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Celebrity boozehounds hawking hooch: Dennis Hopper, Merle Haggard, Redd Foxx, Sean Connery & more
04.21.2016
09:59 am

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Advertorial
Heroes
Movies
Music

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Print ad featuring Merle Haggard (RIP) for George Dickel Whisky
Print ad featuring Merle Haggard (RIP) for George Dickel Whisky, 1986.
 
Most of the time when our favorite musicians or celebrities appear as though they have “sold-out,” we all breathe a collective sigh of sadness. Such as the time that John Lydon shilled for Country Life Butter (the proceeds from which the crafty Lydon used to fund the creation of PiL’s 2012 album, This is PiL. Take that haters!), or when a part of you died after seeing Bob Dylan in a strange television commercial for Victoria’s Secret in 2004. As was the case with Lydon, it’s not always a bad thing. I mean, even I couldn’t hate on The Cure’s “Pictures of You” (from the band’s brilliant 1989 album, Disintegration) playing in the background of a Hewlett-Packard commercial back in 2003.
 
Dennis Hopper and John Huston for Jim Beam
Dennis Hopper and John Huston for Jim Beam.
 
But back to the point of this post—if there is a more perfect pairing when it comes to commercial endorsements than badass celebrities and musicians pimping out booze, I do not know what it is. And I’m quite sure that many of these vintage ads will have you checking your watch to see if it’s already noon. However, if you’re like me and go by the guideline that it’s always noon somewhere, then congratulations! Because you’re probably on your second Bloody Mary, rationalizing that it’s okay because it’s almost a meal as long as it’s served with olives and celery. Tons of vintage ads for Jim Beam, Smirnoff, Colt 45 and other party liquids, held lovingly by folks such as Merle Haggard (pictured at the top of this post, RIP), Chuck Berry, Dennis Hopper (seen above with director John Huston), Telly Savalas, and two badass ladies—Joan Crawford and Julie Newmar—follow.
 
Julie Newmar in an ad for Smirnoff Vodka, 1966
Julie Newmar in an ad for Smirnoff Vodka, 1966.
 
More celebrity boozehounds hawking hooch (say that in a slurred voice) after the jump…

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J.G. Ballard: The first published profile of the author as a young student in 1951
04.20.2016
09:57 am

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Books
Heroes
Literature

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J.G. Ballard was a 20-year-old medical student in his second year at Cambridge University when he jointly won a crime story competition organized by the local student newspaper Varsity.

Ballard’s story “The Violent Noon” recounted the events of a violent and gory terrorist attack on a British officer and his family during the Malayan War. It has been described as a “Hemingwayesque pastiche” allegedly written to please the judges. According to “an an unsigned summary of the judges’ reasons for picking” Ballard’s story:

‘Violent Noon’ was the most mature story; it contains patches of high tension, the characters come to life, and the ending is brilliant in its cynicism. The author should, however, avoid a tendency to preach.

The Violent Noon” was Ballard’s first published work. When it appeared in Varsity on Saturday 26th May, 1951, the paper printed a profile of the author—which included Ballard’s first ever published interview:

J. Graham Ballard who shares the first prize of ten pounds with D. S. Birley in the “Varsity” Crime Story Competition is now in his second year at King’s and immersed in the less literary process of reading medicine.

He admitted to our reporter yesterday that he had in fact entered the competition more for the prize than anything else, although he had been encouraged to go on writing because of his success.

The idea for his short story which deals with the problem of Malayan terrorism, he informs us, he had been thinking over for some time before hearing of the competition.

He had, in addition to writing short stories, also planned “mammoth novels” which “never get beyond the first page.”

 
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What these “mammoth novels” were about one can now only imagine. It was four years since Ballard had returned to England from internment at a Japanese P.O.W. camp—the horrors of which were filtered through his work as he later said:

The experience of war is deeply corrupting. Anybody who witnesses years of brutality can’t help but lose a sense of the tragedy and mystery of death. I’m sure that happened to me. The 16-year-old who came to England after the war carried this freight of ‘matter-of-factness about death’. So spending two years dissecting cadavers was a way of reminding me of the reality of death itself, and gave me back a respect for life.

