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Lovely and intimate photos of a young Audrey Hepburn long before she was a household name
08:51 am

Pop Culture

Audrey Hepburn

It’s always fun to see photographs of your idols before they were famous. Like these images of the eternally beautiful, graceful, and witty actress/humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn. The photographs start in 1942, eleven years before she shot to stardom for her role in Roman Holiday in 1953. Hepburn was the first actress to receive an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for her performance in that film.

The majority of these images are from Hepburn’s days when she studied ballet in Amsterdam and later in London. By the late 1940s, she performed as a chorus girl in West End musical theatre productions and did some stage acting in London.

Fun fact about Audrey Hepburn that I didn’t know: She was fluent in English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and German. Impressive.



November 27, 1942


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
See Tom Cruise starring as Jesus at Bible museum populated with wax celebrity castoffs
09:49 am

Pop Culture


The town of Mansfield, Ohio, lies about halfway between Cleveland, on Lake Erie, and the state capital Columbus in the center of the state. The city is known for hosting the Miss Ohio pageant and as the birthplace of Luke Perry of Beverly Hills, 90210—and as the location of BibleWalk, purportedly Ohio’s only life-size wax museum.

The full name of BibleWalk is the Living Bible Museum. It has been in operation since 1983 and welcomes 40,000 curious visitors through its doors annually. The purpose of the museum is to illustrate scenes from the Bible with wax figures in dioramas, much like exhibits at the Museum of Natural History. 

The museum features more than 300 figures, many of them reclaimed after having been discarded from other museums—which means that there are more than a few celebrities and famous people in the mix. When the figures “true” identities shine through the Biblical costumes, it can make for an odd experience.

Among the Hollywood movie stars you might spot in the museum are Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Taylor, John Travolta, Steve McQueen, and two figures from British royalty: Prince Philip and Prince Charles.

Julia Mott-Hardin, the director of BibleWalk, will not admit patrons if she thinks they only want to see the celebrities in this odd context: “I’ve had calls from people who wanted to take the tour, but only if I accompanied them pointing out the celebrities. I refused. The museum is about glorifying God and his work.”

Some of the figures have not been identified (if they indeed are celebrities). Feel free to guess—is that one Al Pacino? Margot Kidder? Do you spot Gloria Steinem in there?

Tom Cruise as Jesus Christ

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor, looking startled

George Harrison as God

Not the easiest to identify, but this monarch was originally John Travolta
More Biblical celebs after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Who was that mysterious middle-aged bald guy that appeared in like EVERY early ‘80s MTV video?
07:15 am

Pop Culture


When MTV first debuted in 1981, few people believed in the fledgling network and its concept of airing music videos 24 hours a day. Their launch was plagued with technical problems and the station itself was starved for content.

MTV co-founder, Les Garland, details the shaky beginnings in a New York Post interview:

There was some fear, because we didn’t get the instant distribution some people thought we would. We used to hear, from cable operators and advertisers, “nobody’s gonna watch music on television 24 hours a day. That’ll never work.” Heard it from people in [our own] management, too. It was closer to touch-and-go than people realized. There were threats of pulling the plug.

Given the newness of music videos, the channel had only around 250 to choose from at the beginning.

One demographic that may have been initially counted out, but who undoubtedly contributed to the success of early MTV, was elementary through high-school-aged kids who had loads of free viewing time on their hands. Kids who would end up spending hours a day obsessing over this new medium—a medium which moved so much faster than what they had been used to seeing, having grown up on network television. MTV ushered in the age of ADD.

I was one of those captivated kids, and what a fascinating time it was to become “musically aware” with this brand-new, content-starved format repetitively pumping-out clips from whatever handful of (mostly new wave) acts that were forward-thinking enough to devote the time and energy to shooting videos. Suddenly bands you would NEVER hear on the radio, were appearing on TV screens nation-wide and the kids were eating it up.

In those early days of obsessive MTV viewing, I began to notice this one guy. This one middle-aged, balding, bespectacled man. This one guy who was conspicuous for his squareness among pretty boy rock stars and hot models. This one guy who seemed to be in like EVERY freaking video. Was he a video director inserting himself Hitchcock style into his clips? Was he a record label president? Was he the bands’ coke dealer? Who the hell was this guy?

And so, for more than thirty years this man has been in the back of my head as “that ubiquitous middle-aged ‘80s video bald guy.”

I was recently tooling around You Tube, watching the video for Haircut 100’s classic hit “Love Plus One” and had my memory jarred. “Oh yeah,” I thought, “there he is!” “There’s that guy! The headmaster from the Bonnie Tyler video! The guy who struts down the street next to Joan Jett! The dad from the Squeeze video! The shaky-handed martini-drinker from the Billy Joel video! WHO IS THIS GUY!?”

