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T-shirt honors NYC mayor’s boneheaded ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ tabloid headline


 
On Friday, June 28, 2013, Michael Bloomberg, then serving out the last few months of twelve loooong years as mayor of New York City, made one of those comments on his weekly radio show that politicians sometimes make when circumstances have forced their hand on a policy position that is neither tenable nor reversible. For some years stop-and-frisk had outraged citizens over baldly racist N.Y. Police Dept. practices of detaining minority citizens, policies that yielded superficial improvements in crime statistics as well as a great deal of busywork for police officers. Rather than own up to the inherent disgrace in treating minorities as criminals, Bloomberg reached for one of those counterintuitive defenses politicians sometimes favor when they’re about to dismiss the rights of a great number of people.

Bloomberg said, “We disproportionately stop whites too much. And minorities too little.”

The next day, in the curious “headline-ese” of the N.Y. Daily News, that sentiment ran as follows: 
 

We stop
TOO
many
WHITES

 
Democratic candidate for mayor Bill de Blasio, then still in a primary hunt, blasted that statement, and some observers have credited that specific moment of distancing himself from the excesses of the Bloomberg administration with his later electoral victories. Four months later, Bill de Blasio, famously married to an African-American woman and the father of two biracial (and highly entertaining) children, was elected mayor of New York, a choice that was widely seen as a rebuke to Bloomberg’s handling of the NYPD. The era of stop-and-frisk was over—at least so went the hope. We all know that such policies have a way of being tenacious. (De Blasio has had considerable success in reducing the policy.)
 

 
Suffice to say that while the rest of the country might find all of this rather picayune, a certain subset of liberal New Yorkers remembers those months fondly. De Blasio became the first staunchly “liberal” mayor of the city since unfortunate David Dinkins, the only African-American mayor the city has ever had, who had the misfortune to preside at the absolute pinnacle of the crack epidemic and a major recession. His perceived failures ushered in Rudy Giuliani, who, suffice to say, looked a whole lot better at the time. In any case, Bloomberg’s comment, the headline, it all is a product of one of those charged moments that maybe only New Yorkers care about (even if they do become noticed by the nation at large): Bernie Goetz, Lizzie Grubman, Sully Sullenberger, Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, Robin Byrd….

Enter Ashok “Dapwell” Kondabolu, of the currently defunct and oddly timely NYC alt-hip hop outfit Das Racist. He’s designed a T-shirt with the Daily News cover. You can get a T-shirt for $20 and a sweatshirt for $40. As Dapwell says on the site, “Remember this guy? Remember when he said this shitty thing? ... Commemorate New York City’s gone but (sadly) not forgotten Mayor Mike with one of these high quality, screen-printed, and 100% ultra cotton sweatshirts and t-shirts featuring the ACTUAL June 29, 2013 cover of the Daily News.”

Rush as fast as you can to get one, because there ain’t many left—indeed, it may be too late. Dapwell says that there is “VERY LIMITED QUANTITY”—no kidding, just yesterday he said on Twitter that there’s just one sweatshirt left and “a dozen” shirts.
 

 
via Animal

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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iBeenHACKED
10.07.2014
04:57 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Media
Music

Tags:
smartphones
Tim Fite


 
I’m one of those people—there are still a few of us left—who adamantly refuses to carry a cell phone. I had one in the late 90s for about a year, but I dropped it on a marble floor and didn’t replace it until 2007 during a period where I was traveling a lot. And that one is just a flip. It’s also never charged and I really have to hunt for it when I need it.

I simply don’t like the idea of anyone being able to reach me wherever I am. If I’m out in the world, or having lunch with someone or driving, I don’t want to take a phone call. My email can wait. I will not be texting anyone or Instagramming my selfies from the vegan food truck. All of it can wait until I get home.

I know it’s very… 1989 of me, but I honestly just don’t care. It’s not even that I am particularly anti-cell phones or anything, it’s that I personally do not require one.

Brooklyn-based art prankster/beatmeister Tim Fite is a man after my own heart. Realizing he had a “codependent” relationship with his smartphone he designed a glass iPhone replica called “The Phoney” to wean himself off the always on, constantly-updating datastream he was addicted to. Kind of like an e-cigarette that doesn’t have any nicotine. Or any battery for that matter.

