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‘Product of America’: Members of the Germs and Meat Puppets resurrect a Phoenix punk band from 1978
11.16.2016
09:18 am

Topics:
History
Music
Punk

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I don’t expect that many people think of Phoenix, AZ, as a nerve center of punk rock. My go-to Phoenix bands have long been the Meat Puppets, Sun City Girls, and to a lesser degree the Feederz, but that’s been about the extent of my knowledge of that city’s contributions. Little did I know that it was a hub where a surprising number of crucial spokes met.

The Exterminators were a short-lived Phoenix punk band whose existence has long eluded the outside world. They existed only in 1977 and 1978 and never released a single note of music, but its members went on to play in The Germs (drummer Don Bolles), 45 Grave (bassist Rob Graves, Bolles), The Gun Club (Graves), The Feederz (singer Dan “Johnny Macho” Clark), and Mighty Sphincter (guitarist Doug “Buzzy Murder” Clark). The only known surviving documents of the band were a raw sounding and totally unheard cassette recording of a 1978 gig, and a few songs, among them “Bionic Girl” and “Destruction Unit,” which Dan Clark brought with him to the Feederz, and which appeared on their debut Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss?. This gap in the historical record has been corrected: Slope Records, a Phoenix-based archival label with a local focus, has released Product of America, a brand-new recording of that 1978 material by the original band, minus the deceased Mr. Graves (RIP 1990, many punk points awarded for pseudonymous irony), whose spot has been filled by another Phoenix lifer, Cris Kirkwood of The Meat Puppets.

The album is a primal emission of toxic hate-noise, recorded quickly so as to preserve the younger band’s raw directness, though it’s being played by now-seasoned musicians almost 40 years after the fact of the songs’ creation (though when we chatted, Bolles wisecracked that just because he’s made a lot of music doesn’t mean he’s learned to play). It contains “Bionic Girl” and “Destruction Unit,” plus 14 other blasts of malice, with themes ranging from sexual depravity to nihilistic politics. Dangerous Minds was privileged to speak with Bolles and Kirkwood about the early Phoenix scene (such as it was), the formation of The Exterminators, and the circumstances that led to the release of Product of America.
 

 
Cris Kirkwood: The Exterminators were a band from about 77-78, and I never saw them when they were active. Derrick Bostrom, the Meat Puppets’ original drummer, was a lot more hip to the local scene, and once I started hanging around with him I became aware of things that had happened before I started playing. My first Phoenix punk rock show was this thing called “Trout-O-Rama” and one of the band’s was the Brainz, which was Doug Clark’s band, and he was “Buzzy Murder” in The Exterminators. He was friends with someone I’d gone to grade school with, and eventually I got to be friends with Doug and his brother Dan, who was “Johnny Macho” in The Exterminators. 

Don Bolles:There wasn’t really a punk scene at that time, just this band The Consumers, which I tried to be in but I wasn’t a good enough. I tried to start things in Phoenix but nobody else I knew was into punk, except Paul Cutler and David Wiley of The Consumers. I’d moved back to Phoenix from an unsuccessful foray to San Francisco, and I called Paul and David to see if anything was happening, and they said their bass played had been hit by a car, and I said “Well, I just got a bass. How about I come and jam out with you guys?” So I went to play with them, and those guys were GOOD. They had like 50 amazing songs, and they were super tight. But I was so terrible. One day I showed up for practice and they hid from me, and I could hear them snickering behind the kitchen door.

We started having all these other weird bands with all the same people. There was The Consumers, there was my band Crazy Homicide, and there were like five other people, and that was our “punk scene.” We started doing shows, and then I started hearing about this other band, and I was livid that I wasn’t in it. They were called The Exterminators and they were really young. They had done a show already and the cops had come. The Exterminators had covered themselves in Saran wrap and tinfoil and painted themselves, and this was at a pool party and there were police helicopters, and it was total chaos. They needed a a drummer, so I borrowed a drum set, which was tough, because nobody wanted me to use theirs because when I played drums I’d break them, but I dragged some drums over to this storage warehouse where they rehearsed, and they were like 14, 15 years old. I tried out with this broken stuff, and I guess it still sounded good because I was in the band. Then they lost their bass player, so I got Rob Graves to play with us. He had a bass, and their guitar player was this crazy kid, Buzzy Murder, and the singer was his brother, Johnny Macho. They were actually Dan and Doug Clark.

