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Before they were ‘porn famous’: A collection of struggling actors’ headshots
05.12.2015
05:34 am

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Movies
Sex

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Porn was a different beast in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Often times, actors, looking for their “big break,” would do adult films under assumed names to make rent while struggling to land legit roles. In the history of porn, only a small minority of stars, such as Jenna Jameson, Traci Lords and Ginger Lynn, were actually able to make the transition from “blue movies” to the “silver screen.”

The Rialto Report is an online historical archive of information related to “the golden age of porn” (mostly ‘70s and ‘80s) in New York. It’s an excellent, exhaustive source of interviews and articles related to the subject. If the topic holds any interest for you at all, you’ll want to check them out by following the previous link.

Prior to the shot-on-video, amateur quickies of today, it could be argued that porno flicks in the ‘70s—especially in New York—made some attempt at “real movie” production value. Indeed, many of the actors in these films were poor souls who had come to the Big Apple seeking fame, but were struggling in bit parts for little-to-no money. As Deep Throat star, Harry Reems, told Rialto Report:

In the beginning, I could get $150 for a few hours in a sex film – compared to next to nothing for appearing for weeks in an off-off-Broadway play. These X-rated films helped prolong my existence as a struggling actor, and therefore increased the chances that I’d eventually get a big break.

Rialto Report has tracked down several headshots of these struggling actors “before they were porn famous,” for a two-part series.

I have to admit some amount of ignorance when it comes to many of the actors featured there, as I’m no expert on ancient porn loops—but a few of them were instantly recognizable, even with my personally limited knowledge (basically limited to woods porn and 10th generation VHS dubs at teenage friends’ houses). Maybe it’s because the male actors “worked” more, but I recognized far more of the men than the women. If you ever watched any porn from the ‘70s or ‘80s ever, then you are bound to recognize some of these.

Here are the ones I found instantly recognizable:
 

Jamie Gillis. Real name, Jamey Gurman. Shown here as “Jamey King.” One of the most prolific male porn stars. His interview at Rialto Report can be found here. Gillis played “Burt The Enema Bandit” in the unbelievably sleazy 1977 film, Water Power.
 

Shelley Graham, better known as Georgina Spelvin, star of The Devil In Miss Jones. Her Rialto Report interview can be found here.
 

Joseph Nassivera, better known as Joey Silvera got his start in adult films in 1974. He currently is a leading director of transsexual pornographic films.
 

Sue Rowan, better known as Bree Anthony, who appeared in many adult films in the mid-1970s. As “Sue Richards,” she was also the editor of High Society magazine for a short time.
 

Taija Rae entered the adult film industry in 1983. According to Rialto Report, the first part of her stage name, came from an Asian cocktail waitress with whom she worked before porn. The last name, Rae, was a tribute to Fay Wray.
 

Ronald Hyatt, better known as Ron “the Hedgehog” Jeremy—for better or for worse, he is the most recognizable male porn star of all time. He has an unbelievable 1,405 (both porn and “legit”) film acting credits to his name.
 
Via Rialto Report

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Wes Anderson characters as LEGO figurines
05.11.2015
09:23 am

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Movies

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Zero Moustafa, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Steve Zissou, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
 
Love ‘im or hate ‘im, Wes Anderson is one of a handful of truly original filmmakers in the world today. By following his vision instead of heeding those who would tell him that his movies are too precious, he managed to create a distinctive genre all his own, the Wes Anderson Film. We all know exactly what to expect when we see one, and we know it won’t feel like the work of any other filmmaker. Only the Coen Brothers are really in a similar line of business, crafting utterly unique and memorable movies that couldn’t have come from anyone else.

Along the way Anderson has created literally dozens of bizarre and memorable characters, to populate his colorful (often symmetrical) flights of fancy. For a group tribute to the works of Wes Anderson last autumn, Matt Chase designed these amusing schematics of Wes Anderson characters as LEGO figurines. Anderson is so detailed in his costumery and props that these would be a challenge to make on your own—unless you happen to have a torso piece with a grey jacket, white shirt, and red lei on it, a yellow skirt piece with red apples on it, or a handheld rattlesnake piece, you’re going to have to make them yourself somehow.
 