This being 2015, and having the luxury of google and the Internet, I went to work searching for something, anything on this mystery man. Amazingly, I turned up nothing—except for other people asking the exact same question: “Who is the guy in every early ‘80s video?” 

So, next I contacted Nick Heyward of Haircut 100—because, again, we live in the future and you can just instantly access ANYONE. I sent Heyward a photo and asked “do you remember who this guy is?” Heyward replied almost immediately:

He was the wardrobe guy/actor/extra. Nice chap. Pop was a closely-knit family in those days.

There was a lead, but not much. Searches of “‘80s music video wardrobe guy, bald” turned up nothing.

From there, I took my quest to MTV’s Mark Goodman, to see if he had any inside information. Goodman responded: “No clue who the dude is but pretty funny you spotted him. You must have lots of free time!” So, great, childhood icon, MTV’s Mark Goodman, thinks I’m a total loser.

Subsequent sleuthing started to reveal a connection between the various videos that the pervasive bald guy was appearing in: a production company called MGMM.

MGMM was THE go-to company for music video production in the early ‘80s—mostly because they were one of the first companies to specialize in it. The company’s partners Brian Grant, Scott Millaney, Russel Mulcahy, and David Mallet were essentially the top directors in the burgeoning field. Their content DOMINATED early MTV, which, as we noted earlier, was quite sparse early-on. The most ground-breaking, iconic, most memorable music videos of the first three years of MTV were by-and-large all produced by MGMM. So the clues began to come together. Could the mystery middle-aged bald man be a costumer for MGMM?

Attempts to contact former partners of MGMM went mostly unanswered, but someone from David Mallet’s production company did get back to me with a name. That name was “Michael Baldwin.” Finally! A name to go with the pate!

Mallet’s company did not wish to comment any further or give additional information—and of course there’s stuff I’m still dying to know. Was it a goof among the production to have him turn up so often, or was it simply a matter of being short-staffed for extras? How many videos did he appear in? I know of at least 20. Were there more? Unfortunately, I can’t ask Baldwin himself—his Facebook page indicates that he sadly passed away due to an illness in October of 2014.

Baldwin was indeed a costumer, and an accomplished one at that. His website displays some stunning examples of his work, and clearly it was what he should be remembered for rather than his myriad of video cameos. That website is well worth a visit for Baldwin’s audio commentary on the gallery photos of his designs. He did a lot of work in the early ‘80s dressing pop stars, and obviously dressing sets with himself. But his work goes all the way back to the early ‘60s. He was even responsible for costumes on the Rolling Stones famous train-wreck Rock and Roll Circus. The guy had an impressive career outside of his bit parts in music clips.

As much as is left still unanswered, at least we can finally answer the question of “Who is that ubiquitous early ‘80s music video bald guy?”

His name is Michael Baldwin.


More Michael Baldwin than you can shake a stick at, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Living sculptures’ of world leaders, artists, and other wackos
07:46 am

Pop Culture

Marie-Lou Desmeules

Andy Warhol living sculpture
Andy Warhol “living sculpture”
Valencia, Spain-based artist Marie-Lou Desmeules is a self taught sculptor whose art consists of creating “live sculptures” using real human models as her “base.” That’s right, underneath every one of these creations is a living, breathing human being who had to endure an arduous makeup lasting probably hours.
Silvio Berlusconi as Ronald McDonald living sculpture
Former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi as Ronald McDonald
Desmeules has described her art as a form of “surgery” that does not require invasive scalpels or lasers, just massive layers of acrylic paint, plastic, paper and hair. Upon viewing Desmeules’ finished product, one might be inclined to assume it was created at an LSD-induced papier-mâché party.

Desmeules’ intention was to have people consider what really constitutes “beauty” in our current perfection-obsessed society; she is also interested in the expansion of recognized gender roles. More images from Desmeules eye-popping work follows, as well as a time-lapse video of her creating a “living sculpture” of Andy Warhol.
Hulk Hogan living sculpture
Hulk Hogan
Lots more amazing “living sculptures” after the jump…...

