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The black magic ‘hexing party’ to kill Adolf Hitler with voodoo, 1941
03.28.2016
12:50 pm

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History
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Occult

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Florence Birdseye chants above an effigy of Hitler, 1941.
 
William Seabrook was a well-known occultist (and, not coincidentally, a buddy of Aleister Crowley) who in 1940 had published a fairly popular book called Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today.

On a wet evening in January 1941, Seabrook and “a youthful band of idealists” convened at a cabin in the Maryland woods—they made sure to bring a whole bunch of rum from Jamaica, land of voodoo—with a single, lofty aim: “to kill Adolf Hitler by voodoo incantation.” A report of the event, complete with photographs, made for one of the odder features ever to appear in LIFE Magazine, under the title “LIFE Goes to a Hexing Party.”

The event had curious connections to the federal government, it seems. The tom-tom drums were borrowed, according to LIFE, from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Furthermore, LIFE described the group of voodoo practitioners as “respectable residents of Washington, D.C.,” and the cabin in which it all took place belonged to a man named Charles Tupper, who was an employee in a naval factory. The group brought, in LIFE’s words, “a dressmaker’s dummy, a Nazi uniform, nails, axes, tom-toms and plenty of Jamaica rum.” The dummy and the uniform were needed for the life-sized effigy that the group was going to create of Hitler.

One fascinating thing about this escapade is that the United States was not yet at war with Germany. That would have to wait nearly a year, when the Japanese attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7.

The ritual, prepared by Seabrook, invoked a pagan deity named Istan and incorporated the following phrases, to be intoned at the effigy:

“You are Hitler; Hitler is you! ... The woes that come to you, let it come to him! ... Hitler! You are the enemy of man and of the world; therefore we curse you. ... We curse you by every tear and drop of blood you have caused to flow. We curse you with the curses of all who have cursed you!”

After every line the whole group would repeat, “We curse you!”

They also chanted in unison: “We are driving nails and needles into Adolf Hitler’s heart!”

Incidentally, one of Seabrook’s claims to fame was that he once ... dined with cannibals! According to him, human flesh is pretty tasty: “It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef . . . and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted.” Not chicken?

It took several years, but the United States and its allies France, Great Britain, and the USSR defeated the Axis Powers in 1945.

Here is a gallery of images from this oh-so-peculiar event. Clicking will spawn a larger version, for all images not in portrait orientation.
 

Revelers make their way to a “hex party” in the Maryland woods, 1941.
 

Chief hexer Ted Caldwell intones an incantation. On the right, in dark shirt and tie, is author William Seabrook. Hitler’s effigy sits with its back to the window.
 
More of these remarkable pictures after the jump….......

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Lobotomy: LA’s greatest unknown punk rock fanzine, 1978
03.03.2016
01:48 pm

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Media
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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kjtvi
 
Just when you thought that you have seen it all, there always seems to be just one more thing. Sometimes the universe saves the best for last, like Lobotomy: The Brainless Magazine, which was founded in Hollywood during the spring 1978 by Pleasant Gehman.

The Xeroxed fanzine became notorious in the Hollywood punk scene from its very first issue, when Kim Fowley threatened to sue 18-year-old Pleasant over the sarcastic and derogatory comments she wrote about him. Because Pleasant couldn’t afford to re-print her ‘zine, she hitchhiked or took a bus to the various record stores that carried Lobotomy and cut out the offending paragraph with scissors!

Gehman, who has written for every magazine under the sun and fronted three bands, The Screaming Sirens, The Ringling Sisters and Honk If Yer Horny, is now known sometimes as “Princess Farhana,” burlesque and belly dancing star, and is exactly as she was then: wild and hysterically funny, which are the main characteristics of her DIY “brain child,” Lobotomy. Lobotomy is the documentation of a demented teenage punk insider’s view of the early scene (mostly in Los Angeles, but also New York and London) with a MAD magazine mentality. Lobotomy had that special freak-out girl flair fueled by booze, drugs and FUN!
 
jbydiut
 
Chief photographer Theresa Kereakes, also a teenager, started her career accidentally by doing the first photo shoot for a friend’s new band…The Germs. She took countless onstage and backstage photos of The Cramps, Ramones, Blondie, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Billy Idol, Joan Jett and many more for Lobotomy. Nearly four decades later, they’ve become some of the most recognized and iconic images of the early punk scene. This was in the wild west days of punk and publishing where none of this had any career possibilities or future and this all comes off in the text and photos. Truly done for laughs and love.

