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Divine joins Bettie Page on iconic Seattle mural
09.08.2016
09:36 am

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I have to say this is one of the many times I’ve been proud to call my transplanted home of the last seventeen-years quite possibly the greatest place on earth. One of my favorite Seattle landmarks (which I drive by on nearly a daily basis) is a home with a giant mural of Bettie Page painted on it. She’s been joined by an equally humongous portrait of Divine all decked out in the famous red dress worn by the great Harris Glenn Milstead in 1972’s Pink Flamingos.
 

“FILTH IS MY LIFE!” The giant mural of Divine that now resides alongside Bettie Page on a house in Northeast Seattle.
 
The mural of a nearly two-story topless Bettie Page (whose naughty bits are obscured by the home’s rain gutters) has been visible from traffic on I-5 in Northeast Seattle for a decade. Then a few months ago some morons who just don’t get it vandalized the much loved mural with gray paint and even took the time to leave a nasty note on the home where the mural resides saying the following: 

AUTONOMOUS SEXUALITY IS EMPOWERMENT. TELLING A WOMAN TO COVER UP IS OPPRESSION.

—SOME FEMINISTS

The message was written entirely in capital letters so I guess the roving gang of confused “feminists” wanted to be sure they knew how angry they were. The good news is that the owner of the house, Jessica Baxter didn’t let the incident get under her skin. And even when donations came piling in so that Baxter didn’t have to take on the expense of having the mural (and her house, mind you) restored, she declined and instead asked that people wanting to donate send their money to RAINN (the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network). So why did Baxter pick Divine to keep Bettie Page company for the long foreseeable future? Here’s one of my favorite residents of Northeast Seattle on that:

Really it’s just people who inspire me and make me happy that they existed, and were individuals who didn’t give a shit what anyone else thought, and who were just themselves. I’m going to feel inspired every time I look at it.

The mural was just finished this past Tuesday by Two Thangs (aka Seattle artist Matthew Brennan IV) and it is nothing short of fucking glorious. Brennan, a self-professed John Waters devotee felt very strongly that the Page and Divine belonged together especially since the vandals who tried to ruin Bettie felt that the image was “exploitive.” According to Brennan (via Two Thangs FB page) the addition of Divine makes a clear statement about choice—specifically making a decision to present yourself “how you choose.” 

I love you Seattle. Never change.
 

The famous Bettie Page mural on the side of a house in Northeast Seattle. 
 
See the defaced Bettie Page mural—and the note left by ‘SOME FEMINISTS’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Stranger Peaks: Someone mashed-up ‘Stranger Things’ and ‘Twin Peaks’ themes AND IT WORKS!
09.07.2016
01:36 pm

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I’m going assume by now you’re all completely done with the Stranger Things hoopla. I know I am. Yet here I am blogging about the damned Netflix TV show again. I sorta kinda really wanna kick myself over it right now. I do.  But this mash-up is just too good not to share with you fine folks. Seattle-based Prom Queen on SoundCloud mashed together the theme from Stranger Things with Twin Peaks “Laura Palmer’s Theme.” It’s synth nostalgia heaven, if you ask me. Who knows, you might actually like it and not hate me for bringing up Stranger Things again.

Last time I do this. Promise. Until next time…

Just kidding! (No I’m not.)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
One of the coolest Bollywood musical revenge action drama numbers, ever
09.07.2016
08:59 am

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Hollywood and Bollywood play by rather different rules and nowhere is this more apparent than in the contrasts between American action films and the ones made in Mumbai.

For one reason—and as if there even needs to be a second—our action flicks don’t tend to have musical interludes and choreographed all-singing, all-dancing production numbers. If say, Bruce Willis suddenly broke into song and tap-danced his little heart out during one of the Die Hard films or if the entire cast of one of Quentin Tarantino’s films did something like that during a closing credits “item number,” American movies audiences would just think that was plain weird.

In India, not so much, in fact, that would be expected…
 

 
Sometimes the songs themselves are better recalled than the films they came from. Case in point is the 1973 Bollywood musical revenge action-drama, Yaadon Ki Baaraat (“Procession of Memories” in English), the tale of three young brothers (one of them played by Aamir Khan in his very first role) who barely escape their parents’ murder by a crime lord, but lose touch in the aftermath and are raised in different circumstances. The film had three hit songs composed by Bollywood great R.D. Burman with lyrics by the prominent Urdu poet Majrooh Sultanpuri: “Chura Liya Hai” (sung by lengendary playback singers Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi, not the actors), now somewhat of a standard (and the kind of song you might hear on India’s Got Talent, Indian Idol or at a wedding), “Lekar Hum Deewana Dil” and “Meri Soni Meri Tamanna.”

