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Bizarre Cold War documents: Weird vintage nuclear test ‘participation certificates’
07.24.2015
11:50 am

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History

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Operation Gnome, New Mexico, 1961
 
The world owes Flickr user Kelly Michals a debt of gratitude for saving these marvelous “participation certificates” from oblivion. Michals has put together an extensive Flickr album to house more than 100 of these amazing and weird documents of the Cold War. You might think of nuclear testing as an activity associated with, say, 1954, but these documents cover a startlingly wide time span, from 1951 into the early 1970s, at least that I found.

In a way, these items are a bit like fallout shelters, an optimistic and probably futile gesture in the face of the most hopeless situation you could imagine, nuclear bombs created to wipe out entire continents. The nuclear tests had amusing names like Operation Milkshake and the documents have something of the naive artistic value of the CB radio calling cards we highlighted a couple weeks back.

There are a lot more of these at Michals’ Flickr album, so do go there and have a look. All of the images on this page, you can see a larger image by clicking on it,
 

Project Ranger, Nevada, 1951
 

Frenchman Flats, Nevada, 1953
 

Operation Teapot, Nevada, 1955
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Trollface Hitler in a Fedora,’ Hitler in dorky short pants and other photos banned by the Nazis
07.16.2015
06:36 am

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Fashion
History

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Adolf Hitler, wearing a fedora, and looking remarkably like the Internet “trollface” meme is but one of several photos published in the new book The Rise of Hitler Illustrated that were purportedly “banned” by the Nazis for being unflattering to Der Führer.

Vintage Everyday reports that the photographs are from an early propaganda pamphlet titled Deutschland Erwache (Germany Awaken) written in the 1930s that Hitler later disliked. An English soldier found the photos and his family hung on to them for years. Now the photos are available for the world to see what a dork Hitler looked like in short pants.


“It keeps das hair dry in der shower.”
 

Hitler banned this picture of his ‘steely glare’ fearing it made him look stupid. It did.
 

“Hitler despised this ‘undignified’ picture of him in short trousers.” His knees must be so cold.
 

 

Not Hugo Boss’ best work.
 
More Hitler hijinks after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Meet David Weinstein, the 18-year-old kid who opened Live Aid
07.13.2015
06:02 am

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History
Music

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David Weinstein (a/k/a Bernard Watson) on stage at Live Aid
 
On July 13th, 1985, Live Aid, the largest concert event ever staged, was held. Taking place at stadiums in both London and Philadelphia, the charity concerts were broadcast to a global audience. The performers, some of the biggest rock and pop stars of the day, helped raise millions of dollars for the starving people of Ethiopia. Amidst this massive event, filled with star-studded performances and reunions of rock royalty, is a small story about a kid from Florida, who through sheer determination found himself on stage in Philadelphia, opening Live Aid.
 
Live Aid poster
 
David Weinstein was eighteen years old and had recently graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School when he took a trip during the summer of 1985. Leaving with his acoustic guitar, a Texaco gas card, and not much else, David made his way northeast in his Oldsmobile. He visited friends in Maine and New Jersey, though the main purpose of his trip was to travel to Pennsylvania to try to convince Bill Graham, the legendary concert promoter and organizer of Live Aid in Philadelphia, to let him on the bill. David attempted to achieve such a seemingly impossible goal simply because he liked the idea of the concerts and wanted to be a part of it. Before he left, he recorded a demo tape of a few of his original songs at his school’s studio. As the tape started rolling, David uttered these words: “Dear Mr. Graham, I would like to begin the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia with this song.” Doug Burris, David’s music teacher, who was recording the session, picks up the story:

I asked him what was going on and he informed me that that’s exactly what he was going to do. Knowing that David was a little unorthodox, spontaneous and driven, I did not ask any further questions, said ‘Ok,’ and finished the session.

One of David’s songs, “Interview,” includes the line, “I’m going to get lucky or I’m going to die trying.”
 
David waits
David waits for his big break.