Theresa has gone on to be a real heavy hitter photographer working with David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and others before going on to work at Island Records and becoming a programming supervisor at VH-1 and Sirius Satellite Radio. Both Pleasant and Theresa were ticket takers at the Whiskey A Go Go in the 1970’s. You can also see her work on her blog Punk Turns 30 .
 
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Pleasant and Theresa, Hollywood photo booth 1978
 
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Typical night: party at Joan Jett’s house across from The Whiskey A Go Go with Brad Dunning, Lisa Curland, Pleasant, Melissa, Darby & Lorna of The Germs, Billy Idol, etc.
 
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When I asked Pleasant how many issues there were in total, she replied “Maybe twenty?” which pretty much sums it up. She added “I was held together by Scotch tape and safety pins… I don’t really know!” Which is a perfect quote describing a perfect slice of wonderful teenage hysteria.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
Remember: ALL albums are actually Aerosmith’s ‘Sweet Emotion’
03.02.2016
11:19 am

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Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (1981)
 
All albums are actually “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith.

I know what you’re thinking: “Sweet Emotion” is not an album by Aerosmith!

But you are wrong. All you have to do is look at gallery of album covers that can be found at the Every Album Is Aerosmith Tumblr.

I told a friend of mine about this Tumblr a few days ago; after he got home he wrote me a text saying that “Sweet Emotion” had come on the radio during his drive home.

All albums are actually “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith.
 

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (1987)
 

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (1979)
 

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (2002)
 

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion” (1980)
 
More sweet ‘Sweet Emotion’ after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vintage Occult: This amazing Tumblr will satisfy ALL of your kitschy, witchy needs
03.01.2016
12:02 pm

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Occult

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If the amazing Tumblr Vintage Occult is any indication, Satanists really need better tailors—so many of the people interested in the dark arts are young women who have inordinate trouble keeping their torsos covered. Then again, where there’s Satanism, there’s gonna be dozens of flickering candles, so I’m not too worried about them catching cold or anything.

Vintage Occult is the best thing I’ve seen on the Internet all day and I’m betting that’s true for you too. A voluminous gallery of images from old, tattered paperback books, schlocky magazines, and straight-to-video movies, midnight classics with titles like Blood Sucking Nazi Zombies or Queen of the Vampires (“La Regina Dei Vampiri”) or my favorite, Satan in High Heels, there’s just no end to the Vampira knockoffs out there.

In case you need the warning, this is probably not something you want to be checking out in your cubicle.
 

 

 
Much more from Vintage Occult, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Every issue of OZ, London’s legendary psychedelic newspaper, is available online
02.24.2016
02:43 pm

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Art
Media

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We all owe the University of Wollongong a great debt, because they are hosting the only repository on the internet that features every single page of OZ, the influential psychedelic underground newspaper that was published in London between 1967 and 1973 after several years of an Australian version that was equally mind-blowing.

The newspaper featured an impressive roster of contributors, including Germaine Greer, Lillian Roxon, Barney Bubbles, David Widgery, Clive James, Edward de Bono, Richard Meltzer, Clay Wilson, Colin MacInnes, Anthony Haden-Guest, and Raymond Durgnat. Interview subjects included Pete Townshend, Timothy Leary, Jimmy Page, and Andy Warhol.