Chas Tenenbaum, The Royal Tenenbaums
Jack Whitman, The Darjeeling Limited
 

Sweet Lime, The Darjeeling Limited
Agatha, The Grand Budapest Hotel
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The mind-meltingly brilliant ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ gives cinema a shock to the system
05.11.2015
05:37 am

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Pop Culture

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Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the greatest action films ever made and certainly the greatest action film ever made by a 70-year-old director. If you’ve seen the trailers, you know what you’re in for: non-stop, pedal-to-the-metal, jaw-dropping movie mayhem. Toss in ingenious set and costume design, elaborately tricked-out rat rods, monster trucks the size of apartment buildings, staggeringly beautiful cinematography and gorgeously glowering, dirt smeared faces of anti-heroes that Sergio Leone would have lingered on for hours, and you’ve got the kind of holy fuck experience that doesn’t come around but once every decade or so. Director George Miller has created a majestic piece of popular entertainment that accomplishes what Road Warrior managed to do in 1982: it sets a new standard for pure cinematic thrills. The poetry is in the motion. This a moving picture.
 

 
Mad Max inhabits a surreal universe as beautifully imagined as those of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’s concepts for their ill-fated Dune project. And there’s more than a little of Terry Gilliam’s dreamy machinery in the mix. There’s not a frame in the movie that isn’t ravishing and filled with intricate and startling details. Every widescreen landscape is alien and yet familiar. As if David Lean’s Lawrence had wandered into some post-apocalyptic Arabia.

MM:FR doesn’t achieve its epic grandeur and high powered velocity with bigger and better toys or special effects (though it does have that), it does it through sheer cinematic brilliance. This is a movie that doesn’t feel like it was composed in a computer and it doesn’t look like a series of video game cut scenes. MM:FR feels alive, palpably real, organic, crafted. It draws you in in ways that today’s special effects films generally don’t. The distancing effect of CGI is minimal. The scale of the movie is both epic and intimate. Astonishingly magical and deeply human.
 

 
What makes Mad Max: Fury Road doubly rewarding is that it takes on some big themes without getting in the way of the action.  Miller deals with planetary ecological disasters, the futility of war, feminism, totalitarianism, religious fanaticism and the ruthlessness to which humanity is driven in its quest for power. Like all fables, MM:FR is about the battle between good and evil. Nothing new there. But what sets it apart from the current crop of male-centric action movies is the role women play in the film. They’re the dominant heroes. Tom Hardy’s Mad Max takes a backseat to Charlize Theron’s indomitable one-armed buttkicking machine. The men, as one female character describes them, are merely “reliable.” With the exceptions of Hardy and Nicholas Hoult’s Nux, the rest of the male characters are breast-fed (yeah, that’s right) zombified killing machines (War Boys) on a mission from a malefic God. The beautiful and brutally efficient women are the moral center of the movie and their revenge is sweet. This is the hardest rocking chick flick in history. The biker gang made up of septuagenarian Earth goddesses is as cool as any thing you’ll see in cinemas this year. And like so much of MM:FR, it hasn’t been done before. This movie surprises at every turn. Jaded movie goers will feel like kids again.
 

 
George Miller and Hugh Keays-Byrne (Toecutter and Immortan Joe in the Max movies) are interviewed by Robert Rodriguez after a screening of MM:FR this past weekend in Austin, Texas. Shot by M. Campbell for Dangerous Minds at The Alamo Drafthouse.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
David Lynch voices a Barbie to accept an award for transcendental meditation because… David Lynch?
05.08.2015
08:08 am

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The films and television of David Lynch delight us with their strangeness, but they often pale in comparison to the man’s “extracurricular” projects. There’s the time he campaigned for Laura Dern’s Oscar by just hanging out in high traffic areas of Los Angeles with a giant sign and a live cow. There’s also the haunting public service announcement he did on New York City’s rat problem—pickup your garbage, people! His line of women’s sportswear was a great left turn, but dude has topped himself with this acceptance speech for his 2015 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award in recognition of his contributions to transcendental meditation.

