An all too brief extract from Sean Connery’s Edinburgh, a promotional documentary for the ancient Scottish capital, directed by Murray Grigor and starring the city’s most famous milkman.
This wasn’t Connery’s first documentary, back in 1967 he presented, produced and directed a brilliant (and rarely seen) documentary called The Bowler and The Bunnet, which examined the political tensions between the workforce (“bunnets”) and the employers (“Bowler hats”) at Fairfield’s shipyard on Glasgow’s River Clyde. Scripted by Cliff Hanley, the film revealed Connery’s natural mastery of documentary film-making, and it is only a pity that he didn’t continue to make similar films on other social and political issues.
Perhaps, with the imminent referendum on Scottish independence, Connery may yet return to make a documentary on the future of Scotland?
If you would have told me back when I was a defiant teenage post-punk fanboy—clad in Doc Martens and a black trench coat festooned with badges of PiL, The Residents, Kraftwerk, Nina Hagen and Throbbing Gristle—that one day I’d go through quite a long “phase” (as my wife calls my penchant for perhaps slightly over-exuberant musical enthusiasms) for the type of music that I HATED MOST when I was a kid, the laid-back, singer-songwriter sounds of the Southern California folk-rock, I would not have believed you.
I’d have (truly) been horrified. To me, there was nothing worse than The Eagles (maybe just “Southern rockers” like Lynyrd Skynyrd or Molly Hatchet) and anything that even vaguely smacked of the So Cal sound was shit to my ears.
Part of it was really getting into Neil Young (which for me happened in 2002, only after I first read Jimmy McDonough’s masterpiece of biography, Shakey, a book I’ve re-read twice in the past year alone), The Flying Burrito Brothers and Joni Mitchell, and then it sort of spread out slowly from there. A lot of it also had to do with our own Paul Gallagher sending me a copy of Barney Hoskyns’ excellent 2006 overview of the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter/folkrock sound, Hotel California.
Hotel California‘s subtitle is “The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends” and aside from some of the aforementioned artists, the book also turned me on to the music of both Judee Sill and the Byrd who could not fly, the great Gene Clark. It’s a great place to dive in, a perfect roadmap through the Canyon sound.
I even found, to my surprise, that there were some Eagles songs I really liked. A lot.
It just goes to show. In any case, Hoskyn’s excellent book was made into an equally essential BBC produced documentary, Hotel California: L.A. from the Byrds to the Eagles, a highly entertaining account of the rise and fall of Laurel Canyon rock. It’s a must see and worthy of multiple viewings.
Caitlan Clarke, Andy Kaufman and Debbie Harry,1983
Teaneck Tanzi: The Venus Flytrap was a 1983 Broadway play that starred Debbie Harry as “Tanzi,” Caitlan Clarke as “Tanzi” and Andy Kaufman as the “referee.” Debbie Harry and Caitlin Clarke had to alternate in the lead role of “Tanzi” because of the strenuous nature of the wrestling.
Apparently the play didn’t do too well, though. Despite its success in London, Teaneck Tanzi closed on Broadway after just a single performance.
From a 2007 Gothamist interview with Debbie Harry:
What can you tell us about your Broadway debut alongside Andy Kaufman in Teaneck Tanzi?
The Venus Flytrap? [Laughs.] Well, it was a very interesting little musical play. At the time, way back in the beginning of the ‘80s, Chris [Stein, co-founder of Blondie] and I were very big wrestling fans and we used to go to the Garden all the time because we had a friend who did all the promotion there and she would get us ringside seats. We had a great time and started going to wrestling many, many years before Cindi [Lauper] starting hanging out with Lou Albano. So then all of a sudden I got this script and I thought it could be really fun. So we did the show for about three weeks in previews, downtown in a nice sort of loft space Off Off-Broadway. And it was great; the audiences were loud and everybody was shouting at the wrestlers just like a real wrestling match. And then they decided they were going to open it on Broadway and it opened and closed almost instantly! So I guess it was a little bit premature for Broadway.
