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She got straight LSDs on her report card: Mountain Girl’s ‘Acid Test’ diploma

Mountain Girl
A graduation is something to be proud of, a milestone, and the sometimes very expensive piece of paper you get in return for graduating, while clearly not the one-way ticket to paid employment that everyone told you it would be, is at least a tangible reminder of all that effort you put in and the money you spent. Rarely, however, does the signifying document itself hold any actual monetary value, unless of course your diploma stands as testament to your Acid Test graduation. Something to be proud of, indeed!

In 2012, a rare diploma granted to “Mountain Girl” went up for auction in San Francisco and ultimately took in $24,255. The diploma was of interest to collectors for two reasons. For one thing Mountain Girl, born Carolyn Adams, was a one-time Merry Prankster and significant other to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey. She had a daughter with Kesey and later married Jerry Garcia with whom she had two more girls. The diplomas, illustrated by fellow Merry Prankster and cartoonist Paul Foster were also a rarity, having been given out to only a handful of people by beat hero Neal Cassady himself at what turned out to be an unintentionally small gathering of heads. According to the auction house that sold the artifact, they have almost never shown up for sale for obvious reasons.
Mountain Girl and Jerry Garcia
Mountain Girl and Jerry Garcia
Anybody familiar with Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (or basically anybody who knows anything at all about the history of United States counterculture) knows that the Acid Tests were wild LSD-fueled parties thrown at Ken Kesey’s LaHonda ranch in the mid 60’s and I’m not going to get into any more description here. If you don’t already know about the whole trippy phenomena, use whatever device you’re currently on and look it up

The graduation ceremony was originally scheduled to be held on Halloween night, 1966 at Bill Graham’s Winterland in San Francisco with the Grateful Dead headlining, but the event was canceled when Graham caught wind of Kesey’s supposed plan to covertly dose every single person who showed up, either through the water supply or by coating all the surfaces in the building with LSD. The Dead took another gig at California Hall, which trumped the actual Acid Test Graduation that ended up taking place in a San Francisco warehouse with no running water. Mountain Girl was at the California Hall gig with the Dead and crew when the diplomas were handed out and she unceremoniously received hers after the fact. 

Here it is in all its glory. Click on the image to see it close up.
Mountain Girl Diploma
Mountain Girl’s Acid Test Diploma
Below, you’ll find footage of the Acid Test Graduation Ceremony from 1966. You can see the diplomas being handed out by Neal Cassady towards the beginning.

via Collector’s Weekly

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Don’t mess with these hot mamas: Vintage photos of badass Roller Derby Girls
01:25 pm

Pop Culture

roller derby

Here are some vintage photos ranging from the early 1940s to 1970s of women’s roller derby competitions. As you can see by the images, these women ain’t takin’ no shit while they’re on their skates. It’s hardcore stuff.

I tried to add captions to photos I could find information on. I also included a movie trailer at the bottom of this post for the 1972 film Kansas City Bomber starring Raquel Welch. Because RAQUEL WELCH ON ROLLER SKATES! Honestly, what more could you want?


Chicago, IL. 1948


Midge Brasuhn of the Brooklynites
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Empire of Drugs: Vintage ads for when cocaine and heroin were legal

Pope Leo XIII’s longevity as Pontiff of the Catholic Church (the third longest in church history) may have been down to his favourite tipple Vin Mariani. Pope Leo was so enamoured by this French tonic wine it is claimed he kept a hip flask hidden under his cassock, so he could enjoy the occasional snifter to perk up his spirits—which it undoubtedly did, as Vin Mariani was a heady mix of Bordeaux wine and coca leaves. The original drink had 6mg of cocaine per fluid ounce, which went up to 7.2mg per fluid ounce for the export market—mainly to compete with similar coke-filled tonics—such as Coca-Cola—sold in the USA.

