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Decadence, fame & excess at Les Bains Douches, the Parisian answer to Studio 54
08.26.2014
09:57 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
nightclubs
Les Bain Douches


 
From the late 1970s through the 1990s, Les Bains Douches was a nightclub in Paris located at 7 rue du Bourg l’Abbé in the 3rd arrondissement. What made it distinctive from most other nightclubs were the availability—as the club’s very name promised—of large baths for its patrons to cool off or generally frolic in. It was originally built in 1885 by the Guerbois family and soon became one of the most famous thermal baths in Paris. Originally it was used by workers in the area who would come there after an arduous night shift for a shower and a coffee. At the same time Les Bains Douches also a more affluent clientele massage as well as sulphur and steam baths.

In 1978 it was re-conceived by famed designer Philippe Starck as a nightclub. Starck cannily chose to retain the baths and the original tiles. Fans of postpunk music may recognize the name from the title of an excellent Joy Division live album that saw an official release in 2001; the album is simply called Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979. For the next couple of decades Les Bains Douches would become a magnet for the rich and famous to rival only Studio 54 and the Chateau Marmont. Of course, its location in Paris guaranteed that its selection of celebrities would have a more European cast, but that did not prevent many of the ultra famous from dropping in, including Jack Nicholson, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, alongside such European figures as Roman Polanski, Brigitte Nielsen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Julie Delpy, and so on.

By the 2000s, the heady era of fame and excess was rapidly becoming a memory. French DJ David Guetta and his wife bought the club but soon encountered management problems. In 2010 the club finally shut its doors for good. In 2013 it was the site of a street art exhibition, and it is expected to reopen later this year.

These pictures were taken by the nightclub’s resident photographer, Foc Kan. They are true unadorned documents of the moment in all their smeary splendor. You can practically smell the cocaine, can’t you, and there’s plenty of libido to go around too (a good many of Kan’s pictures were taken before AIDS had exerted its check on promiscuity). It’s worth clicking through to see many more vintage pics of the goings on at Les Bains Douches.

 

Iman and David Bowie
 

 

Mick Jagger
 

 

Iggy Pop
 

Emmanuelle Seigner and Roman Polanski
 

Robert De Niro
 

 

Nicolas Cage and Grace Jones
 

Keith Haring
 
More pics after the jump….

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Career R.I.P. T-shirts


 
What a brilliantly nasty concept, a Tumblr with T-shirts announcing when Macaulay Culkin or Harrison Ford started, and more importantly stopped, being relevant. I’m not real clear if there are actual T-shirts to be purchased yet, if you “get in touch @CareerRIP” you’ll get “details on how to get your hands on a T-shirt.” 

As it says on the Tumblr, “CareerRIP is a tribute to our passed heroes whose careers have sadly left us. We celebrate their brightest hours through a series of limited edition T-shirts.”
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘The Unauthorized Story of Mork & Mindy’: Regrettable TV movie about Robin Williams’ big break
08.23.2014
08:54 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Robin Williams
Mork & Mindy


 
In the mid-2000s NBC must have been noticing the ridiculously stiff competition coming from HBO in the form of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire, because at some point the traditional networks (that’s CBS, NBC, ABC, and I guess maybe Fox, for younger readers) started to give up altogether. One sign of this was that the networks started casting, filming, and broadcasting docudramas about famous sitcoms from the 1970s. On May 5, 2003, NBC ran a movie that I would assume was a successful venture called Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of ‘Three’s Company’ with Brian Dennehy as ABC executive Fred Silverman. It couldn’t be clearer that this represented the ultimate cannibalizing strategy of a dying entertainment ecosystem. Right?
 

