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Where were you when you heard that John Lennon had been murdered?
12.08.2015
02:12 pm

Topics:
History
R.I.P.

Tags:


 
John Lennon was just 40 years old when he shot 35 years ago by Mark David Chapman in the archway of The Dakota building on the Upper West Side of New York City on December 8th, 1980. Lennon and Yoko Ono had just returned home that evening from working at the Record Plant when Chapman approached him. The former Beatle sustained four fatal gunshot wounds and was declared dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital.

They say people who were around then can always remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first heard that JFK or Martin Luther King had been assassinated. I was 14 when John Lennon was murdered and I first heard about it via the headline in the local paper, the Wheeling News Register and Intelligencer the next morning. I always read my neighbor’s paper every morning while waiting for the school bus. There had been an intense snowfall in my hometown of Wheeling, WV early that morning and I was standing about calf-deep in fresh snow which was falling all around me. Just the night before I had begun “going steady” with my first serious girlfriend and we’d spoken for hours on the phone. I woke up high on life due to this exciting new development in my fledgling teenage love life. I was in an especially great mood.

Then I opened the paper and was smacked in the face with the shocking news that John Lennon was dead.

The world—well American football fans at least—first heard of Lennon’s death when it was announced by Howard Cosell on ABC’s Monday Night Football, a show on which Lennon himself had appeared in the past. He and the famous sportscaster were actually friendly and Lennon had been a guest on Cosell’s radio talk show as well.

“Remember, this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous, perhaps, of all the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead … on … arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which in duty bound, we have to take.”

 

 
Stevie Wonder broke the terrible news to an audience at the Oakland Coliseum (flanked by, among others, poet Gil Scott Heron):
 

 
Here’s a YouTube comment from a woman named Laura Agigian, who was there that night. Sure enough her memory of the event was as strong as if it had just happened:

I was there.  I was at that concert.  It was at the Oakland Stadium on December 8, 1980.  During the concert, I remember feeling disappointed because Stevie seemed to be “off,” disconnected from the songs he was singing, and just going through the motions.  He played many of his songs back to back in a medley, as if to get it over with.  At the end of the concert, I knew why.

Even now, in 2014, I remember almost every word of that speech, which left me speechless.  I remember getting more and more worried as he started to talk.  I remember the collective “gasp” upon hearing the name of the artist who had been shot, and the incredible silence for a few moments afterward.  The stadium, filled with thousands of people, was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.

I was so overwhelmingly shocked, I could not speak.  I couldn’t believe that most of the audience were singing along with Stevie after that.  I don’t remember if he sang, “Give Peace a Chance” or “Imagine.”  I was just crying my eyes out.  When I got home, I turned on the radio and they were holding an all night call-in vigil.  I called in and told my story of the Stevie Wonder Concert.  I stayed up all night with all the other callers, trying to make sense out of it, or even to believe it. 

Wow.  I never, ever, ever thought I would hear this speech again.  I feel like I was there all over again.  Wow.  And it is almost exactly how I remembered it.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
What do you get the collector who has everything? How about Ringo Starr’s ‘White Album’ No.0000001?
11.23.2015
08:11 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:


 
Ringo Starr has been doing some mighty heavy house cleaning lately, and a HUGE collection of personal effects, decorative objects, and of course Beatles memorabilia belonging to him and his wife Barbara Bach is being auctioned on the first weekend in December. The auction takes up 55 pages of Juliens’ web site, and while it features a lot of kinda humdrum rich-people housewares and jewelry, and a stash of religious tchotchkes ranging from Eastern to Catholic, there’s also a rather nice art collection represented here, and some rather marvelously goofy Beatles stuff, certainly fit for the most marvelously goofy Beatle: a “Sgt. Pepper” upholstered leather chair, an extremely cool “Yellow SubmarineRock-Ola jukebox, a script from the movie “Help!,” a certain highly recognizable drum kit, and the single most charming lot in the entire collection (yeah, I went through it all, I’m a professional dork), the “Ringo Starr Press Archive Compiled By His Mother!”
 

Thanks, Ringo’s Mom.

There’s also this. Click to spawn a readable enlargement in a new browser tab.
 