Kirkwood: There’s this guy in Phoenix, Tom Lopez, and he came up in the Phoenix punk rock scene, and he managed to get himself in a financial position to be able to start a record label, so he started Slope Records to kind of document the old Phoenix punk rock stuff that was happening. It was a part of his early experience and he was working on a record with Doug, who was in Mighty Sphincter. Tom was asking about the older stuff that had happened before, and Doug brought up The Exterminators as a sort of infamous band that had caught on to that whole thing early on.

Bolles: I didn’t know Tom, I moved out before he was old enough to actually meet people, I was 21 when I moved out of Phoenix. But Doug called me up and told me “this guy wants to put out an Exterminators album. Me and Danny and you, and Cris Kirkwood would play bass.” So I talked to Tom, who flew me out to Phoenix and put me up—in the fucking Clarendon hotel, which has a bust of the real Don Bolles, who was murdered there [Clarification: Bolles’ real name is James Giorsetti, he took his stage name from an Arizona journalist who was killed by a car bomb in 1976]—and I went and recorded all The Exterminators’ songs from back then. All the songs. We tried to do them as faithfully as we could. I had a tape of one of our shows. I had a rehearsal tape for a while but I lost it, probably in the ‘90s.

Kirkwood: A cassette still existed of an entire Exterminators show, from like ’78, and Tom had the idea of recording the songs, but Rob Graves, the bass player, is unfortunately no longer with us, so I was asked to play bass. Some of the songs are kind of Phoenix punk rock classics that had been recorded by other bands, so I knew them. With very little practice, we went into the studio—we had one practice day with the full band and on the same day we did a photo shoot—and it came up surprisingly cohesive. It was funny, Doug was like 15 when they had the band, and here we are, pretty seasoned players, doing this batch of youthful songs that had never been recorded, and now we’re these old farts taking a stab at them. It was a very fun, very fucking satisfying experience, and it came out well.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Photographer recreates pics he took nearly four decades ago—with the same people
11.14.2016
01:34 pm

Topics:
Art
History

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The most elementary fact of our existence—time passes, implacably and forever—is always the one that surprises us the most. You probably see the note hit several times a week in your social media: “Return to Cookie Mountain came out ten years ago??” “Third Rock from the Sun is twenty years old!! No way!” Well, yes way. Time passes.

Some photographs can have the same effect, but few more forcefully than the series of before/after pictures that have recently been unveiled of British people caught in their everyday lives decades ago—and then recreated much more recently. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, in eastern England had a gregarious paramedic who liked to amuse himself by taking pictures of local citizens. HIs name is Chris Porsz, and some took to calling him the “paramedic paparazzo.”

One of the striking things about Porsz’s unfussy and unpretentious pictures is the sheer lack of judgment. Porsz had a knack for capturing people of all types—young lovers, cheerful punks, children at play, women contemplating a makeover, and working people making their way through the day.

Over the last seven years Porsz has dedicated countless hours tracking down his original subjects and persuading them to pose for pictures—in fact, the same pictures that were taken so long ago. The result is almost unbelievably evocative and poignant, a little bit reminiscent of Michael Apted’s landmark Up series of documentaries, which tracked a group of twenty British schoolchildren every seven years until deep into middle age.

Porsz has a new book coming out called Reunions that contains the entire series of before/after photos. As the photographer says, “This book has been nearly forty years in the making, and I believe the project is totally unique. I don’t think anyone else has tracked down so many strangers and recreated photos in this way before.”

Several years ago Porsz came out with a related book called New England: The Culture and People of an English New Town During the 1970s and 1980s.

Porsz became interested in photography shortly after his first child was born in 1978. He was working as a “casualty porter” at Peterborough District Hospital at the time, and took to the streets for inspiration.

“It has been very hard work and I’ve had lots of setbacks along the way, but I always believed this could be something really special and was determined to do at least 100 reunion pictures and it has been a labour of love.” The final product, Reunions, actually has 134 re-created pics in it, so he surpassed his original goal by a considerable margin.
 

 

 
Many more before/after pics after the jump…...
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dancing on the grave of civilization (New York in the 80s & why I refuse to remove my boogie shoes)
11.11.2016
10:10 am

Topics:
Activism
History
Music
Politics
Pop Culture

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Paradise Garage
 
When I got to New York in 1977 it was to play on a Monday night with my band at CBGB. At the time, CBGB was becoming a magnet for bands from all over the world. But despite its growing rep as a music mecca, CBGB’s early days had the feel of a clubhouse for a very specific type of rock fan: A hang for rebels who loved rock distilled to its essence, poets who found their muse in the mayhem of loud amps and the thunder of drums and a handful of rock critics who desperately needed something fresh to wrap their heads around. Playing to a nearly empty house, my band saw CBGB in a less romantic light. It was a dump. But on those nights when The Ramones, Patti Smith, The Damned, X-Ray Spex, The Dead Boys etc. played, CBGB was the center of the rock and roll universe.