Fite’s new project takes it further: iBeenHACKED is social commentary in the form of a musical concept album and art installation investigating the ways that the digital teet intrudes upon our daily lives and alters the way we live. The project includes a limited edition series of handmade glass “Phonies” and the taking over of a Brooklyn storefront that was turned into a giant smartphone and art studio, then gallery space. For the album, rather than try to sell CDs or downloads, Fite tried some alternative strategies to monetize his work such as the sale of advertising between songs and personal shout-outs. The songs lampoon online “liking” (“Like”), smartphone addiction (“Check Yo Cell”), the cult of Apple products (“Big Mac”), binge-watching (“4 Seasons”) and more.

If you like this post, please consider “liking” it…
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Pirate Radio, Revolution and the rise of Radio Študent

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In the folly of my youth I was once involved with a student anarchist group. Alas, this hapless caucus of surly fellow radicals were more inspired by the swagger of The Sex Pistols and The Clash than by any reading of Kropotkin or Bakunin.

On those odd occasions when we met to discuss plans for the overthrow of capitalism, ahem, we did fire up a few interesting ideas. One such was to start an illegal radio station to broadcast revolutionary hymns (and punk rock) across the west end of Glasgow. Unfortunately, we never had enough radicals willing to take responsibility for setting the thing up and it all came to naught. Our lax attitude was (sadly) best summed up by a leather-jacketed Joe Strummer wannabe who kept asking, “Where’s all the free stuff?”

If only we had been a bit more like Slovenia’s Radio Študent who knows where we could have gone?
 
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Radio Študent came out of the political turmoil and student unrest of the late 1960s. Established in May 1969 by a handful of radical students at Ljubljana University, the station originally broadcast for just three hours a day, offering its listeners a potent mix of music and politics—an alternative voice to the country’s heavily censored and state controlled media. The station’s popularity grew during the 1970s as Radio Študent became the main source for dissent. With the influence of punk, the station attracted more journalists and campaigners and Radio Študent played in a major part in the movement for Slovenia’s independence in the Revolution of 1989.
 
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Now Radio Študent has over 250 contributors and broadcasts 24 hours a day. Though money is tight, people become involved with the station “because they believe in what they are doing.”

If you have an interest in radical media or in finding out how others have successfully created their own revolutionary outlet, then Siniša Gačić‘s short documentary on Radio Študent is a must.
 

 
H/T Voices of East Anglia

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Ten famous comic strip artists draw their characters blindfolded

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How many times have you heard someone boast, “That’s so easy, I could do it blindfolded”? Well, that was the very task set by Life magazine in 1947 to ten well-known comic strip artists, who were asked to draw their instantly recognizable cartoon characters blindfolded.

As comic strip artists create their characters with a few well chosen marks of pen on paper, it was believed these artists, having drawn hundreds of cartoon strips, should be able to draw their creations instinctively, without looking—just as most can tie shoelaces or touch type unsighted.

However, the results fell far below the magazine’s expectations—veering between the bad untutored scribble to almost miniature works of modern art. For example Mel Graff’s blindfolded drawing of Secret Agent X-9 looks Cubist with a cigarette being smoked thru the hero’s ear; while Frank Robbins’ Brandy looks decidedly unhappy with her results; and Frank King’s Skeezix from “Gasoline Alley” is reminiscent of those portraits drawn under LSD.
 
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Via A Hole in the Head, H/T Bored Panda
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Cool minimalist cover art for the new James Bond 007 audiobooks
09.04.2014
07:43 am

Topics:
Books
Literature
Media

Tags:
James Bond
007


 
Good news for Bond fans from SpyVibe:

The Reloaded editions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, read by prominent British actors, was re-released yesterday in the US by Blackstone Audio. The collapse of AudioGo last year had Bond fans clambering for out-of-print CDs and box sets, but Ian Fleming Publications was able to strike a deal with Blackstone to keep the recordings in circulation. Each 007 title is available in CD, download, and MP3 CD editions.

The “prominent British actors” reading the novels include the likes of David Tennent, Kenneth Branagh, Rosamund Pike (who acted in the Bond film Die Another Day), and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, among many others. The new audiobooks also sport some extremely cool geometric/abstract cover art. If the artwork looks familiar, it should—these abstractions were used by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer paperback series of the Ian Fleming novels just a couple of years ago. In addition to issuing the new series, Blackstone is also keeping in print a series of Bond audiobooks from 2009, read by the acclaimed narrator and voice actor Simon Vance. That series had a cheesecakey, retro-kitsch cover design scheme, which we thought would be fun to A/B with the new ones—the contrast is awfully stark.
 