 
I remember watching that Three’s Company movie, which was, well, a disappointment. Two years later, April 4, 2005, NBC went for the gusto all over again, with Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of ‘Mork & Mindy’. I don’t remember this one. Playing the impossible-to-portray Robin Williams is Chris Diamantopoulos, who is probably best known for portraying Moe in the recent Three Stooges full-length feature by the Farrelly Brothers (I also saw him recently on an episode of Hannibal). That Diamantopoulos makes a young Robin Williams moderately watchable is something akin to a miracle, if you think about it. So it must be conceded that Diamantopoulos did a very good job. Playing Garry Marshall is Daniel Roebuck, best known to me as the guy who played Jay Leno in the 1996 HBO movie The Late Shift, a project superficially similar to this Mork & Mindy thing. Roebuck had a recurring role on Lost and weirdly, that Three’s Company movie too.
 

“Henry Winkler,” “Garry Marshall,” and “Penny Marshall”—of course
 
I should be up-front with the fact that this is not a good movie, but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why. The main actors are fine (Erinn Hayes also does a fine job as Pam Dawber), but the action of the movie is uninteresting and unconvincing, that’s the main thing. Whereas that Three’s Company movie at least had “drama” in the Jersey Shore sense of the word, The Unauthorized Story of ‘Mork & Mindy’ does not. We hear a lot about shocked censors (!) and cocaine (!!) and extra-marital sex (!!!), but the main plot emphasizes the efforts of the executives (that cannibalizing thing again) to tinker with what was obviously a very effective formula ... sorry, I actually fell asleep while writing that sentence, there. For no real reason they hired actors to play Richard Pryor and John Belushi, for whatever that’s worth.
 

 
All in all, this is the kind of movie that cries out for the razzle-dazzle of a Bob Balaban.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Dame Edna’s alter ego: Sir Les Patterson and the Chinese Year of the Trouser Snake
08.22.2014
07:58 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Barry Humphries


The “Aussie Ubu

The legendary Australian comedian Barry Humphries is a satirist whose subject is the monstrosity of decent middle-class people. Though I love his most famous character, Dame Edna, my favorite will always be the superlatively obscene Sir Les Patterson, who claims to be Australia’s cultural attaché to the Far East. From his loose, drooling grin to his loud, puke-stained clothes, everything about Les is repulsive. 

John Lahr’s page-turner, Dame Edna Everage and the Rise of Western Civilization: Backstage With Barry Humphries, devotes a chapter (‘Sir Les Patterson and the Chinese Year of the Trouser Snake’) to the character. Here’s how we meet him:

Sir Les bursts the seams of the real. He is a rollicking, tumescent theatrical creation whom Humphries has described as ‘on a sort of bacchic trip’. His cock, a pendulous eight inches of padded cotton, dangles beneath Humphries’ upholstered belly to his knees, making Humphries look for all the world like an Aussie Ubu. [...] Sir Les’s record Twelve Inches of Les and his book The Traveller’s Tool all draw attention to his most salient anatomical feature, which he refers to variously as ‘the pyjama python’, ‘the one-eyed trouser snake’, ‘my not-infrequently-felt-tip’, and ‘the enormous encumbancy which I’m holding down at the moment’.

 

Channel 4’s 1991 special A Late Lunch with Les
 
Sir Les has never appeared on stage or screen in the United States; Humphries, who announced his retirement in 2012 and is currently giving a farewell tour, seems to think the character wouldn’t play well here. Though Les appeared at the farewell shows in Europe, it looks like he’ll be absent from the tour’s US dates, which is too bad for us. (Of course, that doesn’t mean you should pass up your last chance ever to see Humphries live, which is the way to see him—his gift for spontaneous comedic creation is unrivaled.)
 

Sir Les Patterson live in 1988

His career started with Dada. In 1952, when he was a student at Melbourne University, Humphries put on “the first Pan-Australian Dada Exhibition.” Among his works on display were packages of a fictitious platypus poison (“PLATITOX”), a pair of Wellingtons filled with custard (“Pus and Boots”), and an image of Queen Elizabeth II with stubble (“Her Majesty’s Male”). Other pieces were made out of cake, lambs’ eyes, shoes, and tomato sauce.