Whether playing CBGB or not I probably spent most nights in 77/78 either there or at Max’s. It was the last great era of rock and roll as far as I’m concerned. We’ll be talking about The Ramones, Talking Heads and Patti Smith long after grunge bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden are long forgotten (if they’re not already). As far as music of this new century goes, I’m not sure much of it will be remembered 20 years from now. I’m not hearing anything that really blows me away. I wish I did. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just an old fuck living in the past. But that past, particularly the glorious whole of the New York Club scene of the 70s and early 80s, was pretty fucking wonderful. Seen from a passing satellite I can imagine Manhattan, Brooklyn and The Bronx looking like a giant throbbing meatpit glimmering with copious amounts of sweat and dripping with… (use your imagination).

Punk, rap, disco and Latin music were drifting in and out of each other and the barriers separating uptown from downtown were being shattered. Blondie, B-52s and DEVO were being played at Studio 54 and bands like Liquid Liquid, Bush Tetras and Konk were taking disco’s four-on-the-floor beat and putting some angsty urban edge into the mix. The bottom line is people were dancing everywhere, even in clubs where people had been too cool to get crazy. Leaning on the bar and striking hipster poses looked pretty square when hundreds of people were going mad on the dance floor to The Gun Club’s invocation to “explode to the call… move, move, sex beat, go…!”

My own circuit included Danceteria, Peppermint Lounge, Mudd Club, Club 57 and Hurrah’s where new wave, post-punk and ska bands played regularly and deejays like Mark Kamins, Anita Sarko and Dany Johnson kept the crowds in perpetual motion.The segue from live bands to vinyl was an art that was being mastered as the scene unfolded and the best deejays were being born on the spot.

At downtown clubs like The Paradise Garage and The Saint deejays Larry Levan and Alan Dodd spun dance floor filling beats for predominantly gay clienteles who embraced divas Loleatta Holloway, Donna Summer, Grace Jones and Sylvester as well as euro-disco and the very beginnings of house music. These were the test markets for new singles by new artists and the latest dance re-mixes. If a 12-inch extended dance mix worked at The Paradise Garage it would work anywhere. It wasn’t long before rock bands like The Clash and Blondie were hitting the studios to re-work their tracks into dance mixes. No one was listening to radio. We were all too busy nightclubbing.
 

 
Tim Lawrence’s epic new history of nightlife in the city that never sleeps, Life And Death On The New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983, captures everything I’ve been talking about and so much more. In its six hundred thrilling pages, Lawrence gives us a close-up view of a scene that lasted from 1980 to 1983 before AIDS blew out the lights on a party that felt like it would go on forever. San Francisco in the 1960s had hippies, free love and psychedelics. It was the place to go to shake off the straightjacket of religious repression and cultural oppression for a generation of young people. In the less sunny and distinctly more frightening New York of the seventies and eighties, young people also gathered but with fewer support systems in play and far more obstacles than the free-flowing Aquarian era. Still, we made our own new version of paradise. It was rough-edged and more cynical but it was alive with energy that made us all feel that the future was ours. If there’s anything that makes Lawrence’s book ultimately a sad one is how quickly it all ended and how random and bewildering that end was. The openness and freedom we were all feeling was suddenly thrown under the wheels of some demonic subway train that had come rumbling out of nowhere.

When AIDS descended on New York it was a quiet bomb that shattered our world. For me, it hit home when I got a call that a friend of mine was dying from this new mystifying disease. I put down the phone not knowing exactly what it all meant. What the fuck was going on? My friend who was dying was Klaus Nomi. I had known Klaus for several years and had encouraged him in the very early stages of his music career. I helped him pick out a guitar (blue Fender Jaguar) and taught him three chords, enough to get him started. Ironically, we ended up on the same record label. Klaus epitomized New York’s multi-faceted music scene by crossing every possible boundary and creating something modern and new. He was ahead of his time, both wonderful and tragic.