Ballard harbored plans to become a psychiatrist. But this was quickly dropped after his success with “The Violent Noon.” He quit his medical studies at Cambridge and enrolled at Queen Mary University, London to study English Literature.
 
More on young Ballard plus full documentary, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Stained glass windows of Aleister Crowley, Serge Gainsbourg, Johnny Cash, JG Ballard & many more
04.15.2016
02:27 pm

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Art
Heroes

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In 2010 and 2011 the English artist Neal Fox executed an utterly gorgeous series of stained-glass windows in imitation of the iconography of saints found in cathedrals all over Europe. The series included Johnny Cash, J.G. Ballard, Hunter S. Thompson, Albert Hofmann, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Serge Gainsbourg, Aleister Crowley, William S. Burroughs, Billie Holiday, and Francis Bacon.

Now, it’s perfectly possible that you will see these images and think, “Wow, those paintings in the stained-glass style are awesome.” So it’s important to emphasize that these are not paintings, Fox actually created the stained-glass windows themselves—in fact, he worked with traditional methods “at the renowned Franz Mayer of Munich manufacturer” in order to produce a dozen windows, each using leaded stained glass in a steel frame and standing 2.5 meters tall.

Put them all together in a room, as the Daniel Blau gallery in London did in 2011, and you have “an alternative church of alternative saints.” Here is what that room looked like:
 

 
The Daniel Blau show was called “Beware of the God.” Alongside the well-known provocateurs and trouble-makers like Crowley and Hawkins is a figure that might challenge even the most astute student of antiheroes, a man named John Watson. Far from the complacent invention of Arthur Conan Doyle, this John Watson is the artist’s grandfather, described by his loving grandson as a “hell raiser” and “a World War II bomber pilot, chat show host, writer and publisher, who in his post war years sought solace in Soho’s bohemian watering holes.”

Quoting the Daniel Blau exhibition notes:
 

As traditional church windows show the iconography of saints, through representations of events in their lives, instruments of martyrdom and iconic motifs, Fox plays with the symbolism of each character’s cult of personality; Albert Hoffman takes a psychedelic bicycle ride above the LSD molecule, J G Ballard dissects the world, surrounded by 20th Century imagery and the eroticism of the car crash, and Johnny Cash holds his inner demon in chains after a religious experience in Nickerjack cave.

 
You can order prints of some of these images for £150 each (about $214).
 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

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The making of ‘The Shining’: ‘A lot of things have happened in this particular hotel’
04.15.2016
09:52 am

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Heroes
Movies

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Authors hate it when filmmakers fuck around with their work. They see the word as paramount and everything else subservient to it. Take Stephen King. He hated it when Stanley Kubrick fucked around with his book The Shining. Which is surprising as Kubrick’s movie greatly adds to King’s novel.

King sweated a lot blood writing The Shining. The story was as much about the his own personal addictions as it was about some haunted hotel. I like King. I like King a lot, and think he’s due a lot more respect as a writer than he gets. And though I generally prefer King’s books to the films, in the case of The Shining I will always opt for Kubrick’s movie rather than for King’s book.

The reason is simple: Where King filled pages with backstory and character motivation—making everything neat and tidy and very, very explainable—Kubrick left his adaptation of The Shining open—allowing the horror to seep in.

Where King has a genius for storytelling and plot, Kubrick had a genius for making deeply intelligent, visually stunning, multi-layered films that only reveal the director’s full mastery of his art after successive viewings. If ever.
 
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Barkeep, I’ll have a Jack and Coke.
 
The Shining is probably the most discussed and obsessed over movie Kubrick made—though maybe it’s run pretty by 2001: A Space Odyssey. Theories about the film range from coded confessions about the Moon landings to the “narrative of a murder” embedded in the film, to Kubrick’s interest in the Jungian duality of human nature—as seen through the set designs, motifs and parallel characters to a critique of history—the failure to learn from past experience—as the caretaker Hallorann explains to Danny in the film:

A lot of things have happened in this particular hotel, over the years, and not all of ‘em good.