Instead of just, you know, accepting the award, Lynch allowed “Trixie,” a Barbie doll shot in close-up, to serve as his proxy. In Lynch’s own voice, Trixie says her form of meditation consists of getting naked and “laying in the sun at the beach,” then Trixie and Lynch have a short dialogue. This comes not too long after Lynch used a Barbie in an ad for his signature line of coffee, but was asked by toy company Mattel Inc to take it down. I assume this use of Barbie poses no legal risk, as this is not a commercial, and merely a lovely moment of surreal play.
 

 
Via Welcome to Twin Peaks

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Cookie Monster channels Isaac Hayes for a ‘Theme from Shaft’ parody, can you dig it?
05.07.2015
05:47 am

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In 1977 disco was HUGE and everyone and his monkey was putting out a disco record—Ethel Merman, for instance. The Children’s Television Workshop wasn’t above a trend like that. They put this out as a single in 1977, but Sesame Street Fever wouldn’t come out until a year later.

This song is a straight parody of Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft,” but taking no (legal) chances, they steered clear of that type of title in favor of “Cookie Disco.”

Here are some of the lyrics:
 

He’s shaggy, he’s blue
And he knows how to chew—COOKIE!

Can you dig it?

You think you can munch,
Brother, you’re out to lunch
Compared with—COOKIE!

Did someone say “Lunch”?

 
Etc. Hey, nobody ever said the guy was subtle, but I love him anyway. Dig his Dr. John the Night Tripper/Patti Labelle headdress and outfit, too. Funky!
 

 
via Flashbak

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Hyper-realistic life-size sculpture of special effects pioneer, Ray Harryhausen
05.06.2015
05:53 am

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Art
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Ray Harryhausen sculpture
Ray Harryhausen sculpture. Or the real thing?

This life-size sculpture of special effects master, the late Ray Harryhausen, has unsurprisingly been mistaken for a photograph of the man himself. Sculptor and LA-based artist Mike Hill said that his tribute to Harryhausen took about six weeks to complete, but the background work of studying and perfecting every aspect of Harryhausen ‘s image from his teeth to the liver spots on his head, took many more months. At first I thought that Hill had perhaps based the vision for his remarkable sculpture on an existing photograph of Harryhausen. When I asked Hill for some background on the concept, he said that the idea for the sculpture was something he had conceptualized on his own, and that his only goal was to “portray Ray in his element, like a proud father. Which is exactly how he (Harryhausen) looked at his creations.”

And to that I say mission accomplished, Mr. Hill.
 
Ray Harryhausen sculpture with skeletons
 
Joining Harryhausen in this stunning homage are members of the skeleton warriors from two of Harryhausen’s most loved films, Jason and the Argonauts and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Honestly, the image of seeing Harryhausen enjoying milk and cookies while admiring his skeletal minions made my eyes a little leaky. I should probably get that checked out. Many more images that will make you do a double-take follow.
 
Ray Harryhausen sculpture
 
Get a better look at ‘Ray’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Big Lebowski’ Russian nesting dolls
05.05.2015
02:15 pm

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San Francisco-based designer Andy Stattmiller has certainly won my heart over with these excellent matryoshka dolls that pay homage to everyone’s favorite late-‘90s bowling-themed stoner movie, The Big Lebowski by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Die-hard fans of the movie won’t need to be told that the dolls represent, in descending order, Walter Sobchak, The Dude, Jesus, Maude Lebowski, The Big Lebowski, The Stranger, and the innocent marmot that gets tossed into the Dude’s bathtub.

Wait: No Donny? No Donny??

