FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
Stuck in the Mudd! Four decades later, the doorman of the wildest nightclub in NYC lets you in!

dcgvgj
Here’s a drink ticket—enjoy the post!

“If you’ve been standing here for more than ten minutes you’re not coming in” announces Richard Boch in a stern but cute, almost teenaged stoner way. Don’t get me wrong, he means it. This was how “normal people” were greeted much of the time at the door of the Mudd Club (and many other ultra hip clubs in New York City at the time). This made getting in a huge badge of honor and being turned away a major disgrace. Imagine riding on THAT possibility just to pay to go into a nightclub? An anonymous “sniper” refused entrance once even hit Boch with a dead pigeon from a few yards away and sped off in a taxi cab!

Back then these normal people showing up at Manhattan nightclubs were mostly referred to as the “bridge and tunnel” crowd (Queens, Jersey, Brooklyn) a term not heard much these days, but once heard hundreds of times every night in NYC clubs. Some were 9-5ers, some wealthy disco-types expecting to stroll in on the doorman’s view of their Rolex or hot girlfriend. These regular folks were basically told to cool their heels or fuck off while an 18-year-old kid like me dressed to the hilt in what may have looked to them like idiotic rags, parted the seas and strolled in like I was Mick Jagger. This was not Studio 54 as they would find out soon enough. What it was, though, was a trip into known and unknown galaxies of hip culture throughout history, like a living, breathing museum/funhouse/drug den/concert hall/discotheque, mixed with nitroglycerine and LSD and thrown into a blender to create the unknown. The future. THE NOW!

The Mudd Club was almost literally unbelievable. Inmates running the asylum on an outer space pirate ship. This vessel was founded, funded and schemed by Steve Mass, who was on every side of the street all at once. When I first met Steve, he was roommates with Brian Eno and got that input, but he STILL drove me out to my parents’ apartment in Queens to help pull my record collection from under my bed, my parents shrugging their shoulders until reading about us a year later in the New York Times, thereby making it “Okay.” But really he was always very curious, constantly grilling me, getting inside my head. I once told him I thought he should round off the corners and ceiling of the Mudd Club like a giant cave and have live bats flying around the club. He actually considered it! He did this with certain other kids, rock stars, Warhol superstars, models, designers, Hollywood royalty, junkies, freaks and lord knows who else. We all had a bit of our heart and soul in that place.
 
sdfghjk
Mudd Club owner Steve Mass. Photo by Kate Simon

The above mentioned Richard Boch is the author of a incredibly well-written new book from Feral House titled The Mudd Club. Boch was the main doorman there and the book is his autobiography or a coming of age story told in pretty much the aftermath of the glorious Sixties during the truly, in retrospect, harsh, dark, real version of what was hoped for, but lost in that previous decade. Richard’s story is all of our stories, those of us lucky (or unlucky) enough to have grown up or wound up in New York City’s grimy punk/art/drugged musical and historical mish-mosh. It was the Velvet Underground’s songs come to life after waiting a decade for the world to catch up to it, or crumble to its level.
 
To quote Richard:

I’ve always referred to the Mudd Club as the scene of the crime, always meant as a term of endearment. It was the night that never ended: the day before never happened and the day after, a long way off. There was nothing else like it and I wound up right in the middle. I thought I could handle it and for a while, I did.

 
lkjlkjlkj
Author Richard Boch. Photo by Alan Kleinberg
 
Boch was given marching orders orders early on to avoid bloated seventies superstars and the limo crowd. On one of his first nights of work he was faced with a huge, loud, and very sweaty Meatloaf. “Definitely not something I wanted to get close to, physically or musically,” Boch says, and ignored him. My first ever DJ gig was early on at the Mudd Club and I was told told by Steve Mass to do things like play Alvin and The Chipmunks records when it got a bit crowded, to “make everyone uncomfortable,” including myself. Of course I had the record. I also gouged a 45 with scissors insuring the record would skip horribly and then pretend that it wasn’t happening. Just long enough to get the asylum to freak out a little bit.