From there, Humphries moved on to disruptions of everyday life. These were not performed for an audience or documented in any way, just carried out like acts of terror. Lahr describes one such action:

In one notorious escapade, Humphries had his accomplice, John Perry, dress as a blind man and take a seat in a non-smoking compartment of a Melbourne commuter train. Perry had dark glasses, his leg in a cast and was reading from a piano roll that looked as if it was braille. Humphries entered the compartment and began to smoke. He was dressed garishly and reading a foreign newspaper. Later, as he got up to exit, he unleashed a barrage of foreign-sounding gibberish, grabbing the ‘braille’ and tearing it, kicking at the ‘blind man’s’ leg, throwing his spectacles to the floor and leaving. ‘Commuters were invariably transfixed in horror,’ Humphries says. ‘No one ever pursued me. Mind you, I ran as fast as I could. People tried to comfort John Perry. He would always say, “Forgive him.” It was also very funny to do, and very hard not to laugh. It’s a bit hard to say what effect the stunt was meant to have, since it was meant to amuse us, a kind of outrageous public act.’

And another:

Later, Humphries would get himself banned temporarily from Qantas flights for tipping a tin of Russian salad into a sick bag, loudly feigning illness, and then eating his ‘vomit’. ‘If an air hostess sees you,’ he said, ‘it can produce what I call the Chain Chunder. Five minutes later the pilot is throwing up.’

 

Sir Les’s autograph
 
In his official capacity as cultural attaché to the Far East, Patterson reported on the 1997 return of Hong Kong to China for the BBC. He approached the story with the cultural sensitivity for which he is famous.
 

 
More of Sir Les after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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The Standells rock with Bing Crosby, 1965
08.22.2014
06:20 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
Bing Crosby
Standells


 
There’s a TV law of nature that describes a very nearly universal tendency in sitcoms: if a show stars a performer already well known from an entertainment industry sector other than television, and the main character’s first name is the same as the performer’s, and that shared name is not “Bob” or “Lucy,” odds are extremely high that the show will fall somewhere between unrelentingly bland and totally unwatchable.

So did you even know Bing Crosby had an eponymous domestic sitcom for two years in the ‘60s? Despite his extremely high stature as a widely beloved singer and movie star, his completely unexceptional show was apparently no one’s favorite. Crosby played Bing Collins (there’s your red flag), a former singer who gave up the limelight to teach at a small college. His wife hated campus life and craved a return to showbiz glitz. They had two daughters, an airhead and an egghead. I got bored witless just typing that—care to sit through a few episodes? I think I’m safe in guessing not. In fact, while Der Bingle’s feature films and Christmas specials are readily available on DVD, I’m unable to find evidence that his sitcom was ever anthologized for home video in any format.
 

 
But just as bright children can be born to dull parents, even this puddle of middling televisual goo begat a moment worth preserving. In the aftermath of the Beatlemania bankability exploison, when countless also-ran bands could land on TV simply because anyone with guitars and shaggy hair would do, The Bing Crosby Show aired an episode guest starring the godfathers of garage rock, the Standells. Before they became known for their seminal single “Dirty Water,” that band made a fair few TV appearances, including on The Munsters and the medical drama Ben Casey. On Bing, they portray the Love Bugs, a not-trying-very-hard counterfeit of the Beatles. (That sort of thing was even more blatant in their Munsters appearance—they actually played “I Want to Hold Your Hand!”) Girls scream. Teenagers frug. Parents don’t quite get it. Blah blah blah. It’s worth it for the mimed performances of early tunes like “Come Here,” the inspired “Someday You’ll Cry,” and a take on the oft-covered Leiber/Stoller classic “Kansas City” with an amusing vocal turn by Crosby—it’s almost enough to make you forget what a twisted child abuser he was! Luckily, the YouTube user who posted this cut out most of the dismal sitcom crap in-between the tunes.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Vintage MTV: ‘Punks and Poseurs: A Journey Through the Los Angeles Underground’
08.21.2014
09:29 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Television

Tags:
MTV
The Dickies
GBH


This kid.