It was claimed that Mariani wine could quickly restore “health, strength, energy and vitality,” and hastened convalescence (“especially after influenza”). In one of their ads, His Holiness the Spokesmodel decreed:

...that he has fully appreciated the benefit of this Tonic Wine, and has forwarded to Mr. Mariani as a token of his gratitude a gold medal bearing his august effigy.

Talk about a celebrity endorsement, eh? If God’s representative on Earth approved of the coca-infused tipple, that would have been quite a boon in marketing terms.
Cocaine enhanced drinks were common in the late 1800s, and there is an academic paper to be written on the influence of cocaine and the rise of the British Empire—how else to explain the sound of grinding teeth among all those overworked lower classes whose labor put the Great into Britain?

But it wasn’t just adults who benefited from the restorative powers of cocaine, it was added to pastilles for teething children, throat lozenges for flu and colds, and as a cure for hay fever.
After the jump, heroin for kids and more…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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There’s a Vox Phantom bass guitar car for sale and obviously I WANT IT

As a musician and gear junkie (I don’t use the term “junkie” lightly here, I probably do have an actual hoarding problem), I frequently surf around the marketplace, but I never expected to find my dream car there. The seller doesn’t seem keen to share overmuch about it, but I DO NOT CARE.

Here it is. The real deal. The Voxmobile. Too much stuff to list, but if seriously interested shoot me an email. Also, some of the info in this video I created is incorrect. However, most of it is correct. Jimmy did not own the car, Vox let him use it. Apparently, it may or may not be a Cobra as someone who had a more intimate relationship with the car told me they were Cobra valve covers. I don’t know enough about engines to know either way.





The vehicle appeared in the psychsploitation classic Psych-Out, notable for featuring an early Jack Nicholson performance.

The thing even had a trading card, in the 1970 “Way Out Wheels” series!

The vehicle, built in the late ‘60s as a promotional device/guitar fetishist’s wet dream, has its own web site,, from whence this bit of history is unleashed:

Conceptualized by the King of the Kustom Cars, George Barris, maker of The Batmobile and The Munstermobile, and Dick Dean, the vehicle resembles a Vox Phantom guitar in silhouette. The car can handle up to 32 guitars, and has a Vox Super Continental organ mounted in the rear. It cost $30,000 to build in 1968 and is well-stocked with vintage Vox Beatle equipment.

The hidden speakers and special chrome steps allow for three guitarists and an organist to rock out and play the music of the flower power era right from the car. If a band is not available, a Muntz 8-track player is used to supply the tunes.

The car is no slouch either. It is powered by an original 289 Cobra engine (used in early AC Cobras) and is reportedly able to reach 175MPH. Ryan and Brock are not sure they want to test that.

The asking price, $175,000, is a bit out of my range, unless I maybe can sell off a couple of amps, and everything else I own, and donate about ten years worth of plasma, so I guess this is not gonna happen for me. I could maybe afford that trading card, though.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Rare footage of New Orleans jazz bands shot by Alan Lomax
07:37 am


Alan Lomax
New Orleans

This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the inestimably important American folklorist/archivist/filmmaker/author/everything Alan Lomax. Unsurprisingly, there’s a plethora of commemorative events planned: a film marathon in Louisville, KY, a 13-hour radio marathon in Portland, a concert in London, England. And there will surely be some kind of boxed set of music. The Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), an organization Lomax Founded at Hunter College in the 1980s, is the keeper of his legacy, and is the source to keep an eye on for announcements. It’s also a treasure trove of recorded media.

Lomax started out by accompanying his famous father, the musicologist and folklorist John Lomax, on field recording trips, documenting musicians in the American South, and went from there to an incredibly distinguished career in preserving and promoting small, obscure, important pockets of America’s cultural heritage. He helped build the Library of Congress’ song archive, and played a significant role in the promotion of American folk music, helping bring the likes of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Muddy Waters, and Burl Ives to records, radio, and mass audiences. If you want the huge gaps in that bio filled in, there’s the ACE bio, and of course there are tons of books, written by Lomax, and written about him.