OZ magazine was edited by Richard Neville. Both in Australia and in the UK, OZ had to weather several serious legal challenges over obscenity. The May 1970 issue was called the “Schoolkids” issue; it featured a filthy comic strip in which Vivian Berger adapted a R. Crumb cartoon to place the beloved Rupert Bear cartoon character in an explicitly sexual situation (PDF link here). They were defended in court by John Mortimer, later the author of the highly successful “Rumpole” series of British legal novels. A few years earlier Mortimer had defended Hubert Selby for the Last Exit in Brooklyn trial, and in 1977 Mortimer also successfully defended the right of the Sex Pistols to use the word “bollocks” in an advertising display. However, Mortimer’s luck with OZ was not quite as good, and Neville, along with editors Felix Dennis and Jim Anderson, were sentenced to up to 15 months imprisonment, although the ruling was later overturned on appeal.
 

Issue No. 28, the “Schoolkids” issue
 
The art director of OZ was Martin Sharp, who was one of the true artistic geniuses of the psychedelic movement. He had been with the publication since its Australian period, and his many meticulously wrought, daring, and colorful covers and internal illustrations guaranteed that OZ would stand out from a visual perspective. Sharp also did the cover art for Cream’s albums Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire, if you’re wondering why his style looks so familiar.

OZ used to do this thing where they would transcribe the lyrics of new songs, so for instance, the September 1968 issue features the lyrics to “Street Fighting Man” and “Jigsaw Puzzle” which were credited as being “from the unreleased album Beggars Banquet.” The album was released in December of the same year.
 

 
Note: The first version of this post neglected to thank the Exile on Moan Street blog for the tip.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
This Is Radio Clash: Listen to 6 episodes of Joe Strummer’s glorious ‘London Calling’ BBC radio show
02.24.2016
12:50 pm

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Media
Music

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During the 1990s and early 2000s Joe Strummer, former lead singer for the Clash, did a radio show for the BBC World Service using the name of the band’s galvanizing third album, London Calling.

Anyone who’s heard the Clash or Strummer’s later work with the Mescaleros won’t be surprised at his tastes as reflected in these shows, a mix of good old-fashioned rock and roll, punk rock, reggae, world music….. Strummer’s expansive, politically engaged, and generous spirit encompassed artists as varied as Bob Dylan, the Ramones, Cornershop, Thu Zahina, Afel Bocoum, Amaswazi Emvelo and Mahlathini, and Los Corraleros de Majagual

The first track on the first show (not available here) is, fittingly, Rachid Taha’s cover of “Rock the Casbah.” The first song in these embeds is Trini Lopez’ cover of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” which works just as well.
 

 
In this post we’ve embedded six episodes of “London Calling” that were broadcast in 1998 and 2000; the show stretched into 2001 as well (you can hear these episodes plus another handful on iTunes).

You just know that any radio program Strummer would have consented to be involved with is going to be a ray of diverse, exultant sunlight, so dig in and improve your day.
 
Series 1, Episode 1: August 31, 1998

 
5 more delightful programs, after the jump….....
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Talking Heads talk sex and drugs, 1979
02.22.2016
12:13 pm

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Media
Music

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In the August 1979 issue of Oui Magazine, there appeared a revealing single-page interview with all four members of Talking Heads conducted by Scott Cohen. According to the intro, the interview took place at the group’s loft in Long Island City, which is where the basic tracks for Fear of Music were laid down in late April and early May of the same year. So the timing on that works pretty well; this interview probably occurred right around the recording sessions, and the album came out the same month as the interview.
 

 
Although the magazine wasn’t his creation, Oui ended up being Hugh Hefner’s attempt to compete with the more explicit Penthouse. (Interestingly, the group didn’t merit inclusion on the cover, which touted instead their interview with Gregg Allman.) In that spirit, Cohen’s interview is kind of rude and frank, the questions have the flavor of ones that Howard Stern might ask. Here is a representative sample, with one Q and A for each member of the band:
 

Oui: Which Talking Head has the biggest microphone?
Jerry: My microphone is about eight inches long and two inches wide. Everyone in the band is about the same size.