I recently spoke with David, and he told me that he arrived at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia ten days before Live Aid would take place, looking for Bill Graham. He managed to worke his way into to the area where the stage was being built, and it was there that he spotted Mr. Graham. “That’s Bill Graham,” he said to himself, “That’s the man I came to see.” Unsurprisingly, Graham asked him who he was and what was he doing there. David explained his intentions and handed over his demo tape. A day or two later, Graham came out to the parking lot where David was camped out in his car. Graham said he liked the material, but that David’s singing and guitar playing needed work. Undeterred, David asked if he could play for him, right there in the parking lot. Graham left, but a few hours later, someone brought a prime rib dinner out to him—surely a good sign. Graham came out again, this time bringing along a reporter from Rolling Stone, and David played Bob Dylan’s “All I Really Want To Do.” Afterwards, Graham said, “I’ll get back to you.” Incredibly, David did indeed get the nod from Mr. Graham, and would kick off the U.S. edition of Live Aid. When David called Mr. Burris to tell him that it was actually happening, his music teacher didn’t believe him and advised that he see a psychiatrist. But David wasn’t delusional, and soon Mr. Burris and members of the Weinstein family were on their way to Philadelphia.

More after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Rock starts: Your favorite rock stars when they were children
06.29.2015
12:04 pm

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History
Music
Pop Culture

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Nick Cave
 
This morning, my husband sent me the above baby Nick Cave photos for a chuckle (talk about a “bad seed” wonk wonk). For whatever reason, it became my mission, dear Dangerous Minds readers to find even more photos of rock starts (that was a typo, but I’m leaving it) as children. So, yeah, this what I’ve spent my morning doing. YOU’RE WELCOME.

We were all babies once, you know!


Debbie Harry (who turns 70 on July 1!)
 

David Bowie
 

Dolly Parton
 

Brian Eno
 

Kathleen Hanna
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Furious idiot rails at NBC affiliate for changing its peacock logo to the ‘colors of gays’
06.29.2015
10:37 am

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History
Queer
Television

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If you were paying any attention to the news on Friday, the big day when the Supreme Court handed down its decision banning state-level curbs on gay marriage, thus making gay marriage legal in all 50 states, it seemed that everything was coming up rainbows, from the White House and Niagara Falls to Disney World and One World Trade Center, and that’s not even mentioning approximately 57% of the user icons on my Facebook feed, and I’m betting yours as well.

Of course, the ruling elicited, in addition to unmeasured outpourings of joy and exultation, plenty of expressions of feckless, petulant resistance from those who are not on board, or not on board yet, with the concept of gay marriage. Starting with the Justices themselves, Justice Scalia just about blew a gasket, claiming that now the United States “does not deserve to be called a democracy” (?!) and Chief Justice Roberts, curiously, wrung his hands over the fact that the “the proponents of same-sex marriage” had “lost, and lost forever ... the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause.”

As if it were the responsibility of oppressed people to go without their fundamental rights so that ........ bigots can have some kind of edifying teachable moment? That’s the best I can do with it. Today it was reported that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is now insisting that county clerks in Texas have the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples if the clerk has a religious objection to same-sex marriage, which frankly ushers in a bizarre new chapter in legal theory (“I’m sorry, I can’t serve you alcohol at this bar, I’m a Muslim…...”).

Anyway, of all the spittle produced in behalf of monolithically hetero weddings, my favorite is probably the bit of outrage produced by Don Stair, most likely a resident of Arkansas, who, confronted with images of celebratory rainbows everywhere, decided to reach out and let a local TV affiliate know that he disagreed with their choice to join the bandwagon and switch to a rainbow logo. The problem is, the channel in question was KARK, an affiliate of NBC, and their logo is a rainbow peacock, exactly the same as it has been for literally decades.

Here was Stair’s message, on Facebook, as displayed by KARK:
 

(Screenshot via KARK 4 News on Facebook)
 
With admirable economy, KARK responded to its viewer’s outrage in the following manner:
 

 
The NBC peacock logo has actually been around since 1956, predating even Ellen DeGeneres, the Village People, Stonewall, and Dan Savage. Soon enough, some of KARK’s more liberal viewers joined in to make fun of Stair:

 

 

 

 
via Addicting Info
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Top Secret: The goofy retro ‘undercover’ fashion guide for East German secret police spies
06.25.2015
07:44 am

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Fashion
History

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“Ostalgie” is a German portmanteau of “Ost,” meaning “East,” and “nostalgie,” meaning “nostalgia,” because yes—many former East Germans remember life under communism quite fondly, and for a variety of reasons. There’s obviously some sentimentalism regarding one’s youth, (oppressive government or not, people like to reminisce on their salad days), but there was also distinctly East German culture, community, art and aesthetics. Combine all that with low unemployment and the absence of destitute poverty, of course people will miss some aspects of the lives they led on the other side of the Wall. This is not to say there isn’t an ambivalence to Ostalgie; for example, I doubt anyone much misses the Stasi.