First up is the fucking incredible scene where “Lekar Hum Deewana Dil” is performed. The song doesn’t start until 1:21 in.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Pure Imagination: Gene Wilder tribute portrait as Willy Wonka made entirely out of candy
08.31.2016
12:33 pm

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I love this homage portrait of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka made entirely out of candy. It’s fitting. The piece is done by unconventional mosaic artist Jason Mecier.

The Willy Wonka candy portrait will live on forever at Giddy Candy in San Francisco.

Click on the image to enlarge to see all the detail. Wonderful.


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘The Curious Dr. Humpp’: Outrageously pervy 60s softcore zombie sex cult film (TOTALLY NSFW)
08.30.2016
02:52 pm

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“From every act of pleasure comes an equal act of perversion!”

In The Curious Dr. Humpp, a demented Argentinian doctor (who gets his instructions from a talking, megalomaniacal brain-in-a-jar that is all that’s left of his late mentor) kidnaps attractive and horny couples—as well as a few hippies, strippers and lesbians, natch—and uses them for his own nefarious ends.

Dr. Humpp and his team of goofy, rubber-masked zombie henchmen (and a buxom blonde nurse who likes to be smacked around) keep them prisoners in his creepy island mansion. They are injected with an aphrodisiac drug that turbo-charges their sexual desires and they have orgiastic group sex as the doctor drains a “sex particle” fluid from their bodies. The resultant libido smoothie prevents him from doing a Dr. Jekyll and turning into a blood-thirsty monstrous Mr. Hyde
 

 

“The strength of human body-fluids taken during coitus … they help me go on!”

The original early 1960s Argentinian film—which must have been pretty racy to begin with—was spiced up with additional sex footage when a North American distributor picked up this tawdry cult item in the early 70s. The name was probably meant to call to mind the XXX box office smash, I am Curious Yellow, although the two films have absolutely nothing in common, except for perhaps a high nipple count.

“Sex dominates the world and now I dominate sex!”

I doubt that I’d have ever heard about this kooky celluloid atrocity had it not been for these two brothers, slightly older than me, who went to my parents’ church. When I was like ten or maybe even younger, my parents were visiting their parents and they showed me how they lived behind a drive-in movie theater. But not just any old drive-in showing Herbie Rides Again or Jaws, but one that often screened R and even X-rated movies!

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Comics-inspired Criterion movie posters by Daniel Clowes, R. Crumb, Ralph Steadman & more
08.29.2016
01:13 pm

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A 2010 movie poster for the 1968 film ‘Head’ by Wayne Shellabarger.
 
Back in 2010 Criterion had the fantastic idea to have director Jim Jarmusch select a number of notable artists including Daniel Clowes, R. Crumb and Hunter S. Thompson’s pal Ralph Steadman to design movie posters for various Criterion releases. The posters made their debut during an All Tomorrow’s Parties festival which Jarmusch curated in 2010.
 

A poster for the 1963 film ‘Shock Corridor’ by Daniel Clowes.
 
If you’ve not seen the artwork that Clowes created for two films in Criterion’s collection directed by Samuel Fuller—1963’s mental hospital fever-dream Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss—you are in for a treat. I’ve assembled a number of the posters done by a wide range of artists that pay homage to films by Wes Anderson, Hal Ashby and David Cronenberg just to name a few. In 2014 Criterion published a massive book Criterion Designs that features a collection of artwork created for films in their catalog including many of the ones featured in this post.
 

‘Crumb’ by R. Crumb.
 
More after the jump…

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Ben Wheatley’s amazing storyboards for ‘High Rise’
08.29.2016
11:40 am

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Film director Ben Wheatley tweeted his storyboard drawings for High Rise over the weekend. Based on the dystopian novel by J. G. Ballard, High Rise is a brilliant and astounding movie. Its cinematic quality again confirms Wheatley’s status as one of the most talented and original film directors at work in film today. As a director Wheatley stands in direct lineage to the likes of Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, John Boorman and Stanley Kubrick. He is an auteur of exceptional brilliance.