 
But the most jaw-dropping item here is something I’d dare say could be THE ultimate trophy for a record collector: the very first numbered copy of The Beatles. That album is widely known as “The White Album” because of its minimalist packaging—a plain white sleeve, each stamped with a unique number. It’s long been accepted lore that copies 1-4 were in the possession of the Beatles themselves, but it’s been assumed just as long, and obviously incorrectly, that rather than being Ringo’s copy, No. 0000001 was claimed by John Lennon. This misapprehension was shared even by Sir Paul McCartney himself, who “confirmed” the rumor in Barry Miles’ 1998 bio Many Years From Now:

[LP cover designer] Richard [Hamilton] had the idea for the numbers. He said, ‘Can we do it?’ So I had to go and try and sell this to EMI. They said, ‘Can’t do it.’ I said, ‘Look, records must go through something to put the shrink wrap on or to staple them. Couldn’t you just have a little thing at the end of that process that hits the paper and prints a number on it? Then everyone would have a numbered copy.’

I think EMI only did this on a few thousand, then just immediately gave up. They have very very strict instructions that every single album that came out, even to this day, should still be numbered. That’s the whole idea: ‘I’ve got number 1,000,000!’ What a great number to have! We got the first four. I don’t know where mine is, of course. Everything got lost. It’s all coming up in Sotheby’s I imagine. John got 00001 because he shouted loudest. He said, ‘Baggsy number one!’ He knew the game, you’ve gotta baggsy it.

 

 

 
Now, you might be thinking, ‘HEY, wasn’t White Album #1 just sold a couple of years ago?” You are a VERY astute student of popcult ephemera—or a regular Dangerous Minds reader (which is the same damn thing, of course, he said with a wink). DM’s own Paul Gallagher reported on the sale of White Album A0000001 in July of 2013. So here’s the deal: every plant that pressed the record had its own numbering system, and there could be as many as 12 different #1s. The “A” on the serial number indicates that that one was one of several U.S. pressings. This is complicated and highly messy shit, and the online White Album Registry is an excellent resource for sorting it all out. (In case such information interests you, my White Album is A1557636, which, combined with the fact that the poster is long lost, means it’s utterly worthless to collectors. Still sounds great, though!)

Obviously, the fact that this has been in Ringo Starr’s possession (well, in his bank vault, anyway) since day 1 gives it an unassailable provenance—this is clearly THE White Album #1 from the first UK pressing. Starting bid is $20,000, and the final sale estimate is set at $60,000. Good luck. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Ringo and Barbara’s own Lotus Foundation, a charity that, according to its about page, is devoted to “advancing social welfare in diverse areas.” It’s worth mentioning that Starr is also raising money for the Lotus Foundation with proceeds from the new book Photograph, a collection of his personal photos annotated with his reminiscences.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Debbie Harry’s dress, Kim Gordon painting and other NYC punk artifacts in the Mudd Club rummage sale
11.18.2015
09:52 am

Topics:
A girl's best friend is her guitar
Fashion
History
Punk

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Though it only existed for five years, from 1978 to 1983, NYC’s Mudd Club served as one of New York—and American—underground culture’s most crucial incubators. Talking Heads and Blondie were fixtures there, and artists that emerged from the scene it galvanized included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Madonna, the B-52s, Kathy Acker… you get the point. It was the gnarly, buoyantly creative flip-side of Studio 54’s disco-glamour coin, a lightning-in-a-bottle moment that can’t be recreated.
 

 
This week, Mudd Club co-founder Steve Mass has contrived a Mudd Club rummage sale to benefit the Bowery Mission, a long surviving homeless shelter/food kitchen that remains in NYC’s onetime Skid Row, now, like basically all of Lower Manhattan, a playground for the privileged. The event will be held on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 at Django at the Roxy Hotel. Admission ain’t cheap. It’s $200 a head to get in, but again, the money goes to a homeless mission. What that gets you is a chance to buy a Vivienne Westwood dress donated by Debbie Harry, an original painting donated by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, and other items donated by Sting, Maripol, Patti Smith, and other members of the Downtown demimonde.

Via Bedford and Bowery:

Mass assures us that, rather than being a Sotheby’s-style auction, the rummage sale will be “like we had it in the old days,” with $50 dollar trinkets casually laid out next to more expensive items. “If Marc Jacobs donates a dress from that period and it’s $4,000 or $5,000, it might be next to a pair of shoes of someone who lost them in the Mudd Club in 1980.”

That pastiche, Mass said, was true to the club’s sensibility. “We were merging all these disciplines, which hadn’t been done before in a club,” said Mass, citing the presence of filmmakers like Kathryn Bigelow, writers like Candace Bushnell and Jay McInerney, photographers like Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin (both of whom are hosts), and fashion designers like Anna Sui (another host) and Marc Jacobs, both of whom had early shows there.

The event will be open-bar, and will feature performances by the B-52s Kate Pierson and the Patti Smith Group’s Lenny Kaye, plus DJs and more to be announced.