The Stasi—the East German secret police and intelligence service—were notoriously covert, despite their massive numbers. In 1989, they employed 91,015 full-time agents and 173,081 informants—that’s 1.6% of the population of a country of 16.1 million. Now all the information on the Stasi has been declassified, and you can actually look at their materials in the utterly fascinating book, Top Secret: Images from the Stasi Archives. You can see documentation of training, raids and spy equipment, but my favorite part is the extensive collection of fashion recommendations for undercover agents.

There is a strange Ostalgie to the comically retro hair and clothes, but the sheer exhaustiveness of fashion represented is amazing. Some—like the above—actually manage to look like a farcical cartoon of a spy, an impression I assume didn’t resonate as such in East Germany. Others—like the one below—actually mimicked tourists, which is arguably even more conspicuous than a flashy fur coat. It’s when the looks are less ostentatious, though—reservedly classy ladies, hip youths clad in blue jeans and leather jackets, work uniforms etc.—that the photos feel truly ominous; these are people you’d never pick out of a crowd, people you’d never even notice. They might even be—and probably were—your neighbors.
 

 

 

 
More from the top secret Stasi “look book” after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Exotic dancers of the 1890s
06.18.2015
01:52 pm

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Dance
Feminism
History

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I love these photographs dated around 1890 of popular burlesque performers in their heyday. What you notice immediately is how different they look from today’s standards of exotic dancers. No breast implants, collagen injections, butt implants, lip injections, cheek implants, liposuction and this damned list could go on and on…. Of course those options didn’t exist back then, so who really knows if any of these women would have opted to surgically change themselves.

I just dig these specific women who are totally comfortable in their own natural skin whilst celebrating their beauty, femininity and sexuality. They’re refreshing.


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Documenting madness: Female patients of the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum
06.17.2015
07:29 am

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History
Science/Tech

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000patimenhos19th000.jpg
 
Among the early pioneers of photography in the 1800s was a middle-aged English doctor called Hugh Welch Diamond, who believed photography could be used in the diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill. Diamond first established his medical career with a private practice in Soho, London, before specializing in psychiatry and becoming Resident Superintendent of the Female Department at the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in 1848—a position he held until 1858. Diamond was an early adopter of photography, taking his first portraits just three months after Henry Fox Talbot licensed his “salt print” process for producing “photogenic drawings.” As a follower of “physiognomics”—a popular science based on the theory that disease (and character) could be discerned from an individual’s features or physiognomy—Diamond believed photography could be used as a curative therapy.

In documenting madness, Diamond was following on from his predecessor at Surrey County, Sir Alexander Morison who had produced a book of illustrations by various artists depicting patients at the asylum called The Physiognomy of Mental Diseases in 1838. Diamond believed the book was not scientific as the drawings were mainly illustrative interpretations of what the artist saw and could therefore veer towards caricature. He believed that the camera was the only way in which doctors could document illness without taint of prejudice:

The Metaphysician and Moralist, the Physician and Physiologist will approach such an inquiry with their peculiar views, definitions and classifications—The Photographer needs in many cases no aid from any language of his own, but prefers to listen, with the picture before him, to the silent but telling language of nature.

Between 1848-58, Diamond photographed the women patients at Surrey County, taking their portraits against a curtained wall or canvas screen. He became convinced he was able to diagnose a patient’s mental illness from their photographic portrait and then use the image as a therapeutic cure to sanity—the idea being the patient would be able to recognize the sickness in their features. As evidence of this, he cited his success with one patient who he had used the process on:

Her subsequent amusement in seeing the portraits and her frequent conversation about them was the first decided step in her gradual improvement, and about four months ago she was discharged perfectly cured, and laughed heartily at her former imaginations…

Convinced he had found a possible cure to mental illness, Diamond presented a paper “On the Application of Photography to the Physiognomic and Mental Phenomena of Insanity” to the Royal Society of Medicine in May 1856, in which he explained his theories. While many scientists and doctors saw the merit in Diamond’s propositions, they were eventually dismissed as “pseudo-science,” “snake oil” and “quackery.” However, the belief in physiognomy as a form of scientific empiricism was developed by police detective, biometrics researcher and inventor of the mugshot, Alphonse Bertillon, who devised a system of anthropometry for classifying criminals. This was later dropped in favor of fingerprinting and later DNA.

Diamond’s ideas on the diagnostic and curative nature of photography have long been discredited, however, he is now best remembered as a pioneer of psychiatric photography.