Later this stuff went out the window but it was quite a formative experience. Humor filtered through even to the most deadly serious moments there. The Mudd Club was a place where twenty people could literally have had twenty different experiences on the same night during the same hour as there was just so much happening on different mental/pharmaceutical levels and different floor levels. Everywhere you turned there was someone amazing. From the way I had grown up, seeing Andy Warhol, John Waters, David Bowie and the Ramones within a twenty minute span was “my” Studio 54. Watching Screamin’ Jay Hawkins while standing next to Jean-Michel Basquiat, seeing the Soft Boys, girl groups like the Angels and the Crystals, Frank Zappa, Bauhaus, Nico, the Dead Boys, Captain Beefheart, John Cale, a Radley Metzger film presented by Sleazoid Express or an impromptu freakout by Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis, well this was my dream come to life!

My dream hasn’t changed in 40 years. I’m still in awe that it happened. And in the middle of all that I was allowed to put on my own demented conceptual events with friends (“The Puberty Ball,” etc.) and be a regular DJ. The people I came to know in the punk world who wanted more found it at the Mudd Club. Our mad obsession with the Sixties, especially the Warhol/New York sixties, informed much of what we did, and at the same time the Warhol Factory itself became more corporate. The Superstars were by then getting older and pushed out, but they were looking for more themselves, and they were looking to us to inform them, making for some extremely insane morality and immorality plays coming to life before our eyes. Mudd had the pull of what the press called “downtown,” and for the downtown types, well our voices were about to be heard loud and clear.
 
jhgfd
David Bowie and Dee Dee Ramone. Photo by Bobby Grossman
 
jhfndbf
Howie Pyro deejaying at Mudd

Richard Boch understood all this, and was also an artist himself so he knew who everyone in the art world was, as well as all the new punk stars and celebutantes, no wavers, new wavers, culture vulture gods and the ones who would become gods themselves in a year or so. In the book he talks about being nervous about starting working there but man, he was the one for the job. In the pages of The Mudd Club, Boch’s quite candid about everything you’d want to know (gossip but not mean gossip: sex, drugs, more drugs, and getting home at ten AM, having done every drug and a half dozen people along the way—normal stuff like that). It reads in one, two, or three page sections, my favorite kind of book. You can put it down in ten-minute intervals or read it in any order you want, IF you can put it down at all. I have literally read certain sections backwards for 40-50 pages while looking for something and didn’t really notice. It made me laugh out loud, and it brought tears to my eyes. It’s kind of like “Please Kill Me, the Day After,” though it’s not an oral history as such, as it is written from Richard Boch’s point of view, but it has the same immediate anecdotal feel.
 
kuyhd
‘TV Party’ at Mudd. Photo by Bob Gruen
 
The club’s benevolent benefactor, Steve Mass, was responsible for making this incredible witches brew keep bubbling and kept the happenings happening. He was willing to do anything, just for the sake of doing it. Steve originally owned an ambulance service. For my 19th birthday they had a huge party for me on the second floor of the Mudd Club. Since Steve had medical connections, and since we were ALL junkies (well, a good 85% of us were), he furnished a massive cake with dozens of syringes with the plungers & needles removed so they could put the candles in the open syringes. This of course turned into a massive cake fight with the participants looking like the Little Rascals (with pinned eyes). Steve was always down for this sorta stuff. As for the main floor, the bands, writers and performers that I saw in a single month’s time was staggering! More than some people see in a lifetime.
 
From the book:

January 1979. The Cramps freaked out The Mudd Club with a loud Psychobilly grind that included such hits as “Human Fly” and “Surfin’ Bird.” A few months later, the “big names” started to appear…

He goes on to say:

The legendary Sam and Dave got onstage a few weekends later, and it was the first time on my watch that I got to see the real deal. By late summer, Talking Heads took the stage while Marianne Faithful, X, Lene Lovich, and the Brides of Funkenstein waited in the wings.

There were so many great performances: Scheduled, impromptu, logical and out of left field. The locals and the regulars were the staple and the stable and performed as part of the White Street experience. They included everyone you could imagine and some you never could. John Cale, Chris Spedding, Judy Nylon and Nico, John Lurie and Philip Glass were just a few. Writers and poets such as William S. Burroughs, Max Blagg, Cookie Mueller, and “Teenage Jesus” Lydia Lunch all wound up on the Mudd Club stage. The talent pool was so deep and occasionally dark that even Hollywood Babylon‘s Luciferian auteur Kenneth Anger got Involved.