Knowing firsthand that MTV didn’t always totally suck asswater really dates you. When I have occasion to mention how, once upon a time, that justly-reviled network actually played some seriously cool shit, I half wonder if I’m coming off like my grandma used to when she talked about the Great Depression. But it’s true, even before long-running bones thrown to the weirdos like 120 Minutes and Headbanger’s Ball found their footing, MTV broadcast stuff like IRS’ The Cutting Edge and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes, which often rivaled even the USA Network’s mighty Night Flight for genuinely informative freak-scene value.

One jaw-droppingly excellent MTV show was the one-off special Punks and Poseurs: A Journey Through the Los Angeles Underground. A big mover behind its production was Charles M. Young, who, as sad fate would have it, passed away this week after a standoff with a brain tumor. He’s the guy at the beginning of the video, speaking with early VJ Alan Hunter, and while he looks for all the world like an unreconstructed Little River Band fan, don’t be faked out by appearances. Young was one of the first mainstream music journalists to take punk’s aesthetic merit as a given, and for that, we owe him a debt of gratitude. May he rest in peace.

At its core, “Punks and Poseurs” is a narration-free concert film, but it’s cut with terrific interview footage that explores the changing nature of punk, from insider and outsider perspectives. There’s a lot of great footage with writer/performers Pleasant Gehman and Iris Berry, torpedoing the influx into the music scene of neophyte phonies who just didn’t get it, explaining title of the program. (After this first aired in 1985, a bunch of the new waver/Durannie chicks at my high school—which is to say all the girls who were trying their suburban Ohio best to look like Gehman and Berry—started calling everyone “poseurs,” which was pretty funny.) There’s also a hilarious interview with employees at a store called “Poseur,” which sold punk fashions and accessories—people had to get that shit somewhere before Hot Topic forever banished punk to the mall, no?  Also keep an eye out for the kid giving a primer on how to fashion liberty spikes with Knox gelatine.

The performance footage mostly focuses on excellent, high-energy sets by The Dickies and GBH —the latter of whom were quite radical by MTV’s regular programming standards (and British, contra the program’s subtitle, but the concert took place in L.A., so whatever, I guess). There’s also an early glimpse of the excellent and still active Italian hardcore band Raw Power. I harbor serious doubts they’ve ever been spotted on that network again.
 

 
Many thanks to upstanding journalist and total fucking poseur Mr. Erick Bradshaw for this find.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Way USA’: Sleazy punk comedy travelogue is the greatest cult video you’ve probably never seen
The time Ian McKellen jammed with the Fleshtones on MTV in 1987
Debbie Harry, Ramones, Nick Rhodes, Courtney Love and more on MTV’s ‘Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes’

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Bogie and Bacall’s forgotten radio drama
08.20.2014
08:19 am

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Lauren Bacall
Humphrey Bogart


Promotional standee for Bold Venture sponsored by Genesee Beer, 1951.

When the great Lauren Bacall died recently at 89, her obituaries routinely mentioned her relationship with Humphrey Bogart, and their onscreen chemistry in the four classic films they made together.

Less widely known, and rarely mentioned however, is Bold Venture, the radio show they starred in together in 1951-1952. Bogart and Bacall played the owners of a hotel in Cuba and a boat called the Bold Venture, romantically sparring while getting mixed up with smugglers, spies, con men and corrupt cops “in the sultry settings of tropical Havana and the mysterious islands of the Caribbean.” If the writing isn’t quite To Have and Have Not, it delivers enough sharp wit to keep the couple’s classic chemistry alive and enough tension to keep the drama moving.

57 half-hour episodes have surfaced and they’re available to listen to and download for free at archive.org. If you’ve ever wished Bogie & Bacall made more movies together, Bold Venture is the next best thing.
 

 

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall aboard their private yacht, Santana.

This is a guest post from Jason Toon of Seattle, Washington.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Miles Davis and John Lennon were shit at basketball
08.14.2014
09:32 am

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
John Lennon
Miles Davis


Miles smiles. The Lennons look on.