During his time at Surrey County, Diamond was able to document most of the female patients as the asylum was a public institution, which meant the patients had no rights to privacy. It’s interesting to note that when he left Surrey for a privately run asylum in Twickenham, Diamond was not permitted to take patients’ portraits. The following is a selection of Diamond’s portraits of the patients at Surrey County Asylum, more can be seen here. Alas, I was unable to find details to the identities of the sitters or their illnesses.
 
001patimenhos19th001.jpg
 
002patimenhos19th002.jpg
 
003patimenhos003.jpg
 
More portraits after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
50 years ago today Bob Dylan totally blew our minds with ‘Like a Rolling Stone’
06.16.2015
11:23 am

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History
Music

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It was 50 years ago today that one of the truly momentous events in rock history took place when Bob Dylan recorded “Like A Rolling Stone” in New York City at Columbia Records’ Studio A. Within weeks of its release on July 15, 1965, the song became a massive hit, where it nestled on the Billboard charts for several months.

“Like Rolling Stone” was a game changer. It opened the doors for a new kind of music that fused folk with electric rock and brought a kind of sophisticated lyricism to top 40 radio that hadn’t really been heard up until then. The only comparable rock and roll word-slinger was Chuck Berry. To my ears, Berry was Walt Whitman to Dylan’s William Blake. You’re free to pick your own bards.


Dylan in Studio A.

I remember hearing “Like A Rolling Stone” for the first time in the kitchen of my childhood home when I was 14 years old. The memory is as vivid as most of the life-changing moments of my life, which generally revolve around sex, drugs and rock and roll. When the song came on the cheesy plastic radio in our kitchen, time stopped and I was swept up inside some sort of mystical swoon that was mind-expanding and emotionally transformative. I didn’t realize it at the time but this was one of those moments that sent me down Blake’s road of excess where “you never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.” I have yet to to find, on a spiritual or intellectual level, “what is more than enough.”  And I hope I don’t. It was Dylan, among a handful of other visionaries, that got me searching.

Here’s Dylan performing “Like A Rolling Stone” at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965. He’s roundly booed by a vocal majority of folk music squares. Others in the crowd, were quite aware, however, that they were watching the future of rock and roll.
 


‘The Homosexuals’: Mike Wallace interviews Gore Vidal & early gay rights activists, 1967
06.15.2015
06:37 am

Topics:
History
Queer

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Gore Vidal and Mike Wallace 11 years later, in 1978. Vidal later resented television appearances, saying he was forced to do TV because no one read anymore.

1967 was an intense year for gay activism. In the UK, the the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 decriminalized gay sex for men over the age of 21 in England and Wales (No mention of lesbians?). In the US, however, only Illinois had revoked its sodomy laws That’s it. Illinois. Until the next decade it was just, “Hey, enjoy your one state! Hope you like the midwest, homos!” The 10th Amendment aside, gay activism was gaining more traction and publicity in the US, and this amazing little edition of CBS Reports—subtly titled “The Homosexuals”—was a pretty groundbreaking piece for gay men, despite its conservative conclusions.

Mike Wallace does a great job with the interviews. There’s a tragic one with an anonymous man on probation who had already been to jail three times for “committing homosexual acts.” Wallace says he’s “in therapy,” and the man identifies himself as “sick,” alluding to a domineering mother as the source of his sexuality. There’s a fantastic interview with Gore Vidal too, but my favorite is the representative from The Mattachine Society, an early gay rights group whose stated goals were:

1) Unify homosexuals isolated from their own kind
2) Educate homosexuals and heterosexuals toward an ethical homosexual culture paralleling the cultures of the Negro, Mexican and Jewish peoples
3) Lead the more socially conscious homosexual to provide leadership to the whole mass of social variants
4) Assist gays who are victimized daily as a result of oppression.

During an era where “identity politics” was just getting started, this was an incredibly sophisticated set of political objectives. The Mattachine Society had already been around since 1950, and the group’s original organizing principles were based on the Communist Party’s. Most the the original members were active communists, and founder Harry Hay actually recommended his own expulsion from the the party, which did not technically allow gay members. (They actually ended up dismissing him for security reasons, but declaring him a “Lifelong Friend of the People.”)

This little documentary really covers a range of self-acceptance, from the man who believed himself to be sick to the open and unashamed Vidal and the Mattachine members. Wallace however, makes his opinions clear, saying matter-of-factly:

The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous. He is not interested or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His sex life, his love life, consists of a series of one-chance encounters at the clubs and bars he inhabits. And even on the streets of the city — the pick-up, the one night stand, these are characteristics of the homosexual relationship.

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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