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Baby Charles Bukowski, André the Giant, Frank Sinatra and other rebels hanging at the beach

Andre the Giant at the beach picking up chicks
André the Giant at the beach picking up chicks at Cannes, 1967
As I type these words, many of you that are reading them right now are probably in the midst of a pretty nasty heatwave. So I thought posting some amazing photos of people way cooler than us, looking even cooler than usual (with one or two amusing exceptions) while hanging out at the beach was in order.
Albert Einstein at the beach, 1945
Albert Einstein, 1945
You may have seen a few of the 24 images in this post before, but hopefully the majority will surprise you, especially the one of André the Giant literally picking up chicks at Cannes, or Albert Einstein (above) wearing some interesting footwear while the waves crash around his feet. Whenever possible, I included locations and dates of where and when the photos were taken as some were taken before the subjects became famous. Man, I feel cooler already. More reach-the-beach images follow.
AC/DC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1985
AC/DC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1985
Slade in swimtrunks at the beach
Slade, 1974
Charles Bronson at the beach, 1974
Charles Bronson, 1974

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Nightmare Feddy,’ ‘Anna Montana’ and other Chinese import toy knock-off fails
08:21 am

Pop Culture

Freddy Krueger

Photo via
Several years ago I first became aware of “Nightmare Feddy,” a Chinese bootleg doll of Freddy Krueger from the popular A Nightmare on Elm Street horror franchise, and I’ve been laughing about him ever since. I’m not sure what it is specifically about the name “Nightmare Feddy” that I find so funny, but its one of those things that pops into my head from time to time and I just kind of start laughing to myself over it. “Nightmare Feddy.” It’s just so stupid.

Photo via
Apparently I’m not the only person obsessed with “Feddy.” I’m no toy collector, but I’ve wanted one of these Chinese failure figures for years now—I’ve kept my eyes peeled for one in the wild, to no avail. They turn up regularly on eBay,  usually priced between $40 to $80. Yeah, I want this dumb conversation piece, but not forty bucks worth.

But still, just look at this stupid thing. Look at its shoes!

Photo via
“Nightmare Feddy” might be a scarce, improbable collector’s item, but a trip to your local Dollar Tree will undoubtedly reveal shelves upon shelves of strangely-titled knock-off toys which are good for similar ESL laughs.

Here’s a treasury of Chinese toy knock-off fails:

Feddy’s cousin: “Monster”

“Spook Chasers”

“Anna Montana”
More Chinese toy fails after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Stunning mosaics of famous paintings and photos (and Hunter S. Thompson!) made entirely of LEGOs
09:24 am

Pop Culture

Hunter S. Thompson
Andy Bauch

Hunter S. Thompson LEGO mosaic
Hunter S. Thompson LEGO mosaic. Made with 7,393 LEGO bricks

Andy Bauch, an artist and software developer from Queens, New York (now living and working in LA), creates his incredibly detailed mosaics using thousands of LEGO bricks.

According to Bauch, his obsession with LEGO pieces didn’t start when he was a child, but rather later on in life. In 2010 Bauch created his first LEGO mosaic, a reproduction of a Roy Lichtenstein painting which came about in order to impress a girl. I’m not sure if Bauch’s attempt to find love by way of LEGO was successful, but his reproductions of two of Lichtenstein’s paintings,  “Girl with Hair Ribbon,” and “The Kiss V” are spot-on. It takes Bauch many thousands of LEGO bricks (with hundreds of dollars spent on the LEGO pieces themselves), and anywhere from ten to 60 hours to make one of his bricky works of art. When it comes to his creative process, Bauch is tight-lipped, preferring to credit a team of “pygmy hippos” as the driving force behind his painstaking pieces. Bauch’s LEGO portraits are also available for purchase (from $1,800 - $3,600 each) via his Etsy shop.
LEGO mosaic of
LEGO mosaic of “The Kiss V”. Made with 3,491 LEGO bricks (originally painted by Roy Lichtenstein in 1964)
More of Bauch’s LEGO mosaics, as well as a time-lapse video of Bauch putting together “Girl with Hair Ribbon,” can be seen after the jump.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Jailbait jamboree: Creepy countdown of the top ten ‘inappropriate’ songs that were somehow hits
06:50 am

Pop Culture

Top ten
Benny Mardones

“They don’t write ‘em like they did in the old days”—certainly a true statement, but in some cases that may really be for the best.

Here’s a top-ten countdown of songs with sketchy lyrics or themes related to (Hebephiliac to Ephebophiliac) relations with minors that probably wouldn’t make the cut for acceptability in 2015. Through the backward lens of modern social and moral definitions of appropriateness, these ten tracks err on the side of “not.”

Some of these songs are merely cringeworthy in hindsight. Some are downright scary. Yet each of these songs was either a hit single or a fan favorite on a hit album. In today’s social climate it would be career suicide for a mainstream artist attempting to release a song with lyrics like the ones on this list.

