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‘I don’t like human flesh, too salty for me’: What dictators like to eat
10:32 am



A new book Dictators’ Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants by Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott offers a surprising taste of the favorite foods of some of the world’s most infamous dictators.

Though Adolf Hitler was thought to have been a vegetarian—something that was apparently confirmed by der fuhrer’s food taster—it appears old Adolf was a big fan of fledgling pigeon stuffed with tongue, liver and pistachio nuts. So he was more of a part-time vegetarian. Also let’s not forget that Hitler donated a pint of his blood to make blood sausage to celebrate a Nazi last supper according to Robert G. L. Waite in his biography The Psychopathic God. Blood sausage aside, by the end of his life Hitler’s table manners had gone to pot and he wolfed “down his food in a mechanical way…..bit his nails at table, and ran his index finger back and forth under his nose, and stuffed himself with cake.”
Like all top Communists, Joseph Stalin liked to eat while others starved. It was all for the good of the cause, which in Stalin’s case meant six hour banquets “where copious amounts of semi-sweet Khvanchkara wine were consumed, leaving guests puking and incontinent.”

Stalin’s love of epicurean excess did not go unnoticed as future commie leader and shoe-banger Nikita Khrushchev remarked:

‘I don’t think there has ever been a leader of comparable responsibilities who wasted more time than Stalin did just sitting around the dinner table eating and drinking.’

Uncle Joe’s favorite chow was chicken with walnuts and spices. His chef Spiridon Putin was the grandfather of current Russian premier Vladimir Putin. Small world, eh?

Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini used to touch his balls every time he thought someone was giving him the evil eye. Il Duce loathed pasta and potatoes claiming they gave him a sore head, but he loved rough-chopped garlic with oil and lemon, which was no doubt a major duvet lifter come bedtime…

‘He used to eat a whole bowl of it,’ his wife Rachele once fondly confided to the family cook. ‘I couldn’t go anywhere near him after that. At night I’d leave him to sleep alone in our room and take refuge in one of the children’s rooms!’

Fidel Castro was very fond of turtle soup, but as turtles are now an endangered species, Castro now only likes “plain” food such as lamb cutlets, salted cod, fried bananas and lobster. What no beans on toast?
It has often been claimed that President Idi Amin “Dada” was a cannibal, who enjoyed chowing down on the faces of his enemies. When asked by a reporter if this was true, Amin replied:

‘I don’t like human flesh –- it’s too salty for me.’

Now you know. In fact, Amin’s favorite food was apparently oranges—probably quenching all that human saltiness—and was said to eat up to 40 oranges a day, claiming the fruit kept him healthy and gave him the horn.

Another man of the people, Kim Jong Il had expensive tastes in food and sent his chef around the world in search of:

Iranian caviar, Danish pork,Thai mangoes and Japanese rice cakes flavoured with mugwort, at $120 a pop.

Big daddy Kim Jong also loved raw fish—basically fish that had just been pulled out the water and were thrashing about in their death throes. He also employed a woman to ensure his rice grains were exactly the same size. Talk about fussy eating…

His son Kim Jong-un apparently has a liking for Emmental cheese, which may or may not explain his alleged gout.

Libya’s deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi was well-known for his dreadful flatulence, often expelling loud smelly farts during interviews and meetings with dignitary. If only the old farter had known the cause of this noxious gas was his favorite food—camel’s milk. Indeed, no part of this poor beast was allowed to go to waste, and Gaddafi especially enjoyed camel hump and couscous.

Saddam Hussein had a taste for only the best farm-fresh beef and lamb, which had to be trimmed of all its fat. He was also particular about his olives, which had to come from the Golan Heights. His favorite tipple was Grand Old Parr whisky and his favorite candy Quality Street.

Malawi’s former dictator Hasting Banda liked “dried mopane worms” that is the caterpillar of the Emperor moth, which he ate as a snack like potato chips.

