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Marc Bolan, Andy Warhol, Joan Jett & other famous folk with their dogs, for your election 2016 blues
11.07.2016
09:35 am

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A young Joan Jett and an adorable dog. Jett has gone on to dedicate much of her life to animal advocacy.
 
If you’re a jittery bag of nerves with questionable sleep patterns thanks to the fucking fiasco that is the Presidential Election of 2016, then I hope this post will help restore some of your faith in humanity. At least temporarily.

As the title indicates I’ve culled some images of famous people and their dogs that I’m quite sure will get you to your “happy place” pretty quickly. At the very least it will briefly distract you and keep you from checking the latest statistics over at Fivethirtyeight or wherever it is that you happen to be getting your political updates these days. Until this all blows over (if in fact it ever does) I’d keep this post close by for when you need to talk yourself out of moving to Canada, moving underground or perhaps relocating to the fucking moon. Honestly, if photos of Marc Bolan and David Bowie cradling adorable canines doesn’t help restore your pulse to a more reasonable rate, I’m not sure anything will. Hang in there kittens, it’s almost over!
 

Marc Bolan.
 

David Bowie and a wee little Scottie, 1980. Photo by Duffy.
 

The band Queen and their four-legged canine pal.
 
More after the jump…

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The Cure playing a small club in Boston the night of Robert Smith’s 21st birthday, 1980
11.03.2016
09:02 am

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Heroes
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The Cure circa 1980s.
 
Sadly I was too young to have had hung out at the mythical Allston, Massachusetts club “Allston Underground” back when it was open for a blink of an eye from 1980-1981. Had I been born five or six years earlier I would have been able to tell stories about seeing bands like Bauhaus, Mission of Burma, New Order and The Cure who all played a gig at The Underground during their first U.S tours.

The Cure made their way to The Underground on April 20th, 1980 mere hours before Robert Smith was about to celebrate his 21st birthday. And since you only turn 21 once Smith decided to rearrange part of the lyrics to “Seventeen Seconds” from “seventeen years/a measure in life’ to “21 years/a measure of life” which he then dedicated to Boston punks Mission of Burma with whom they were sharing the bill. When it comes to musical folklore I have to say that this little insight sent my brain off to conjure up images of what the rest of the night was like offstage for a newly legal drinking age Robert Smith on the loose with his Imaginary Boys and Mission of Burma on the streets of my beloved hometown. Another interesting twist to this story that made my day is that according to the meticulous Cure-focused site The Cure: The Multimedia Experience parts of the show were shot by a few local Boston art students. Which during my research for the story turned out to include omnipresent Boston videographer Jan Cocker. If (like me) you think this enviable story sounds like a page out of a die-hard Cure fan’s dream diary then I’m with you. And getting into a dreamy kind of mood is great preparation when it comes to the footage you’re about to see.

The videos include some editing and special effects which I actually found added another layer of mystique to this early moment and in The Cure’s long career. And for the record—Smith sounds absolutely incredible especially during the track “Secrets” from the band’s album Seventeen Seconds which was set for release the day after Smith’s birthday on April 22nd, 1980. I’m going to go out on a big fat limb here and say it’s safe to assume it was great to be Robert Smith during those three days. I’ve got footage of The Cure performing four songs at The Underground—“Grinding Halt,” “Subway Song,” “Accuracy” and “Secrets.” I highly recommend watching a few other videos shot at the show here as it includes a show-stopping version of “Killing an Arab” as it must be seen.
 

The Cure hanging out at the wood-paneled Boston, Massachusetts club ‘The Underground,’ April 20th, 1980.
 

A ticket for the April 20th, 1980 show at ‘The Underground’ in Allston, Massachusetts for The Cure and Mission of Burma.
 

‘Grinding Halt’ live on April 20th, 1980 at ‘The Underground’ in Allston, Massachusetts.
 
More Cure after the jump…

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Super hot German movie poster & lobby cards for ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’
11.02.2016
03:19 pm

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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…

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Señor Lobo: Horror movie hero Paul Naschy, the ‘Spanish Lon Chaney’
10.31.2016
10:47 am

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Paul Naschy as ‘Father Adrian Dunning’ in the Spanish riff on ‘The Exorcist,’ 1974’s ‘Exorcismo.’
 