Octopussy
 
 


Casino Royale
 
 


You Only Live Twice
 
 


The Spy Who Loved Me
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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End of an era: NYC’s legendary cinephile paradise Kim’s Video closes (1987-2014)
08.26.2014
09:27 am

Topics:
Media
Movies

Tags:
Yongman Kim
Kim's Video
Kim's Underground


 
For anyone who hung out in the East Village between 1987 and 2010, the various Kim’s Video locations, which would sprout up and disappear depending on the economic vagaries of the moment, constituted an essential cultural landmark. Founded by Korean businessman Yongman Kim, initially when he rented out part of his Avenue A dry cleaning store to a fellow with a large collection of VHS tapes and then opened up a store down the street for him to manage. Kim’s Video lasted through the days when Napster reigned supreme and even after LPs made a comeback. When you stood in a Kim’s Video, it was easy to imagine that you were existing in an idealized community of punks, freaks, and artists, you could watch Stranger Than Paradise, After Hours, The Brother from Another Planet, or Do the Right Thing and know that those movies were shot in this same city and that the filmmakers themselves might walk through the door any minute.

Yesterday, August 25, was the last day of the last remaining location of Kim’s Video, at 124 First Avenue. For a certain kind of scruffy video-literate New Yorker, it was a sad day indeed.

Kim’s was one of the country’s great video stores, part of a community that included such hallowed places as Four Star Video Heaven in Madison and Scarecrow Video in Seattle. If you wanted to watch an Ozu movie or a Kenneth Anger film in the days before DVD, you had to go to a store like Kim’s. Kim’s ordered their shelves by filmmaker—the Godard shelf had a sign that read simply, “God”—and for hard-to-get movies that had never had an official release, they were perfectly content to stock bootlegs (this tendency would eventually get them into trouble). The only time in my life I had a 9-to-5 job in New York City was between 1997 and 2001, and those were also, not coincidentally, my prime Kim’s years (not that I used Kim’s for videos all that much—I lived up near Columbia University, where there were more convenient options). I can remember renting, over a period of a few weeks, the entire oeuvre of Errol Morris as well as selected early masterpieces by Wong Kar Wai. In my mind the quintessential Kim’s movie was Superstar, Todd Haynes’ 1987 movie that used Barbie dolls to tell the Karen Carpenter story and ended up getting withdrawn from circulation after Haynes lost lawsuit filed by Richard Carpenter.

In the late 1990s and into the 2000s it kept getting raided by the FBI for bootlegs, which were often displayed blatantly. I remember visiting one of the stores one day and learning the next day that a serious raid had occurred a couple hours after I left. Kim’s was legendary for its condescending clerks, but my only good Kim’s story involved a considerate and helpful clerk, so whatevs. (I received my share of eyerolls, I’m sure, but I must have shrugged them off.) I was visiting the Kim’s Underground location on Bleecker (formerly the site of both the Bleecker Street Cinema and the Cafe a Go Go), and at the time I was obsessed with the band Spoon, who disappeared for a couple years there after Elektra dropped them in 1998. I made it a habit of checking the CD bins for Spoon releases, and I was invariably disappointed. On this occasion I asked the music clerk (this location emphasized movies more than the others, and the CD section was pretty small) about Spoon, and he indicated that he had a stack behind the counter of perhaps a dozen copies of a newish promo, the “30 Gallon Tank” maxi-single, that Elektra had obviously given up on. The clerk reached back and gave me one, no charge.

Be sure to check out this detailed oral history of Kim’s at Bedford and Bowery. It does a far better job of filling in the blanks than I ever could. I didn’t realize that so many prominent people worked there as clerks—for instance, Todd Phillips, director of the Hangover movies. Here’s a choice quote from Louis CK about Kim’s you can read in there:

“When I first moved to New York there was a place next door to my apartment called Kim’s Video which was a sort of artsy video store. Instead of arranging the videos by title, they had them arranged by director or even photographer, so I educated myself. I went through the Godard section in one week and then Pasolini.”