If you fancy learning how to eat like a dictator, then order your copy of Dictators’ Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants by Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott here.

Below, Eric Idle’s classic Rutland Weekend Television sketch “Cookery Time with Lenin.”

Via the Independent and Mashable.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Culinary couture: Hyperrealistic fake food jewelry is a thing
04:11 pm



Pasta Bolognese necklace
My husband asked me a few days ago what I wanted for the holidays and I told him I didn’t know. But after seeing these fake food jewelry designs by Japan-based company Hatanaka, I think I just may want a Beef Bowl necklace, dammit!

I hate these and I kind of love them at the same time. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with wearing a bowl of fake beef around your neck, okay? I mean it’s not like they’re selling something weird, like salami necklaces or bacon earrings…

From what I understand, these fake food accessories are selling like hotcakes worldwide. Almost everything on the Hatanaka website is currently sold out. There are still a few items available, but it’s a limited selection. Hopefully they’ll be updating their website in time for the holidays.

Curry necklace

Spaghetti Carbonara necklace

Curry rice with spoon necklace

Sushi earrings

Shark fin necklace
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A gin-soaked Advent calendar for the perfect boozy X-mas season
12:42 pm



I’m not a religious person, nor do I really care about the holidays—I just see it as a giant excuse to eat like a damned fool—but this Ginvent calendar I could totally get on board with. 

Instead of those boring, tasteless chocolates nestled behind the cardboard “windows” why not switch it up with 30ml bottles of gin?

There are two flavors to choose from: The Botanical Ginvent Calendar and the Ginvent Calendar (which offers a selection of gins from around the world).


via Metro

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘BobbyQue’: Cooking with Black Panther Bobby Seale
10:07 am



You may have been born too late for radical chic, but you’re just in time for, uh, radical chicory? Yes, Bobby Seale, founding chairman and national organizer of the Black Panther Party, has a cookbook, cooking show and “BobbyQue” website, all devoted to the lost art of barbecue (or “barbeque,” as he insists it should be spelled). Seale has even formulated his culinary principles in the “Barbeque Bill of Rights”:

WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT it becomes necessary for us, the citizens of the earth, to creatively improve the culinary art of barbe-que’n in our opposition to the overly commercialized bondage of “cue-be-rab” (barbecuing backwards); and to assume, within the realm of palatable biological reactions to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle us, a decent respect for all the billions of human taste buds and savory barbeque desires; we the people declare a basic barbeque bill of rights which impels us to help halt, eradicate, and ultimately stamp out “cue-be-rab!”

As the commercialized backwards “bottle-back” recipe methods pursue and invariably evince a design to reduce our backyard-picnics into burnt, half done, bland, badly seasoned, improperly pit-qued entrees, then it is the right of we the barbeque lovers of the world, to alter the cue-be-rab phenomenon and creatively change our recipe process for a more righteous saucy, down-home, wood-smoking, delectable, baste-marinating, barbeque’n methodology.


Seale oversaw one of the Black Panthers’ most ambitious and popular projects, the People’s Free Food Program.
Filmed in front of a live studio audience in Philadelphia, Barbeque with Bobby Seale is co-hosted by Seale and his wife Leslie. Sun Ra Arkestra trombonist Tyrone Hill and his band, the Deep Space Posse, are live in the studio. You can watch the cooking show on Seale’s YouTube channel. (The video is low-resolution and the sound is out of sync—if you want a hi-fi experience, it looks like you’ll have to buy the DVD.) Meat-eating radicals can find six free recipes here and a couple more here. You’ll have to tell me what it tastes like; I’m vegetarian.

