Last year I posted about Ace Frehley’s former ultimate fan, Bill Baker and his brush with greatness his fallen idol. It’s a real life “lovable loser” story tailor-made for a Peter Bagge comic book adaptation. In the comments of that post, a reader named Eric posted “Watch this next” and a link to a YouTube clip, part 1 of “Ace’s High,” a short 1999 documentary about—get this—an all Ace KISS tribute band then apparently operating in Detroit.
Each of the members of Ace’s High dresses as Ace in all his 70s glory and they only play songs written by Ace, or else associated with him such as “New York Groove.” That’s right, Paul and Gene are “assholes” and Peter Criss hardly gets a mention from the four members of Ace’s High (although they do all seem to harbor an apparently infinitely deep hatred of Vinnie Vincent, the guitarist who had the audacity to try to step into Ace’s unfillable platforms when he left the group in 1982.)
Here’s the thing, I’ve looked these guys up on the Internet every which way (there is precious little about them or the film) and I’ve watched this thing three times now to see if it might be a goof, but I’ll be damnedI think this is—or was—a real tribute act! There will be arguments aplenty as to whether or not this is scripted or a “mockumentary” but from what I can tell, nope, these guys really did form an all Ace Frehley KISS tribute band.
Fiction is not this stupid.
The motivation as to why someone would do such a thing remains mysterious to me, but it’s, it’s… how do I put this? It was a noble endeavor?
This is SO Spinal Tap that it hurts. And take it from a man whose TV stock-in-trade was getting wackos to talk to him and keeping a straight face, this is an absolute gem of outsider documentary. Watch it on a KISS fanatics double bill with the Bill Baker videos. But do watch it, it’s the fucking best thing ever. If you like things like American Movie, the films of Christopher Guest and Documentary Now, trust me, you’re gonna like this, too… It’s a stone classic, another Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
Starring: Hotter than Hell Ace ‘74, Kiss Alive Ace ‘75, Destroyer Ace ‘76 and Love Gun Ace ‘77. Produced by AWOL. Part 2 is here.
With a major motion picture release and several significant organized events coming up across the United States this weekend, 2015 may be the year Krampus, the Christmas devil, breaks through to the American mainstream.
Krampus, for anyone out of the loop, is a horned, anthropomorphic, demon-like creature who, according to Alpine folklore, is a companion to Saint Nicholas. He acts as the yin to Santa’s yang—punishing the naughty children while Saint Nicholas rewards the good. Krampus provides the dark balance to Saint Nicholas’ light.
Traditionally, Krampus is thought to beat naughty children with sticks. Children that have been extra bad are treated more severely: they are stuffed into bags and thrown into the river. It’s really quite a brilliant legend: if your kids are misbehaving, scare the shit out of them with the threat of being flogged and tortured by the Christmas devil!
It’s been theorized that the Krampus lore was brought over to the U.S. by German-speaking immigrants, but never took hold on American shores due to anti-German sentiment over the first and second World Wars… but that Santa Claus did catch on because he made a great mascot for the Coca Cola company. A devil who beats children isn’t really going to be an effective soda pop pitchman. A jolly fat guy who hands out gifts? Perfect.
In Alpine countries, Krampusnacht is traditionally celebrated on December 5th or 6th. On this night festivals are typically held in which Saint Nicholas will visit the good children while townspeople dressed as Krampus or perchten, wild pagan spirits, will terrorize the naughty ones. These festivals include a Krampuslauf, or “run of the Krampuses,” and are often alcohol-fueled free-for-alls. It is customary for celebrants to be offered schnapps and, in some cases, for (naughty) people to be actually beaten by the hairy “creatures.”
While the Krampus stories had been on my radar for some time through studies of Germanic culture, and a very special 2004 episode of The Venture Brothers, it wasn’t until I saw a video which had gone minorly viral in 2008 that I became obsessively interested in the modern celebration of the Krampus traditions in the Alpine regions.