Here’s some BADASS footage of the Cramps at the Mudd Club in 1981, from the contemporary NYC access cable program “Paul Tschinkel’s Inner-Tube.”
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The story behind the photo of Albert Einstein on the beach in those open-toed sandals
11.17.2015
02:55 pm

Topics:
Fashion
History

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Einstein and David Rothman, 1939

There’s actually great back-story to Albert Einstein and those open-toed sandals. The man pictured with Einstein above is David Rothman, and he was the one responsible for selling Einstein the fancy footwear back in 1939. From Chuck Rothman’s “Albert Einstein’s Long Island Summer”:

In the summer of 1939, Albert Einstein spent his summer on Nassau Point, in Peconic, NY on eastern Long Island. My grandfather, David Rothman, was owner of Rothman’s Department Store in nearby Southold.

One June day, Einstein came into the store. Of course, my grandfather recognized him at once. He decided, though, to treat him just like any other customer.

“Are you looking for something in particular?” he asked

“Sundials,” Einstein said in his thick German accent.

Now, Rothman’s has always had a large variety of items—just about everything from housewares, to fishing tackle and bait, to hardware, to toys, to appliances. But no sundials. Not for sale, anyway. But…

“I do have one in my back yard,” my grandfather said.

He led Einstein—who seems a bit bewildered—to the back yard, to show him the sundial. “If you need one you can have this.”

Einstein took one look and began to laugh. He pointed to his feet. “No. Sundials.”

Sandals. Those, he had.

E=mcFAAABUloussss! Who knew Einstein had such wonderful gams?!


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
I’m with the Band(s): Intimate photographs of punk legends at CBGBs
11.16.2015
09:05 am

Topics:
Art
History
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:

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Whether it’s the Left Bank, or Bloomsbury, or Sun Records in Memphis, the Cavern Club in Liverpool, or London’s King’s Road, there is always one location that becomes the focus for a new generation of artists, writers and musicians. In New York during the 1970s, this creative hub could be found in a venue called CBGBs where different bands came to play every night spearheading the punk and new wave movement and bringing about a small revolution which changed everything in its wake.

Amongst the musicians, writers and artists who played and hung out at Hilly Kristal’s club at 315 Bowery were conceptual artists Bettie Ringma and Marc H. Miller. Bettie had come from from Holland to the US, where she met Miller—a writer and photographer whose passion was for telling “stories with pictures, with ephemera and with a few carefully chosen words.” Together they started collaborating on various multi-media and conceptual artworks.

In late 1976, Marc and Bettie were drawn to the irresistible pull of creative energy buzzing out of CBGB’s. Most nights they went down to the venue and started documenting the bands and artists who appeared there:

Our first photograph of Bettie with the movers and shakers at CBGB was taken during our very first visit to the club in late 1976. Standing alone by the bar was one of Bettie’s favorite performers, the poet-rocker Patti Smith. At home at CBGB and a wee bit tipsy, Patti was more than happy to oblige our request for a picture with Bettie. Soon we were CBGB regulars, checking out the different bands and slowly adding to our collection of pictures.

Marc and Bettie’s original idea of creating “Paparazzi Self-Portraits” at this Bowery bar developed into the portfolio Bettie Visits CBGB—a documentary record of all the bands, musicians, artists and writers who hung out at the venue, with photographs becoming:

...a reflection of the new aesthetic emerging at CBGB, a contradictory mix of high and low culture energized by fun and humor, the lure of fame and fortune, and a cynical appreciation of the power of a good hype.

More of Marc and Bettie’s work from this punk era can be seen here.
 
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Patti Smith was hanging around at the bar, but no one was taking pictures of her because she was super-shy. She posed with me and then just went away: some musicians are like that, they’re not into socialising. They’re just artists.

 
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Debbie Harry is a really great singer. She had a very different style from what was emerging there at that time. She was not shy, but she was very aloof: you can see that in the picture, hiding half her face behind her hair. It wasn’t something she needed, because she was very pretty, she was the frontwoman. But it gave her safety.

 
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I just love the Ramones. When their music starts I can’t sit still, I just have to start hopping and dancing, and I’m 71 now. We saw them live about 10 times: we would go out of our way to see them perform.

 
More of Marc and Bettie’s work after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
People partying their asses off in Cape Town, South Africa 1967-1969 (NSFW)
11.13.2015
10:02 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:

image
The Catacombs, 12 March 1969

Extraordinarily intimate portraits of the denizens of Cape Town, South Africa’s “Les Catacombs” nightclub taken by photographer Billy Monk in 1969, when he was working as a bouncer at the club. Monk also took pictures of the revelry, which he sold to the subjects. Monk’s friendship with many of the people in his photographs is perhaps the explanation for how he got such “let it all out hang out” type scenarios on film.