Since there’s just so much to his career that an omnibus post about Lomax would be an absurd undertaking, I thought it’d be a fun tribute to focus on a lesser known but still badass preservation project of his. In 1982, Lomax spent a lot of time in New Orleans with a video crew, recording that city’s famed jazz musicians, especially brass bands. There is some really hot stuff in here, including the world-famous Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and a lot these videos have criminally low view counts. Some of that footage was compiled for the DVD Jazz Parades: Feet Don’t Fail Me Now, which is viewable at no cost online here. He taped parades, funerals, indoor concerts, everywhere. So enjoy these documents of a 100% uniquely American music, and see if the Ernie K-Doe video doesn’t totally SLAY you. Captions are culled from the ACE web site.

Whole lotta Lomax after the jump!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The real ‘Quadrophenia’: Mods vs. Rockers fight on the beaches

In 1964 gangs of Mods and Rockers fought battles on the very British beaches Winston Churchill had once sworn to defend.

It all kicked-off over the Easter weekend of 30th March in the holiday town of Clacton-on-Sea, south-east England. Famed for its cockles and winkles, “Kiss Me Quick” hats, amusement arcades, its eleven-hundred foot pier and golden sands on West Beach, Clacton provided the backdrop for the first major battle between the twenty-something Rockers and their teenage rivals the Mods. Clacton was reportedly “beat-up” by “scooter gangs” and 97 youth were arrested.
This was but a small rehearsal for what was to come later that year. Over the May and August bank holidays “skirmishes” involving over “thousands” of youngsters “erupted” at the seaside resorts of Margate, Broadstairs and Brighton.

In Margate there were “running battles between up to 400 teens and police on the beach as bottles were thrown amid general chaos.” But it was the fighting in Brighton that scooped the headlines, with tales of two days of “violence” and some “battles” moving further along the coast to Hastings.
The press latched onto the story of youth out of control like a terrier and squeezed every damning adjective out of it, hyping the events into a small war. Yet, these so-called “running battles” between the two rival factions were no worse than the fights between soccer fans or street gangs on a Saturday night. Still,  the press and parts of the “establishment” (the police, the judges, the bishops, the local councillors and politicians…etc.) saw an opportunity to slap down the youth, and the press created a “moral panic” outraged over the falling standards of “this scepter’d isle.”
The Rockers were proto-biker gangs—they kept themselves separate from society, were bound by their own rules and rituals, and usually only fought with rival Rockers. Though considered dangerous—often referred to by the press as the “Wild Ones” after the American B-movie starring Marlon Brando—there was a sneaking admiration for the Rockers as they epitomised a macho fantasy of freedom and recklessness that most nine-to-five workers could only dream about. The Rockers also had the added appeal of being working class and fans of rock ‘n’ roll—which was more acceptable to middle England in the mid-sixties once the God-fearing Elvis had set youngsters a good example of being dutiful to one’s country by joining the US Army.
Mods on the other hand were an unknown quantity—ambitious, aspirant working class kids, politically astute, unwilling to take “no” for an answer. They were feared for their drug taking—speed was their tipple of choice—and their interest in looking good and wearing the right clothes. Dressing sharp was considered “suspect” and if not exactly effeminate, being fashion-conscious was not an attribute traditionally thought of as a masculine one. For an older generation, the Mods were the face of the future looming—the red brick universities, the council estate, the supermarkets, the motorways and self-service restaurants—these entitled brats were the very children for whom they had fought a war.
The events of that heady summer inspired The Who’s Pete Townshend to write his rock opera Quadrophenia. Anthony Burgess, who was never shy about making a headline, said his book A Clockwork Orange had been inspired by these “loutish” and “hoodlum” youth—even though his book had been published in 1962. Fifty years after the infamous “fighting on the beaches,” the BBC made a documentary revisiting the Mods, Rockers and Bank Holiday Mayhem that interviewed some of the youngsters who were there.