Hailing from Madrid, Spanish actor Paul Naschy (born Jacinto Molina Álvarez) had the distinguished honor to be affectionately nicknamed “The Spanish Lon Chaney” as like the illustrious Chaney himself, Naschy has played nearly every single movie monster to ever grace the silver screen.

Naschy is a fascinating cat whose career spans the course of at least 60 years during which he not only held the role of actor, but also writer (including authoring many bawdy Spanish pulp novels under the name “Jack Mills”) and illustrator for various Spanish music albums. Naschy’s behind-the-scenes life was full of interesting gigs including holding the title of champion lightweight weightlifter of Spain in 1958. Looking at the build of the beefy-looking Naschy, this is perhaps not all that surprising.

According to other Naschy folklore, the aspiring actor once met another famous horror icon, Boris Karloff, back in the mid-60s while he was working as an extra on the television showI Spy which was shooting on location in Spain. Karloff was 79 at the time and was cast as a scientist in the episode though he was barely able to walk even with the assistance of leg braces. According to Naschy (a story that is reflected in the title of the posthumous 2010 documentary film on his life, The Man Who Saw Frankenstein Cry) he observed the elderly Karloff weeping while waiting in the bitter cold for a ride after finishing up his work on the set. Naschy would later say about the heartbreaking scene that he believed that he was one of the only people (perhaps the only person) who ever saw Frankenstein’s monster cry.

Launching his horror film acting career in the late 1960s, Naschy ended up playing the role of “Waldermar Daninsky” (one that Naschy would reprise a dozen times in the “El Hombre Lobo” series of films) the wayward Spanish Wolf Man after Lon Chaney Jr. turned the role down (or according to some sources was passed over due to the fact that he was “too old” as Chaney Jr. was in his 60s at the time). Spain’s own “king of horror” would earn both that title and the loving homage to Chaney Jr.‘s famous father by portraying the following villains and monsters in various films—Dracula; Frankenstein’s monster; the Mummy; Fu Manchu; the Devil; Mr. Hyde; Quasimodo; the Phantom of the Opera; and of course a werewolf (which Naschy played a whopping sixteen times). So popular was Naschy’s role as the Wolf Man that there is even an action figure based on his “El Hombre Lobo” character made by the Spanish branch of the MAGE toy company.
 

A fantastic movie poster for ‘The Werewolf VS. Vampire Woman’ (aka: ‘La Noche de Walpurgis’), 1971. 
 
Naschy acted in more than 100 films many of which have been remastered much to the delight of Naschy’s fans (like yours truly) who appreciate the combination of half-dressed female victims (many of Naschy’s films included a fair amount of nudity) as well as tons of blood and good-old B-movie vibes. Plenty of them are worth watching if you dig vintage Euro schlock horror cinema, such as 1974’s Exorcismo, a Spanish riff on director William Friedkin’s 1973 film The Exorcist in which Naschy not only starred as the tormented character of “Father Adrian Dunning” but also penned the screenplay along with some help from the film’s director Juan Bosch. Others such as Naschy’s 1977 “comeback” Curse of the Devil, his early portrayals of werewolf “Waldemar Daninsky” (especially 1971’s La Noche Del Walpurgis), and the gory 1973 film Hunchback of the Morgue also rank as a few of Naschy’s best when it comes to his massive body of work.

If any or all of this has piqued your interest there is also a fantastic 1200 page book from 2012 that details Naschy’s long career Muchas Gracias Señor Lobo: Paul Naschy Memorabilia by author Thorsten Benzel. Eighteen years in the making, the publication contains a dizzying array of memorabilia some of which had never seen the light of day until the book’s release. And if that is not enough to convince you to check out Mr. Naschy’s films then perhaps consider the fact that other admirers of the multi-talented Spaniard include luminaries such as Quentin Tarantino, fellow actor and forever vampire Christopher Lee, and director John Landis. I’ve included some fantastic Naschy artifacts in this post from publicity stills and far-out posters, as well as a few trailers for Naschy’s movies which would make for perfect viewing on Halloween
 

Naschy in chains as the Wolf Man ‘Waldemar Daninsky.’
 

