflective of the many emotions I’ve been rollercoastering through myself.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘The Love Witch’: Sex magick meets pussy power in occult movie mindbender
11.11.2016
02:07 pm

Topics:
Feminism
Movies
Occult
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On its beautiful 35mm Technicolor surface, Anna Biller’s The Love Witch appears to be a spot-on replication of horror and sexploitation movies of the 1960s and 70s. Imagine a Hammer film directed by Radley Metzger or Russ Meyer’s Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls featuring witches instead of an all-girl rock band. Biller’s film also recalls devilish delights like Juan López Moctezuma’s Alucarda, Jimmy Sangster’s Lust For A Vampire and just about anything directed by Jean Rollin. But Biller’s cinematographer M. David Mullen eschews shooting in the ocher and crimson hues of the Hammer films or soft focus of Rollin and goes for a luminescent style that evokes Frank Tashlin’s use of primary colors with their cartoon clarity, or one of Aleister Crowley’s paintings. Though Biller herself would tell you she wasn’t influenced by the movies that The Love Witch seems to be paying homage to there is an undeniable aesthetic connection between The Love Witch and dozens of Italian giallos as well as the films and directors I’ve already mentioned. If Biller hasn’t seen those films or is reluctant to spend time discussing her influences in interviews it’s because, in my opinion, she doesn’t want The Love Witch to be classified as some kind of camp artifact but seen as a very modern take on pussy power. In her movie, no one grabs these witches by the pussy and lives to joke about it.
 

 
The Love Witch is a perfect film for these times. As we’ve seen women rising to political power and female artists dominating the music charts and directing major films, we’ve also seen a sexist backlash that hasn’t been this virulent in decades. Our culture still demonizes women who are unafraid to assert themselves through their politics, art, bodies and minds. Strong women are called loud, shrill, bitches. The perception on the part of many men (and some women) is that these successful women got to where they are because they’re good at manipulation, skilled in using their female powers, their cunning. That their success isn’t earned. That they fucked their way to the top, using their feminine wiles to get what they wanted. The classic depictions of women in film noirs of the forties and fifties are back in the form of modern day femme fatales who scheme like Hillary Clinton and beguile like Beyoncé. [For some bone-chilling sexism and racism check out the ‘net response to Beyoncé‘s appearance on the Country Music Awards.]
 

 
The Love Witch is feminist fairy tale that uses the past to reflect on the moment. Within its B-movie trappings, it poetically probes the backlash that occurred when women broke free from sexual oppression during the go-go sixties and how that freedom resulted in a whole new set of problems. Every gesture of openness and sexuality could be misread as a come-on, a seduction, an unspoken “yes.” The Love Witch takes place in 1971 and I remember well when women started going bra-less and wore mini-skirts and let their hair grow long and free. Sexual liberation was fine in theory. But in practice women who expressed their new-found freedom by wearing what they wanted, walked and talked like they wanted, sent a message to men that was misread. Suddenly liberated women were perceived as easy targets. Outside of communities of young, intelligent and sensitive people, free sex wasn’t free. It often carried a high price. The Love Witch is not a horror movie in the conventional sense. But it is horrifying to be reminded of how women have been persecuted since Biblical days right up until now for enjoying their bodies and sexuality. They’re dangerous, they’re from Hell, they’re witches and must be burned on the stake of religion, fear and cultural oppression. A free woman is a threat to the fragile male sense of superiority. Men have done everything they can to keep women under control. Even demonizing them to the point that executing them was acceptable. Male strength is predicated on the subjugation of women. And when women rise up, men become desperate and in desperation they reveal their weakness. The woman who resists male dominance is evil, possessed, a witch.
 

 
Now I realize that I’m making The Love Witch sound like a diatribe against men. It isn’t. It’s a very sly comedy that uses the idea of witchery as a metaphor for pussy power unleashed. The whole movie is as nutty and fruity as a bag of Freudian trail mix. Interpretation is more than welcome, it’s almost obligatory.  Magic potions are created by combining female urine with used tampons—Trump’s worse menstruating Megyn Kelly nightmare. Smoking beakers filled with witches brews of day-glo chemicals could be the bubbling components for birth control concoctions, abortifacients and hallucinogenics. Keys to open the castle doors. After all, wasn’t it the pill and psychedelics that helped free our bodies and minds? Wouldn’t a love witch want to spread the good vibes? Oh, those devilish witches with their magic elixirs.

