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‘Bowie, Bolan, dressing up & going out’: Boy George takes a personal trip through the 1970s

September 1982: Hit rock ‘n’ roll singer Shakin’ Stevens can’t make his scheduled appearance on BBC chart show Top of the Pops. Panicked producers make the life-changing decision to fill the gap left by Shaky with an unknown pop group by the name of Culture Club. Minutes after the band’s debut television appearance on the show, phones start ringing at the BBC switchboard asking What the hell did we just watch?. Next day, newspapers run similar stories filled with offensive mock outrage questions: “Who is Boy George?” “Is he a boy or a girl?” Within weeks, Culture Club was number one and Boy George was the nation’s sweetheart.

But how did it come to this? Where did Boy George come from? What shaped the life of this brilliant, iconic “gender-bending” singer?

Well, these are some of the many questions answered by the lad himself as Boy George aka George O’Dowd takes the viewer on a very personal pop culture trip through the decade that shaped him—the 1970s.

The seventies are all too often dismissed by the more, shall we say, snobbish cultural critic as “the decade that fashion forgot,” ridiculed for its supposedly bad taste in fashion, politics, sex, music and hair. Yet for Boy George, the seventies was a “glorious decade…all about Bowie, Bolan, dressing up and going out.” The “last bonkers decade,” when the young teenage George discovered all these “amazing things… punk rock, electro music, fashion, all of that.”

Of course, there was the downside to all of this heady excitement: the political crisis, the three-day working weeks, the strikes, power cuts, mass unemployment, grim poverty, and racism. But George was too young to know much about any of this. He was too busy finding out about music and glamor and miming to Shirley Bassey in his parent’s front room. He was about to hit puberty. He felt different from the other kids and was looking for a sign that he was not alone in this gray suburban south London landscape.

Then came the sign he’d been hoping for: the day he saw David Bowie performing on Top of the Pops in 1972. That’s when George knew he wasn’t alone. The androgynous Bowie in his fire-red hair, make-up, and jumpsuit with his nail polished hand slung defiantly over Mick Ronson’s shoulder as they sang “Starman.” This was a sign that life could be extraordinary and was just an adventure to be gained.

Save Me from Suburbia is more than just Boy George telling his life story, it is an essential history of the events and pop culture that shaped a nation during ten heady years from skinheads and strikes to punk and Margaret Thatcher. George takes us on an utterly fascinating tour through the decade with a little help from his friends and accomplices like Rusty Egan, Princess Julia, Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife), and Caryn Franklin—and most revealingly his mother.
Watch Boy George’s revealing pop culture trip through the 1970s, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Oh, you pretty thing! Polaroid portraits of Andy Warhol in drag
09:07 am

Pop Culture

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol in drag taken with a polaroid camera.

Back in 2013 auction house Christie’s sold off 62 of Andy Warhol’s Polaroid photos for the tidy sum of $978,125. Fifteen of the Polaroids were of objects such as shoes and Absolute Vodka. Another 37 of the shots in the group were portraits taken by Warhol that he would then use to create silkscreens of his famous friends and muses like Grace Jones or Jean-Michael Basquiat. In a fascinating (at least to me) analysis done by Exhibition Inquisition, it appears that Andy’s Polaroids of women sold for vastly less than their famous male counterparts—by an approximate margin of $7,000. Even in the art game, us girls can’t seem to get a fair shake. Who knew?

Exhibition Inquisition also broke down Warhol’s “top ten” selling Polaroid portraits which included some of the artist closest acquaintances like Debbie Harry and Dennis Hopper. Farrah Fawcett also made it into the top ten as well as former governator of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and Muhammad Ali.

Now let’s discuss the topic of this post—Warhol’s drag self-portraits which were taken in the early 80s. In this series, we see Warhol in full make-up and bombshell red lipstick wearing a variety of different wigs from a smart, short black bob to full-on, teased-up heavy metal hair and black eyeliner. Here’s more on the creative process that got Andy ready for his closeup as a girl from the Getty Museum’s website:

Andy Warhol enjoyed dressing for parties in drag, sometimes in dresses of his own design. He admired “the boys who spend their lives trying to be complete girls,” so in 1981 he and a photographic assistant, Christopher Makos, agreed to collaborate on a session portraying Warhol in drag. In many ways, they modeled the series on Man Ray’s 1920s work with the French artist Marcel Duchamp, in which the two artists created a female alter ego name Rrose Sélavy for Duchamp.