Naschy as ‘Dracula.’
 
More after the jump…

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Now you can own a giant six-foot Godzilla statue for only $40K!
10.26.2016
10:21 am

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An image of the 6’4” statue of ‘Godzilla’ by Bandai along with an actual human to illustrate scale.
 
This massive Godzilla statue was modeled after the irritable Tokyo-stomping version of Godzilla that went up against King Ghidorah in the 1991 film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Standing approximately 6’4” only ten of these incredible statues were made by Japanese toy giant Bandai.

According to the site Famitsu this latest Godzilla collectible is the largest reproduction of the monster ever made (outside of the 22-foot Godzilla statue that was erected in Tokyo this past summer). The giant Godzilla was based on the detail from a scan of the original 12-inch Godzilla created by one of Japan’s master “Kaiju” (or “monster”) sculpture artists Yuji Sakai. Sakai himself oversaw the entire production in excruciating detail. The piece was painted by hand as well as airbrushed in an effort to produce as “realistic” a Godzilla as possible. The ten “life-sized” Godzillas will go on sale here on November 7th and will be available until January 10th, 2017 or until they are gone.

As noted in the title of this post each figure is going to run you 4,150,000 yen or $39,967 U.S. dollars plus shipping. Damn. Images of the massive (and spendy) Godzilla follow.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Ken Russell’s iconic photographs of Great Britain in the 1950s
10.24.2016
11:06 am

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Art
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013modelkrussell1.jpg
 
One of Ken Russell’s childhood memories was of going to school on a rainy day and noticing the clouds reflected in the puddles. These clouds—that seemed to float on the surface of the water—looked more real than the ones in the sky. They were beautiful and golden—the sky an iridescent blue. It seemed to young Ken that the reflected world down there was far more interesting than the one up in the sky.

It was a small epiphany: “If one could get down there,” he thought “it would be fantastic.” It was a vision of the world that Russell never gave up on.

In 1950s, after a stint in the merchant navy and as a ballet dancer, Russell picked up a camera and started taking pictures of the world as he saw it—this time reflected through the glass of his camera.

Over the decade, he took thousands of photographs capturing a beautifully strange and quirky world no one else seemed to have noticed. He started creating photo-essays on street scenes, market traders, parties, fashion, friends, dancers and documented the lives of many of London’s outsiders—the teenage gangs, the newly arrived immigrants and even the daily life for women in prison.

Russell then began to create his own imaginative flights of fancy—stories of cop and robbers, duels, races on bicycles and penny-farthings. He hawked his work around the agencies.

But I didn’t cut quite the right image. With my down-at-heel brogues and shiny Donegal three-piece suit I couldn’t look the least like Cecil Beaton, the popular image of the fashion photographer, no matter how much Honey and Flowers (from Woolworths) I sprinkled about my person. It was too early for the dirty photographer. You had to be dapper, suave, elegant, queer. If David Bailey had turned up in those days he wouldn’t have got past the door. Generally the editors would look at my stuff and say, “Yes, very nice but who’s your tailor? Ugh!

Nevertheless I did land a couple of jobs because I was so cheap. £2.10.0 a page. Peanuts!

For lack of models, Russell relied on his friends and dancer pals who hung around the Troubadour coffee bar. It was an intensive apprenticeship that led to Russell making his first film in 1956 Peepshow.

Ken Russell’s photographs from the 1950s show his unique eye for capturing the unusual and an immense his talent for creating powerful and iconic imagery.
 
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Troubadour: the penny-farthing bicycle, 1955.
 
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Zora the Unvanquished—writer Zora Raeburn pasting some of the hundreds of rejection letters she received to a wall outside her home, spring, 1955.
 