As you will have guessed, not everyone loves the idea of one of the world’s most famous black revolutionaries selling BBQ recipes, though accusing Seale of “selling out” by writing a cookbook strikes me as more than a little silly. When the first edition of Barbeque’n with Bobby was published in 1988, Seale told the Chicago Tribune that Jerry Rubin first suggested the idea while the two were in jail during the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. Seale talks about how he responds to cries of “sellout” in this interview clip:


Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘50 Ways to Eat Cock’ is the only rooster cookbook you’ll ever need
12:34 pm



I’m a big believer in the prurient pun, and I think anyone who can actually monetize juvenile humor is a true student of humanity who paid attention in class. So I doff my cap to new-agey nutritionist (and possibly penis-obsessed crazy person) Adrienne Hew, who penned 50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! My only criticism of this culinary concupiscence is that the book might suffer from repetition. If the joke was just in the title, it would allow readers to question her motives, maybe even consider the possibility of her naivete. For example, the competing oral sex-themed cookbook, 50 Ways to Eat a Beaver exercises some subtly. Hew however, is relentless:

Curious about cock? You’re not the only one. Once revered for his virility and strength, the rooster has taken a back seat to the hen in more recent years. With healthy chicken recipes like Risotto Cock Balls and Cock-o’s, 50 Ways to Eat Cock is a fun and inventive chicken cookbook that takes a revealing look at the folklore, history, culinary culture and nutritional benefits of this well-endowed ingredient. With tongue-in-cheek descriptions, these playful cock recipes are bulging with everything from the quintessential to the quick-and-easy to the downright quirky. You’ll learn how to tame this tough bird meat into succulent and finger-licking gourmet meals.

Thanks to the ingenuity of author and Certified Nutritionist, Adrienne Hew, the noble cock retakes his rightful place at the head of the table. Grab the “hard copy” as the perfect bridal shower gift!

Okay, the “hard copy” line is pretty good, even though I think we could have done without the winking quotation marks.

As a cook book, I’m a little skeptical of the project (though I hold out far more hope for her follow-up book 50 Ways To Eat Your Honey: Healthy Honey Recipes for Mastering the Art of Honeylingus). To my knowledge, rooster is pretty inedible in any recipe other than coq au vin, or some other variation of “stew-with-bacon-until-edible.” This does not mean I will not be purchasing it though. Bachelorette parties have certain, near-sacred phallic traditions that simply must be observed (I don’t make the rules), but that doesn’t mean a dick joke can’t have practical applications.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Are Tim and Eric running the Totino’s pizza Tumblr?
10:57 am

Pop Culture


Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are the two geniuses behind Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and their latest venture Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories, both of which have emerged from Adult Swim. It’s safe to say that Tim & Eric have developed one of the most distinctive voices in comedy today, rather as if the Wonder Showzen gang had gotten trapped inside a KMart clothing warehouse with full access to the best video effects the 1980s had to offer.

Their purposefully garish sense of awkwardness is so powerful that it’s spawned a delirious subreddit, r/NotTimAndEric, that’s dedicated to real-life examples of the actual world seeming to imitate Tim & Eric bits. That subreddit has 38,022 readers as of this writing, so it’s not like there is any shortage of that kind of thing. Point being: Tim & Eric are potent.

Tim & Eric made the news last week when their commercial for Totino’s Pizza Rolls (and assorted other Totino’s pizza products) hit the Internet, producing an expectedly awestruck reaction (that commercial is linked below). The clip, called “Pizza Freaks Unite,” is staggering enough, but what you might not know is that, in keeping with their new branding, Totino’s has a full-blown Tumblr in the Tim & Eric style. In the headline I asked if Tim & Eric are actually running the Tumblr, but there’s a journalistic truism that the answer to any question trumpeted by a media outlet is always “No,” because if the fact at issue could be proven, then that would be the headline—i.e. questions are for unproven speculation.