John Lennon and Miles Davis shooting a game of H-O-R-S-E and both failing miserably. Lennon is particularly bad, missing the backboard, even, but any commenters blaming his lack of game on Yoko will be banned from DM for life!

A crappy looking version of this has made the Internet rounds for a while, but it was so blurry that it was too hard to watch and ultimately uninteresting considering what’s actually there under the layers of VHS video murk. Here’s a superior version where you can actually see what’s happening.

This was apparently shot by Jonas Mekas at a party at Allen Klein’s house in the Bronx in June 1971. Ringo Starr, Allen Ginsberg, Phil Spector, Phil Ochs and Andy Warhol were also said to have been in attendance. The gorgeous woman with Davis is actress Sherry “Peaches” Brewer, who was in Shaft! and later married Seagram’s heir Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The Big Lebowski pays a surprise visit to The Little Lebowski
08.13.2014
11:22 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges


 
Even though this PBS YouTube clip of Jeff Bridges making a surprise visit to The Little Lebowski Shop has been around for some time (it only has a little over 100k views, tho), I thought I’d share it with you guys anyway. I’d never seen it before. It’s a big Internet, isn’t it?

If you don’t know what The Little Lebowski Shop is, it’s a wee store located in NYC dedicated to all things Big Lebowski. And I do mean everything Big Lebowski. What a hipster hoot.

I found Jeff Bridges to be a real charmer in the short clip. He seems like a really nice, likeable, easygoing guy. Someone you’d want to shoot the shit with. Drink a brew or smoke a joint with. A dude!

One revelation in the video is where Bridges admits that he had serious reservations about taking on the role of “The Dude” and how he it thought it might affect his girls’ perception of him. I think his daughters gave him the right advice. I just can’t imagine anyone else playing “The Dude,” can you?!

 
With thanks to reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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(B)Lou’s on first? Dangerous Minds sparks clash between Blue Man Group and Lou Man Group!
08.06.2014
06:06 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Lou Man Group
Blue Man Group

SDKGFHMSVEORNTUY
 
A little over a month ago Dangerous Minds writer Ron Kretsch reported here wondering about the actual existence of a mysterious self-proclaimed “homage” band out of Los Angeles called Lou Man Group. It all started with a video of a band all in blue face performing an audio montage of Lou Reed’s Vicious, Foggy Notion, and Walk On The Wild Side.
 

 
We didn’t know if this was an actual band, a one time gag, or a performance art video. Well, we’ve discovered it is indeed a real  performance-band and includes, albeit incognito, veteran rockers Donita Sparks of L7 fame and Carolina Parra of Brazilian electro pop band CSS.  This tribute or “homage” band as they prefer to be called is not just taking a quick walk on the wild side. In fact their debut performance at the Cowboy Gallery in Los Angeles was packed and had a surprise guest appearance by none other than Lydia Lunch bringing her vicious No New York ultravibe and lead vocals for a searing rendition of Kill Your Sons, from Lou Reed’s 1974 album Sally Can’t Dance.
 
FKFHFSL
 
A short time later, our Dangerous Minds were blown when it was discovered that the REAL Blue Man Group, having seen the post, put up this post on their official Facebook page:
 

“Hey LOU MAN GROUP, we liked your tribute. So we made a tribute to your tribute.”

 
Their video is a humorous and rocking performance of Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray, wearing Lou Man Group-esque wigs over their iconic bald blue heads and Lou Man Group costumes on their bald blue bodies. I’ll Be Your Mirror indeed.
 

 
Now, just a couple of days ago, Lou Man Group has posted a re-response to Blue Man Group’s tribute to the original tribute video! (Are you following this? There will be a pop quiz after, haha)
 

 
In conclusion, I haven’t the foggiest notion where all this is heading, but according to Lou Man Group’s enigmatic singer known only as Blue Reed:

“We’re available for art openings, TED Talks, seances, and parties at Mark Mothersbaugh’s house”

.

JUST IN! I just got word that Lou Man Group will be doing a performance in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles one week from today (8/13)!
 

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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