Steve’s willingness and generosity along with his guarded enthusiasm offered support to a local community of artists, musicians, and filmmakers. Together with Diego (Cortez)’ and Anya (Phillip’s) short-lived but “dominating” spirit, the Mudd Club became an instant happening, a free-for-all with No Wave orchestration and very few rules.

Diego described the Mudd Club as “a container, a vessel, but certainly not the only one in town.” What made the place unique was its blank-canvas emptiness. When the space filled up, IT happened and everyone wanted to be a part. A living, breathing work of art, it was beautiful and way off center, a slice of golden time.

I was lucky, and soaked it all in.

 
dfkujnbd
Nico playing her wheezing harmonium. Photo by Ebet Roberts

All of us who got to be there were lucky. This was a timeless world of it’s own. A world that could be compared to any and all magical artistic movements, scenes or spaces. Dada. Warhol’s Factory, the Beats in NY and SF, Surrealism, etc.—times, places, people all endlessly written about as there’s just so much to say. Everyone involved had a unique experience, true to themselves. This wasn’t just a nightclub, it was so much more. It almost seemed like a private place where, on the best nights, people’s lives and fantasies were put on display and the public was allowed to watch. The public who just came to do coke and dance (as we all did) but who accidentally got touched by a bizarre and wonderful world that lived in the shadows of the city then, usually just brushing against them like a ghost in the night. Whether they even noticed or not, well, who cares?

This first book on the subject (I guarantee it will not be the last) is Richard Boch’s own experience, peppered with those of us who he interviewed for the reminders. This book is about his eyes opening, his chain-wielding power stance, his blowjobs, his drinks, his drugs, all of which are plentiful. It includes a little of most of us, the people we loved, the ones we lost, the games we played, and the love we shared of each other and our mutual history. Still though, there are a million stories in the Mudd’s microcosm of the naked city, this is just one of them.

And what a glorious place to start: right at the front door.
 
ljkhgdbhfnjg
 

The trailer for the book
 
More Mudd Club after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Howie Pyro
|
09.19.2017
02:47 pm
|
The Male Figure: Bruce of Los Angeles and the perfection of midcentury beefcake
09.19.2017
01:31 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
When you ponder improbable destinies for high school chemistry teachers, it’s likely that almost everyone reading this would instantly think of Walter White, who went from being a lowly chemistry teacher to a major drug kingpin in the U.S. Southwest—at least in the fictional narrative that is Breaking Bad.

Bruce Bellas never became a drug lord, but his tale is still worthy of consideration. Born in 1909, Bellas grew up in Alliance, Nebraska. where he was a chemistry teacher into his late thirties. Something caused Bellas to leave Nebraska for the West Coast in 1947, however, and there he became a magazine publisher of men’s physique magazines and a significant pioneer in the development of the American gay aesthetic.

Once he found himself in Los Angeles, Bellas adopted the uncannily apt sobriquet Bruce of Los Angeles. According to a 2008 exhibition dedicated to the artist, Bruce started out taking pictures of bodybuilding contests while working for one of Joe Weider’s many muscle magazines. In 1956 Bruce created what was ostensibly a magazine for aspiring artists called The Male Figure, which supplied him with the proper prerogative to present photos of muscular dudes with hardly any clothes on. Even leaving the beefcake aspect aside, the Male Figure covers are models of midcentury simplicity. 

In the unaccountably well-written Encyclopedia of Gay Histories and Cultures, edited by George Haggerty, Bruce’s output is described thus:
 

Equal parts chronicler of the sport of body-building, photographic artist-technician, and carnal visionary, Bruce made his mark in both studio and natural settings, in both shimmering black and white and lurid Kodachrome, in both formal poses that sculpted titanic champions and informal portraits that recorded illicit interactions. Only occasionally taking up the pseudoclassical plaster pillars of tradition, Bruce registered a documentary preference for corrals, motorcycles, navy yards, and the vinyl flotsam of suburbia.

 
As a “carnal visionary” he stands alongside Tom of Finland and George Quaintance as a small group of gay male graphic artists who helped define the homosexual aesthetic under conditions of extreme danger and secrecy, as the phrase “illicit interactions” above suggests.