Lot 1011: “A Marilyn Monroe signed ‘United States of America Department of Defense’ identification card, 1954.” Sold by Bonhams for $57,000 (incl. premium), at an “Entertainment Memorabilia” auction, December 21st, 2008.
A Marilyn Monroe signed ‘United States of America Department of Defense’ identification card, 1954
Laminated with a black and white photograph of the star in the upper left-side corner, a date of “8 Feb. 1954,” and a typed name of “DiMaggio, Norma Jeane;” Monroe’s signature using this name is penned in blue fountain pen ink on the lower right-side corner; back of card shows her two finger prints as well as her personal statistics: “Height [5’5 1/2”], Weight , Color of Hair [Blonde], Color of Eyes [Blue], Religion [None], Blood Type [Unk], Date of Birth [1 June 26].” Though this ID card has been reproduced as a souvenir item and sold in stores and has also been seen in many books, this piece appears to be the actual one that Monroe used when she performed for the troops in Korea while she and Joe DiMaggio were on their honeymoon.
George Tate’s photographs of 1960s car washes capture a point in American history that was so bright you had to wear shades. Gleaming spires reach for the sky and its infinite possibilities. Motorcars bask in the sun like retired spaceships and dream of accelerating into the stratosphere.
This is the happy place where once families watched The Jetsons in small suburban ranch homes warmed by the glow of the cathode ray and steaming TV dinners. Everything seemed lit from within…like an A-bomb.
What you’re looking at is Adolf Hitler’s porcelain throne which currently resides in an auto-repair shop in Florence, New Jersey. The toilet was once used on Hitler’s private yacht, the Aviso Grille, “which was between 400 and 500 feet long.”
After the war ended, the Aviso Grille was taken to the United States and ended up in the hands of New Jersey shipyard owner Harry Doan, who illegally charged visitors 25 cents to board and tour Hitler’s Yacht. However, according to Glass, both Doan and the federal government wanted to prevent the ship from becoming a memorial to Hitler, and so it was scrapped in Doan’s salvage yard in the early 1950s.
In the 1950s, a gentleman by the name of Sam Carlani purchased Hitler’s toilet from the salvage yard for his auto-repair shop simply becasue he “needed a new toilet.”
Greg Kohfeldt bought the auto-shop from Sam Carlani almost 20 years ago, and is now the owner of the commode.
The toilet has been a ‘functional tourist attraction’ since 1952, Kohfeldt said. People would take road trips—as I had—just to see it. (Indeed, the toilet is listed in Roadside America’s online guide.)
While Kohfeldt seems proud of his object’s notoriety, he seems remarkably unexcited by the fact that he owns Hitler’s toilet.
As a side note: You think they would have at least cleaned the toilet for this photo. Yuck.
An incredible moment in TV, Film and Comedy history: Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan interviewed by Tony Bilbow. Recorded at the Roundhouse’s Cinema City, London, for BBC TV’s Film Night, which aired on November 8th, 1970.
Playboy Bunnies invade England in 1966. News report featuring Roger Moore and scenes of Hef’s club in Mayfair, London where Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich perform “Bend It” as a dance floor full of swingers do exactly that.
In 1983, French director Bertrand Tavernier took a road trip through the American south. Along for the ride was veteran film maker Robert Parrish (who was born in Georgia). Together they documented the customs, folklore, religion and music of rural areas in and around Oxford, Mississippi. The result is Mississippi Blues, a lively, beautifully filmed movie that is permeated with the soul and spirit of a rapidly disappearing part of America.
The yin/yang of the two directors creates a nice balance between Tavernier’s romanticism (he seems to find poetry in everything) and Parrish’s down-to-earth sense of a culture he knows well.
This is truly a wonderful bit of film making that offers not only marvelous imagery but a beat you can dance to.
Mississippi Blues is out of print on VHS and has inexplicably never been released on DVD. Here’s a rare opportunity to watch it.
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.