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That time Grace Jones tried to ‘kidnap’ Dolph Lundgren from his hotel, at gunpoint
10:23 am

Pop Culture


Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren. Photographed by Helmut Newton, 1983.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until I can’t remember that far back—the 80s were a weird, wonderful decade. And a perfect example of how wonderful it was is the unexpected coupling of 6’5” actor Dolph Lundgren and enigmatic Jamaican-born powerhouse, Grace Jones.

Born in Stockholm, before he got into acting Lundgren was an accomplished scholar who by the time 1982 arrived had already received a scholarship to fulfill his Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney in Australia. While he was in Australia, Lundgren worked security detail for musicians like Joan Armatrading, Dr. Hook and Grace Jones—and his chance meeting with Jones would turn into a four-year love affair. In 1983 Lundgren was the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship to the equally prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston. According to Dolph he would arrive on the legendary campus on his motorcycle with a leather-clad Jones in tow. At Jones’ urging Dolph soon switched gears and headed to New York to study drama. He worked security at the Limelight nightclub until Limelight boss Peter Gatien caught him eating a sandwich in a stairwell and fired him. But thanks to Jones’ deep connections in the world of entertainment he landed his first acting gig with his exotic paramour in the last James Bond film to star Roger Moore, 1985’s A View to a Kill

1985 would be a pretty big year for the couple. Jones and Lundgren were immortalized together in a stunning photographic series by Helmut Newton that appeared in the July issue of Playboy magazine. Lundgren would then land the role of “Ivan Drago” in the 1985 film Rocky IV that would propel him to stardom. Sadly it wouldn’t be long before things got weird between the gorgeous duo and according to her 2015 book I’ll Never Write My Memoirs Jones’ recalled the moment when her beautiful union with Lundgren would begin to dissolve: after she showed up at his hotel in Los Angeles with a gun. Here’s more from Jones on how that went:

I actually had a gun. It seemed very natural that I would go and fetch Dolph holding a gun. I did so out of desperation — we had been together for years and had made this move to L.A., a place I absolutely loathed, against my better judgment, and then he comes back from being away and Tom [Holbrook, Dolph’s manager] blocks me from even saying hi. What is going on?

We turned up at the hotel, not to shoot anyone, but to make sure he came with us. We banged on the door of his room. Bang, bang, bang! I’ve got a gun! I’m screaming, “Let him out, you bastard!” It was as though Tom was holding him hostage and we had come to rescue him, hair flying, legs flailing, breasts heaving, guns flashing, music pumping. This was the kind of hysteria that took place in Los Angeles. In one of the many lives I never got to live, another Grace (one who never came true) shot Dolph there and then… And that was the end of the ballad of Grace and Dolph.

Later in the book Jones also tells the story of setting Lundgren’s clothes on fire. The couple called it a day before anyone got killed sometime in 1986. I’ve included images from the former power couple’s Playboy shoot as well as a nice assortment of other photos of the two canoodling back in the day that will remind you that love doesn’t follow any kind of rules, and should never have to be subject to them. Some of the images are slightly NSFW.


A photo shot by Helmut Newton of Jones and Lundgren that appeared in Playboy Magazine in July of 1985.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Is ‘The Tourist’ the ‘Greatest Screenplay Never Made’?
09:27 am



Hollywood is where writers go to watch their screenplays die.

If they’re lucky their scripts will have a short, painless life: They’ll get made, the writer will get paid and then the results will get quickly buried which will allow the writer to move on to something better. If they’re unlucky, then they’ll waste their lives writing screenplay after screenplay that will never get made and see their best ideas plundered by studio execs to make yet another Hollywood monstrosity. Whichever fate, no writer comes out unscathed from Hollywood and the damage done can destroy lives.

Yet every screenwriter is a deluded optimist who believes that they’re going to be the one who will buck the system and be the next Anita Loos or William Goldman or Paul Schrader or Nora Ephron or Robert Towne or Quentin Tarantino. Even the next Shane Black. Writers who create their own autonomy with powerful, original and unique screenplays. It rarely happens, as producers and Hollywood execs do not understand the value of writing and think of scripts as something to be bought off the shelf and used for whatever the hell purpose they like.