Kubrick was fastidious in making The Shining. Originally scheduled as a seventeen-week shoot, the production went on for fourteen months. That’s around 200 filming days. According to the film studio, Kubrick shot 1.3 million feet of film—roughly a shooting ratio of 120:1. Most movies have a 5:1 or 12:1 shooting ratio—so you get an idea of justhow picky Mr. K was when filming.
 
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Kubrick shot and reshot scenes time and again. There was genius at work in this seeming profligate madness. Jack Nicholson always gave a brilliant first take. Then Kubrick would ask for another, then another—anything up to one hundred takes before he was satisfied. This meant, Nicholson’s performance varied the longer the filming process went on. In the edit, Kubrick often chose the more over the top performances, which he then countered with one where Nicholson underplayed. The juxtaposition of two differing styles highlighted the growing split in Nicholson’s character—revealing the internal battle between good and evil. But let’s be clear—this was Jack Nicholson who supplied the performances, the raw material—not the director.

Kubrick used different psychological techniques to obtain the performances he wanted from his cast. He was particularly hard on Shelley Duvall, who he berated and criticized during filming—though Duvall delivered one of her most memorable performances. Much of Kubrick’s techniques was captured by his daughter Vivian Kubrick, in her documentary film The Making of ‘The Shining’—which followed Stanley Kubrick, Nicholson, Duvall, the other cast and crew members during the long interminable weeks of filming at Pinewood and Elstree Studios.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Watch Burt Reynolds and the Muppets on the unaired pilot for ‘The Orson Welles Show,’ 1978
04.14.2016
10:34 am

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Heroes
Television

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Between the twin humiliations of his frozen peas and Paul Masson commercials, and unable to finish his last feature The Other Side of the Wind, Orson Welles found himself on an LA soundstage with Burt Reynolds, wearing matching red shirts with enormous collars and chatting about showbiz for a TV pilot. This was Welles’ shot at hosting a talk show. There were no takers.

Like much of the great director’s work, The Orson Welles Show was made on the cheap, and if no one will confuse this unloved project with Chimes at Midnight, it’s not because Welles was slacking. In Orson Welles Remembered, the show’s editor, Stanley Sheff, says that he got the job by offering to work for free for three days, which “turned into a year of collaboration with Mr. Welles on The Orson Welles Show.” That’s right: according to Sheff, he and Welles put in a year of eight-hour days editing this 74-minute program on video, “working weekends and holidays when required.” Compare this with Citizen Kane, which started post-production in November 1940 and was first screened in January 1941.
 

 
Did I mention The Orson Welles Show was cheaply made? The budget was such that Sheff had to wear three hats, filling in for Welles as director for a few inserts and playing the part of the violinist in the big finish with Angie Dickinson. And according to the notes on YouTube, it’s not just the canned laughter that makes the lengthy interview with Reynolds (roughly the first half of the show) seem so odd:

Audience questions for the Burt Reynolds Q&A session were scripted, with members of the audience given line readings - this was necessary, as unlike normal talk shows filmed with a multiple-camera setup, the low-budget show was filmed with only one camera, and so it was necessary to do multiple retakes to get multiple camera angles.

The second half of the show runs at a higher gear. Welles intones something about “the unfathomable antiquity of ancient Egypt.” Fozzie Bear gets flop sweat doing his “A material” during the Muppets’ bit, which leads into an interview with Jim Henson (“think Rasputin as an Eagle Scout,” Welles says) and Frank Oz. But it’s the last fifteen minutes of the show that are pure Welles. Fans of F for Fake will discern a strong formal resemblance between that film and the elaborate magic tricks that close The Orson Welles Show; I’m guessing this is where all those hours in the editing room went.
 
Watch the pilot for ‘The Orson Welles Show’ after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Derek Jarman: The iconoclast filmmaker as painter
04.13.2016
10:02 am

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Art
Heroes
Movies
Queer

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Derek Jarman became a filmmaker by accident. He was originally a painter, an artist who started making home movies with friends at his Bankside home in London. These Super-8 films slowly evolved into movies and one of the most exciting, original and provocative filmmakers since Ken Russell arrived. During a seventeen-year career Jarman made eleven feature films—from the Latin and sand romp Sebastiane through his punk movie Jubilee (1978) to Caravaggio (1986) and the final one color movie Blue. During all of this time, the artist, director, writer, gardener and diarist painted.