Actually, Stattmiller accurately points out that Donny is represented by the Folger’s can Walter is clutching.  Walter is also carrying ex-wife’s pomeranian, sans bowling shoes (I assume anyway, it’s in a carrier).
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Charlotte For Ever: Serge Gainsbourg laid bare
05.05.2015
07:15 am

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Serge Gainsbourg wrote it, directed it, stars in it and cast his daughter, Charlotte, as his movie daughter in Charlotte For Ever. It’s a family affair that crosses into an uncomfortable realm of implied incest that Serge often exploited/explored in his art. The PC police may get their knickers in a twist but fuck ‘em. One of the functions of art, and a healthy one at that, is confronting taboos and shedding light on how humans behave in the dark places. Gainsbourg’s lack of artifice and Cassavetes-like blurring of the line between drama and reality makes Charlotte For Ever almost unbearably intimate. Gainsbourg took chances in unloading a shitload of his id into his creations and the pleasure principle was the carburetor that fueled his engine. His cri de coeur is often muddled by the blurting of his cock.
 

 
Gainsbourg wasn’t the only modern French director to explore incest. Louis Malle, Bertrand Blier, Christophe Honore and Leos Carax have all gone there. In Malles’ Murmur Of The Heart a mother introduces her son to sex and somehow it seems almost wholesome. Maybe it’s a French thing?

Charlotte For Ever was released in 1986. French audiences were repelled and it promptly disappeared. The story of a suicidal alcoholic writer desperately looking for a link to redemption through his beautiful young daughter was too dark, too disturbingly erotic, for even the arthouse crowd. Or maybe it’s just too damned pretentious. I’m divided. As a fan of both Serge and Charlotte, I admire the chances taken and the commitment made to a project that required profound sensitivity and trust. How much is autobiographical I don’t know. But like the films of Cassavetes it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the fact that there are artists who see film not merely as a storytelling medium, but as a kind of scalpel that can peel back the hidden parts of what makes us human. And that can be painful… and exhilarating.
 

 
As for those of you who might worry for the young Charlotte Gainsbourg, I wouldn’t. She seems to have survived her father’s inspired madness with her head firmly intact. In fact, she’s continued in the Gainsbourgian tradition of dropping turds in the punchbowl with the films she’s done with Lars Von Trier and her uncle Andrew Birkin. La pomme doesn’t fall far from the tree.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Paul Krassner: I dropped acid with Groucho Marx
05.04.2015
07:49 am

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Drugs
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Paul Krassner has lived a remarkable life, with singular experiences including publishing The Realist, acting as editor of Hustler, becoming a “one-man underground railroad of abortion referrals,” testifying at the Chicago 7 trial while tripping on acid, co-founding the Yippies, and so forth.

Not the least of his adventures was the time he acted as “sort of a guide for Groucho Marx” for Groucho’s first acid trip.

As he wrote in the February 1981 issue of High Times, “We ingested those little white tabs one afternoon at the home of an actress in Beverly Hills.” At the end of the anecdote, Groucho says that he is looking forward to playing “God” in Skidoo, the legendary cult movie from 1968 directed by Otto Preminger in which Groucho smokes pot, so the timing of this acid story must have been late 1967 or early 1968. Wikipedia asserts that Groucho took acid to “prepare” for Skidoo, but Krassner’s article definitely does not say that. In fact, Krassner’s article is something of a mishmash, covering 3-4 different stories, and he doesn’t really explain anything about what led to his acid trip with Groucho. Here’s a little bit of what they did do, though:
 

We had long periods of silence and of listening to music. I was accustomed to playing rock ‘n’ roll while tripping, but the record collection here was all classical and Broadway show albums. After we heard the Bach “Cantata No. 7” Groucho said, “I may be Jewish, but I was seeing the most beautiful visions of Gothic cathedrals. Do you think Bach knew he was doing that?”

Later, we were listening to the score of a musical comedy Fanny. There was one song called “Welcome Home,” where the lyrics go something like, “Welcome home, says the clock,” and the chair says, “Welcome home,” and so do various other pieces of furniture. Groucho started acting out each line as if he were actually being greeted by the duck, the chair and so forth. He was like a child, charmed by his own ability to respond to the music that way.

 
He also says, remarkably, that “the acid with which Ram Dass, in his final moments as Dick Alpert, failed to get his guru higher was the same acid that I had the honor of taking with Groucho Marx.”

There’s a lot more in the article, so read the full thing here.

Interestingly, in his account Krassner mentions the tour buses of Haight-Ashbury hippiedom of the late 1960s, which DM covered just a couple of weeks ago.