When film critic Pauline Kael spent eighteen months working for Warren Beatty’s production company, she was shocked to discover that 98% of the best ideas never made it from page to screen but were thrown out like used Kleenex.

So let’s imagine what it would be like to write a screenplay that nearly every producer who reads it thinks it is the best script they’ve ever read. Now imagine those feral Hollywood execs fighting over it. And artist H. R. Giger creating designs for it—and let’s say Francis Ford Coppola optioning it with Hanna Schygulla or Kim Basinger or Kathleen Turner or even Madonna suggested as its star. Everyone loves your script. Everyone thinks it’s gonna be a hit. Then you realize these fuckers only want your script to cannibalize it into some other film. They’re too scared to make your movie because it’s too original, too clever, too damned good and too fucking weird. And then suddenly, the big hullabaloo stops. No one gives a shit about you or your script anymore. The calls stop. Hollywood is off after its next quick fix and you’re left wondering what the fuck that was all about?

This is kinda what happened to writer Clair Noto and her sci-fi screenplay The Tourist.

Everyone loved Noto’s screenplay—but no one had the guts to actually make it. Instead they wanted to make it into a “product” like every other homogenized piece of shit that comes out of Hollywood.
One of H. R. Giger’s alien designs for Noto’s ‘The Tourist.’
Begun in 1980, The Tourist tells the story of an alien who calls herself “Grace Ripley” stuck on Earth with a bunch of other extraterrestrials. Grace has morphed into human form and works by day as a high-powered business executive in New York.  By night she hangs out with her fellow aliens at a club called The Corridor where they have beautiful strange interplanetary sex and bemoan their lives exiled on this third rock from the Sun.

Noto’s inspiration for The Tourist came from fifties sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still, the story of alien coming to Earth with an ultimatum. Noto liked the idea of an alien walking among us, as she later explained:

I loved the whole idea of a man who could walk around in a boarding house in Washington, who was from another planet and you didn’t recognize his alienness. The idea of a human being who wasn’t a human being had been in my mind for a long time.

Noto’s script was a grown-up science-fiction story with strong female characters.

Grace Ripley, the determined alien fighting her private battles on a male-oriented world; Spider O’Toole, the alienated New Wave human; and even the guards of the Corridor, depicted as strong yet sexy women whose sensuality belied not only their true purpose, but their underlying strength.

When the film was picked up by Hollywood, Brian Gibson was set to direct. Gibson had made his name directing BBC TV dramas like Dennis Potter‘s The Blue Remembered Hills and the Hazel O’Connor new wave movie Breaking Glass. Noto soon found she was to have no input in the film based on her screenplay:

When they took it away from me they were very nasty; like, ‘Fuck you. We’re going to put it together,’ and they couldn’t do it [Gibson] always looked like a jerk. To my face he was really nasty. I think he regretted it later on. I also think it damaged his career for along time. He couldn’t do anything.

Gibson went on direct Poltergeist II and The Juror. He died in 2004. As Noto later said:

The Tourist didn’t do anybody any good. It hurt me, it hurt a lot of people. [Producer] Renée Missel destroyed herself. You cannot do what people did with that material and not have some fallout. I couldn’t get Renée Missel on the phone. It was terrible, just terrible. She kept belittling the project saying, ‘Nobody’s even going to want to make this movie. Or if they would, it would be a cult movie that would play at midnight like Rocky Horror. Totally insulting about it. She would say things like, ‘I was the only person in town who didn’t like Star Wars.’ My feeling was that this is not a good situation.

Artist H. R. Giger—the man who created the xenomorph for Alien—was brought into design the exiled extraterrestrials. Giger produced a series of illustrations. But Noto wasn’t even allowed to see any of Giger’s suggestions for her characters. As the situation became untenable, Noto used a get-out clause in her contract to call a halt to the project.

The script was then picked up by Francis Ford Coppola and director Franc Roddam—best known for the films Quadrophenia, Lords of the Discipline and devising the TV series MasterChef—was called in to give his input. Roddam loved Noto’s script, but he also understood how “a producer will take a piece and just say, ‘I own it and I’m going to do what I like with it.’”