In The Naked Heartland: The Itinerant Photography of Bruce of Los Angeles, Robert Mainardi noted that Bruce’s work “would one day be recognized for its classic elegance, Hollywood glamour, and camp wit, as well as for its restrained sensuality.” Bruce was a major influence on photographers like Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Weber, and Herb Ritts.
 

 

 

 
Much more after the jump…...
 

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
09.19.2017
01:31 pm
|
When a superfan crosses the line, things will never be the same again (short film with Sean Young)
08.16.2017
01:10 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
bOING bOING’s resident video guru Eric Mittleman has been one of my nearest and dearest friends for over a quarter century. He’s what is called “a keeper” in lifelong friend terms and is one of my all time favorite people. His new short film was recently premiered on bOING bOING and now we’re showcasing it here.

The filmmaker writes:

This short film is a cautionary tale about our personal and social media data and what can be done with it when it is a little too accessible. When a superfan crosses the line, Jason, a blogger, goes looking for her. He finds something unexpected and his life will never be the same again. The cast consists of Sean Young (Bladerunner), Joshua LeBar (Entourage), Alice Hunter (Another Period) and Claudia Graf (Love & Mercy).  I hope you enjoy it.

One small bit of background information: The main character’s apartment looks exactly like Eric’s own apartment. The TV, the couch. Everything. Except that it’s much, much, much tidier. Weird.

(Runs away)
 

 
Watch ‘Legacy’ after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
08.16.2017
01:10 pm
|
The B-52s’ lost recipe for sweet potato cornbread
05.26.2017
09:24 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Some principles are non-negotiable. I like talking to people whose views on religion, politics, food, the environment, hairdos and footwear differ from my own. But I stand firmly behind Dangerous Minds’ “zero tolerance” policy for anyone who doesn’t like the B-52s. Those jerks can wash down a plate of boiled shoe leather with a cold glass of splinters. The rest of us will be borne aloft on the angelic sounds of Ricky Wilson’s guitar and the subtle flavors of Cindy Wilson’s sweet potato cornbread.

This recipe ran in the B-52s’ fan club newsletter. I came across it on the blog Evenings with Peter, which also broke the story of Fred Schneider’s Italian-style Soba noodles.

CORN BREAD WITH SWEET POTATO IN IT

2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
⅔ brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 medium size sweet potato (cooked and mashed)

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Sift dry ingredients together.
3. Beat egg, add wet ingredients, mix together.
4. Coat cast iron skillet with cooking oil. Put in oven to get hot. When hot, pour in batter.
5. Leave in oven about 20 minutes.

A regular baking pan can be used instead.

After the jump, the B-52s go in search of “Quiche Lorraine” in Passaic, NJ…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
05.26.2017
09:24 am
|
Leonard Nimoy speaks out: Why Spock approved of LSD and ‘dirty movies’

01lnimoy.jpg
 
Throughout his life, the actor Leonard Nimoy appeared to be always open to discussing nearly everything in his life. He answered questions frankly and honestly on subjects as diverse as space travel, photography, or his own personal tastes in music or books. He answered these questions in a seemingly calm and rational way. His ability to do so was most possibly down to the very real personality changes brought on by playing Mr. Spock on hit TV series Star Trek. This was something Nimoy touched upon in an interview with TV Star Parade magazine in January 1968, where he discussed his thoughts about adult movies and the liberating potential of psychoactive drugs.

In the article “Leonard Nimoy Speaks Out on LSD, Religion and Dirty Movies—an unblushingly honest confession as told to Roger Elwood,” the actor was interviewed in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel. He is described as being “relaxed and comfortable” and sipping from a “glass of ginger liquid.” Who knows what was in this amber nectar but the main interest here was the actor’s comments on LSD and “dirty movies,” as Elwood wrote:

And so is the topic of LSD. The self-hallucinatory drug. The ticket to a trip somewhere at the farthest reaches of man’s intellect. Or so its proponents say without telling you of the dangers, the obstacles on the road to mental Utopia.

Leonard is especially outspoken on the subject, apparently one to which he has devoted a great deal of time and serious thought.

“It is a useful tool in the hands of proper medical experts,” he told me. “I am convinced, as a result of reports that I have read, that it will bring about some very useful effects in certain instances and under suitable and necessary medical controls. However, as it is being used by so many young people as a means of escape and personal investigation without control, I consider it rather dangerous.”

But Mr. Spock wasn’t finished there.