Oui: As the Talking Heads get better, do you get laid more?
David: About 25 percent more.

Oui: As the Talking Heads get better, did you get higher?
Chris: Yes, but basically there seems to be something inadequate about drugs in that they’re so temporary. I wish they were better, longer lasting and more beneficial in a permanent way.

Oui: Do you wish your tits were bigger?
Tina: No, I think my tits are perfect, by themselves. I don’t wish they were bigger. I wish one was exactly the same size as the other. They usually aren’t. I wish they both were the same size as my big one.

 
In the interview, Tina Weymouth does the most talking, probably for the simple reason that she’s a woman and it’s more fun for a porn mag to put her on the spot and make her say things like “I like cock,” even though she meant more like a linguistic thing.

In an issue of Sounds a bit later, Weymouth said (a little hilariously) that “she was out of her head after a party when the tape recorder was switched on, and when she saw the interview in print she didn’t know whether to be more annoyed about being taken advantage of or about the fact that Oui had left all the best bits out, about butt-fucking and so on.”

I think I’d probably feel the same way….....

Here it is. Click for a larger view:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vintage documentary charts the rise of the Superstar DJ
02.02.2016
12:03 pm

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Media
Music

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001jpdj.jpg
John Peel
 
Once upon a time, long, long before TV and computer technology made them all irrelevant, the radio disc jockey was the person millions turned to in order to hear the latest, hippest, grooviest tunes their earholes could handle.

Radio DJs were the arbiters of sound, music, information, gossip, jokes, fashion and news—a bit like the Internet, except far, far more cuddly—as some of those who got too close to them unfortunately found out.

In Britain during those promiscuous 1970s, millions of youngsters were shocking their parents by going to bed with John Peel and waking up with Tony Blackburn… and his dog Arnold. The sound of the DJs could be heard everywhere—from cars, shops, kitchens, homes, factories, schoolyards and those dinky little pocket radios that everyone and their Mom seemed to have, dangling from plastic wristbands.

The music revolution of the 1960s really began with the arrival of cheap polyvinyl chloride in the fifties which meant record companies could mass produce singles and albums. Previously record discs had been made of the far more expensive Bakelite. The PVC revolution tied in very neatly with the incredible flourishing of young musical talent—and so the Swinging Sixties were born.

Suddenly youngsters wanted to hear music before they bought it, or even if they didn’t buy it. This gave rise to Pirate Radio. At the time the BBC was the only organization in Britain with the license to transmit radio shows. However a small loophole in maritime law allowed DJs to broadcast from ships anchored just outside UK waters. And so pop-pickers Pirate Radio was born.
 
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Radio genius Kenny Everett.

In 1967 the BBC admitted defeat and launched Radio One—a youth radio station for pop music. Radio One became the biggest and most successful radio station in the country with generation after generation of youngsters learning their love of music or finding their inspiration to form bands from listening to the station’s DJs.

This BBC documentary from 1970 looks at the rise of the Radio One DJ and features Emperor Rosko, John Peel, Kenny Everett and Tony Blackburn—a rum bunch of four very different radio hosts. Condescending in tone throughout, the documentary voice over even has the temerity to suggest that sex with fans was one of the perks of working for the BBC—-shurely not:

Radio One belongs to the taxpayer and doesn’t splash princely salaries around for men like Emperor Rosko. He accepts the BBC’s shop policy of paying low wages as both sides know about the big big perks that can accompany the adulation of this new empire—British teeny boppers.

The interviewer then grills one poor little teenybopper about her infatuation with Emperor Rosko:

“I listen to him and I like listening to his voice and I get carried away” says one young besotted teenager about the subject of her adoration DJ Emperor Rosko:

“What do you mean you get carried away?” says Ms. Prim from the BBC

“I just hear his voice and I imagine him…” says adoring young fan.

“When you say you imagine him…you imagine him doing what?” continues our interrogator.

“Talking and smiling and…all the actions with it. It’s just good.”

“And where do you do your listen to this?”

“In the bedroom.”