Life And Death On The New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983 is a remarkable achievement as history and as entertainment. A sequel to his Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979, it’s a celebration and a eulogy of a New York that we may never see again. Dance floors and rock clubs have been replaced by chain stores and condos. The funky storefronts and theaters that housed music venues and discotheques are now homes to the rich and fabulous. No one dances anymore. Everyone is too busy making money to pay for their little bit of real estate that once was the breeding ground for artists, musicians and writers. Where bodegas, pizzerias, bakeries, dive bars and cheap ethnic restaurants once stood we now have Starbucks, The Gap and $100 sushi handrolls. Tim Lawrence’s book is a reminder that the heart and soul of any culture, any city, is in its art. From the great Times Square jazz clubs to the Boogie Down Bronx and CBGB on the Bowery, New York has always been one of the world’s great music centers. Once we lose touch with that magic we’re left with an island of commerce and concrete. We not only lose part of our soul we lose our collective identity. The value of cities are measured by their art. No one comes to New York because it has a better Starbucks or Chili’s. People flocked to Manhattan even in the worst of times because we had clubs, theaters and museums no one else had. People were willing to brave the Bowery because there was something magic going on in a dive bar that stank of beer and urine but seemed like heaven to fans of adventurous new music. CBGB’s heyday really only lasted a couple of years but those years were game changers for rock music and musicians. The good stuff is eternal.

In the past few days I’ve been in a state of shock and awe. Despondent to point of paralysis. This piece I’m writing now is helping me get a grip on myself. As I write it, I am remembering all the battles I’ve fought since I was 15 and marched on the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War. I am remembering Nixon and Reagan and I’m also remembering that during every dark era the arts have flourished. As war raged and friends were drafted and killed, we saw a golden age of rock and roll emerge in the sixties. The Beatles, Fugs, Sly Stone, Jefferson Airplane all sang songs of peace and insurrection based on liberating our bodies and minds. The art scene of the ‘60s was a massive detonation of mind-expanding paintings, films and literature. In the 1970s, when New York was dying and the government under Ford fucked us off, there seemed to be no light nowhere. But punk rock reared its beautiful spiky head like a pus-filled boil bursting and expelling the poisons that had been building in a city and citizenry under siege. We didn’t run, we didn’t hide. We partied! Dance floors exploded with free spirits moving, grinding, slithering to beats that were sexy, tantric, primal and emancipating. The songs were anthemic invocations to stand up against the machinations of death and doom. Gloria Gaynor led the charge with lyrics that were a call out to each and every one of us to not despair, to not lose hope and to survive!

Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive

So as we face this very uncertain time it’s important to not crumble to not lose your anger. For me, my anger right now is what clarifies who I am and what I believe in. This is not a time to go soft and get warm and fuzzy and talk about healing. Keep your anger close. Consider it an ally. But be precise and informed when you use it. In the meantime, this is the perfect time to find avenues to articulate and express your feelings without risking your freedom and safety. Nixon once quoted the old proverb “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  Fuck him. I have a different angle: “when the going gets tough, the tough get down.” Let’s dance this mess around!
 

Dany Johnson
 
Here’s a mix to get down to. It’s based on a set list from Dany Johnson who was the house DJ at Club 57 circa 1980. Get happy, get healthy and get ready. We have work to do.

Blondie – I KNOW BUT I DON’T KNOW
Joe Cuba Sextet – BANG BANG
Delta 5 – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Bootsy’s Rubber Band – BOOTZILLA
Talking Heads – WARNING SIGN
Lynn Collins – ROCK ME AGAIN….
Pylon – GRAVITY
The Cramps – I’M CRAMPED
Spoonie Gee – MONSTER JAM
B52s – DANCE THIS MESS AROUND
Frankie Smith – DOUBLE DUTCH BUS
Marie and Les Garcons – RE-BOP
Fatback Band – KING TIM III
Lulu – THE BOAT I ROW
Bush Tetras – TOO MANY CREEPS

 

 
Update: New York City dance club visionary DJ David Mancuso who hosted groundbreaking Love Saves The Day dance parties and opened The Loft on Lower Broadway in 1970 died yesterday (Nov.14). He was 72. He created an inclusive club scene where everybody felt at home and set the tone for virtually every dance club that followed in his wake.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Kinky erotic portraits of Yukio Mishima
11.11.2016
10:00 am

Topics:
Art
Books
History
Literature
Queer
Sex
Unorthodox

Tags:

021mishero.jpg
 
In 1961, a young photographer named Eikoh Hosoe was asked by writer Yukio Mishima to take his portrait picture. It was a humbling yet surprising commission. Mishima was then Japan’s greatest living novelist—the author tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. Hosoe was relatively unknown. The commission made Hosoe deeply curious as to why the great Mishima had chosen him.

When they met in the small garden at Mishima’s house, the author anticipated Hosoe’s question:

“I loved your photographs of Tatsumi Hijikata. I want you to photograph me like that, so I asked my editor to call you.”