This video titled “Krampus attack in Silandro (South Tirol)” is essentially a collection of clips of costumed celebrants beating the crap out of townsfolk. I was utterly mesmerized:
Thus began a personal obsession with the creature and the customs which lead to eventually organizing an Americanized version (obviously with no beatings of random strangers) of a Krampuslauf in 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina. Another group of people in Portland, Oregon had a similar idea that same year, and the first two Krampus-related events in the United States were launched.
It didn’t take long for other cities to quickly fall in line, and in the past six years the number of Krampus celebrations across the United States has grown by leaps and bounds. There were, at last count a year ago, over 30 different Krampus celebrations in different cities—some taking place on Krampusnacht, some taking place on weekends near the date. This year that number could double, with small Krampuslaufs popping up all over the map. Something about this Christmas demon is starting to resonate with Americans. Perhaps it’s the fact that he represents the antidote to the unrestrained American sense of entitlement?
Some of the major Krampus celebrations are taking place this year in the aforementioned Columbia and Portland, but also in Dallas, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans. Perhaps the best Krampus event currently held in the United States takes place in Bloomington, Indiana. While many organizers take a more anarchic approach, the Bloomington group works with city officials to put on a major event which attracts thousands of spectators and has more of a “family fun day” vibe. The time they put into event planning and costuming is evident and they currently set the bar for American Krampus celebrations.
Every city seems to do something a bit different, which makes the whole phenomenon of these festivals sprouting up all the more interesting. Detroit’s event is held for charity. Dallas does a walk and pub crawl. Los Angeles has five different major events: a run, a traditional play, films, a ball, and another Krampus-themed show. Elgin, Illinois’ group received arts grant funding for their costume designs. New Orleans’ celebration culminates in a Krampus dance party. Columbia features a “Circle of Atonement” which allows volunteers to enter the circle and be spanked by the Krampuses in order to be absolved for their sins of the past year… so that Santa will visit them on the 25th!
Krampusnacht, Richmond, VA
Watching these festivals spring up over the past six years has been like watching a brand new holiday take shape, with each participating group adding their own spin. There are no established traditions for an American celebration, other than the bits and pieces that can (LEGALLY) be adopted from the Alpine traditions—which sends the whole shebang into different and interesting directions anyplace a new one pops up.
Bowman, South Carolina (population 968) is home to the “UFO Welcome Center,” possibly the best/worst roadside attraction in America, which mainly consists of a dilapidated, ramshackle spaceship cobbled together from scrap wood and various repurposed construction materials. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet, and I’m lucky as a South Carolinian to get to visit it quite often. I treasure my meetings with the man behind the saucer, “UFO Man,” the adorably kooky Jody Pendarvis.
The giant UFO Pendarvis built in the front yard of his trailer home is in somewhat less than flight-worthy condition and is usually inhabited by a dozen or so feral cats. But if you ever find yourself in Bowman, Jody will gladly give you a tour of the ship and the philosophy behind the UFO Welcome Center, which is essentially a beacon for extraterrestrial visitors.
Jody Pendarvis. Photo: Bickel
“UFO Man” made the local newspapers this week with his endorsement of Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush. Bush seems like a good candidate for endorsement from the UFO people. Trump has made his stance regarding aliens quite clear (he’s against them), and Ben Carson has attempted to deny the hard work of aliens in building the Egyptian pyramids, claiming that the pyramids were built by Biblical Joseph to store grain—which is clearly insane. Bush is the clear choice for those of us who build giant wooden flying saucers in the front yards of our trailers.
We’re quite sure the Bush campaign will get a huge bump from this crucial endorsement.