Sometimes people have bought scripts and just said, ‘We’ll do the Paul Robeson story, but does he have to be black?’ I’ve actually heard that before. The real story of this piece is Clair’s attempt to protect her vision.

Clair is an extraordinary person. I often think of Clair as being one of the greatest cinematic talents who one doesn’t hear of.

More on the ‘greatest screenplay never made,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Couch potato special: Feast on these classic TV movies now!
09:28 am



Looking for something decent to watch while you wait for those ‘I Survived 2016’ t-shirts to arrive? Something suitably entertaining and thrilling to see out a bad year on a high? Then try these….

The much maligned TV Movie turned out a number of classics during its 70s/80s prime. Now Headpress has recently given the phenomena the attention it so richly deserves in a cracking new book Are You in the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium 1964-1999 edited by Amanda Reyes.

Here, exclusively for Dangerous Minds, Reyes has selected six standout classic examples of the genre—and has provided a little introductory commentary too. The list include credits from the likes of none other than a young Steven Spielberg, Dennis Weaver, Valerie Harper and Charles Durning. And they’re all classics.

But best of all—you can view most of them right here right now. So without further ado, here’s Amanda to tell you about our first little feature…
1. Duel (1971)
Amanda Reyes: Duel is the ultimate Movie of the Week. It was an early directing job for Steven Spielberg and he shows off some amazing directing skills in this tale about a man being chased by a creepy semi across a desert highway.

Everything is simple, pure and absolutely petrifying. Dennis Weaver plays the man on the run, and turns in an excellent performance. The script was written by the great Richard Matheson, and there’s not much I can say about this one except it’s very near perfect on every level.

Watch more classic TV movies, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
That time the most famous director in Mexico shot a film critic in the balls
07:36 am



Even if you’ve never seen one of Emilio Fernandez’s movies—even if you’ve never seen him in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch or Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia—you’ve seen Emilio Fernandez. According to legend, he was the model for the Academy’s Oscar statuette.

Another legend attached to Fernandez is that he shot a film critic in the balls at one of his parties. Bob Dylan mentions this tale in Sam Shepard’s one-act play Short Life of Trouble:

BOB: You know, Emilio Fernandez used to shoot the critics that didn’t like his movies. At parties.

I first heard this story from the writer Barry Gifford after I tracked him down in Berkeley years ago. He’d heard it from the director and actor Alfonso Arau, who played the part of Herrera in The Wild Bunch. Like a no-nose bike seat, the account in Brando Rides Alone, Gifford’s book about One-Eyed Jacks, supports everything but the testicles:

Mexico’s most famous (along with Luis Buñuel)—certainly most infamous—director, Emilio Fernandez, known as “El Indio” because of his mother’s origins, made many unforgettable films, several featuring María Félix (Enamorada) or Dolores Del Rio (María Candelária, called by Beatriz Reyes Nevares “the classic and most memorable of all Mexican films”); he also directed a version of John Steinbeck’s story The Pearl/La Perla, starring Pedro Armendáriz. […]

Arau told me that after completing a new film Fernandez invited to dinner at his estancia the most prominent film critics from Mexico City. After dinner and undoubtedly many drinks, El Indio screened for them his latest effort, then solicited their opinions. One after another, the critics, stuffed and glowing from whiskey and Tequila, praised the film, telling their host what he wanted to hear, that it was his best to date, possibly another masterpiece, as moving as María Candelária. Then a journalist rose and begged to differ, not impolitely, but making clear his opinion that the new movie, while reasonably effective as melodrama, was not a particularly worthy addition to the maestro’s oeuvre. A silence fell over the room. El Indio, initially uncomprehending and a good two-and-a-half sheets to the wind, finally realized that he was being disrespected on his own turf and drew from beneath his coat a revolver. Without hesitating, he shot the disputatious fool, killing him in front of his fellow guests.