So I don’t necessarily think that Tim & Eric are running the Totino’s Tumblr. However, it is very enjoyable in a similar way to Tim & Eric’s TV work. Even if it’s not true, the Tumblr as well as the Totino’s PR strategy in general seem to indicate that this is a major mainstreaming moment for Tim & Eric’s aesthetic. Tim & Eric’s stuff may be brilliant, but it isn’t exactly The Big Bang Theory—indeed, it could fairly be said that their work might give some (older) portion of the audience a frontal-lobe headache. So it’s a pretty significant moment to see their worldview cross over. It isn’t every day that Andy Kaufman shows up for his first day of work at Taxi, after all. 



More Tim and Eric-flavored pizza stuff after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
After dinner with theremin pioneer Clara Rockmore and Robert Moog
10:40 am



Theremins are associated with the Beach Boys and as a cheesy sound effect used for UFOs in sci-fi movies from decades ago, although actually in both cases the instrument in question is actually a Tannerin, otherwise known as an electrotheremin, which is far easier to manipulate to get the desired tones—that was developed by Paul Tanner, trombonist with the Glenn Miller Band.

But this is the theremin we’re talking about, and you can’t talk about the development or popularity of the theremin without discussing Clara Rockmore. A native of Lithuania, Rockmore (1911-1998) has been called the “premiere artiste of the electronic music medium” (look at the album cover below), “the greatest theremin virtuosa” and “probably the world’s first electronic music star.”

Rockmore’s given name was Clara Reisenberg—her sister was the well-regarded pianist Nadia Reisenberg. In pictures, Rockmore seems like (in younger pics) a magician’s assistant or (as she gets older) someone’s dowdy old aunt. But don’t let appearances fool you—Rockmore was pretty badass. Léon Theremin, inventor of the instrument that bore his name, wanted to marry her and proposed several times, but she turned him down cold and married an attorney instead. In 1940 she toured the U.S. with none other than Paul Robeson. She was 66 years old in 1977 when her first album, The Art of the Theremin, was released. (Actually, the album in question, pictured below, hardly has a discernable title—if anything it’s Theremin—but over time it has come to be called The Art of the Theremin.)

Nobody seems to know when the footage in the clip below was taken, but judging from the quality of the video, the haircuts, and the clothes, I’d say it was the mid- to late 1970s. In attendance are Clara Rockmore and her sister Nadia; Nadia’s son Bob Sherman, who introduces the scene; Dr. Robert Moog; and Dr. Thomas Ray, who is named as a scholar of electronic music. Moog, of course, produced The Art of the Theremin, which perhaps serves as another clue as to the timing of this clip.

I really dig the odd sculptural item in the middle of the table, with the dangling silver orbs. After a few minutes’ chitchat about the theremin, Rockmore treats us to a few minutes of “Hebrew Melody.”

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Insane market research: ‘Understanding millennials: How do potatoes fit into their lives?’
06:56 pm



Kids today—amiright?

I mean, there’s no denying that millennials (those alien creatures born between 1980 and 1995) represent an entirely unique breed of person, never-before-seen and bearing absolutely no likeness to any generation before them. For example, millennials tend to wear clothing like blue jeans and t-shirts, while older humans wear naught but sack cloth and regalia made from the fur, feathers and bones of slaughtered animals. Millennial-types are very “connected”—through texting and social media—while their predecessors only communicated via flag semaphore, carrier pigeons, smoke signals, or interpretive dance. In order to convey happiness or good will, millennials often engage in what is known as a smile, but for anyone born in 1979 or earlier, baring one’s teeth is a sign of aggression or dominance, and likely to proceed a battle to the death for land rights or a contested mate.

As the newly elected National Spokeswoman for the Bureau of Millennial Affairs (I’d like to thank the voters, my brilliant and dedicated campaign team, and last—but not least—my darling wife Barbara), nothing frustrates me more than seeing millennials just lumped in with our ancient barbarian forefathers—not even our disproportionately high unemployment, debilitating debt, or inheritance of a dying planet! I am heartened however, to see the United States Potato Board giving millennials the specialized attention we deserve with incisive, atomizing consumer research. This press release “Understanding Millennials—How do Potatoes Fit into Their Lives?” was posted last year, and I think it behooves us all to touch on some of the highlights if we’re to understand the millennial mind.