More of Ken Russell’s photos from the fifties, after the jump…

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Blistering footage of a young AC/DC blowing the roof off the sucker in 1978
10.19.2016
12:15 pm

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Television

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Perhaps I’m guilty of overusing words like “blistering” or “insane” when it comes to describing a live performance by AC/DC, especially when the perpetually shirtless Bon Scott is involved. However in this case both words perfectly describe this footage from the band’s appearance on the short-lived BBC television show Rock Goes to College back in 1978. The gigs filmed for the show were intimate affairs—limited to a few thousand fans which you really get a feel for when you watch the young hell-bent Aussies (Angus Young was only 23 at the time and his brother Malcolm just 25) rip through songs from 1978’s Powerage (as well as the band’s live record If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) from the same year), 1977’s Let There Be Rock, and 1975’s T.N.T. The resulting set is an absolutely titanic cross-section of the band’s already spectacular catalog. Also of note is the fact that in 1978 the band was still somewhat “under the radar” though they were already wildly popular in their homeland which makes this raw footage shot in the UK extra compelling.

See it after the jump…

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‘Plan 9 from Bikini Beach’: Glamourous beatnik ghoul girl ‘Vampira’ goths it up back in the 1950s
10.14.2016
01:05 pm

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Maila Nurmi (aka ‘Vampira’) looking gorgeously goth at the beach with her umbrella, mid-1950s.
 
Maila Nurmi the captivatingly gorgeous Finnish model and actress with a tiny nineteen-inch waist, created an instant sensation when she attended a masquerade ball in Hollywood in 1953. She was dressed as the cartoon character created by longtime New Yorker contributor Charles Addams that would later become the inspiration for “Morticia Addams” in The Addams Family television series. After winning the top prize in the ball’s costume contest, Nurmi became “Vampira,” introducing—and often poking sly fun at—horror movies on her own local LA television program The Vampira Show on WABC. By the time that 1954 rolled around Nurmi was already a star. After doing time as a coat check girl in her early years, Nurmi was now rubbing elbows with everyone from Marlon Brando (who romanced Nurmi), to Surrealist photographer Man Ray (who shot her), to Antonio Vargas (who drew her) to James Dean (who wondered if she was possessed by something demonic). The evil “Maleficent” character from Disney’s animated Snow White was even based on her look (as confirmed by Disney), but her fame sadly didn’t last as long as it should have. She was cast in Ed Wood Jr.‘s Plan 9 from Outer Space in 1959, for which she was paid $200 but insisted on not saying a word of Wood’s lousy dialogue. It is for this mute role that she will eternally remembered.

After disappearing from the Tinseltown spotlight Nurmi continued to be a sort of real Hollywood vampire, even ghoulishly cavorting with the Misfits and performing with a pubk band called Satan’s Cheerleaders during the 1980s when she was in her sixties. At one point Nurmi got into some legal disputes stemming from the rights to Vampira’s image including one lawsuit Nurmi launched against Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson for ripping off her Vampira image, which was dismissed. Despite this, Nurmi’s “Vampira” character continues to endure since she conceived of her over 60 years ago. She was played by Lisa Marie in Tim Burton’s film, Ed Wood.

Somewhat rather underappreciated during her time, Maila Nurmi was lovingly profiled in the 2012 documentary Vampira and Me which featured newly restored kinoscopes of her TV appaearances. Some of the photos that follow (though tame) might be slightly NSFW because, bikinis.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Gothtastic pics of the alluring Carroll Borland as Dracula’s daughter in ‘Mark of the Vampire’
10.13.2016
01:15 pm

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Actress Carroll Borland in a publicity shot for the 1935 film ‘Mark of the Vampire.’
 
Director Tod Browning’s deeply strange gem from 1935 Mark of the Vampire (alternatively known as “Vampires of Prague” and “Vampires of the Night”) was actually banned in Sweden and Poland following its release for possessing too many gory scenes. In Hungary numerous scenes—especially any that featured bats—were removed, which sort of makes sense given Hungary’s long history with vampire mythology. The film’s tale actually started off a whole lot weirder and part of its incredibly dark and sinister storyline ended up getting slashed.

Browning—who also gave us 1932’s Freaks and 1931’s classic Dracula—directed 62 shorts and films during his career decided to add a layer of WTF to the already off-kilter flick which was adapted from his own 1927 silent film London After Midnight starring another famous movie monster, the great Lon Chaney. Apparently the screenplay had been enhanced and edited by such a large number of writers that at one point it included an incestual father/daughter relationship (noted in the book 2009 book Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Reader’s Guide)  between Lugos’s character of “Count Mora” and the gorgeous Carroll Borland who played the Count’s daughter “Luna.” And since that kind of deviance (according to the screenplay) was against the “Vampire Code of Conduct” Count Mora is sent to live out his days away from the dark world he once inhabited. He then ends up committing suicide by shooting himself in the head out of remorse for his crimes.