Wheatley plans his films meticulously. He works in partnership with the multitalented screenwriter/editor Amy Jump—who is also his wife. Before filming, Wheatley storyboards the entire film scene by painstaking scene. As evidenced by the selection of drawings below, Wheatley considers everything from shot size and angle to action and camera moves within a sequence. These storyboards will may make better sense if you have seen High Rise—which I recommend you do. It stars as Tom Hiddleston as Dr. Robert Laing, Jeremy Irons as Anthony Royal, Luke Evans as Richard Wilder, Elisabeth Moss as Helen Wilder, Sienna Miller as Charlotte Melville, and Keeley Hawes as Ann Royal. The film takes place in a luxury tower block (designed by Royal) during the 1970s. The block is split into three class structures—with the poorest at the bottom. As the tenants become removed from the outside world—chaos and violence unfold. High Rise is now available on Blu-ray.

The ever industrious Wheatley has just finished his latest film Freefire which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month. Freefire is “a real time shootout” action thriller starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley and Armie Hammer. Martin Scorsese is the executive producer and I, for one, am certainly looking forward to that…
 
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Ben Wheatley director selfie on the set of ‘High Rise.’
 
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Laing finds Digby the Dog.
 
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Morning.
 
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Morning—High Rise.
 
The rest of Ben Wheatley’s storyboards for ‘High Rise,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Vintage driver’s licenses once issued to Alfred Hitchcock, Johnny Cash, James Brown & more!
08.26.2016
11:23 am

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Johnny Cash’s California driver’s license issued in 1964.
 
Back in 2013 my Dangerous Minds colleague Tara McGinley put together a post containing images of passports once used by David Bowie, Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin (among others) which I found very entertaining. Mostly because the celebrity subjects look less than thrilled to in their photos—with the exception of Joplin who is grinning from ear to ear. Perhaps the result of an unplanned acid flashback, who can say? At any rate, while conducting my ongoing “research” for my “job” here at DM I came across one of Cash’s old driver licenses from 1964 and that discovery led me down a rather intriguing rabbit hole that was full of other vintage driver’s licenses—some with equally intriguing backstories to go with them.
 

Robert De Niro’s taxicab licence from 1976.
 
Cash’s California state driver’s license (pictured at the top of this post) was sold in an auction in 2014 for $4,480 and even made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman along with the man who had acquired it, Rick Harrison (the star of the reality television show Pawn Stars) who purchased it from an individual who brought it into his store in Las Vegas. Not one to be outdone by the Man in Black, a license once belonging to Alfred Hitchcock (which you can see below) sold at an auction for the tidy sum of for $8,125. Whoa

Then there’s the coolest one in the lot I dug up belonging to a 33-year-old Robert De Niro (pictured above) issued by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in 1976. Known for his commitment to getting as “method” as possible when it came to his acting roles, De Niro prepped for his role as Travis Bickle the aspiring vigilante about to go off the rails in Taxi Driver by spending a number of weeks driving a New York City yellow cab. According to folklore associated with De Niro’s time behind the wheel, when he was recognized by one of his passengers they actually believed that De Niro was still working as a taxi driver after winning an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in The Godfather II for his impeccable portrayal of young Vito Corleone. Who knew?

When it comes to the story behind Manson’s alleged driver’s license things are a little sketchy. In the 1971 book The Family author Ed Sanders was able to substantiate that Mason lived at the address noted on the license in Santa Barbara—705 Bath Street—along with Lynn “Squeaky” Fromme and Manson Family member Mary Brunner (the mother of Manson’s son Valentine) sometime during 1967—two years prior to his participation in the brutal slayings of director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate and four others at Polanski’s home in Benedict Canyon. The license notes Manson’s date of birth as November 11th—which is a point of contention between historians and criminologists alike as Manson’s date of birth has also been said to fall on November 12th. So while the jury is still out on the actual authenticity of this creepy artifact, it’s still nothing short of chilling to actually see a mundane personal document belonging to the one of the most notorious criminals in history.

You can see Manson’s maybe driver’s license as well as others that once belonged to Davy Jones of the Monkees (RIP), Joe Strummer, Dean Martin and a beaming James Brown all of whom look about as happy as we all do (with the exception of Brown of course because, cocaine) in our DMV photos which proves that the DMV does in fact hate everyone.
 

California driver’s license allegedly issued to Charles Manson in 1967.
 

Back in 2008 this driver’s license once belonging to Alfred Hitchcock sold at an auction for $8,125.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The rise and fall of Tower Records and how the music industry screwed the pooch in the late ‘90s
08.26.2016
08:33 am

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I just finished watching Colin Hanks’ impressive documentary on the rise and fall of Tower Records, titled All Things Must Pass.