He paused, obviously thinking of his own children and hoping that, as they got older, they wouldn’t be similarly imperiled.

Then, clearing his throat, he continued, “There have been too many unsettling reports of young people using it without the necessary supervision and having difficulty recuperating from the trip. In many cases, I believe that young people resort to drugs with the excuse that it will help develop their minds, whereas they haven’t done the necessary work involved for themselves so that this could happen.

“The point is—they are looking for a drug or pill which will do the work for them, and this attitude in life is disastrous whether LSD is involved or not. The drugs can, I understand, be properly used, when the essential mental climate and conditions are already present—however, I believe in natural development processes of the mind. The creative process for me has always operated best at the very conscious level—in other words, only when I’m in complete control of my own thinking do I feel that I am creating at my best.”

As a sidebar, it’s worth noting that Nimoy was so in “control” of his personal life during the making of the original Star Trek series that he became (by his own admission) an alcoholic and ended up in rehab. This may have been as a result of Nimoy’s identifying with the character of Mr. Spock. He later claimed acting Spock twelve hours, five days a week, impacted on his personality making him more rational but less emotional.

More from Mr. Spock, after the jump….

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
05.05.2017
09:04 am
|
Steven Spielberg predicts the psycho-delic future of today in 1971’s ‘Los Angeles: A.D. 2017’!


 
I had heard about this impossible-to-see episode of The Name of the Game—a cutting edge television show that ran for seventy-six 90-minute episodes from 1968 to 1971 on NBC—but until recently, I’d never seen it. The Name of the Game had the biggest budget of any show of its time and a very interesting concept. First of all each episode was, in effect, it’s own semi-standalone 90-minute movie. The series was one of the first of what was then known as a “wheel series.” A wheel series was mostly known as a time slot on TV that two or three different shows shared, alternating each week. With The Name of the Game‘s high concept though, this wheel was alternating between three different stars who were featured in their own episodes/movies. And what a high concept it was!

From Wikipedia:

The series was based on the 1966 television movie Fame Is the Name of the Game, which was directed by Stuart Rosenberg and stars Tony Franciosa. The Name of the Game rotated among three characters working at Howard Publications, a large magazine publishing company. Jeffrey “Jeff” Dillon (Franciosa), a crusading reporter with People magazine (before there was a real-life People magazine); Glenn Howard (Gene Barry, taking over for George Macready, who had originated the role in the earlier film), the sophisticated, well-connected publisher; and Daniel “Dan” Farrell (Robert Stack), the editor of Crime magazine. Serving as a common connection was then-newcomer Susan Saint James as Peggy Maxwell, the editorial assistant for each.

 
dskgjvnsodkh
 
Which brings us to one of the last episodes of the series, LA 2017 aka Los Angeles: AD 2017. This episode was the first long form directing assignment for 24-year-old Steven Spielberg. Written by well-known offbeat author Phillip Wylie (who wrote Gene Barry’s wild episode Love-In At Ground Zero in the first season). Wylie’s work is known to have inspired the characters of Superman, Doc Savage and even Flash Gordon (from his story that was later made into the film When Worlds Collide). In this episode, Glenn Howard is hunted down in a lethally polluted, frightening and sometimes hilarious Los Angeles of the future, where the fascist government is ruled by psychiatrists and the populace has been driven to live in underground bunkers to survive the pollution. Sounds about right, right? This was the sixteenth episode of the third season, and the cast included Barry Sullivan, Edmond O’Brien, and (in a brief cameo) Spielberg’s friend Joan Crawford.
 
sfhfgyhktu
 
It starts out with a car crash while character Howard (Gene Barry) is seen driving through the mountains recording a memo to the President to do with an important pollution scandal story that will appear in his magazine, and ends up being a dream, which allowed the science-fiction plot to fit into the modern-day setting of the show, though in the final moments he is still contemplating what happened while driving back in his car (cue close-up shot of his tail pipes chugging out 1971 style car exhaust fumes). In the end, we see a stiff bird hanging in a tree… a close encounter of the (dead) bird kind indeed!
 
xcvbnm
 
Watching this 1971 pop culture prophecy in the actual Los Angeles of 2017 is a total mindblower. Some of it is insanely far-fetched and yet there are a few humdingers that really freak you out and make you think, the most well known being my favorite scene where we are taken into a truly “underground” club with a demented octogenarian acid rock band totally freaking out (or at least trying to):
 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Howie Pyro
|
04.20.2017
12:08 pm
|
Modern Life Sucks: Satirical illustrations of our brave new world
03.22.2017
11:58 am
Topics:
Tags:

02luisq.jpg
 
We’re all owned. We’re bought, bartered, liked, sold, conned, shared and used everyday to make other people money. We’re all well and truly fucked. Welcome to the world of Luis Quiles.