Arau said that for the offense of murdering a critic Fernandez was forced to spend some time in jail (where he was well treated), but since he was a national hero, and the insulting behavior of the deceased was compounded by the fact that at the time of the incident he had been availing himself of El Indio’s hospitality, the director’s sentence was cut short. Emilio Fernandez is a legend. (He died in 1986.) Nobody remembers the name of the dead critic.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Holiday weirdness: Santa Claus battles the Devil to a psyche-rock soundtrack
12:41 pm

Pop Culture


40 psyche-pop tunes serve as the soundtrack for the extremely wacky Santa Claus (aka Santa Claus vs. The Devil) in a special Holiday mix from me to you.

The trailer narration of Santa Claus gives you a rough idea of the bizarreness that awaits the viewer:

Whether you’re in a cave, or behind a million mountains, Santa Claus sees you through his Master Eye, and invites you to his Magic Wonderland! See Santa Claus in his magic motion picture! Come past the doors of his towering castle, into a fantastic crystal laboratory, filled with weird and wonderful secrets; into his heavenly workshop, the most marvelous toy factory of all! Watch his battle with the mischievous demon who wants to get children into trouble! You’d better watch out!


There are so many disturbing elements to Rene Cardona’s film that it’s difficult to select just one. Advertised as “an enchanting world of make-believe”, it’s a surreal battle between Father Crimbo and Satan, who sends his minion, Pitch, to interfere in the spreading of comfort and joy. Prime nuggets? Pitch whispering to the young ‘uns that Santa’s actually a murderer (classy!) and Santa’s cloud-borne castle that looks less like a cheery base for making toys and more like something from a Bond villain’s architectural wet dream.

Enjoy the music. I don’t think you’ll miss the dialog. Happy Holidays.

01. “Is Anybody Home” - The Mirage
02. “Henry Adams” - The Frederic
03. “Princess Of The Gingerland” - Glitterhouse
04. “Travelling Circus” - The Epics
05. ‘Punch And Judy Man” - Pop Workshop
06. “Red, White And You” - Sounds Around
07. “The View” - Gary Walker and The Rain
08. “Tomorrow Today” - Kippington Lodge
09. “You’ll Find Me Anywhere” - Hi-Revving Tongues
10. Mix within the mix featuring The Groop, The Kinks,
    The Tages, The Exceptions, The Cyrkle, Frank Zappa,
    The Zombies, Mark Eric, The Sidewalk Skipper Band,
    The Beach Boys, Stained Glass, The Shaggy Boys,
    Free Design, Eternity’s Children, Summer Snow,
    The Counts, Johnny Cobb and The Attractions,
    The Family Tree (courtesy of FCR)
11. “What Are You Gonna Do” - The Summer Set
12. “Stop” - The Pan Pipers
13. “My Race Is Run” - The Motleys
14. “Buses” - The Hung Jury
15. “Alfred Appleby” - The Carnival Connection
16. “You Gotta Be With Me” - The Onyx
17. “Midnite Thoughts” - The World Column
18. “In The Land Of Make Believe” Jennifer’s Friend
19. “Walk In The Sky” The Crackerjack Society
20. “Your Way To Tell Me Go” - Plastic Penny
21. “Green Circles (Italian version)” - The Small Faces

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Tuxedomoon, Cult With No Name & John Foxx make music inspired by ‘Blue Velvet’
01:22 pm



In 1985 a German photographer named Peter Braatz traveled to North Carolina and ended up filming a good deal of behind-the-scenes footage of the making of one of the best movies of the 1980s, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Diverging from what most people would have done, I’d say, Braatz declined to make a regular documentary and opted instead to make a free-standing work of art called “No Frank in Lumberton”—we wrote about it a while back.

In late 2015, as part of its “Made To Measure” series, Brussels-based label Crammed Discs put out an “original soundtrack” composed by Tuxedomoon and Cult With No Name for the documentary Blue Velvet Revisited, a more recent reworking that Braatz forged from his original footage. In 2013 and 2014 Braatz came to realize that the contributions of Cult With No Name and Tuxedomoon would complement his images perfectly—in short order an agreement was made for the two groups to create a “joint soundtrack.”

Of the collaboration, Braatz commented:

In July 2013 I first heard the album ‘Above as Below’ by Cult With No Name. As the song ‘As Below’ came on I immediately had the idea to use it for my ‘Blue Velvet Revisited’ project, and to edit a trailer to the track that would showcase my footage.