While I’d recommend the film to anyone who was ever a frequent Tower shopper, I’d say it’s a must-see for anyone who has ever worked music retail, particularly those who worked during the late ‘90s to early ‘2000s, which saw the decline of physical media sales.

The film centers on Russ Solomon who founded Tower Records in Sacramento, California in 1960, and traces the path he took in building the Tower brand from a single “supermarket of music” to a worldwide mega-chain. The documentary does a fair job at assessing the “perfect storm” that caused the ultimate collapse of the chain, culminating with the closing of their last company-owned store in 2006.
 

Tower Records head-honcho, Russ Solomon
 
Interviews with David Geffen, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, and the obligatory Dave Grohl documentary appearance (is there some rule that says Grohl has to appear in EVERY music-related documentary?) give some insight to Tower’s cultural significance, rounding out the insider interviews with Tower’s top brass who detail the company’s rise and fall.

While the film offers a poignant homage to the Tower concept, brand and its larger-than-life captain, Russ Solomon, where it really shines is in its deconstruction of how the music industry as a whole dropped the ball in the late ‘90s. It was interesting to see Geffen offer his theories on how the industry screwed the pooch, leading, along with over-expansion, to Tower’s eventual demise. 

In the ‘90s I worked at a regional chain record store that modeled itself after Tower and I watched a lot of this stuff go down first-hand. Though the industry likes to point to the advent of Napster as the magic bullet that killed retail music, it was, in many ways, their own greed and shortsightedness that worked in conjunction with “illegal” downloads to kill retail. All Things Must Pass highlights the fact that the industry intentionally killed the single in order to force consumers into paying fifteen dollars for a full-length CD. I worked during the “golden age” of the CD single and “cassingle,” and those were beloved by a die-hard customer base. When the singles disappeared, we lost many customers to GAS STATIONS because the gas stations sold pirated “mixtapes” that contained all the songs our customers wanted without having to buy a hundred bucks worth of other songs that they didn’t want. Soon thereafter, these very same customers would be downloading those very same songs.

I can remember working at the shop in 1993 when Garth Brooks became the voice of major labels looking to crush the used CD market. Brooks had pledged to withhold his latest release from any record store that sold used merchandise. He eventually backed down and WEA, UNI and Sony Music Distribution were investigated by the Federal Trade Commission and were the target of several antitrust lawsuits related to their policies against stores that sold used CDs. The labels had attempted to withhold co-op advertising dollars from shops that sold used CDs, asserting that those sales were unfairly cutting into their profits.

I remember when one major electronics chain started its nation-wide expansion and its strategy was to open shops near existing record stores, and to sell all of their CDs for ten dollars each—and to stock damn-near everything. In many cases, they were selling CDs below actual cost as a loss-leader to get people in the doors to buy washing machines and refrigerators. But what they were also doing was destroying their competition by offering CDs at a price that could not be matched. When they effectively ran the other record stores out of business, they stopped stocking all of the deep-catalog titles and only reordered “the hits.” And then the prices magically went up—a shrewd business practice that destroyed several mid-sized music retail chains and made it impossible for music fans in many markets to buy anything, outside of the mainstream, locally… pushing them to search for music—ahem—online.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
This ‘Street Trash’ diorama of the infamous toilet ‘meltdown’ scene can now be yours!
08.25.2016
11:44 am

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Behold the one-of-a-kind ‘Street Trash’ diorama based on the famous toilet ‘meltdown’ scene.
 
Available for sale over at the aptly-titled Curious Goods (via Big Cartel) is this eight-inch-scale diorama depicting one of the most memorable (or impossible to forget) scenes in cult movie history—the infamous toilet ‘meltdown’ scene from the 1987 “film” Street Trash.
 

 
Standing fifteen-inches in height the DIY diorama shows “Wizzy” (played by actor Bernard Perlman) taking his last dump after guzzling a bottle of “Tenafly Viper” and was hand painted using the various dayglo colors that were used throughout the film to enhance its gore. The unapologetic, decadently gross film was to be director J. Michael Muro’s film school thesis but was rejected for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who has seen Street Trash. And as if this isn’t enough good news for anyone who adores this flick, this one-of-a-kind piece of cinema tragedy is currently ON SALE for the low-brow price of $150.

The film (which has been praised by horror directors Wes Craven and George Romero) was also the subject of a two-hour documentary in 2006 which you can get in a specially packaged Blu Ray from 2013 Street Trash: Special Meltdown Edition.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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