For more on the “UFO Man,” check out Vice’s excellent short documentary on the UFO Welcome Center:
Here are a few pre-Bush-endorsement photos I took during my last trip to see Jody and the spaceship, three months ago:
Of all outsider music, none is further outside than The Shaggs. Three young sisters from Fremont, New Hampshire whose harrowing story is like no other pop music story in history, is known at this point far and wide. Their father took them out of school, harassed and abused them to force them to “make music,” hoping to hit it rich off that new rock and roll fad. Since they didn’t have one iota of knowledge about music, the girls invented their own music. An amazing otherworldly music like nothing anyone’s ears have ever experienced! And being that they were young girls, this music had a great innocence to it, coming through guitar bass and drums. Now I don’t just mean they wrote songs, but that they reinvented music almost in an autistic way. Not knowing their back story early on, it’s amazing that this was created under duress. Everyone that heard it thought it was just the bizarre childish ramblings of the weirdest teens on earth! And they were, but still…
To implement their father’s bizarre plan, these girls (Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin) were also forced to play every weekend at Fremont Town Hall where, it is said, that they were endlessly abused by rotten kids for doing the “Shaggs’ Own Thing,” yet they soldiered on weekend after weekend because they had to. Next was to record an LP and here is where their magic was set in stone. Released in 1969,The Shaggs’ Philosophy Of The World came and went and legend tells of them being thrown in a dumpster by the studio owner/co-producer (with their dad, Austin Wiggin). Either way 900 of the thousand LPs disappeared, so right off the bat it was incredibly rare. Being the most famous weirdo of his time the record made its way into the hands of none other than Frank Zappa who went on a radio interview in 1970 with the Shaggs LP under his arm and famously during the interview proclaimed “this band is better than the Beatles” and then made them play a song—the first public mindblower the band created. They kept playing until the day their father died of a massive heart attack in 1975 and then just stopped.
Ten years after its original release, at the end of the first punk wave, mega record collector Terry Adams, singer for cult rock-n-roll band NRBQ, got his record label (Rounder Records) to re-release the LP. The minds punk opened were endlessly searching for weirdness in records, movies and pop culture. People like myself scarfed up the Shaggs LP and were mesmerized by its unique weirdness. It started being used as the measuring stick for weird music. People like Kurt Cobain put it in his top five favorite records of all time. In 1999 for the 30th anniversary NRBQ celebration concert they put on a show in New York That was one of the greatest and most bizarre nights of my life. I went with Shaggs megafan and one of my best friends, the late Bill Bartell (aka Pat Fear of California punk band White Flag) and it was a true mind bender. The Shaggs, playing their first show ever outside of Fremont, NH had the middle spot between Sun Ra’s Arkestra and NRBQ! Possibly the weirdest bill ever. I secretly recorded it, and it sounds exactly like the record. They read the music off of the original handwritten charts and only did four songs because they could only find those four pieces of sheet music! I had Dot Wiggin recreate the drawing of her cat Foot Foot from the back cover of the LP—made infamous in their “biggest hit” song “My Pal Foot Foot”—on my ankle and had it tattooed on the very next day! (I already had a tattoo on my actual foot foot.)
Pat Fear: When I went to New York in 1999 to see the Shaggs when they played with NRBQ at their 30th Anniversary concert, I ended up getting to know them. They didn’t understand that they were going to be mobbed and I ended up being their handler. They had never experienced anything like being mobbed for autographs, so I set them up with a table for merch and stuff and ended up being their manager for a day. So I got to know them pretty well over the course of the two days.
They were really nice. It was only two of them; Helen wasn’t well enough to play [The Shaggs were comprised of three sisters: Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin; Helen died in 2006] so it was just Betty and Dot. That was the first time they had played since they broke up in 1975. I went to the soundcheck because I was not going to miss one second of Shaggs performances!
I met them and they were just standing around, these two, nice, older women—normal people who looked like middle-aged housewives—but they had guitars with them. And I barely recognized them. I said, “Look I don’t want to bother you but I came from California to see you. This is a big thrill and I’ve always liked your music.”
And they were like (adopts Shaggs-like accent), “Oh, that’s so nice!” They talk just like they do on the records. I was like, “Wow, this is actually happening.”
Dorothy [Dot] had a PeeChee folder in her hands and she opened it up right before they were about to do the sound check and she said (in Shaggs voice), “Oh, we’re only gonna do four numbers because we didn’t have time to study them.” And she opened this PeeChee folder and there was handwritten sheet music to “My Pal Foot Foot.”
Popshifter: Oh my goodness.
Pat Fear: Those songs were written out and scored on sheet music, by hand! And when she said “study” she meant, study the sheet music.