Warhol and Makos made a number of pictures, both black-and-white prints and color Polaroids, of their first attempt. For the second round of pictures, they hired a theater makeup person. This stage professional better understood the challenge of transforming a man’s face into that of a woman. After the makeup, Warhol tried on curled, straight, long, short, dark, and blonde wigs.

Warhol might not have been the most attractive fella (or dame) but he knew how to give great “face” and his drag self-portraits are absolutely mesmerizing. Curiously, they are not as covetable to collectors as one might think. Warhol’s selfies out-of-drag have sold for far greater sums that his drag portraits. And it seems that the most covetable Polaroid images of Andy are the ones that were taken of the pop culture icon in his famous “fright wig” (you know, this look) which have sold at auction for $50 grand apiece. I’ve included the drag Polaroids of Andy below for you to check out. Warhol’s Polaroids can be seen in the wonderful, well worth owning 2015 book, Andy Warhol: Polaroids.



Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Girls just wanna be punk: Early recordings and demos by the Go-Go’s

An early single by the Go-Go’s on Stiff Records.

AMERICA AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, meet the Go-Go’s: International, Filthy Rich, Jet-Setting Rock- and Screen-Star Bitch Goddesses

Rolling Stone journalist Steve Pond being very, very right about the Go-Go’s back in 1982.

Easily the most famous all-girl band in the world, the Go-Go’s played a hugely influential role in the emerging punk/new wave scene in Los Angeles. In the late 1970s before they became the Go-Go’s they called themselves the Misfits despite the fact that the name was already taken by a group of muscle-bound horror punks in New Jersey led by a certain Glenn Danzig. Belinda Carlisle was unsurprisingly a cheerleader in high school in her hometown of Conejo Valley, but that all allegedly changed after she saw the half-naked image of Iggy Pop on the cover of the Stooges’ 1973 album, Raw Power. At nineteen Carlisle left home with her pal Theresa (aka the future “Lorna Doom” of the Germs) bound for Hollywood. Once the Germs were born Carlisle did a brief stint with them playing the drums and calling herself “Dottie Danger.” She and Doom dropped acid, Carlisle did some modeling and in her autobiography Lips Unsealed: A Memoir she confesses to having had a make out session with Alice Bag.

Prior to getting with the Go-Go’s timekeeper Gina Schock was drumming for John Waters’ star Edith Massey and her punk band Edie and the Eggs. Before rhythm guitarist Jane Wiedlin joined the band, she was a seamstress in a sweatshop in downtown Los Angeles who preferred crystal meth to coffee so she wouldn’t fall asleep on the job. While at her day-job Wiedlin would use the paper that the sewing patterns were printed to write her punk poems, parts of which would make their way to the band’s albums. Wiedlin and Carlisle ended up living across the way from each other (Carlisle was rooming with Lorna at the time) and their friendship would eventually lead them both to the Go-Go’s.

When the band started playing gigs around town it didn’t go unnoticed. They partied as hard as their male counterparts, did tons of coke, popped pills and excelled at the rock ‘n’ roll 101 skill of destroying hotel rooms. Early on their gigs were kind of a hot mess. Their first set was opening for the Dickies at LA punk club, the Masque. For a short time, the band was just a trio comprised of Wiedlin (who was going by the gonzo name of “Jane Drano”), Margot Olavarria on bass and with Carlisle front and center on vocals. According to Olavarria even though they really didn’t have a clue as to what they were doing it really didn’t matter because at the time there was “no shame in being a horrible musician.” In another punk rock six-degrees of separation type moment worth noting, Olavarria found out she had been given the boot by Belinda and her bandmates from none other than Exene Cervenka of X. The reason for Olavarria’s dismissal was said to have stemmed from her getting pinched by the po-po trying to score some cocaine. Oh, the shifty-eyed, typewriter-jaw irony that is two coke-heads accusing another coke-head of doing something shady. Tisk tisk.