“Mr. Mishima, do you mean I can photograph you in my own way?” I asked.

“Yes, I am your subject matter. Photograph me however you please, Mr. Hosoe,” he replied.

All my questions and anxiety faded.

The photographs Mishima so greatly admired were the ones Hosoe had taken of the dancer Tatsumi Hijikata. 

Hijikata was an originator of Butoh—an apocalytpic dance form developed in Japan after the Second World War in opposition to western influence. Mishima had similarly broken away from the prevailing western influence that had altered Japan after the war and during the 1950s. Mishima wanted a return of the Emperor and the ancient samurai traditions.

Mishima had been a puny kid. As he matured he changed his body through rigorous exercise and weight-lifting to become toned and highly athletic. His books often deal with the theme of the split between intellectual ambitions and the man of action.

His first novel Confessions of a Mask examined the “reluctant masquerade” between the perceived and actual life. Mishima was bisexual. He was married with two children but had an intense and active gay life. He was a sadomasochist, who believed in the living of a life through force of will. A life that he claimed adhered to the strict codes of the samurai. His books were fixed in this tradition—though his subject matter was preoccupied with sex and death. This led many critics in the west to misunderstand Mishima. One of my collegues here label him as a cross between “Proust and Jeffrey Dahmer.”

That fine day in September 1961, Hosoe quickly realized Mishima did not want a banal author portrait:

In offering himself as the “subject matter” of my photographs, I thought he might have wanted to become a dancer himself. I was still in my twenties then, so I was naïve. I did not make the distinction between an international literary figure and a dancer.

Mishima’s father happened to be watering the garden, so I grabbed his hose, and I wrapped Mishima’s entire body in the hose and kept him standing in the center of the zodiac, where he was planning to erect a statue of Apollo.

I asked him to look up and concentrate on my camera, which I was holding from a ladder above. I shouted, “Keep looking at my lens very intensely, Mr. Mishima! Okay, that’s great, keep going . . .” He never blinked while I shot two rolls of 35mm film. “I am proud of my ability to keep my eyes open for minutes,” said Mishima.

“I have never been photographed like this,” he said. “Why did you do it in this way?”

“This is the destruction of a myth,” I replied.

“You should wrap the hose around Haruo Sato,” he laughed. Haruo Sato was considered to be a literary giant at that time. But what I really meant was that I wanted to destroy the preconceived ideas about Mishima’s image in order to create a new Mishima.

After the shoot, Hosoe thought he may have gone too far. Two days later, Mishima phoned him to say he loved the photographs and wanted to collaborate with Hosoe on some more.

Over a period of six months Hosoe worked with Mishima on a series photographs which he hoped would capture the writer’s soul. These were eventually published as a book—with text by Mishima—called Ba-ra-kei or Ordeal by Roses.

In November 1970, Mishima together with four members of his secret army attempted a military coup. They broke into the eastern headquarters of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces taking the commanding officer prisoner. Mishima demanded 800 soldiers gather outside the offices to hear a speech and a list of demands he had written. Mishima hoped this speech would inspire the troops to rebel against the corruption of western influence and join his rebellion. Mishima wanted an end of democracy and a return of the Emperor. His rebellion was a literal union of the artist and man of action changing history.

The troops laughed and jeered as the author spoke. The coup failed. Mishima returned inside where he committed seppuku (self-disembowelment) before one of his soldiers attempted to decapitate him. After several blows failed to remove his head, another of his soldiers eventually managed to decapitate Mishima.

Mishima’s biographer John Nathan suggested this military coup was only a pretext for Mishima’s ritual suicide—something he had long dreamed about. In his short story “Patriotism” Mishima described an idealized seppuku where the central character pulls a blade across his abdomen cutting himself open:

The vomiting made the fierce pain fiercer still, and the stomach, which had thus far remained firm and compact, now abruptly heaved, opening wide its wound, and the entrails burst through, as if the wound too were vomiting. . . . The entrails gave an impression of robust health and almost disagreeable vitality as they slipped smoothly out and spilled over into the crotch. . . . A raw smell filled the room.

Hosoe’s photographs of Mishima taken in 1961 and 1962 capture the author’s terrible beauty, eroticism and conflicted sadomasochistic nature.
 
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009mishero.jpg
 
More of Hosoe’s photographs of Mishima, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The real ‘Mickey and Mallory’: Candid pics of mass-murderer Charles Starkweather & Caril Fugate
11.10.2016
02:26 pm

Topics:
Crime
History

Tags:


A photo of Caril Fugate and Charles Starkweather in happier times while the two were ‘dating.’
 