In all about fourteen minutes of footage was cut in accordance with the morality police in charge at the time. Though Browning campaigned to keep the footage and storyline intact he wasn’t exactly a studio darling after the massive financial hit the studio took on Freaks a few years prior.

If you’ve never seen Mark of the Vampire, despite its jumpy storyline I highly recommend it to you if for no other reason to see the scene where the gothtastic Ms. Borland flies onto the set with the help of a massive set of white bat wings. A trick that according to reliable folklore took nearly three weeks to nail. Nice.
 

Borland and Bela Lugosi.
 

Borland and Bela.
 
More more more after the jump…

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Intimate photos of David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly & more from the set of ‘Labyrinth’
10.11.2016
08:35 am

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R.I.P.

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A candid moment between David Bowie and his look-alike stuntman Nick Gillard on the set of ‘Labyrinth.’
 
As Halloween approaches I’ve become more and more convinced that this year will bring a cavalcade of David Bowie fans dressed as various personas developed by the Thin White Duke over his long career. Even yours truly is planning on “becoming Bowie” on October 31st and I’m so committed to my quest to look like Aladdin Sane that I’m planning on dying my hair bright red for the occasion. Now that’s dedication.

My month long homage to all things Halloween also includes watching as many horror films that I can fit into a 31-day period (which isn’t a huge departure as I’m actually a year-round die-hard horror film fan) and this year it seemed fitting to throw one of my favorite films into the mix: David Bowie as the unforgettable villain “Jareth” in the 1986 flick Labyrinth. Originally director Jim Henson was seriously considering at other musicians for the role—Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson and Sting (as well as David Lee Roth and Roger Daltrey)—that would ultimately go to Bowie. Henson also gave thought to the idea that the Goblin King should be played by one of his Muppets. According to folklore it came down to Jackson and Bowie and after receiving a handwritten letter penned from Henson along with an early version of the Labyrinth script Bowie became convinced that he should take the role.

As with other movies that have achieved the cult status that Labyrinth has, there’s a fair amount of great behind-the-scenes legends associated with the film. Such as the use of juggler Michael Moschen who was responsible for helping Bowie make it look easy to twirl a crystal ball, and actor Toby Froud who played adorable infant kidnapping victim “Toby” (and the bane of Jennifer Connelly’s teenage existence). Fround actually grew up to be a puppeteer of sorts himself, a natural move as his father Brian Froud was responsible for contributing to the design of the set and the inhabitants of both Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal

Of course if you are of a certain age then you may even remember the massive marketing campaign that produced oddities such as Labyrinth-themed bubble gum (tastes like Hoggle?), a talking door knocker, and a bizarre hot pink phone card (released in Japan) with Bowie and Jennifer Connolly on the front. There was even a sweet belt based on the film that sadly never made it past the prototype phase made by Lee Jeans. The 80s were so goddamn weird and wonderful, weren’t they?

And now to the point of this post which is to show you some fantastic behind-the-scenes photos captured during the filming of Labyrinth (which celebrated its 30th anniversary this past summer) especially ones of our departed hero who has perhaps inspired your Halloween costume this year. In other good news, a new nearly 200 page book Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History promises to take an exhaustively detailed look at every aspect of the film from rare artwork, concept sketches and equally rare photos taken on the set. You can pre-order it here. So in lieu of what wonders the book will reveal I hope you enjoy looking through the images in this post as well as a video of Bowie as “Jareth” and juggler Michael Moschen trying to make Bowie look like he can do mystical things with crystal balls that follows.
 

David Bowie as ‘Jareth (aka, ‘The Goblin King’ the star of the 1986 film, ‘Labyrinth.
 

Jareth and ‘Baby Toby.’
 

35mm contact sheet from ‘Labyrinth.
 
More after the jump…

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