Today the huge Kim’s video collection is languishing in Italy and the last of the stores is no more. I moved away from New York City last December for related reasons. New York’s still a great city but without places like Kim’s around, I’m not really sure who it’s there for anymore.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Demented 1988 video mixtape ‘Amok Assault Video’
07.15.2014
06:23 am

Topics:
Media
Pop Culture

Tags:
Amok


 
In the ‘80s VHS era, credible weirdness could be hard to come by unless you were well-connected. If you had that one slightly tweaked pal who hoarded nth-generation dubs of Mondo films and suchlike (and of course, some DM readers surely were that guy) you were golden. But otherwise, your average hinterlands video store probably never got any deeper into video arcana than Faces of Death, if even that.

So it was mighty cool of Amok Books to compile and distribute Amok Assault Video. Amok was an LA-based outré bookstore, noteworthy in its heyday for publishing thick catalogs, the 4th and 5th editions of which were themselves more compelling reads than some of the material they purveyed, and which could serve extremely well as a neophyte mutant’s introduction to deeper levels of cultural fuckedup-ery, even surpassing the admirable Loompanics catalog in many respects.

Though it wasn’t the most extreme stuff available, some scenes in Assault Video are nonetheless very intense. It was clearly contrived to cater to the interests of Amok’s more jaded customers—it’s an insane assemblage of footage, including questionable old cartoons, assorted Third-World atavisms, cattle mutilation, behind-the-scenes footage from Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane’s attempted Hawaiian travel doc, after the production of which he was murdered (retribution for offending the island gods?), the infamous CBS Evening News video of a dog attack on an animal control officer, a bonkers occult theory about the cartoon character She-Ra, creepy scenes of an altered seeming Alice Coltrane from her religious TV show Eternity’s Pillar, other televised religious/spiritual nuts, and OF COURSE, that disturbing touchstone of ‘80s VHS-swap culture, the Budd Dwyer suicide.

If you’re at work, you’re hereby forewarned, there’s graphic nudity and violence herein. It’s appeared on and disappeared from YouTube before, so if you’re keen to watch it, don’t dawdle.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Tell me your nightmares: ‘The Asylum for Shut-Ins: Video Psychotherapy” 80s cable access insanity

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Bin Laden may not exist’: Did Thomas Pynchon give this 9/11 interview to Japan’s Playboy… or not?
06.20.2014
08:29 am

Topics:
Books
History
Media

Tags:
Thomas Pynchon
Osama bin Laden

Pynchon & Bin Laden
 
Novelist Thomas Pynchon has a slightly overstated reputation as a literary recluse. After three ambitious novels between 1963 and 1973—the last of which, Gravity’s Rainbow, has a pretty strong claim as the best and most important U.S. novel written after 1970—Pynchon took a break from publishing new work that lasted 17 years. There are only a handful of existing photographs of Pynchon, and they’re all grainy black-and-white shots from early in his life. Despite living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for many years, not many people know what he looks like.

But he’s no J.D. Salinger. Since 1997 he’s published four novels; measured by number of pages, his post-1997 output must far outstrip the three novels and handful of short stories that established his reputation. He pops up here and there, lending liner notes to Nobody’s Cool, an album by the indie rock band Lotion, or Spiked!, a collection of tunes by Spike Jones, whom Pynchon has cited as a key influence on his work.

Pynchon’s cult of personality is strong enough that the question of his extra-fictional writings is no casual matter. So when a brief piece by Pynchon pops up in, of all places, the Japanese edition of Playboy a few months after 9/11 urging readers to regard Osama bin Laden as a “symbol,” that’s the kind of thing that sets the Pynchon obsessives to speculating. There’s not any obvious reason to believe that the article was faked, save Pynchon’s track record of pranks and the unlikely venue. It’s just barely mysterious enough that you might see it referred to as Pynchon’s “interview about bin Laden”—complete with skeptical quotation marks. Its very existence is a bit of a puzzle.
 
Japanese Playboy
 
The item exists, for English readers, in translation only, one executed by the diligent “Naoki” of the Pynchon-L newsgroup. It’s important that the piece is billed as an “interview,” because only that would explain the relatively pedestrian quality of the words. (Try to imagine James Joyce translated into Japanese and back into English again. The original text and the outcome might not be all that similar.) The text does seem tolerably Pynchonian. He remarks that he’s afraid to use the subway; there’s more about anthrax than you would find in a remembrance of 9/11 written today; he says that he can’t trust the New York Times anymore; he discusses the anomic qualities of the CNN newscasters.