Jarman was a student the Slade School of Art in the 1960s where he was taught—like everyone else—to be an “individual.” Jarman felt he was already managing that quite well in that department without being told how. He left art school and worked as a set designer with Ken Russell—most spectacularly on The Devils in 1971 and then Savage Messiah in 1973. His painting career splits into different sections; his early work reflected his interest in landscape, form and color—something which would recur in his films—his later work reflecting his more personal experience. However, as he began making films Jarman shifted from using paint to creating pictures with celluloid.

His return to painting came after his HIV diagnosis in 1986, when he produced a series of Black Paintings—collages made from objects found on the beach at his cottage in Dungeness. He placed these objects on an oily black background—similar to the contrasting black of the tableaux he used in Caravaggio the same year.

As his condition worsened, Jarman painted larger, more abstract canvases. He given a room to paint in where he splashed the canvas with thick bright paints and scrolling words and statements. His influence came from his life, his own films and the work of Jackson Pollock. The brightness and color of the paintings were a defiance in the face of illness.
 
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‘Landscape with Marble Mountain’ (1967).
 
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‘Landscape with a Blue Pool’ (1967).
 
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‘Avesbury’ III (1973).
 
More of Derek Jarman’s paintings after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Watch Hunter S. Thompson exchanging gunfire with his neighbors over their cows
04.11.2016
10:58 am

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Amusing
Heroes
R.I.P.

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Hunter S. Thompson engaged in a dispute with typewritter at his Woody Creek estate the Owl Farm in Colorado
Hunter S. Thompson engaged in a dispute with a typewriter at his Woody Creek estate, the ‘Owl Farm’ in Colorado.
 
In this gonzo video that very much typifies a day in the life of the great Hunter S. Thompson, we get to see the Dr. Gonzo in his natural setting engaging in a gun battle with his neighbors over what appears to be a dispute concerning his neighbor’s cows. Because this is how disputes are settled when you’re Hunter S. Thompson.
 
The legendary living room at Hunter S. Thompson's Woody Creek estate, the Owl Farm
The legendary living room at Hunter S. Thompson’s home
 
The incident took place at Thompson 42.5-acre estate in Woody Creek, Colorado called the “Owl Farm.” A mythical place where Thompson once blew up a Jeep after loading it with dynamite and gasoline. It is also the place where Thompson sadly took his own life on February 20th, 2005. If things go according to plan Thompson’s widow, Anita, will soon turn part of the estate into a museum. Which is why she has left many of the rooms (such as the living room pictured above) at the Owl Farm virtually the way they were over a decade ago when Thompson took leave of this world.

Glorious footage of the great Hunter S. Thompson behaving exactly as you would expect him to, otherwise known as badly, follows.
 

Footage of Hunter S. Thompson engaged in a gun battle with his Woody Creek neighbors, apparently over cows.

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Gentle Giant: Rosey Grier’s ‘Needlepoint for Men,’ 1973
04.08.2016
09:49 am

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Books
Heroes
History
Sports

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I never realized what an awesome role model Rosey Grier was to kids—and to full grown men who enjoy needlepoint—in the 1970s. Really Rosey? (See what I did there? No?) I mean, how many former NFL players can you name who wrote books on needlepoint and sang songs like “It’s Alright To Cry”? None probably.

More than anything, Grier was showing that it was okay for young males to be in touch with their softer side and that there was nothin’ shameful about expressing emotions like crying. What a stellar message to get across, especially in the early 1970s when I’d imagine it was a lot tougher for even a former NFL tackle to get that message out without laughter and ridicule.

Rosey Grier is 83 years old now, and an ordained minister who keeps up a brisk pace of public service. He is the last surviving member of the Fearsome Foursome. As a bodyguard for Ethyl Kennedy during the 1968 presidential primaries, when RFK was assassinated, it was Rosey Grier who took control of the gun and subdued, Sirhan Sirhan.