The intention of the filmmakers in this short extract from the “exploitation” documentary Primitive London is to take a pop at tribal youth culture and its fashions. The four youth cultures briefly examined are Mods, Rockers, Beatniks and those who fall outside of society.

The Mods are dismissed as “peacocks;” the Rockers are seen as lumpen and shall we say knuckle-dragging; the Beatniks don’t really know what they believe in as they are against everything, man; and finally there are the ones who are not part of any group as they consider themselves to be outside of society—apparently these guys “dissipate their identity in complete passivity”—now that sounds like a group I’d join.

Mostly it’s all about the Beatniks, who are filmed hanging out in their local bar getting drunk, answering questions on fashion, work, marriage and all the other concerns middle-aged producers thought were important in 1965. As a footnote, the bar seen in this clip is the one where Rod Stewart (aka Rod the Mod) hung out. The featured musicians are Ray Sone, harp (later of The Downliners Sect) and Emmett Hennessy, vocals, guitar.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Bobby Fuller’s original demo of ‘I Fought the Law’ is a lot better than the version we all know

The Bobby Fuller Four’s version of Sonny Curtis’ “I Fought the Law” has been a beloved fixture in the American pop song canon for very good reason. It’s got a lot going for it: a catchy riff, a wonderful, wistful vocal performance, lost love, rebel cache (“I fought the law…”), fatalism (”…the law won”), and one of the most indelible singalong choruses in the entire history of choruses. And for those who know Fuller’s life story, the song has an undercurrent of the tragic to it—he was found dead under shockingly tawdry and mysterious circumstances just months after releasing the record that would finally bring him enduring fame.

But while the last half-century has been very kind to the song, 2015 is already shaping up to be a great year for it. The 1966 Mustang Records single has been inducted into the Grammy Awards Hall of Fame despite never actually having won a Grammy—to be fair, in the categories it might have qualified for, nods went to Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, and the Mamas & the Papas, all obviously worthies, so it’s not like the song was slighted—and Fuller’s original self-recorded demo of the song is finally getting a proper release, on the long-running archivist/garage label Norton Records, as a 7”. It’s been on some limited rarities comps here and there, but has never until now known the tender kiss of sweet, sweet vinyl.

I’m actually kind of excited about this, way out of all proportion to how much I usually give a fuck about the nth reissue of a song I’ve heard a million times since childhood, because for all the world, I think the demo version is just flat-out better than the official release we all know. Bobby Fuller experimented heavily with recording process. During some of the years he spent striving to become known as a musician, he also ran the independent record label Exeter, and he did his own engineering. In the new Fuller bio titled—oh, you’re never gonna believe this—I Fought the Law, co-authored by Fuller’s brother/bassist Randell and Norton Records honcho Miriam Linna, Fuller pal Rick Stone recalls:

“I was at a recording session of I Fought the Law. Bobby set up everything, ran the whole show, did all the work setting up and running things. He had to run through the den, then through the garage and into the storage room, which was his control booth. He had two Ampex machines in there and he’d built some cubicles out of chicken wire and burlap just before that session, so he was really going for a home version of a real recording studio at that point. I got over to his place about 9:30 and Bobby was still working on it at 4:30. It was pretty wild.

So let’s A/B the versions! Here’s the one everyone’s used to, the Mustang Records release from 1966:

And here’s the demo version, freshly remastered for vinyl. YouTube compression is probably eating some of that nuance for breakfast, but the differences that really count are plain as day.