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Legend of Bruce Lee’: The little-known syndicated comic strip
01.25.2016
11:46 am

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Art
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Movies

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The world premiere of Enter the Dragon, the kung fu crossover hit, happened in Hong Kong on July 26, 1973, six days after Bruce Lee’s shocking death at the age of 32. Less than a month later the movie hit America, sparking a global sensation into that most charming of martial arts heroes.

The absence of Lee from his own worldwide phenomenon made it an inviting prospect for others to cash in. This led to the advent of “Bruceploitation,” analogous to the dozens of Beatles imitation LPs that were released in 1964 and 1965, in which “Lee-alikes” were cast in obvious imitations of signature Bruce Lee classics like Fists of Fury or Game of Death.

The kinetic skill of Bruce Lee doesn’t seem like the greatest starting point for a syndicated comic strip, but then again, that bizarre Amazing Spider-Man daily strip has been around for decades and is still going strong. At any rate, there were several attempts to do a Bruce Lee strip in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Actually, one of the widely acknowledged legends of cartooning, Milton Caniff, known for his work on Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon, almost got involved with a daily Bruce Lee strip. In 1977 he and Noel Sickles (of Scorchy Smith renown) produced at least one strip for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate before Caniff lost interest, which you can see below (click for a larger view):
 

 
According to Allan Holtz, author of American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide, “Caniff grew disgusted with what he considered nitpicky suggestions from the syndicate and dropped the project.”

However, five years later, in 1982, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate did run a Bruce Lee strip for approximately a year in “a vanishingly small number of newspapers,” as Holtz puts it. So don’t be too surprised if you missed it in your halcyon youth, it didn’t last very long and it wasn’t in too many papers.

The strip was called “The Legend of Bruce Lee.” It was written by Sharman DiVono, who was also penning the Star Trek strip at the time, and drawn by Fran Matera, who just a couple years later would commence on a 20-year run putting out Steve Roper and Mike Nomad. Later on the strip was taken over by Dick Kulpa.

Holtz is insightful on the reasons the Bruce Lee strip didn’t get wider distribution:
 

The small client list might seem odd given the devoted fandom for Bruce Lee. However, we must consider a few factors. First of all, newspaper editors were pretty much convinced that continuity strips were dead, so the strip had a lot of resistance to overcome. Secondly, the market was awash in media tie-in strips at that time—Spider-Man, Hulk, Dallas, Star Trek, Star Wars and others were all jockeying for newspaper space. Bruce Lee may have just seemed like the low man on that totem pole—popular with teens, certainly, but did he have the mass appeal to sell newspapers? Strips featuring much higher-profile media stars were just limping along as it was—why take a chance on a cult figure that many older readers had never heard of?

 
There aren’t too many images of “The Legend of Bruce Lee” out there, but I was able to score a few. First up is this gorgeous, full-color Sunday edition (in all cases, click for a larger view):
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘A Clockwork Orange’ trading cards
01.06.2016
02:40 pm

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Media
Movies

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The late, great Blogspot site Bubblegum Fink bit the dust several years ago, but we can ensure that the Fink’s creativity lives on for future generations to appreciate. Last spring I brought you a set of fake trading cards that might possibly have been manufactured in an alternate universe for The Wicker Man. Today we have an similarly impossible set of trading cards for children to enjoy outlining the decidedly adult plot points of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange

The Fink’s comments on this set, in part:

A Clockwork Orange is another set of trading cards, like The Wicker Man, that never could have existed at the time the film was released. But now, I would rush out to buy a box. Wouldn’t you? I’m happy with the card design, but less so with the Clockwork Orange font which I wish had been a little sharper. To do it over again, I’d just get rid of it. Of course, the cards represent a sort of edited-for-television version of the film, and it’s also the shortest set I’ve done at only 33 cards.

My favorite part is the PG, hamfisted, one might even say clueless captions (“Surprise Visit,” “Work of Art,” “Apology”).
 

 

 

 

 

 
Many, many more cards after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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