It’s not acid, but here’s a little clip from Skidoo with Groucho smoking reefer:
 

 
Hat tip: Showbiz Imagery and Chicanery

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
NYC’s rock Apocalypse: ‘The Day The Music Died’ (with Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison)
05.04.2015
06:17 am

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Music
Politics

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Altamont wasn’t the only hippie rock festival that started with a groovy idea and ended up impacted in the poop chute of the Aquarian Age. 1970’s New York Pop Festival was intended to be three days of fun and music. The result was about as much fun as a weekend with Squeaky Fromme at the Spahn Ranch.

The producers of the festival, appropriately named Brave New World, had put together a truly impressive roster of bands with headliners like Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Ravi Shankar and Van Morrison. But they immediately ran into problems when The Black Panthers, White Panthers, Young Lords and a dozen-plus activist groups wanted in on the action. The feeling among many in the radical community was that rock festivals had made millions of dollars off the counter culture and it was now time for some payback. Among the demands being made was 10,000 free tickets and $100,000 in bail money for an incarcerated Black Panther. There were other causes, other concerns, other demands. Despite attempts by Brave New World to find some common ground the whole thing turned into a fiasco. But the festival did go on. Though there were some musical no shows that angered an already tense audience, including 30,000 who got in free when fences were kicked to the ground. The most notable absence was Sly and the Family Stone. Sly lived up to his name and was smart enough to pull out when no money was forthcoming.

Bert Tenzer’s Free is a film of the New York Pop Festival that combines documentary footage with scripted sequences. For instance, DJ Murray The K adds some goofy commentary even though he was nowhere near Randall’s Island at the time. The film was released in 1974 and made little impression. Tenzer even went so far as booking the film with unknown bands performing in the cinema. No one cared. Tenzer then re-edited Free and released it as The Day The Music Died in 1976. Doing what he could to try to recoup his investment, Tenzer added clips of Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, The Doors and more, none of whom were actually at the festival. Archival footage of Angela Davis, The Vietnam War, Richard Nixon and Malcolm X was also tossed in to the mix to give the film some political and sociological context. Still no hit.

Despite its boxoffice failure, The Day The Music Died has a lot going for it, capturing a period of time when doing the right thing often ended up a casualty of good intentions gone bad, a time when revolution often spun out of control because of a failure to see the bigger picture. By 1970 the idealism and hope of the Summer Of Love was replaced by cynicism, weariness and the realization that even the purest of Owsley’s acid wasn’t enough to flush the toxins out of the collective consciousness that had accrued over thousands of years of bad karma. The flower children had gone to seed and our heroes were dropping like flies. Mission aborted. We needed to re-group and think things out. We needed to get real.  “You say you got a real solution / Well, you know / We’d all love to see the plan.”

The Day The Music Died echoes the chaos that erupts when the mistrust between political groups, anarchists and street gangs grows unmanageable. The bottom line is capitalism and revolution is a volatile combination, both determined to destroy the other. The ideas that radical movements should get a free ride on the artistic and cultural products of others isn’t revolutionary, it’s parasitic.  As long as artists expect to be paid (as they should) it might be a good idea for political movements to throw their own fucking festivals. Power to the people means all the people, not just the ones that get the Panthers’ seal of approval. I remember when the movie Woodstock opened in Berkeley in 1970 and hippies were picketing outside of the theater where it was being screened.  Warner Brothers was banking millions off the counter culture and the longhairs were pissed. Even back then I thought the protest was silly… and I had hair down to the crack of my fucking ass. I didn’t go to the movie. Altamont had left a bad taste in my mouth and I had an Aquarian Age size hangover.

Towering over all the bullshit that happens in the The Day The Music Died is Jimi Hendrix who started a revolution without dogma, without arrogance and without rules. But he did have a plan and it was called music. There’s an argument to be made that rock and roll did more to positively change the world than any political movement, radical or otherwise. I may be wrong, but it’s an argument worth having. Whatever the case, I ain’t interested in any revolution that doesn’t include a sense of humor and monster guitar licks.

Watch in HD mode. It ain’t great but it looks a bit better.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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