Most interesting is his plea to stop taking Osama bin Laden so seriously. It’s one of those insights that’s obviously correct but also functionally useless: we were always going to take Osama bin Laden very seriously. As he says, “Even if the United States succeeds in killing him that would mean that there are still 19 bin Ladens left. Even if there is only one, there are probably many people who would take his place once they kill bin Laden. ... If we look at this from a different point-of-view, we should look at bin Laden as a symbol rather than a man. Bin Laden may not even exist.

Here’s Naoki’s translation of the “interview,” with a few typos corrected:
 

Most News Is Propaganda. Bin Laden May Not Exist.

All people who live in New York today have been talking about recently is whether they have been to the site of the World Trade Center. This is because it has become a “trendy” topic. Personally, I still cannot find myself wanting to go see the site.

The main thing that has changed in my life-style recently is the fact that I do not ride the subway anymore. Before, I got on the subway wherever I went but today, I never ride the subway in fear of biological weapons. After all, there was the case with the Tokyo Sarin Gas. I believe that the damage that can be caused by the biological weapon called anthrax is increasing and we are in a situation where someone could use biological weapons at any time.

The media station that is consistently giving reports on this terrorist case is CNN. Because everybody watches CNN, it would be safe to say that the news being watched by all of the citizens is the same. However, it is dangerous when people start to believe that what they see is real news.

For the television stations this kind of situation should be a great chance to express their individuality. However, the only thing the newscasters do is read the news in a monotonous voice or when the news comes on during the report, all they do is spit out the words they receive. In any case, they talk with the mere intention of filling up the time they have on air.

The adjective “affect less” best fits the way the newscasters talk. It is a way of expression that has no connection to the human being and no emotional power at all. I deprecate this way of expression. If you listen closely to those words, it doesn’t sound like real news. It sounds more like propaganda.

Talking of propaganda, what changed the most due to the terrorist incident is The New York Times. Until recently, I would wake up an hour early to go buy this newspaper but now, there it isn’t even worth the time to sit down and read it. Even before I place my hips in the seat, I am already finished reading it by flipping through the pages. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that there is hardly any useful news. It is mostly propaganda.

The news on how there are more antibiotics to anthrax other than cipro was a little useful, but that kind of useful news has become a rarity. The New York Times is usually known to be the most reliable source of media when doing research on something that happened twenty to thirty years ago. However, that is no longer the case. The most reliable newspaper that is read by educated people today is probably England’s The Guardian. Everyone is reading it on the internet. I also believe that a lot of the information coming out of the White House is also propaganda.

The problem is that common people cannot make a distinction between news and propaganda. On the contrary, the news sent out from Israel is extremely reliable.

In any case, once a war happens, the war for media becomes a great significance and even the newspapers that look decent at first glance, you can no longer trust. About a hundred years ago, the man who started publishing the Daily Mile said the following: “News is something somebody wants to suppress. Everything else is propaganda.”

Therefore, all information that can be obtained without difficult coverage, even though it may be from the White House, you can think of as propaganda.

Bin Laden should be looked upon as a symbol

The United States has always had a tendency to look for an enemy. It is a country that cannot stand not having one. Even for this terrorist incident, it is already determined that the villain behind all of this is bin Laden, but in reality they are saying that because they cannot stand not doing so. I believe that bin Laden is someone’s clown for a rodeo.

Although my thoughts are always paranoid, I believe that I’m the only one who feels this way. It is said that NSA is on a lookout for him but I think that like an onion, new layers will be discovered. No matter how I look at the situation, it doesn’t seem like bin Laden is doing this independently. The only impression that I get is that he is some kind of star actor.

Honestly speaking, we cannot even tell if the face that comes out on television and on the newspapers is his real face. I remember someone saying right after the terrorist incident, “Come on, you want bin Laden? We’ll give you 20 of him.” Even if the United States succeeds in killing him that would mean that there are still 19 bin Ladens left. Even if there is only one, there are probably many people who would take his place once they kill bin Laden.

If we look at this from a different point-of-view, we should look at bin Laden as a symbol rather than a man. Bin Laden may not even exist.

The other day when I was surfing the net, it said that the punishment that suits bin Laden the best is to catch him alive, bring him to a hospital, give him a transexual operation, and send him back to Afghanistan. He would then understand the disservice done to the women in Afghanistan.