Luis Quiles, aka Gunsmithcat, is a Spanish artist whose corrsucating satirical ilustrations take no prisoners. No one is safe. The right. The left. The good. The bad. Quiles takes them all down. He specifically targets the dehumanizing nature of capitalism, terrorism, and religion. His work is highly controversial. It’s been deemed offensive. But we shouldn’t be offended by Luis’s drawings rather we should be offended at the hard reality he depicts.
 
031luisq.jpg
 
030luisq.jpg
 
05luisq.jpg
 
044luisq.jpg
 
See more of Luis Quiles’ work, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
03.22.2017
11:58 am
|
Ann Magnuson’s open letter regarding her ‘Open Letter to an Open Letter’
03.17.2017
12:23 pm
Topics:
Tags:


Photo by Austin Young. Styling by Squeaky Blonde. Make-up by MAC

This is a guest post from Ann Magnuson.

Initially, “Open Letter to an Open Letter” was written as a Facebook post, a goofy riff on the somewhat futile nature of ranting on the Internet. I wrote it after reading Sinead O’Connor’s “Open Letter to Miley Cyrus” where the former was chastising the latter for slutty twerking on the 2013 Grammys. I thought well, she makes some valid points but is this really helping anything? Then I thought, you know the real culprit is the Beast that feeds on all our infighting; the clickbait monster that every media site has turned into which has transformed the whole system into “a vortex that can never be filled”!

When I started recording my recent album Dream Girl I decided to include “Open Letter,” but then it didn’t really fit on the finished product so I decided to release it later as a separate track. I wanted to bring the “Open Letter” words to musical life and create an epic track that was in the spirit of “Folk Song” (initially written for one of my one-woman shows, and then ended up on the Bongwater album The Power of Pussy).

For the recording, I was partly inspired by Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” as well as by Ken Nordine and a host of other spoken word pieces from the psychedelic past. I recorded the whole thing in one take and then added embellishments later, mostly with my engineer Mark Wheaton at the Echo Park studio CATASONIC. My drummer Joe Berardi provided percussion and various sound effects and The Millionaire (Michael Cudahy) from Combustible Edison did the orchestrations and guitar work.

In the three years since the piece was written the mad chatter on the Internet has become so voluminous, so unhinged, so ugly and combative that there can be no doubt that we really are in the midst of a Civil War. And that battlefield is getting really bloody. The longer it goes on and the crazier it gets the vast void everyone is screaming into feels vaster than ever. While there are so many great things about the Internet (baby goat videos for example) it’s brought out the worst aspects of humanity. So much so that we’ve elected an Internet troll as our President!

Every time I look at the news I start singing the “Open Letter” chorus: “Seriously WTF?!” Has that become the new E Pluribus Unum? #sad

I just may have to agree with blogger Mark Manson who says, “Everything is Fucked and I’m Pretty Sure It’s the Internet’s Fault

I do think the Internet has changed our brain chemistry and not for the best. There is no denying the Internet has changed the zeitgeist. It IS the zeitgeist.

The way “Folk Song” (and a lot of the Bongwater stuff) riffed on the zeitgeist of the Reagan/Bush years, “Open Letter” riffs on today. Particularly as it relates to women - though the current madness is gender-neutral, and bi-partisan to boot!

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on it’s “SERIOUSLY WTF?!”

Love,

Ann

Hear “Open Letter to an Open Letter” after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
03.17.2017
12:23 pm
|
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke in 1993: Bowie and Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’ is ‘the perfect pop song’
02.22.2017
12:08 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
One of the more startling musical transformations in our era was the one that Radiohead pulled off between their 1993 debut album Pablo Honey and their 1995 follow-up The Bends.