Jane Wiedlin.
The then very new Stiff Records had the girls make a bunch of great recordings including a single that you may have heard of before called “We Got the Beat.” Their early recordings and demos are not only really fucking good but are a real scream to listen to if you’ve never heard them for some of the in-studio banter between the band members. Later I.R.S. head-honcho Miles Copeland (the brother of Police drummer Stewart Copeland) came calling and signed the Go-Go’s and they embarked upon making their first record which they had always envisioned as a punk record. I.R.S. was already a home away from home for other punks like The Cramps, The Damned and The Fleshtones. But the production team behind Beauty and the Beat of Rob Freeman and Richard Gottehrer had other ideas. Beauty and the Beat was miraculously completed in three weeks while the party animal antics of the Go-Go’s terrorized New York City and Penny Lane Studios. When the girls first heard the record they were pissed off. Go-Go’s guitarist Charlotte Caffey said she and the rest of the band and even cried while listening to it the first time. It wasn’t a punk album, it was pure pop perfection (Which is a good enough reason to shed a few tears if you ask me). They went over Gottehrer’s head and appealed directly to Miles Copeland to have the record remixed. Copeland refused and the album, which was released in 1981, would go down in history as one of the most successful debut albums by a band in history.

I’ve included a few choice photos of the band from their early days as well as various songs, demos and recordings of the band rehearsing back before they became America’s sweethearts in the early 80s. If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about the Go-Go’s, I hope this shines a light on the fact that they were pretty much the best and deserve way more credit (as many female musical artists do) for the deeply impactful mark they made. And that my friends is a goddamned fact.

Belinda in a Germs t-shirt back in the day.

Much more after the jump…

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Classic love and heartbreak songs illustrated in the style of Stephen King horror paperbacks
10:12 am

Pop Culture

Stephen King

Artist Butcher Billy took iconic love and heartbreak songs and reimagined them as if they were Stephen King horror novels. They’re actually quite amusing and it works, in my opinion. The title of this series is called “Stephen King’s Stranger Love Songs.”

I may never listen to these sappy songs the same way again as I’ll have these horror-like visuals in my head from now on.

Prints and t-shirts of Butcher’s work are available through Redbubble.

A post shared by Butcher Billy (@thebutcherbilly) on



More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Sex Pistols, The Clash and Siouxsie and the Banshees on early TV documentary ‘Punk’ from 1976

There had been a killing. But no one was quite certain where it had happened or where the body was hidden. Maybe it was in the library bludgeoned with a lead pipe? Or sprawled across the conservatory floor throttled by some rope? The press carried snippets. People were shocked by the news. How could this happen on our streets? How could this happen to our children when Abba was still number one? There was outrage. There was fear. There was a dread that this was only the beginning of far greater horrors to come.

They were right.

In some ways, it was a mercy killing. It had to happen. It was inevitable. It was putting the poor beast out of its misery. The old horse was now lame and blind and in constant pain and could barely perform its act. Yet still, they wheeled it out for one more turn for the rich people to ride and clap and cheer while the old nag bravely tried to canter around the ring.

But the children turned away. They wanted something different.

There had been noises of strange new things going on for months. Small signs in venues all across London. A growing sense that something had to change. The old horse was dead and the business was out of touch with its audience. The kids wanted something to happen.

A band called the Sex Pistols were playing gigs in and around London. Promoter Ron Watts saw them rip up the joint at a gig in High Wycombe in early 1976. It was like nothing he’d ever seen before. This was the start of the future. This was what everyone was waiting for. He booked the band to appear at the legendary blues and jazz 100 Club in London. He organized a weekend festival called The 100 Club Punk Special for September 20th and 21st, 1976. The line-up was the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Damned, the Buzzcocks, Subway Sect, Stinky Toys and Chris Spedding & the Vibrators.
Sex Pistols poster for the 100 Club Punk Special, September 1976.
When the Sex Pistols hit the stage, everything changed. “In one night,” Watts later wrote in his autobiography Hundred Watts: A Life in Music, “punk went from an underground cult to a mass movement.”

The Sex Pistols had killed off one generation’s music and announced something new.

...[T]his was the big one, the first day of a new era. Nothing could compare with it either before or since.

Onstage, Johnny Rotten was “insulting, cajoling everyone in the room, his eyes bulging dementedly as he made the audience as much a part of the show as the band.” The group tore through their set to a thrilled and enthusiastic audience. The Clash played their set, while Siouxsie and the Banshees had improvised a set around “The Lord’s Prayer.” A week later, a crowd 600 deep formed a line at the door of the 100 Club.
Watch the Sex Pistols, Clash and Siouxsie in “Punk,” after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Happy happy joy joy!’: Hyper-realistic Ren & Stimpy masks
10:23 am

Pop Culture

Ren & Stimpy

Andrew Freeman of Immortal Masks made these insanely detailed Ren & Stimpy masks! The only word I can think of for these is “grotesque.” I simply cannot get over how real they look. They’d give me nightmares if I owned them.