I was keen to hand over the making of the soundtrack to one group of musicians, particularly as much of my film would have no dialogue. The soundtrack would need to carry the feel of ‘As Below’ throughout. Erik Stein revealed to me that the amazing trumpet part on ‘As Below’ was played by Luc Van Lieshout of Tuxedomoon, a group I also knew well and greatly admired. Because it was the trumpet part that I found so perfect, we soon pitched the idea of a joint soundtrack between Cult With No Name and Tuxedomoon.

Later on Braatz added a track by John Foxx, the original lead singer of Ultravox. Originating in the Bay Area, Tuxedomoon were one of the most important and influential bands of the post-punk movement. Self-described “post-punk electronic balladeers” Erik Stein and Jon Boux collaborate as Cult With No Name.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Lou Reed and John Cale’s soundtrack to Andy Warhol’s ‘Hedy,’ 1966
08:45 am



Andy Warhol and Mario Montez filming Hedy (via Continuo)
On the night of January 27, 1966, the actress Hedy Lamarr was arrested for stealing $86 worth of merchandise from the May Company department store in Los Angeles. She was not driven to crime by a condition of need: police told reporters she had $14,000 in checks when she was arrested.

Andy Warhol and screenwriter Ronald Tavel knew a good story when they saw one, and Hedy (1966)—with Lupe and More Milk, Yvette, part of the “Hollywood trilogy” about movie actresses Warhol made that year—advanced down the Factory’s film production line. The lovely Mario Montez starred in the title role, while on the soundtrack, Lou Reed and John Cale dramatized Hedy’s inner life with an ominous, bottomless noise.

via Toronto International Film Festival
Richie Unterberger’s authoritative White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day by Day files the Hedy soundtrack under February 1966:

Only Lou Reed and John Cale are heard on the soundtrack to Hedy, a Warhol film inspired by press reports of the arrest for shoplifting of 30s and 40s actor Hedy Lamarr. None of the Velvets appear in the film, but the cast does include the two most celebrated dancers of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable – Gerard Malanga and Factory newcomer Mary Woronov – as well as another EPI dancer, Ingrid Superstar, and Cale’s old friend Jack Smith.

The Hedy score is closer in spirit to the avant-garde recordings Cale and Angus MacLise appeared on during 1963-1965 than anything The Velvet Underground are currently playing. The music builds around an instrumental storm of shrieking, rumbling viola, guitar, and a rickety piano that sounds like it hasn’t been played since doing time in a 19th century saloon, while Cale’s ‘thunder machine’ – the sound made by the head of a Vox Super Beatle amp being dropped on the floor – occasionally cuts through everything else with hair-raising, high pitch bursts of feedback. This might be the closest approximation of how the nascent Velvet Underground sounded when they played, with Angus MacLise, behind the screen at Piero Heliczer’s ‘happenings,’ but those days are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

Hear ‘Hedy’ after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Star Wars’ vs. ‘Aliens’: What’s not to like?
08:30 am



Guillem H. Pongiluppi is a thirty-something Spanish artist with a whole bunch of colorful talents to his palette. He’s a painter, illustrator, a matte and concept artist who’s worked on best-selling games, films and TV shows—from David Jones’ Warcraft to international productions for National Geographic and the BBC. He’s a cool guy.

He is also a fan of the movies Star Wars and Aliens. And what better way to share your love of something great than to create a series of fantastic fan art paintings that mash these two movies up into a series called Star Wars vs. Aliens.

Check more of Guillem’s work here.
More Darth Vader vs the Alien Queen, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The annual Dangerous Minds last-minute shopping guide for rock snobs & culture vultures
08:50 pm



Each year around this time, I put together a “last minute” list of cool things meant to aid the friends and loved ones of rock snobs and especially hard-to-buy-for people-who-have-everything during the holiday season. I would imagine that I’m probably in the top 1% of the top 1% of the infuriatingly difficult to gift—trust me, I already own it and I probably got it for free from a record label—so I feel uniquely qualified to be of assistance here.