Monk’s contact sheets and negatives were found in 1982 by Jac de Villiers who arranged an exhibition at the Market Gallery in Johannesburg. Monk never saw the exhibition as he was shot dead in a fight two weeks after the show opened.

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The Catacombs, 1968

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The Catacombs, 3 March 1968

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The Catacombs, October 1968

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The Catacombs, 1968

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Lewis Carroll’s haunting photographs, including the ‘real’ Alice in Wonderland (1856-1880)
11.12.2015
08:46 am

Topics:
History

Tags:

image
 
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known as “Lewis Carroll,” took up the then new art-form of photography in 1856. Over 3000 photographs were taken by Dodgson, but only 1000 have survived due to the passage of time and deliberate destruction. Fifty percent of Dodgson’s surviving work is of young girls, but he also photographed buildings skeletons, dolls, dogs, families, statues and trees.

Charles Dodgson quit photography in 1880. Apparently running a studio was too difficult and time-consuming for him.

The girl pictured with the short brown hair and bangs is Alice Pleasance Liddell. She was the inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
 
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More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Hobo nickels’: The super-old-school art of hand-sculpted coins
11.05.2015
11:44 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:

Willie Nelson hobo nickel
Willie Nelson “hobo nickel” by Aleksey Saburov
 
The origins of using coins as an artistic medium can be traced back to the late 1700s. Sometime around 1850, artists started altering the half-dime Seated Liberty coin to make it appear as though the “Goddess Liberty” (a title that was used as far back as ancient Rome, who knew) clad in a flowing dress seated upon a rock, was actually sitting on a toilet. Classy.
 
Hobo Nickel by George Washington ‘Bo’ Hughes
Hobo nickel by George Washington ‘Bo’ Hughes, early 1900s
 
One-eyed sailor Hobo nickel
 
In 1913, the “Buffalo nickel” (or “Indian Head”), became popular for coin carvers as it provided a larger, thicker canvas to work on - enabling artists to create more detailed pieces. Around that same time, two teenage transients (or “hobos”) Bertram ‘Bert’ Wiegand and George Washington ‘Bo’ Hughes met in a “jungle” (or a “hobo camp”) and quickly rose to prominence as masters in the trade.

Using chisels to alter coins, solid currency was easily had within the transient community who were then enabled to make money selling their carved coins (something that was especially useful during The Great Depression). Thus the adoption of the common reference for these defaced coins—“hobo nickles”—came to be. I’m sure some Dangerous Minds readers more enlightened with Americana than I, have heard this phrase before, but it was new to me and I suspect the artform for which it is named, will be new to many of you as well.
 
Hobo Nickel
 
Jack Torrance hobo nickel by Mr. The
Jack Torrance hobo nickel by Mr. The
 
More ‘hobo nickels’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Marilyn Monroe in a black wig, imitating Jackie Kennedy (1962)
11.05.2015
10:55 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion
History
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
Here are some photos of Marilyn Monroe you may have or may not have seen before. I’m so used to the iconic “blonde bombshell” images of Monroe, that I was slightly taken aback (in a pleasantly surprised way) when I saw these.

The photos were shot by Bert Stern for Vogue magazine in 1962 (six weeks before Monroe died). What you see are some outtakes from the the photoshoot. Monroe is paying homage to Jackie Kennedy by donning a black wig in the style popularized by the First Lady.

I love these.


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Polaroid portraits from Amsterdam’s Red Light District, 1979-80 (NSFW)
11.03.2015
11:33 am

Topics:
Art
History

Tags:


 
Before hipster party photographers The Cobra Snake or Last Night’s Party, there was artists Marc H. Miller and Bettie Ringma who documented Amsterdam nightlife through Polaroids from 1979 through 1980.

Every night we headed out for 4 or 5 hours seeking customers in Amsterdam’s entertainment districts. Although at first we were not sure we would succeed, in retrospect I can see our success was virtually assured. Dutch art history is full of portraits done in bars and taverns, but apparently we were the first to update this tradition with instant photographs. Our Polaroid camera was a money machine fueled by alcohol; each photo sold for 6 guilders (approx. $3) and we usually took more than 50 pictures a night. We were soon a fixture of the city’s nightlife with many regular customers eager to get new pictures whenever we happened to cross their path.

The final product takes you inside the Red Light District and gives you a glorious glimpse of the bar scene and what debauchery one might find himself or herself in.

Again, some of these images are probably NSFW. You’ve been warned.

Café de Zon:


 

 

 
Café de Zon Exhibitionists:


 

 

 
The Turkish Bar Camlica:


 

 
More photos after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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