The horrific murder spree of Charles Starkweather and his fourteen-year-old girlfriend Caril Fugate ended much like bank-robbing folk heros Bonnie and Clyde—in a hail of bullets. The only difference was that both Fugate and Starkweather survived and were finally apprehended after leaving eleven people dead in their wake—including Fugate’s parents and her two-year old sister who Starkweather stabbed to death.

The pair served as inspiration for actor Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis’ portrayals of “Mickey and Mallory Knox” in Oliver Stone’s over-the-top 1994 film Natural Born Killers. Their gruesome story is also paralleled in Quentin Taratino’s script for 1993’s splatter-fest True Romance, and was the basis for the 1973 flick Badlands. The character of “The Kid” from Stephen King’s epic 1978 novel The Stand was (according to King) based on Starkweather. The brutality of the crimes committed during Fugate and Starkweather’s spree at times rivals the cinematic exploits of their Hollywood counterparts. After Starkweather murdered Fugate’s stepfather, mother and sister the couple brazenly took up residence in the home posting a note on the door stating that everyone inside had the “flue” and that all visitors should stay away. The note itself gave credence to the speculation that Fugate was being held against her will as it was signed “Miss Bartlett.” A tactic allegedly used by Fugate in an attempt to arouse suspicion as to the legitimacy of the note being written by Velda Bartlett (Fugate’s mother) who as she was married would have signed it as “Mrs. Bartlett” as well as spelling the word “flu” correctly.

When Fugate’s grandmother finally resorted to threats of calling the police the pair left town and quickly added three more victims to their growing body count. The details regarding the deaths of two teenage victims—Robert Jensen Jr. and Carol King, who unfortunately gave their killers a ride—are when things really go off the rails and they escalate the savagery of their crimes. Both Jensen Jr. and King were murdered in a storm cellar—but not before Starkweather raped King (who rather resembled Fugate). When the police recovered the bodies they found that King’s genitals had been slashed, a heinous revelation that Starkweather insisted was committed by Fugate saying that his young (and likely unwilling) accomplice was motivated to assault King because she was “jealous” of her.

The details of Starkweather and Fugate’s eventual apprehension are as violent as the fictionalized depictions of their exploits. After murdering three more people in Lincoln, Nebraska and stealing their car, the pair then attempted to ditch that car for another occupied by Merle Collison. When Collison refused to give up his automobile Starkweather filled the car and Collison with nine bullets. Shortly after what would be Starkweather’s last homicide another motorist happened upon the scene and after noticing the bullet riddled car and bloody body inside attempted to subdue Starkweather. During the scuffle Deputy Sheriff William Romer rolled up to what he thought was merely a manly roadside dispute that suddenly saw a frantic Fugate hurtling toward him screaming “He’s crazy! He just killed a man!” Starkweather jumped back into the car he’d stolen back in Lincoln and began a high-speed chase that would end in Douglas, Wyoming with the arrest of both young fugitives.

To end this grim tale I’ve got a large assortment of photos of Starkweather (who as you will see was a huge admirer of James Dean) and Fugate (now 72 who has always maintained her innocence—a claim supported by many including the authors of the 2014 book The Twelfth Victim: The Innocence of Caril Fugate in the Starkweather Murder Rampage), as well as other crime-scene artifacts from the couple’s bloody rampage through Nebraska and Wyoming for which Starkweather went to the electric chair in 1959.

Some are definitely NSFW.
 

The mugshot of Charles Starkweather, the spree-killer who terrorized Wyoming and Nebraska in 1958.
 

Caril Fugate.
 

Charles Starkweather, then nineteen, covered in blood after being taken into custody in Douglas, Wyoming.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Stunning color photographs of the Women of Tsarist Russia 1909-15
11.10.2016
09:53 am

Topics:
Art
History
Politics

Tags:

1ProkudinGorsky.jpg
 
Sergey Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) was a successful chemist and leading pioneer of color photography in Russia at the turn of the last century. He was financially independent enough to take up the fashionable hobby of photography. His knowledge of chemistry enabled him to master new techniques in color processing.

He decided to use these advances in color photography to document life in Russia.  Using different techniques, including those first formulated by Scottish pioneer James Clerk Maxwell, Prokudin-Gorskii started taking color pictures of his homeland in 1909.

Photography was an expensive pastime. As his hyphenated surname suggests,  Prokudin-Gorskii came from a long line of Russian nobility and was closely linked to the Romanov royal family. Tsar Nicholas II gave Prokudin-Gorskii a specially designed railroad carriage with its own specially converted darkroom to help him on his travels documenting Russian life.