The mammoth, slick, classy, near definitive career-spanning 10-CD Marc Almond package, Trials of Eyeliner: The Anthology 1979-2016, is easily the very best box set of the year. Hell, it’s one of the best box sets ever released, period, if you ask me. From Soft Cell’s greatest hits to each and every one of Almond’s single releases, some hidden gems, collaborations and demos, this is the ultimate Marc Almond collection. Why would this make a good gift and for whom? For a gay uncle or brother who loves music, it’s a solid choice, but it’s a great pick for anyone who loves music, really. Marc Almond is a genius, one of our greatest living vocalists and this is a box set to lose yourself in, a true musical journey and an exceeding rare pleasure to discover for the very first time. For someone whose musical tastes would intersect favorably in a Venn diagram triangulated by Nick Cave, Scott Walker and Maria Callas. It’s also not that expensive for a 10-CD set, often selling on Amazon for around $60. It would be a bargain at ten times the price. Here’s a longer review.

Action Time Vision, a new 111-track “story of independent punk 1976-79” from Cherry Red Records is the sole obscure punk box set that anyone will care about in the future. Let’s face it, once you get much beyond the Sex Pistols, the Damned and the Clash—and precious few others—there wasn’t really a whole lot of truly great punk rock music that was produced during the punk rock era. What came after punk was a deluge of amazement and creativity, whereas the vast majority of “classic” punk bands, well the essential “A list” stuff could be rounded up into one good box set. Action Time Vision is the onion layer beyond that one good box set, boasting material not from all the usual suspects. Some of this stuff is truly thrilling and will send your rock snob giftee (or you yourself, if that’s who you’re buying for) spanning out to look for more from below-the-radar groups like the Hollywood Brats, Poison Girls, Swell Maps, Rezillos and others.

For someone who you are fond of, but not so fond of them that they merit a freakin’ box set, may I (strongly) suggest Beyond the Bloodhounds, the debut album by the incredible new talent, Adia Victoria? Earlier this year I described her music as “an authentic 21st century Southern gothic blues” and asked “Would you press play if I described Adia Victoria as ‘Jeffrey Lee Pierce reincarnated as Ronnie Spector’?” before answering my own question: “You’d be a fucking idiot if you didn’t, now wouldn’t you?” When a new artist arrives this fully formed, you should pay attention. This one has the makings of a future icon. She’s gorgeous and she plays a mean guitar. By a narrow margin, I rank Beyond the Bloodhounds as my top favorite album of 2016. A+.

Just one half-notch below Adia Victoria’s debut comes Häxan, the new longplayer from Dungen. I was nuts—absolutely crazy—about last year’s Dungen alum, Allas Sak, and I pretty enthusiastic about this one too. Dungen can do no wrong in my eyes, each and every one of their albums is a thing of finely crafted beauty, something I hope they themselves are fiercely proud of, because they should be. Dungen make beautiful music for a world that needs more beautiful things. Häxan is their soundtrack to the Russian silent animated feature film from 1926 The Adventures of Prince Achmed. It’s pure magic from the first note to the last. Note that this would be something especially good to get on vinyl.

Then there’s the latest from Luke Haines, Smash the System. This album fucking rocks and contains the very best song of 2016: “Black Bunny (I’m Not Vince Taylor).” In fact, let me offer you the best musical advice I could possibly offer you: Buy every album by The Auteurs and every solo album by Haines (and his books). Start with After Murder Park, then get New Wave or How I Learned to Love the Bootboys. Don’t miss out on the oddball terrorist punk funk of the Baader-Meinhof album. But get ALL of Luke Haines’ output, first for yourself, and only then should you worry about other people. You’re welcome.

The three CD Momus collection, Pubic Intellectual: An Anthology 1986-2016 is another sure-thing, cast miss, all-killer, no-filler that will delight just about any rock snob. The smarter they are, the better they’ll appreciate what the eyepatch wearing Scotsman has on offer culled from the past 30 years of his output. Momus is not a household name, although he should be. If I didn’t already own this and someone gave it to me, I would not only be super happy, I would think that it reflected well on the giver’s musical tastes. (More on Momus here)