The United States Potato Board (USPB) is committed to designing and conducting consumer research that enables the industry to identify opportunities and make informed decisions to increase demand for potatoes. In order to identify new opportunities and promote a proactive and forward-looking approach, the USPB is taking a closer look at a younger audience. The up-and-coming generation (18–30-year-olds), just now forming new households and starting families of their own, is big! In fact, the Millennial generation is about 80 million people, about the same size as the Baby Boomer generation. To stay relevant and increase demand for potatoes, it will be critical to understand Millennials and how potatoes fit into their lives—now and in the future.

With this in mind, the USPB is conducting research to…

Better understand the Millennial audience, especially attitudes and behaviors related to potatoes
Explore opportunities to increase potato consumption among Millennials
Identify sub-segment(s) within the Millennial audience with the greatest potential for growth in potato consumption

Sub-segments! Very important! Like urban LGBTQ millennials working in graphic design or video game production? What about pet-owning millennials who don’t have a Facebook, but who sometimes check Twitter, enjoy chocolate and finding the essence from within? What about millennials who unironically eat at Applebee’s? We are legion, and we contain multitudes.

Moving on to the three-phase research project:

Phase 1: Secondary research and database mining

Data on the Millennial audience from past USPB consumer research
Online databases for information on Millennial attitudes and eating habits
Articles and syndicated studies relating to Millennials

Phase 2: Consumer segmentation (quantitative)

Online survey among Millennials to identify and size different consumer groups within the Millennial audience based on food and lifestyle attitudes and behavior

Part 3: Segment deep-dive (qualitative)

In-home interviews and focus groups with select segments of Millennials

I hereby volunteer to be a participant in a millennial potato focus group, provided my compensation is paid entirely in potatoes. Yukon Gold, preferably, since all discerning millennials prioritize the critical balance between tradition and starch content. But what do we already know about millennial potato consumption?

Findings to date:

As a generation, Millennials are highly food-involved. Along with being food-involved comes an interest in and affinity for cooking. For many Millennials, cooking isn’t a job or responsibility, but rather a passion, as is going out to eat. They’re looking for more from their meals—not just something to fill them up, but something to experience.

However, Millennials are also a highly budget-minded generation. Good value for the money is the most important attribute when choosing food for a meal at home or in a restaurant.

That is soooooo dead on—“highly food-involved” is like, my middle name! Like the majority of my fellow millennials, I eat food like, every single day. I’m a total food-aholic, but the habit can get a little expensive if you get into specialty items like “fruit” or “vegetables.”

When it comes to potatoes, though, Millennials are not significantly different from the rest of the population. Potatoes are primarily consumed for dinner at home as the main component of a side dish. Mashed, baked and French fries are the top three potato preparations. When preparing potatoes at home, 73 percent are using fresh, and of those, 51 percent are using russet. According to previous USPB studies, this is right in line with what older generations are doing.

Attitudes about potatoes among Millennials are very positive. Eighty-nine percent rate potatoes “excellent” or “good” for being a good value, and 88 percent rate potatoes “excellent” or “good” for being something everyone would enjoy. In fact, potatoes rate highest on what’s most important to Millennials.

I’m sorry—“not significantly different from the rest of the population?” Excuse me?!? Are you suggesting that millennials are somehow… pedestrian, or (god forbid), conventional in their/our/MY tastes and habits? I’m grossly offended, but the United States Potato Board pulls a fast save by giving us some fun new identities, so I tentatively forgive them.

Avoiders prefer routines and packages. They want meals to be fast, quick, easy and convenient. Therefore, avoiders often eat frozen or boxed foods, and if they must cook, refer to their go-to routine of what to make. They skew a little older (late 20s) and Midwest.