Between 1909 and 1915, Prokudin-Gorskii traveled across the country photographing this rich, diverse and multicultural world.

On his travels, Prokudin-Gorskii found Greek women harvesting tea on the shores of the Black Sea, Italian nannies (the woman standing at the open gate below) raising middle class children in St. Petersburg, Muslim families farming on the land, Bashkir (the old woman sitting on the grey wooden steps) or Uzbek women (the woman standing on red rug of full native dress outside a yurt) and peasant girls along the Sheksna River. The wealth and richness of Russian culture surprised and impressed Prokudin-Gorskii. He decided to use his color photographs to teach all children across the land about diversity and tolerance.

Unfortunately, the commencement of the First World War led Tsar Nicholas to believe God had told him to lead his men into battle. The Tsar conscripted the bulk of Russian men off the land. These men were no longer serfs—serfdom having ended in 1861—but they were indebted to their landowners, who had taken the best of the land. This meant when Tsar Nicholas conscripted his troops he denuded farms of their laborers. The land was no longer worked, the rent no longer paid, the families no longer fed. Famine spread across country. This led Russian mothers to march for bread on International Women’s Day March 1917. Their march merged with a workers strike which turned into the first major revolt (or February Revolution) that led to the eventual demise of Nicholas.

Prokudin-Gorskii moved to France after the Revolution. His stunning color photographs beautifully capture a rich diversity of life in pre-revolutionary Russia.
 
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More photos of Russian women from the early 1900s, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Nuclear family: Apocalyptic images of babies and kids outfitted in gas masks during wartime
11.08.2016
12:24 pm

Topics:
History
Hysteria

Tags:


A group of children riding their bikes while wearing gas masks, late 1930s.
 
By the time 1939 rolled around in Britain somewhere in the neighborhood of 38 million gas masks had been delivered by hand to homes in the event of a gas-related attack. On September 1,1939, Germany had invaded Poland leaving Britain and France with little choice but to declare war on Germany in order to help stop the advancement of Hitler’s military.

The masks were made to be portable, a rather terrifying aspect of what had become a way of life in Britain during wartime. In order to try to take away some of the fear regarding the omnipresent notion that bombs full of toxic gas could at any moment start raining from the sky to the din of air raid sirens, masks for children were manufactured to be more appealing to kids. In addition to making colorful masks Walt Disney even got in on the gas mask game and designed a “Mickey Mouse” gas mask in 1942. Only about 1,000 of Disney’s offputting Mouse masks were made.

During wartime it was also commonplace for schools to run emergency drills and there is almost nothing more chilling than the photographs taken during such drills that show children, some still clearly in diapers holding hands while wearing gas masks. Unless of course you consider that hospitals would also run drills and were instrumental in helping teach caregivers and parents of how to put their infants into special “baby gas respirators” that covered everything but the baby’s legs.

An image of a baby enclosed within the confines of a gas mask can never been unseen. So as crazy as this world has gotten over the course of this last year or so, the photos in this post are a somber reminder that things can always be (and used to be) much worse. Have some perspective.
 

Nurses in Britain helping test out gas masks for babies (under the age of two), 1940.
 

 

A group of mothers with their infants inside their gas masks.
 
More after the jump…

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The Surreal world of Coco Fronsac
11.03.2016
10:46 am

Topics:
Art
History

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Famille heureuse.
 
In one single day we upload more images onto the Internet than the total number of pictures produced during the whole of 19th century.

In one day—more pictures than a century’s worth of imagery. That’s one heck of a lotta selfies.

Our need for visual stimulus is relentless. We no longer view or experience imagery as previous generations did. The reverence with which some paintings or even photographs were once held is no longer relevant—we view indiscriminately, we consume continuously.

The French artist Coco Fronsac buys old discarded photographs from flea markets and turns them into Surreal works of art. Coco comes from a family of artists. Her grandparents Lucien Neuquelman and Camille Lesné were respected painters. Her parents met at art school. Coco attended art college in Paris before beginning her career as a painter, sculptor and creator of Surreal artworks from found photographs.

Coco takes each photograph—draws on it, paints over it and gives it a new life. If we cannot reclaim our past then we cannot understand our present. These photographs of people long dead, long forgotten have been abandoned, orphaned, thrown to the wind, sent for landfill. We no longer have any interest in them, their subject matter or the lives they lived. By turning these images into art, Coco reconnects the viewer’s relationship with the photo’s subjects. These reinvented images encourage the viewer to take a second look—to enquire about the subject matter and its history. Her intention is to bring people of different backgrounds together and rediscover the connections between us are far greater than the differences.