New age homilies and hippie dippy black magic circle jerks are wonderfully skewered on Biller’s sardonic pitchfork. Scenes have the drug panic of a Dragnet episode. And at times the movie’s like what you’d get if The Wicker Man was a Wicker Woman and lived in Topanga Canyon next door to the Mod Squad. But that’s just part of it. Imagine Hitchcock’s Marnie starring Anton LaVey and The Shangri-Las as Marnie’s multiple personalities. No, that’s not it either. Maybe if Hogtied magazine had sex with an Archie comic and gave birth to a slew of demonic Barbie Dolls dressed in leather and latex? Or maybe just a frugging Anaïs Nin bobblehead?
 

 
What happens when the power between yin and yang shifts and sugartits pulls a metaphoric gun on the guy with his hands on the steering wheel? Biller is both playful and deadly serious in scenes where burlesque dancers bring howling men helplessly to their knees with a mere thrust of the pelvis and witches with Bobby Gentry bouffants reduce men to sobbing little boys who quiver in the wake of the all powerful energy of the sorceress. In these moments of masculine meltdowns I can hear the pathetic voice of Frank Booth sobbing the word “mommy” between each inhalation of his witch’s brew. And off in the distance where the sun bleeds into the desert, Tura Satana is going Jackie Chan on a truck driver with a porn ‘stache.

The film is deep and deeply twisted. There’s a renaissance fair in The Love Witch that looks like the commune scene in Easy Rider directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky while tripping on Orange Sunshine. It’s fucking out of this world wacky. I think there’s even a Unicorn. Or was I hallucinating?
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Super hot German movie poster & lobby cards for ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’
11.02.2016
03:19 pm

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Feminism
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A German movie poster for the 1965 film ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’
 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to violence, the word and the act. While violence cloaks itself in a plethora of disguises, its favorite mantle still remains… sex. Violence devours all it touches, its voracious appetite rarely fulfilled. Yet violence doesn’t only destroy, it creates and molds as well. Let’s examine closely then this dangerously evil creation, this new breed encased and contained within the supple skin of woman. The softness is there, the unmistakable smell of female, the surface shiny and silken, the body yielding yet wanton. But a word of caution: handle with care and don’t drop your guard. This rapacious new breed prowls both alone and in packs, operating at any level, any time, anywhere, and with anybody. Who are they? One might be your secretary, your doctor’s receptionist… or a dancer in a go-go club!

Russ Meyer’s 1965 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! features a rogue gang of go-go dancers who decide to set off into the desert in search of mayhem, money and men to mercilessly mess with… and as the title suggests kill. While the best thing about this movie is clearly its karate chopping star Tura Satana, a close runner up would be the German movie posters and lobby cards for the film. The German marketing materials are about as far-out as the film itself.

When I ran the words “Die Satansweiber von Tittfield” through Google Translate it didn’t exactly make sense. And sadly the strange but appropriate sounding word “Tittfield” seems to be there solely for our amusement, like “Boobsville” or something.  I love seeing powerful women beating the crap out any man who gets in the way of them having a good time, don’t you? It’s a sentiment echoed by Meyer himself in an interview from 1998. The then 76-year-old director was touring around the world in support of a re-release of FPKK when he was asked for his opinion regarding the film’s remarkable ability to keep attracting audiences 30-plus years after its initial release:

It’s a little puzzling. Most of my films have women who have large breasts. It’s not that the girls are completely lacking in accouterments there, but… I suppose they like the idea of the women kicking the shit out of the men. More than anything else, I think that’s the reason it’s done very, very well.

It might also have something to do with the snappy and highly quotable dialogue. With lines like “Easy baby! You’re almost a fire hazard!” or “I never try anything, I just do it” or “Women! They let ‘em vote, smoke and drive - even put ‘em in pants! And what happens? A Democrat for president!” how can you go wrong?

Much like the film itself (and everything else in Meyer’s long shapely body of work) some of the images in this post are NSFW. I’ve also included a few U.S. lobby cards for the film that contained images from the movie that were too great not to share.
 

A German lobby card for the 1965 film ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’
 

 

 
More ‘Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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