Let’s also not forget his guest star turns on Dora Hall specials or his co-starring role in 1972’s The Thing With Two Heads (Ray Milland plays a rich white racist who has his head transplanted onto the body of a death-row inmate played by Grier.)
 

 

 
More Rosey after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Footage of Keith Moon crashing a Led Zeppelin gig then jamming with the band in 1977
04.07.2016
08:49 am

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Amusing
Heroes
Music

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Keith Moon sitting at John Bonham's drum kit while Jimmy Page looks on, June 23rd, 1977
Keith Moon sitting at John Bonham’s drum kit while Jimmy Page looks on, June 23rd, 1977.
 
While many (most?) drunken escapades end up badly—but especially when they’re taking place in front of thousands of people—the time The Who’s antic-prone timekeeper Keith Moon crashed a Led Zeppelin gig in 1977, was thankfully not such an occasion.
 
Keith Moon and Robert Plant on stage at the Forum in Los Angeles, June 23, 1977
Keith Moon and Robert Plant on stage at the Forum in Los Angeles, June 23, 1977.
 
Keith Moon sitting behind John Bonham's mythical drum kit, June 23, 1977
Keith Moon sitting behind John Bonham’s mythical drum kit, June 23, 1977.
 
On June 23rd, 1977, the perpetually drunk Keith Moon unexpectedly joined Led Zeppelin onstage at the Forum in Los Angeles, along with his bongos and a tambourine during “Moby Dick” and the band’s encore. At one point after Moon’s impromptu materialization, he commandeered Robert Plant’s microphone and began to regale the crowd before Plant, who was chopping away behind Bonham’s kit, shut him down.

The action with Moon, who engages in what I can only describe as an awesome “drum duel” of sorts with Bonham, starts at about 5:40. Sadly, it would turn out to be the last time Moon would perform on U.S. soil as he passed away just over a year later in September of 1978 at the all-too-young age of 32. Bonzo wouldn’t last that much longer himself, dying in his sleep on September 24, 1980. He was also just 32 years old.

After the jump, watch footage of Keith Moon crashing Led Zeppelin’s party at the Los Angeles Forum in 1977…

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Found: Lost behind-the-scenes Polaroids from ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’
04.06.2016
09:19 am

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Heroes
Movies

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Imagine traveling home one night and finding a set of behind-the-scenes photos from one of your favorite shows. Well, something like that did happen to Brady Marter, who later uploaded his prized find onto the Collector’s Weekly site:

Founds these on the platform of the C train in TriBeCa in 2011. They are photos of Tim Curry and the cast of Rocky Horror during the making of the film. Some have writing on the back and Frankenfurter kissed the back of one.

Obviously, these beauties from The Rocky Horror Show weren’t just deliberately discarded or tossed out with the garbage, but were accidentally dropped by collector Larry Viezel who posted on the site:

These were part of a collection I bought from someone in New Mexico. These were used in making The Rocky Horror Scrapbook. I had it shipped to my office (I worked on the corner of Hudson and Canal) and was taking them home. A bunch fell out of my bag and I picked them up. When I got home I realized I missed one. Looks like I missed more than one! If it’s any proof, I’d be happy to show you the rest of the collection.

Thankfully, the story does have a happy ending. Larry had his lost photos returned shortly after they appeared on Collector’s Weekly, as he exclusively tells Dangerous Minds:

The guy that found them was working just a few blocks away from where I was working in Manhattan at the time on Hudson Street when I lost them. But he had since moved to the south. He was very gracious and returned them. I was incredibly grateful. He asked if he could keep one of them - the photo of the model of the church. I was happy to oblige. The photos are now back with the rest of my collection. I am very happy to have them back!

Here are those lost and found Polaroids from Larry’s collection featuring Tim Curry trying on his costume for Dr. Frankenfurter, some sets and other cast members (Richard O’Brien) from the production of The Rocky Horror Show.
 
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More, plus a behind-the scenes documentary on ‘Rocky Horror’ from 1975, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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