Nurturers are similar to the current target (moms). They like to experiment with new recipes and cook for the taste and enjoyment of it, not for nutrition. Nurturers are looking to put something on the table that everyone will enjoy; so flavor, satisfying cravings and ease are all of upmost importance. They also skew to the Midwest.

Entertainers are foodies at home. They love to experiment with new, creative recipes that use start-from-scratch ingredients and enjoy sharing their cooking with others. Entertainers aspire to be at-home gourmet chefs and find relaxation through cooking. In addition, they are also health aware and nutrition conscious.

Explorers are foodies outside of home. They want adventurous foods that are new and exciting. Explorers are health involved and watch their diets and weight; however, they are more concerned with convenience than nutrition. Explorers are likely to be male, single and living in the Northeast.

Health Seekers base all food choices on health and nutrition. They watch their diets, exercise consistently and choose natural and unprocessed foods. However, they are also looking for meals that are easy to prepare. They are more likely to be living in the West.

Potato People, if I may: while we don’t necessarily resent your farcical attempts at spud-mongering, millennials are well on our way to replacing all food with delicious, nutritious soylent. Potatoes are great for now, but after the Great Millennial Uprising (projections suggest sometime around 2017), you will have outlived your usefulness to us, and you will most likely be sent to Carrousel.

All remaining potato stock will, of course, be converted into artisanal vodka.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Unleash the Beast: Kooky Christian lady explains how Monster Energy drinks are the work of SATAN
12:36 pm



Image on the right by Wesley Eggebrecht.

From my own harrowing experience with Monster Energy drinks—I once drank two “BFCs” (see video) at a party to perk myself up and ended up not sleeping for nearly 48 hours… not to mention those heart palpitations—at first blush I can agree that they’re the work of the devil, if not quite in a literal—nay biblical—sense. Some other people, though, think there’s something much more sinister going on…

Unless you spend a lot of time around fucking idiots, you might not have heard of a low IQ conspiracy theory that has become somewhat of an urban legend among some Christians: the notion that the Monster Energy logo looks like three Hebrew vavs—a letter which has the value of six in Hebrew numerology.

You hear that, Jimbob? Three sixes equals “the number of the Beast” in the Book of Revelations. Or else it equals, you know EIGHTEEN?

Monster Energy’s slogan is “Unleash the Beast.” OBVIOUSLY that must be the work of Satan himself (or if not the Prince of Lies, maybe a hip advertising agency in Portland?).

Well, obviously if you are a fuckwit. Like the woman in the clip below. Is this really what American Christians concern themselves with these days, David Icke level “theories” about soda cans?

What would Jesus do? Um, how’s about helping the poor, lady?

I love how she acts like she figured this out out by herself—she’s so dumbly smug, too, which makes her delivery all the better—when she probably read it on Wikipedia or got it from an ALL CAPS EMAIL from someone who read about it on Drudge Report or WorldNet Daily. Note the part where she gets bent out of shape over the use of the term “MILF” on the can!


via reddit

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Remembering Hines Farm, a legendary African-American mecca for the blues
01:11 pm



From the late 1930s until the early 1970s, a sprawling 32-acre spread in northeast Ohio known as Hines Farm, with its own open-air juke joint and enclosed night club, regularly attracted thousands of African-Americans with its ass-kicking blues parties. Hines Farm must have been a really special place, an oasis of incredible blues music, southern food, and (by the way) racial tolerance. It offered good times for all, with a roster of entertainments you wouldn’t find in New York City quite so quickly: roller skating, amusement park rides, exhibition baseball games, horse races, hobo car races, motorcycle races, squirrel hunts…. the list goes on and on.

Some of the biggest names in blues played there—B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, and John Lee Hooker, as well as jazz figures like Louis Jordan and Count Basie. Basie and his full orchestra were hired to play the grand opening of an outdoor pavilion in 1961. The pavilion doubled as a roller rink and a dance floor and could accommodate 1,500 people. People would come from miles around, from as far as Detroit or Cleveland, for the rollicking fun on summer weekends.