The masks made their debut at the fabled Monsterpalooza convention last weekend. Bravo.



via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The story of illustrator Joe Shuster: From ‘Superman’ to super sleaze

The cover of ‘Nights of Horror’ (volume one) illustrated by Joe Shuster.
In 1923 Joe Shuster and his family moved away from their home in Ontario, Canada to Cleveland, Ohio. There as a youth he crossed paths with another kid his age Jerome Siegel who went by “Jerry.” The two quickly bonded over their mutual love of comic books and science fiction. They spent copious amounts of time reading anything related to the world of sci-fi they could get their hands on as well as taking in movies anytime they could.

The boys’ lives would remain closely intertwined as they entered high school where they would collaborate on a fanzine they dubbed Science Fiction. The duo split the duties of writing and illustration with Shuster taking on the drawing part and Siegel composing the stories. In addition to their own work, the fanzine also published stories written by Ray Bradbury who was just a few years ahead of Joe and Jerome age-wise at the time and a man who earned many nicknames in his life (such as “Mr. Science Fiction” by coining the abbreviation “sci-fi”) Forrest J. Ackerman. Ackerman’s life is worthy of several posts here on DM but we will have to leave that for another day as the story concerning Joe Shuster involves the “holy grail” of comic books Action Comics No. 1, murderous neo-Nazis, lots of sadomasochist drawings and Superman, arguably the most famous comic book character of all time that was originally conceived of by Shuster and Siegel.

Superman evolved from a character who was originally a bad guy: after suffering side effects from secret science experiments he gained various superpowers such as flying, and being impervious to things like bullets. He was also overcome by the desire to rule the Earth. Later it seems that Siegel would get the idea to make Superman a do-gooder and after getting together with his pal Joe the story of Superman as we all know it was born. Sadly, the rest of the story concerning their partnership and an idea that should have left them filthy rich involves getting ripped off, lawyers, and bad times. So let’s jump to something much more pleasant that Joe Shuster did in later in his career, fetish art.

An illustration by Shuster from ‘Nights of Horror’ (volume three) of a couple getting stoned that bear uncanny resemblances to “Jimmy Olsen” and “Lucy Lane” from the ‘Superman’ comics.
Both Shuster and Siegel had lots of side-projects writing and drawing for different magazines and comics. But unlike his friend and business partner Shuster also illustrated scenes of soft and hardcore BDSM and giant-sized women for a porn magazine popular back in the 1950s called Nights of Horror though he never signed his name to any of the work. At the time Shuster was flat broke so when the opportunity presented itself he took it out of desperation. It’s also said that Shuster felt that the explicit artwork wasn’t what he wanted to be remembered for thus his reluctance to attach his name to it. The 1950s were a very different time when it came to the idea of actions that were considered sexually deviant and Shuster’s illustrations for Nights of Horror absolutely fell into that category and then some in the eyes of most people. Later Shuster’s illustrations would become a matter of extreme controversy resulting in a case heard by the Supreme Court centered around indecency. In yet another turn of unfortunate events for Shuster a scumbag gang of neo-Nazis in New York calling themselves the “Brooklyn Thrill Killers” blamed their horrific actions on comic books, specifically Nights of Horror and as many copies of Nights of Horror that the authorities could get their hands on were destroyed. Even at his lowest, poor Joe Shuster just couldn’t catch a break.

Another interesting tidbit about Shuster’s sexy surreptitious illustrations is that they look a whole lot like characters from Superman’s orbit. There’s even a rendering of what distinctly appears to be Superman’s goofball buddy, Jimmy Olsen getting stoned with his girlfriend Lucy Lane (Lois’ sister, pictured above). Thanks to the Supreme Court debacle issues of Nights of Horror are hard to come by and generally run as high as $600 for a lone copy. Thankfully, Shuster and his excellent R-rated illustrations have been the subject of several books. IVrecommend the 2009 book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-Creator Joe Shuster. The images from Shuster’s fetish phase below are absolutely NSFW.

One of Shuster’s giant girls and a whip.


More after the jump…

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Martian chronicles: Fantastic covers for UFO comics of the 1960s & 70s

Little green men ain’t what they used to be. We don’t need Sean Spicer to confirm that aliens have already landed and have squeezed their scaly green asses into government. Hell, they don’t even have to fire their ray guns to let us know their intentions are hostile. They’ve taken over and not a shot was fired.