We cannot forget that many of bin Laden’s brothers were partners with George Bush Jr. for the purpose of oil ventures in the past. The doctor who is known to be at bin Laden’s side at all times was a member of the group who killed Sadat. When that assassination happened, Egypt became involved and there must have been people who fled to Afghanistan.

What is often said is that it is the United State’s wealth that is the cause of the terrorists’ hatred. I can understand their feelings well. When I see a wealthy person, I instinctively feel anger deep in my stomach. If you think about how Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is only natural for them to feel hatred toward the wealthy United States. They have no other choice but to detest them.

Even if the United States stops their support for Israel, I don’t think that everything will become peaceful. However, from their point-of-view this is the origin of all Israel’s mistakes.

On a final note, if I were to vigorously invest in something right now, I would invest in the tobacco industry. After that incident, people who had stopped smoking before have started it again.

 

On the Pynchon Wiki, two presumably well-informed commenters offer their opinion that the bin Laden piece is authentic. The reasoning of commenter “Bleakhaus” is fairly persuasive.
 

I for one am inclined to believe its authenticity. It expresses many of Pynchon’s longest- and deepest-held thoughts:

Paranoia - afraid to ride subway.
Extended thoughts on his distrust of news media - mentions CNN in particular (same station that tracked him down at one point).
He suggests that he used to like the New York Times - in fact, he wrote numerous articles for the Times.
Bin Laden as a symbol - 9/11 is treated symbolically in Against the Day.
sense of humor - consistent with Pynchon’s sense of humor in Against the Day.
The Playboy Japan article also quoted John Updike, Thomas Friedman and others. It would be odd that a bogus Pynchon interview would end up mixed in with those legitimate interviews.
Hating the rich - a very strong theme in Against the Day.

Finally, like Pynchon’s Simpsons appearance, the whole thing is just too unusual to be invented. Playboy Japan, of all things?

 

Obviously, 9/11 is an ideal subject for a writer who plumbed the subject of paranoia so thoroughly in The Crying of Lot 49 and Gravity’s Rainbow. What “Bleakhaus” couldn’t have known when he or she wrote this is that, while Against the Day (2006) may touch on 9/11 symbolically, his 2013 book Bleeding Edge deals with it literally—it’s part of the book’s plot.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Vintage smut from the 1950s-70s

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Once upon a time, porn was kept on the top shelf, or under-the-counter, in discrete brown paper bags, or sent by post in anonymous manilla envelopes. Nowadays, porn is everywhere catering to everyone. And always remember kids, with the Internet, you’re only just one click away from somebody masturbating.

Compared with today’s no holes barred imagery, these pictures of vintage smut from the 1950s-70s, look almost tasteful—the kind of thing that wouldn’t look out of place in ads for Dolce and Gabana, or American Apparel.

The cover for Men Only seems more like an invite to cocktail party, while the S&M mags have more than a hint of today’s latex catalog, rather than something that might frighten the horses. Even the “pin-ups” range from arty sketches to forty-year-old guys sucking in their stomachs.

These magazines were photographed by the best-selling horror-writer, film critic, journalist, blogger and photographer Anne Billson, who for reasons that now escape her, photographed her friends porn collections in the 1980s.

A lot (though not all) of the publications were vintage even then, though nowadays magazines that were published in the 1980s are themselves considered pretty much antique. Perhaps I thought I was performing some sort of public service, or compiling a historical record, or (more likely) vaguely imagining the pictures would come in useful for research purposes in some sort of never-to-be-written article that would one day definitively establish me as a brilliant journalist who dared tackle subjects that writers more prudish than me would never have dreamt of touching with a bargepole.

Apart from all her superb writing and photographic work, Anne has a damn fine Multiglom blog, where she posts about films, art, and photography—check it out.
 
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More after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Jack Nicholson got bare-ass naked for the cover of Esquire in 1972
06.06.2014
07:21 am

Topics:
Media
Sex

Tags:
Jack Nicholson
George Lois
Esquire


 
This is one of those weird episodes that you’d think you would hear more about….. I can hardly find anything about this on the Google machine. As a result I suspect I’m missing some key points of information.