When B.B. King thinks of Hines Farm, he recalls the “good food, good music, and pretty girls. It was the only place that was happening.” John Lee Hooker called Hines Farm “a one and only place—wasn’t no other place like that I have been to that was like Hines Farm.” Hines Farm’s identity as an informal place for African-Americans to unwind, relax, and enjoy life started in the basement of Frank and Sarah Hines in the 1930s. By the late 1940s they had the first liquor license held by an African-American in northwest Ohio, and by 1957 they constructed an actual blues club.

Blind Bobby Smith, a Toledo blues guitarist who did session work for Stax Records, used to play in their basement in the early days. According to Smith, “After they’d close down outdoors we’d all pile in the basement. In the wintertime [Frank Hines] just ran it out of the house. It was, you know, everybody talkin’ at the same time ... passing the bottle around, and Hines wishin’ everybody’d get out of there so he could go to bed.”

Sarah and Frank Hines
For African-American men, Hines Farm was a place for sex, a place to dance and meet women. A neighbor recalled wistfully, “Man, it was good to go back there in the woods. See, I never took my car. I’d just walk back there and have me a cold beer and watch ‘em dance. See, that place back there, they used to dance. Chicks would come out of Toledo. Some of them ol’ gals was good lookin’. I’d sit there and drink beer and watch ‘em from mid-afternoon. Hell, I wouldn’t leave ‘til dark ... watchin’ them chicks shake it up.”

According to Big Jack Reynolds, one of the regular performers in the club’s early days, Mexicans and whites were perfectly welcome as well: “There was no discrimination there.” As Marlene Harris-Taylor, who has co-produced a documentary about Hines Farm, said, “When most African-Americans came north, they moved into urban areas. Most of the jazz and blues clubs that sprang up were in the urban settings. Hines Farm was unique. It was like home for African-Americans who had moved here from the rural South.”

The interior of Hines Farm Blues Club
It was Frank Hines’ job to keep the peace. Hines would check everybody for knives and guns and just take them, then return them when they left. Frank’s wife Sarah was the same way, wouldn’t let any trouble start. Henry Griffin, who owned the property of Hines Farm after the blues club was discontinued in 1976, remembered, “One time Sarah broke a beer over a guy’s head. He got out there and played like he was drunk and was sayin’ a lot of filthy talk in front of the women, and she tried to get him to hush, you know, and he wouldn’t do it. So she went to him a couple of times. The third time, he started all kinds of that filthy talk, and she just took a beer bottle and went up there and hit that son-of-a-bitch on top of his head. That damned bottle shattered all to pieces, man, and that guy said, ‘She tried to kill me.’ He grabbed his head and said, ‘She killed me. I’m gonna tell Sonny’—that’s what everybody called Frank Hines. She said, ‘I don’t give a damn if you tell Sonny—just get the hell out of here.’ And it was peaceful the rest of the night.”

It also had motorcycle races, which were a really big deal. It’s the one thing that everyone who was there recalled, aside from the food and music. Griffin remembered: “Hines would send out a flyer that he was havin’ a motorcycle race and he would have people come from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and they’d get on their motorcycles and ride right up there. And there’d be thousands of ‘em.”

Hines Farm shut down in autumn 1976 and quickly fell into disrepair. Steve Coleman, son of Griffin, who passed away in January 2013, has the place up and running again.

In this documentary clip, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker reminisce about Hines Farm:

Thank you Charles!

Sources for this post include “Historical Blues Club to Reopen” and “Remembering Toledo’s Blues Showcase,” both from the Toledo Blade, and this expansive piece from Toledo’s Attic by Thomas E. Barden and Matthew Donahue. Matthew Donahue is the author of I’ll Take You There: An Oral and Photographic History of the Hines Farm Blues Club. Buy it!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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