It wasn’t just Thom Yorke’s blond locks that cause quite a few critics to liken Pablo Honey to watered-down Nirvana. Pablo Honey got generally lukewarm-to-good reviews at the time—3 stars out of 5 from Rolling Stone, which is the same rating it currently receives at Allmusic.com (it must be admitted that Stephen Thomas Erlewine’s brief review is far more charitable than that rating suggests). And Radiohead’s later successes haven’t shielded the album from vitriol. At Pitchfork, notoriously one of Radiohead’s most unshakable defenders, Scott Plagenhoef gave it a piddling 5.4 out of 10 as late as 2009.

Even that tepid Rolling Stone review ended with the words “Radiohead warrant watching,” but if you had said in 1993 that in less than a decade, Radiohead would be doing arenas with a highly worshipful following and the most ironclad critical reputation in all of rock music, that possibility would have seemed remote indeed. The Bends and OK Computer in 1997 were the astounding one-two punch that few saw coming and set Radiohead up to be the top rock band of the 2000s.

So when I come across a piece of Radiohead press from 1993, I’m inclined to pay attention. I was at the Library and Archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland recently, thumbing through a stack of old copies of Ray Gun magazine from the 1990s, something you can only do at a place like that. One of the 1993 issues had a little piece on Radiohead that was inexplicably formatted in an actually readable typeface (rare for that magazine). Here it is (if you click on it, the image will get quite large):
 

 
The last bit of the piece reports Yorke’s feelings on whether Radiohead qualifies as “pop” thus:
 

“Yesss,” he says slowly. “My definition of pop is tapping into something…. my ideal pop song is one that says something people want to hear lyrically and that grabs them by the neck musically. And one that has some sort of depth that moves it beyond a happy tune that you whistle at work. Songs like ‘Under Pressure,’ something that makes you want to fall down on your knees. That to me is the perfect pop song.”

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
02.22.2017
12:08 pm
|
The Teen Angel zine lovingly documented Chicano culture for decades
02.21.2017
11:51 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
From 1977 to 2000, one of the strongest voices in the zine community was an artist and writer going by the name “Teen Angel.” Several years of working at a magazine called Lowrider delving into the details of Latino car culture convinced him that there was a market for a zine catering to broader issues in the Chicano community, which inspired him to start a zine with a name based on his pseudonym—Teen Angels.

Teen Angel sought to expand the Lowrider concept into areas like fashion, art, and politics, and adopted a thoroughly unpretentious style with strong ties to Chicano prison art and tattoo design. Any young person seeking to find an identity in the Varrio was inevitably going to gravitate towards Teen Angels magazine. Chain stores, finding its offerings vulgar and limited in appeal, refused to carry the title, so Teen Angels was forced to find space in the places regular people actually congregated—in liquor stores and bodegas. Teen Angels gave young Chicanos an way to connect to other Chicanos using a catch-as-catch-can variety of strategies, including poems, doodles, photos, art, and a forum for pen pals.
 

 
Designer Christian Acker believes that the name of the magazine is “a reference to the 1950s doo-wop and early rock ‘n’ roll song by Mark Dinning. There is a very heavy retro fifties influence in the entire culture of Southern California. And the way cholos dress and the hot rods and music are still very heavily influenced by that fifties, sixties early youth culture.”  He adds, “It seemed to give a medium and a voice to people who may not have had a way to get their art, poems, and writings out to an audience. It no doubt also gave inspiration to countless kids within that lifestyle to express themselves in these ways, or provide a model that was acceptable.”

Teen Angel went on to create over 200 issues, which today fetch high prices among collectors (especially tattoo artists).  In 2005 a passionate fan of the publication named David De Baca stumbled upon some of Teen Angel’s art at an art fair, and realized, after spotting a signature on some of the art, that Teen Angel’s real name was actually Dave Holland—somewhat surprisingly, not himself a Chicano! De Baca and Holland struck up a friendship, but unfortunately Holland passed away in 2015.

This weekend, there will be a special exhibition focusing on the prolific output of Teen Angel, which will be held at the LA Art Book Fair at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Kill Your Idols will also be publishing a limited edition book on Teen Angels magazine (500 copies).
 

 

Tattoo typography
 

 
Much more after the jump…....

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
02.21.2017
11:51 am
|
Page 1 of 50  1 2 3 >  Last ›