Nice, no? I love the double-tracked vocals, the slightly rounder lead guitar sound, and the looser, more spirited overall feel of the demo recording. I also like that in this version he’s “robbing people with a SHOTgun” instead of a “six-gun.” In fact, here’s some trivia, related to me by Miriam Linna—you can tell which version of the song you’re listening to by what kind of gun our hero is brandishing. In the demo, it’s a shotgun. On the 1964 Exeter single (the recording described in the above quote), it’s a zip-gun. And of course, on the 1966 Mustang single, it’s a six-gun. There you go. You can drop that science for trainspotter cred next time you’re trying to get that cute record collector you’ve been chatting up to come home with you. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

Here’s a fun and goofy note to end this on—it’s the Bobby Fuller Four miming behind Nancy Sinatra in the Boris Karloff film The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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X-ray images of corseted women, 1908
11:58 am



Oddly beautiful, but still wince-making, take a gander at these x-rays showcasing the nasty health consequences corsets caused for women’s bodies. These images are from Doctor O’Followell’s Le Corset (The Corset) written in 1908.

There’s some debate as to whether or not these are actual x-rays of corsets or if they’re just x-rays of women’s torsos with the corset painted on afterwards. Others firmly believe that these are indeed very real x-rays.



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Iggy & The Stooges playing at a high school gym in Michigan, 1970
09:03 am


Iggy Pop
The Stooges

If you’ve got room for more 1970 Detroit so soon after yesterday’s John Lee Hooker post, then feast your eyes on these wonderful snapshots of Iggy Pop, shirtless (does he even own any shirts?) and becollared (because you know what he wants to be) for a Stooges performance at suburban Detroit’s Farmington High School (GO FALCONS!) in December of 1970, which was historically noteworthy as James Williamson’s first gig with the band. I found them on the wonderful blog Black Coffee Bonus Cup, but they first made their way to the web via Detroit rock lifer Jim Edwards of the Rockets, who posted them to Facebook. (I can no longer find that album, so I presume it’s either deleted or set to friends-only, now):

I got these slides from a guy at work. He walks up to me and says, ‘You’re a musician, right? I got these old slides from a show at my high school, Wanna see ‘em?’ I held the first one up to the light and nearly shit myself!

Black Coffee Bonus Cup offered this info about the gig:

The gig was late due to Iggy being arrested earlier that evening and The Stooges played only four songs but I bet it was the end of innocence for all the unsuspecting teen students attending this show when the 23-year-old Iggy appeared shirtless, wearing a dog collar and jeans with cut-out crotch, revealing his red briefs, and performed his legendary on-and-off stage stunts…





More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The Mad Monk’s junk: Is this the mythically massive member of Rasputin?
08:38 am



Romanov svengali Grigori Rasputin is so steeped in legend, he’s become more myth than man, but in my opinion the most fascinating bit of Rasputin rumor pertains to this jarred pickle right here—reported to be the Mad Monk’s massive member. The manic-looking man holding the jar is Igor Knyazkin, Head Physician of the Prostate Center of Russian Academy of Sciences and the founder of The Museum of Erotica in St. Petersburg Russia—that’s right, an actual doctor, who put together a museum of his own creepy collectibles. Obviously we have no way of confirming this is actually Rasputin’s junk (I guess it got misplaced in all the commotion after he was supposedly, poisoned, beaten, stabbed, shot and castrated), but since the artifact is between 11 and 13 inches long it remains a novelty in its own right, though some suggest the specimen is actually animal genitalia.

If this is the Mad Monk’s junk, it’s traveled extensively! The jarred pee pee’s journey can allegedly be traced back to Paris in the 20s, when it was apparently worshipped for its mystical fertility powers until Rasputin’s surviving daughter intervened. At one point there was definitely a false phallus floating around, inherited by the same daughter. After her death, it was willed to a Rasputin biographer who learned upon testing it that it was actually a sea cucumber (how embarrassing!). I don’t much mind a man with 15,000 sex objects using a bit of famous phallic flash to get people into his weird museum. My main “beef” with Knyazkin is that he claims viewing “little Rasputin” can correct sexual dysfunction—if anything, looking at the specimen on display at this museum might leave you impotent!


Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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