Popshifter: How is that even possible? (laughs)
Pat Fear: Jaw on the floor! I was with Howie Pyro [D Generation] and we were both like, “Oh. My. God. You don’t know how much I want that piece of paper.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported this morning on a Florida candidate for U.S. Senate, Augustus Sol Invictus, who has admitted to killing a goat and drinking its blood in a pagan ritual of thanks after fasting and praying for a week in the Mojave Desert.
The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida, Adrian Wyllie, who was the Libertarian candidate for governor last year, has denounced Invictus, saying that the 32-year-old politician wants to lead a civil war, is trying to recruit neo-Nazis to the party, and is a sadistic goat-slaughterer. Apparently this is just a bit too much for some of the Libertarians in Florida.
According to the Orlando Sentinel’s report, Invictus has admitted to at least the accusation of goat sacrifice: “I did sacrifice a goat. I know that’s probably a quibble in the mind of most Americans. I sacrificed an animal to the god of the wilderness ... Yes, I drank the goat’s blood.”
Prior to this Senate run, Augustus Sol Invictus’ claim-to-fame was an unhinged, rambling departure memo renouncing his licenses to practice law, his diplomas, his affiliation with Rollins, DePaul, and the University of South Florida, his United States citizenship, his membership in the Roman Catholic Church, his law firm, his publishing company & poetry journal, and all of his material possessions:
I am of genius intellect & cultured, well-educated & creative, well-mannered & refined. I am God’s gift to humankind where the English language is concerned, and I also happen to have a basic knowledge of Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian. I am musical & artistic; I am athletic & possessed of militant self-discipline; and I am many other things… I am everything you ever wanted to be.
I have prophesied for years that I was born for a Great War; that if I did not witness the coming of the Second American Civil War I would begin it myself. Mark well: That day is fast coming upon you. On the New Moon of May, I shall disappear into the Wilderness. I will return bearing Revolution, or I will not return at all.
War Be unto the Ends of the Earth.
If Florida’s track-record of weird is any indication, we suspect that Augustus Sol Invictus will not be the last crypto-fascist, pseudo-Satanist, blood-drinking Libertarian we see come out of Florida in the upcoming elections.
This is the ultimate “old dude says ‘fuck it’” story.
Weird Universe unearthed this newspaper story from 1949 concerning a 92-year-old farmer from Allegan, Michigan. The farmer, Leroy Irwin, had recently lost his wife and had no other surviving family members. He decided to have a tombstone carved for him and his wife, but he feared that having no survivors meant he needed to pay for the stone’s completion while he was still alive. Apparently thinking he wouldn’t live a whole lot longer, he went ahead and had “1950” carved onto the stone as the year of his death.
The Escanaba Daily Press - Apr 25, 1949
He was quoted in 1949 as saying “It don’t matter if I go sooner or live a few years longer, the stone’s finished.”
I love this codger’s attitude: If you want something done, you do it yourself. It might not be perfect, but at least it’s done, dadgummit.
It turns out Irwin was a tad optimistic, dying in November of 1949, seven weeks shy of 1950. But you know what? Fuck it, “the stone’s finished.”
I was trying to describe this thing last night to some friends over dinner, but I think you just have to see it… I posted this here a long time ago, but I think this merits posting again for those who missed it the first time around…
Behold the flyer for “The Mary Tyler Moore Masturbation Society” (Click here and here for larger, easier-to-read versions). Apparently this “society” was founded by a fellow named James J. Kagel of Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Kagel is (or was) attempting to connect to others who share his fetish for, in his words, “jacking off” to photographs of beloved actress and comedienne, Mary Tyler Moore’s “beautifully curved, ever so shapely, silken, creamy smooth, seductive, velvety soft, long, lean, graceful, tantilizing [sic], erotic, sinuously sexy LEGS [...] (not to mention her lickable feet)!” End quote.