Once upon a time, this kind of speculative alien invasion was the prime cut of science-fiction comics like UFO Flying Saucers. First published by Gold Key in 1968, UFO Flying Saucers evolved into UFO & Outer Space before ceasing publication in 1977.

During its just over a decade run, UFO Flying Saucers did ask all the right questions like “Do alien explorers hold earthlings in their grip?” and “Is Earth their laboratory? Are we their specimens?” Some might say, in light of recent events across the world, the answers are kinda obvious now. And worryingly these flying saucers might not just be in charge of one government—looks like they’ve got a whole deck of countries to play with.

Stephen Hawking once wisely pointed out that if alien intelligence ever read the messages we pump out into space then we should be careful as these extraterrestrials may be hostile and not “see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.” These UFO comics were way ahead of you there, Stephen.

Recently, scientists at the Australian National University, Swinburne University of Technology and the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) confirmed “mystery bursts of radio waves that astronomers have hunted for ten years really do come from outer space.”

These Fast Radio Bursts are intense pulses of radio light that last for only milliseconds and come from way, way out in the outer reaches of space. These pulses were first discovered over ten years ago and are “about a billion times more luminous than anything we have ever seen in our own Milky Way galaxy.”

At first, they were thought to be interference. Now, it seems these pulses are some kind of transmission. ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Matthew Bailes has suggested the signals may (“bizarrely”) be “alien transmissions.”

If they are. Well, we know what to expect. If not, a refresher course of the covers to Gold Key’s UFO Flying Saucers and UFO & Outer Space might supply some useful answers.
More fabulous covers from UFO Flying Saucers and UFO & Outer Space, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The 1970s, when we all expressed our individuality via mass-produced t-shirts and novelty patches

American Motorcyclist Association.
I’ll ‘fess up to owning a Laurel and Hardy t-shirt when I was a child. I also had one with Humphrey Bogart saying something memorable from Casablanca. Damned if I can remember what it was now. This was as far as I would go with my counter-culture wardrobe. Most of my school friends were of similar mind. They opted for plus fours, smoking jackets and a fine selection of Arran-knit cardigans. Life was so different in Scotland then.

Of course, there were some who sported denim jackets decked out in assorted patches imported from America. These mass-produced novelties of old men saying things like “Keep on truckin’” or cartoon dogs offering advice about not eating yellow snow always struck me as frightfully quaint yet rather dumb. I suppose I was just confused as to what these badges were supposed to mean. But what did I know? I was merely an innocent child out of step with the current fashion trends.

Soon nearly every youngster across our fabled tartan nation was dressed-up like Joseph in his amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat or at least a brazen tatterdemalion. These patches all signified the same thing. I am unique. I am an individual. These are my likes and dislikes. And look, haven’t I got a wacky sense of humor?

Sad to say, all of this fun passed me by far too quickly and I missed out in the pleasures of actually becoming an individual. My taste in t-shirts was understandably laughed at by those far more in tune with the heady zeitgeist of the day. Laurel and Hardy could never compete with some twee tee saying Pepsi was the “real thing.”

Most of the fashionable peeps wore the American patches and t-shirts. Soon, these were rivaled by our very own homegrown patches declaring a love for the Bay City Rollers or tops saying “My girlfriend went to Arbroath and all she got me was this lousy t-shirt.” That kind of thing.

Those crazy delights of that faraway decade can be enjoyed with this fine selection of adverts selling counter-culture t-shirts and some ads and fine examples of the quirkier patches which were then available. If this whets the appetite then I suggest a visit to Mitch O’Connell’s blog which will leave you positively sated.
Hustler 1975.
Gilda Radner in CREEM magazine t-shirt ad.
More crazy delights from the heady 1970s, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ceramic pipes of Frank Zappa, Hunter S. Thompson, Cthulhu, The Dude and many more!

Frank Zappa
I’m completely smitten with these handmade ceramic and terracotta bowls by WTP Art on Etsy. I didn’t feature all the pipes they make here on Dangerous Minds, just the ones I really dig. They’ve got a lot of good ones.

The pipes are handcrafted and take about three to five days to ship. WTP Art also takes custom orders. If you don’t see your favorite character on their page, they’re totally open to making one for you.

Each pipe sells for around $35 depending on the detail. The most expensive ones are $45 + shipping.

Frank Zappa

Hunter S. Thompson

The Dude
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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