See more of Coco Fronsac’s work here.
 
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Evidences spectrales.
 
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Ectoplasmes.
 
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Holidays on Mars.
 
More of Coco Fronsac’s work, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Portraits of New Orleans prostitutes, 1912 (NSFW)
11.01.2016
09:33 am

Topics:
Art
History
Sex

Tags:

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The kids thought the old man creepy. He had spidery legs, walked funny and was kinda misshapen. They told the younger kids he was a murderer, a weirdo and you don’t ever wanna go near his house. The grownups that knew him thought him a miser, a strange one, or that retired guy who’s always taking pictures. He had been a photographer—worked as a commercial photographer taking photos of ships, machines, or whatever the heck he was paid to shoot. Now he walked around New Orleans trying to take pictures with one of those newfangled hand cameras.

His name was E. J. Bellocq—John Ernest Joseph Bellocq. Nobody knew very much about him. He was a quiet man, kept himself to himself—which always sounds like the kind of thing said by neighbors after they find out they were living next door to particularly active serial killer. Bellocq was no serial killer—but he did have a secret life that only came to light after his death in 1949.

In amongst his personal effects were about ninety glass plate photographs stored in his desk. These pictures were portraits of prostitutes from the red light district of Storyville circa 1912. They were portraits—often featuring the same women posed on chairs or standing in rooms where they worked their trade as prostitutes. Bellocq must have had a close—if not intimate—relationship with these women in order to gain their trust and have them pose so willingly. Portrait photography is a work of collaboration. These women are posing as they want to be seen—wearing furs or prized clothes, smiling with a pet dog, lying like one of Henri Matisse’s odalisques, or playing cards. The images are considered and composed. Other than that, we know very little about E. J. Bellocq and the women he photographed.

What we do learn is the historical conditions—the quality of rooms and brothels—these prostitutes lived and worked in around the turn of the last century in New Orleans. The rest we can imagine or fictionalize—as Louis Malle infamously did with his film (inspired by a song) of Bellocq’s relationship with an underage prostitute in Pretty Baby.
 
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More of Bellocq’s photos of New Orleans prostitutes, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A book to blow minds: ‘The Day-Glo Designers Guide’
10.28.2016
02:07 pm

Topics:
Art
Drugs
History

Tags:


 
Cleveland, Ohio’s Day-Glo Color Corp. is “the world’s largest manufacturer of daylight fluorescent pigments.” They’ve been making their trip-friendly colors since the 1930s. This was right around the time that LSD was first made by Albert Hofmann in Switzerland. Synchronicity is occasionally quite cosmic.

In 1969, the Day-Glo company published a book to illustrate how their paints and inks could be used in commercial concepts. The Day-Glo Designer’s Guide is full of vibrantly psychedelic artwork including some fluorescent takes on Bert Stern’s iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe, a Karlheinz Stockhausen album cover, a Peter Max portrait of Toulouse Lautrec, pop-up flower garden, The Grateful Dead at The Playboy Mansion, Sammy Davis Jr. book cover and a packet of loose Day-Glo overlays and charts for use in lithography printing. It’s amazing how many “straight” corporations jumped on a style of graphics that was so clearly associated with the drug culture of the time. Airlines, banks, the British Commonwealth, food products and department stores jumped into the lysergic pool and hoped that they’d seem a lot hipper than they really were. For most of us hippies it looked like exactly what it was: “the man” was copping our culture. But we were too stoned to care.

In 1978, X-Ray Spex had a UK hit with a celebration of Cleveland’s greatest contribution to psychedelia with the song “The Day The World Turned Day-Glo.” The lyrics absolutely perfect: 

I clambered over mounds and mounds
Of polystyrene foam
And fell into a swimming pool
Filled with fairy snow
And watched the world turn day-glo
you know you know
The world turned day-glo you know

I wrenched the nylon curtains back
As far as they would go
And peered through perspex window panes
At the acrylic road

I drove my polypropylene
Car on wheels of sponge
Then pulled into a Wimpy bar
To have a rubber bun

The X-rays were penetrating
Through the latex breeze
Synthetic fibre see-thru leaves
Fell from the Rayon trees

 

 
So take a little trip down the swirling fluorescent river of Day-Glo with these images from the very rare The Day-Glo Designer’s Guide. I tried buying the book but I didn’t have a thousand dollars to spare. See every page from the guide here.
 

 

 

 
Much more Day-Glo after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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