Rhino recently released an “elevated edition” of Jethro Tull’s mighty Stand Up album remixed for 5.1 surround by Steven Wilson. If you have someone on your shopping list who is an aficionado of 5.1 music (or happen to be one yourself) this is another must-hear effort from Wilson’s audio lab. I was already a big fan of Stand Up, but in surround, it’s simply sublime. Even better the edition—which comes packaged like a hardback book—includes a 5.1 mix of their classic “Living in the Past” single and DVD footage of the group playing live in Sweden in 1969

In terms of books, there’s only one that I’m going to recommend this year and that is The Essential Paul Laffoley: Works from the Boston Visionary Cell edited by Douglas Walla. This is the best art book of 2016, and to my mind there can no other competition. How could anything else possibly outweigh it? Nothing can. A stunning compendium of beautiful art and ideas by the late visionary artist. There’s no one with a brain who wouldn’t be thrilled to get this for Christmas.

Movie posters make awesome gifts and they show that you’ve really thought about the person you’re giving it to (provided of course, that you did really think about them and didn’t just buy a ratty Home Alone 2 poster on your way home from work from a homeless guy.) My favorite poster store on the entire Internet, the Los Angeles-based Westgate Gallery is currently running a big 40% off sale (that’s almost half off) which continues into the new year so you can spend your “Christmas money” on exquisite poster art curated by someone with a particularly good eye. If you know a movie, or a particular actor or actress that your intended giftee is into, something from Westgate Gallery during their 40% off sale would make a fantastic gift. Hundreds upon hundreds of amazing images there, you can surf around for hours. Featuring a large selection of Italian Giallo, “golden age of XXX” and cult film favorites.

Which brings me to DVDs. This year if I had to pick the sort of offbeat film that I would be happy to get on DVD, I’d chose Candy, the star-studded adaptation of the Terry Southern-Mason Hoffenberg farce—yes it’s a terrible movie but the cast includes Ringo Starr, James Coburn, John Astin, Richard Burton, Walter Matthau and Marlon Brando as the horny guru Grindl. And then there’s Otto Preminger’s Skidoo, a Hollywood attempt at a counterculture comedy where Jackie Gleason plays a retired mod hitman who accidentally takes LSD and Groucho Marx is “God.” It costars Carol Channing and most of the unemployed villains from TV’s Batman. Nilsson did the soundtrack and—get this—sings the credits. But I had you at Jackie Gleason dropping acid, didn’t I?

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
These odd ‘Dune’ coloring books adapted from the David Lynch film are ‘brilliantly disgusting’
12:45 pm



The making and release of the 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s mega-successful sci-fi epic Dune, directed by of all people David Lynch, is one of those events that is so improbable, sometimes it feels like it can’t have happened. For a generation weaned on Star Wars and Alien, it may have seemed a sure bet, but the complexity of Herbert’s narrative and all of the adult thematics made it a difficult, confusing sell in an industry eager to find its next source of addictive action figures. (That year, Ghostbusters came the nearest to filling that void.)

My favorite bit of writing on Dune is J. Hoberman’s review, which appeared in the Christmas edition of the Village Voice in 1984 and can also be found in his volume Vulgar Modernism. Even as he admired certain aspects of the movie, he wrote it reminded him of a “seventh grade science project run amok”—I’m still rooting for his descriptor of “brilliantly disgusting” to appear as a pull quote on some future release, complete with exclamation mark.

For an expensive boondoggle, Dune admittedly had a fascinating cast, which included Sting, Patrick Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan, Dean Stockwell, Max Von Sydow, Virginia Madsen, Sean Young, and Brad Dourif. And we all know that Lynch had many spectacular successes and failures ahead of him…..

Even if Dune didn’t become the next multi-billion-dollar grossing space opera franchise, there was a hot minute there where the people involved were convinced that it might become just that. Somewhere in there a publishing house named Grosset & Dunlap was persuaded to put out a series of Dune coloring and activity books—I think there were six of them in all. The books did get released, and today they fetch a pretty penny on the collector’s market.

In fairness, Star Wars itself has some pretty adult themes, and that didn’t stop it from conquering the imaginations of just about everyone. Still, these spreads of children’s activities structured around “pain tests” and corpses are just too much. The sandstorms will never not be cool, though…..


More alien activities from the ‘Dune’ coloring book after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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