Let’s start with George Lois. Graphic design students and professionals alike revere the work that George Lois did as art director for Esquire between 1962 and 1972. It’s easy to see why: Lois supplied incredible conceptual oomph and rigor in a forum that was not only culturally relevant; it was culturally sizzling. His covers of Muhammad Ali as St. Sebastian, Andy Warhol drowning in a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Richard Nixon having makeup applied to his face, Roy Cohn as a cynical angel, Ed Sullivan wearing a Beatles moptop wig—all of these are just a handful of examples of Lois defining the very pinnacle of magazine cover design. As a result, for those years Esquire’s hefty cultural relevance index combined the fun of Playboy and the intellectual heft of, say, Harper’s. There are plenty of big-ass coffee table books celebrating Lois.

As Wikipedia indicates with its usual dry understatement, “Lois has been accused several times of taking credit for others’ ideas and for exaggerating his participation.” To read his book Covering the ‘60s: George Lois, the Esquire Era is simultaneously to gape at the sheer visual genius behind the covers and to cringe at the sheer magnitude of the the ego on display (in his accounts of how the covers came to be). Often his stories have more than a whiff of a self-aggrandizing tall tale that is short on a few key details. If you click on the links in the last paragraph, you can read some of his ego-fueled prose for yourself—really, he seems like a spirit animal for Robert Evans.

So by 1972, Esquire had spent several years being one of the most talked-about magazines in America. Landing a Lois cover wasn’t just a good placement, it was the most happening place you could be. So in 1972, after Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, and Drive, He Said in rapid succession, it was becoming increasingly clear that Jack Nicholson had become an actor to seriously reckon with. So when Lois asked if Nicholson would agree to appear naked on the cover of Esquire, it’s not so strange that Nicholson said yes with alacrity.
 
Jack Nicholson
 
The crazy thing about Lois’ account of the October 1972 cover with a naked Jack Nicholson on it is that he never quite says out loud that the cover never made it to press. There’s an allegation of Nicholson’s agent shitcanning the cover and a tale of a power play in which Esquire editor Harold Hayes and Lois were forced out, but while we’re reading that, our eyes are taking in the visual evidence of a perfectly finished October 1972 Esquire cover with a naked Jack Nicholson on it. But in fact, it never ran. Here, read for yourself:
 

The manuscript was all about the high jinks of L.A.‘s Hollywood community. So photographer Timothy Galfas and I convinced the biggest movie star of them all to be photographed, bareass. Since the story related how hotdogging Jack Nicholson had greeted the writer wearing nothing but sandals, a hat, and a cigar [!], convincing the irascible rogue to post in the buff was a cinch. He loved my covers and wanted to support what he called “the best magazine ever.” Esquire’s ad boys, of course, once again thought “Lois has gone too far.” But this time, even as the covers were roaring off the high-speed printers, management shouted: “Stop the presses!” Nicholson hadn’t told his agent he had agreed to pose, and the concerned agent was threatening to sue the magazine. In 1972, nudity was no joke. Well, when Harold Hayes called to say the owners had killed the cover, in effect cowtowing to the oncoming power of the celebrity and their business agents, I knew it signaled the end of an illustrious road for Hayes at Esquire.

 
It goes on in that vein for a little more. I love Lois’ characterizations of what other people think of him, Nicholson “loved my covers” while the “ad boys” think “Lois has gone too far,” etc. Hell, maybe it’s all the gospel truth. (Personally, I don’t really buy this story of the agent being the heavy here, that’s the role of the agent, to take on the client’s worst aspects, to represent his or her self-interest. It’s entirely possible that Nicholson changed his mind….) I also adore his dated gossip columnist’s patter, “high jinks,” “irascible rogue,” “in the buff,” “cowtowing,” etc.

Fortunately it doesn’t take but a minute to find out what Esquire actually had on its cover for October of 1972, and in fact, the cover that ran was almost as interesting—a picture of a young and un-mustachio’d Burt Reynolds, naked from the chest up, peering down at his nether regions in a dismayed fashion next to the words “The Impotence Boom.”
 
Burt Reynolds
 
The odd thing is that this shitcanned cover seems to have had virtually no echo. If you Google, in various combinations, the terms “Jack Nicholson,” “George Lois,” “Esquire cover,” and “October 1972,” there isn’t that much out there to find. Apparently nobody’s that interested that Nicholson came that close (hold thumb and index finger a little apart) to appearing naked on the cover of Esquire.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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