10. Aerosmith “Walk This Way”

This song of young lust does specify that the narrator is a “high school loser,” but “Walk This Way” makes the ten spot for what is certainly one of the sleaziest lines ever uttered in a (really popular hit) rock song: “I met a cheerleader, was a real young bleeder, oh the times I could reminisce.” Gross, dude. What was she? Twelve?
More pedo-pop ‘standards,’ after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
I wanna be your DOLL: Plush toys of Iggy, Bowie, DEVO, Blondie, Lemmy, Bjork, Siouxsie and MORE!
09:02 am

Pop Culture

plush toys

Iggy Pop plush toy
Plush Iggy Pop toy

The plush renditions you are about to see of some of the most influential cultural icons in history were created by Sao Paulo, Brazil based illustrator and toy designer, Josmar Madureira. His work was recently featured in a fantastic looking book, Toy Land by Louis Bou which boasts more than a half of a million examples of toy art from around the world created in various mediums such as vinyl, metal, fabric and of course, plush.
Ian Curtis of Joy Division plush toy
Ian Curtis
A a self-described addict of artifacts such as old cartoons, 60’s psychedelia and pop art among other cool pursuits, Madureira (who operates under the moniker “Katkiller”), has put out an extensive line of plush toys in the images of cultural movers and shakers such as Iggy Pop, Bjork (in her infamous “swan dress” that she wore to the Academy Awards in 2001 no less) and Ian Curtis of Joy Division, as well as artists and famous couture designers like Salvador Dali and Vivienne Westwood. There’s even a few cinematic characters thrown into Madureira’s massive mix of toys from the film A Clockwork Orange and everyone’s favorite taxi driver, Travis Bickle.
Debbie Harry of Blondie plush toy
Debbie Harry
Joey Ramone plush toy
Joey Ramone
After the jump, more than 30 images of Josmar Madureira’s posh plush collection for you to peruse!

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Dick Tracy meets the Punks
09:55 am

Pop Culture

Dick Tracy

I first learned of the existence of a punk plotline in the long-running Dick Tracy series in Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage’s essential compilation Punk: An Aesthetic, which reproduces a page from a 1979 issue of Circus magazine reporting on it.

Here’s what happened. From August through November 1979, Dick Tracy ran an extended plot in which the bad guys were two punk rockers. It certainly bears some resemblance to the famous “Quincy punk episode,” and the timing is right too. Note that the credit line on these comics is Gould/Fletcher/Collins. Max Collins wrote it, and Rick Fletcher was the artist—Chester Gould had created the strip and wrote and drew it for several decades, but he retired in 1977.

In the plot, Dick and his wife, Tess Trueheart Tracy, take a vacation to Washington state to visit their daughter Bonnie. Traveling with them is their elderly actor friend Vitamin Flintheart. While they’re on their trip, two punks named Bony and Claudine are perpetrating some kind of Badlands-ish spree of terror. The idea is that Bony needs money to finance a studio session to record an album, so he’s been holding up stores. We see him hold up a pawn shop, where he also snags an original Les Paul guitar. Eventually Tracy links up with the local authorities—Tracy and the local man on the scene are drawn to look almost exactly the same, to my eyes—and there’s a kind of hostage situation involving Vitamin and Bonnie—during which Bonnie gives birth to Dick Tracy’s second grandchild—and eventually Bony and Claudine are apprehended. In a nice touch, it turns out that the omnipresent safety pin in Claudine’s ear is used to aid in the delivery of the newborn.

The Circus article from 1979 covering the Dick Tracy plot about punk music
The writer of the series, Max Collins, states in the introduction this was inspired by the recent interest in new wave music—Collins himself was in a band called Crusin’, it turns out. There doesn’t seem to be much animus towards the punk musicians here except insofar as the nihilism inherent in the punk philosophy does seem consistent with an amoral attitude and thus a crime spree that can be used as a narrative. Bony doesn’t seem based on anyone in particular, and his criminal tendencies aren’t presented as deriving from his status as a punk musician per se—he’s just a psychopath. The only band name-checked by the series is Cheap Trick, in the strip reproduced by Circus, according to whom the original panels mentioning them were sent to the band as a gift.

I got ahold of the paperback and have scanned in some of the pages here. I’ve included some of the key moments involving Bony, but I’ve left a lot of the story out. IDW Publishing has been putting out the complete Dick Tracy comics for a while now, but I don’t know which volume this plot appears in.

You can see in the Circus article that the Sunday strips apparently just jammed two regular-length strips together with a couple of introductory panels. In a story of this type, told over many weeks 3 panels at a time, narrative compression and curious juxtapositions are paramount. The book presents those panels differently, in groups of three, no matter what day they appeared. The reason for pointing this out is that the dates I’ve provided aren’t to be taken as gospel; in some cases they may be an approximation. (Some of the strips include the date, but not all do.)

The Circus article points out that the plot that came after the Bony plot featured characters named Quiver and Tom Trembly, who were based on Debbie Harry and Elvis Costello; I’ve included pics of those characters at the bottom of the post.

If you click on any image in this post, you will be able to see a larger version.


August 16, 1979

August 17, 1979
Read the rest of the panels after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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