Kagel goes on to totally over-share about his fetish for MTM’s legs developed as a boy watching her on The Dick Van Dyke Show and her own eponymously-titled, long-running TV series. He mentions that he is “proud” to admit to masturbating to Moore’s gams—I, for one, believe him—and that his wife bears a “slight resemblance” in the face and legs department to the actress. He even asks members of The Mary Tyler Moore Masturbation Society to send him their own MTM leg fantasies! (I wonder how many people joined?!?! Furthermore, what would be the pleasure of sharing such fantasies with James in particular? He won’t judge you?)
You can pretty much tell that it was made with a type-writer, scissors and glue stick. I won’t describe any more of it, you’ll have to read it for yourself, but this truly had us ON THE FLOOR gasping for breath, laughing. This flyer is all kinds of wrong, but my god is it fucking hilarious. Even the oblivious, kooky sincerity of it is mind-bending in the extreme.
And then you have to wonder what Mary Tyler Moore herself thought about this when she saw it, because you just know that at some point, someone had to have shown this to her.
There is also a Yahoo Group called “MTM Legs” that’s “for your jacking pleasure.” It’s just gotta be the same fuckin’ guy. What the odds of two such insanely ardent masturbating Mary Tyler Moore leg fetishists existing in this space-time continuum? It has 155 members!
Paula Johnson is the co-chair of the New Hampshire-based “Women for Trump” organization and a former Republican alderwoman in the state. She was a guest on CNN’s Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield this morning, and a star was born.
An incoherent star of the Sarah Palin confused word salad variety, but a star nonetheless… A star from the constellation of looney toons… Best of all, Paula’s got a really cartoony voice.
By the end of it, the befuddled elderly Trump supporter is shouting and appears to be losing her mind. The clip’s five minutes long but you really might want to consider savoring the entire thing.
I would totally watch the shit out of Paula’s podcast, wouldn’t you?
Kathleen Tonn, a failed, former Republican U.S. Senate candidate who gained infamy briefly for displaying her “gift” of speaking in tongues, decided to wave a tampon around as she addressed city officials in Anchorage, Alaska, last night in a nonsensical anti-gay rights rant. Tonn carried a briefcase full of props into to the meeting of the Anchorage assembly. She pulled a Bible from her case and said “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. You like my trumpet? It’s a sound heard around the world.”
“Since one of my brethren introduced the King James Bible, since I represent the Lord Jesus Christ the great I am, I’m going to add to your public document and your public record from the public document of the great I am,” Tonn told baffled officials.
“Starting with, oh my — a tampon,” she said, pulling a feminine hygiene product from between the pages of her Bible. “Reminds me that little girls in pubescence get periods — female girls.”
Tonn, who is probably best known for a video she posted online showing herself fully clothed and speaking in tongues in a sauna, then angrily read a lengthy passage from the Second Epistle of Peter describing God’s wrathful judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Now, since you want to create some ordinance to avoid discrimination for members of our community who engage in, I perceive, unhealthy, ungodly behavior, you might want to consider creating an ordinance for one who speaks in tongues.”
Or perhaps summoning a van where people wearing all white uniforms bring you a nice comfy straightjacket and forcibly medicate you?
Dick Traini, the assembly chairman finally said “Ma’am, your time is up. Thank you for your testimony.”
How long will it take—how many decades, how many more centuries if we’re really unlucky—before the Christianity virus just completely and utterly burns itself out? At what point will there just simply be no more use for it and we’ll all just give up the (holy) ghost once and for all, call it a day AND MOVE ON?
I don’t have a prediction to make about that—Voltaire, who died in 1778, once wrote that he thought religion would die out in twenty years time—but I can say with some assurance (and even gratitude!) that idiot Palm Springs-based televangelist Joshua Mills is doing his very best to make people shake their heads in DISBELIEF and walk out of the church, hopefully never to return. Mills has claimed in the past that God can whiten teeth better than dentists and remove wrinkles better than Botox.
Here on the Internet talk show, It’s Supernatural with Sid Roth, Mills relates the story of how God covered him in glitter in an elevator in Toronto. Three onlookers in the elevator were saved before the doors even opened again. But best of all, they reenact this “anointing”! Hilarity ensues! Sid makes George Noory seem skeptical and it’s too bad that they didn’t have Mills play himself, that was really a missed opportunity if you ask me.