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An Archies/Ramones comic book is an actual thing that is going to happen
07.12.2015
09:27 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Punk

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Um, holy shit: this weekend, at a San Diego ComicCon panel called “Comics & Pop Music: Making New Noise,” Archie Comics’  Alex Segura and Matthew Rosenberg announced an impending special issue wherein the fictional bubblegum pop band the Archies will meet real-world ur-punks the Ramones. Via Comics Alliance:

Segura: “Matt got in touch with the Ramones’ people, and they were super into it. So I reached out to Gisele [Lagace, illustrator], whom I’d worked with before on the “Occupy Riverdale” story and other things. We’re all huge Ramones fans, and though it took a while to work out the details, once things started moving, it actually went pretty quick. It’s gonna be a super-fun oversized one-shot, with covers by some truly amazing artists (whom I can’t announce just yet), and it syncs up nicely because it’ll be the 75th Anniversary of Archie, and the 40th Anniversary of the Ramones… It’s really kinda like a dream come true to be doing this.”

While the pairing may seem counterintuitive at first glance, the Ramones drew a lot of inspiration from bubblegum music. I recall once reading a quotation that I can’t just now find—Joey Ramone saying the band formed with the intention of being “a nouveau bubblegum group with guts.” And indeed, it’s mighty easy to imagine songs like “Rockaway Beach” or “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”  being 1910 Fruitgum Company, Archies, or Ohio Express covers, which they of course are not. And Johnny Ramone once offered this info to the Guardian:

“I hate to blow the mystique,” Johnny Ramone once confessed, “but we really liked bubblegum music, and we really liked the Bay City Rollers. Their song Saturday Night had a great chant in it, so we wanted a song with a chant in it: ‘Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!’ on Blitzkrieg Bop was our Saturday Night.”

This won’t be the first time the Ramones have been cartoonified. Dangerous Minds told you about the wonderful animated video for “Chain Saw” just a few months ago, in fact. Here’s another, an amusing mashup of the Ramones with the Flintstones.
 

 
Hat-tip to Derf

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Tom Scharpling Interview: ‘The Best Show,’ death, comedy and radio (not necessarily in that order)
07.09.2015
02:43 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture

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Jon Wurster and Tom Scharpling, collectively Scharpling & Wurster

This is a guest post from New York-based writer Mike Sacks. Mike’s latest book is Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers from Viking Penguin.

The long-form radio comedy and music program The Best Show ran on Jersey City, New Jersey’s WFMU from 2000 to 2013. This past year, The Best Show segued into the podcast-only realm, where it streams live every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM EST at thebestshow.net. Past radio shows, dating back to 2000, can be found at https://wfmu.org/playlists/BS.

In May, the Chicago-based label Numero released a glorious boxed set containing 75 incredibly nuanced radio comedic bits from The Best Show (spread over 16 CDs) between Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster that should be a primer for anyone interested in comedy. Fifty of these bits are previously unreleased or unaired.

For those not familiar, a typical episode of The Best Show consists of music culled by Tom, call-ins from listeners, some of whom are regulars, and phone conversations between comedy-writer Tom and comedian and professional drummer Jon Wurster. Over the years, the pair have created a virtual, three-dimensional world out of a proud, imaginary town called Newbridge, New Jersey. It’s Lake Wobegon without the nose whistling.

The boxed set, called The Best of the Best Show, contains a 108-page hardcover book, featuring essays by comedians Patton Oswalt and Julie Klausner, and a 22-page interview with Tom and Jon conducted by Jake Fogelnest.

Beyond even that, there are temporary tattoos, postcards, and four hours of bonus material, including the classic bit “The Bruce Willis Saga.” This boxed set will keep you occupied this summer—and beyond. I’ve been listening non-stop for the past few weeks. It has the comedic density of an imploded star. It’s the most impressive comedy album/CD/USB drive I’ve ever heard. The consistency and variety are amazing.

The Best Show is comedy in its purest form. It’s not possible that this show could be improved upon in a different format, whether it be television, movies or print. Or whether the show included a team of writers or a cast or performers. Long-form radio is the perfect medium for The Best Show, and if it has taken mainstream audiences awhile to find it (years after the comedy intelligentsia fell in love), then so be it.

I spoke with Tom one Friday afternoon at a noisy bar in the World Trade Center area about the new boxed set, the recent death of his father, and many other subjects. Much thanks must go out to my friend Michal Addady for her helpful assistance.

You’re now working as a writer on the new HBO show Divorce which will air this fall. Who else is in the writing room?

[Irish writer and director] Sharon Horgan [Pulling, Catastrophe] created the show, and she’s running it with Paul Simms. Sharon is incredibly funny and Paul’s never worked on a bad show. He’s written for Flight of the Conchords, Late Night with David Letterman, The Larry Sanders Show, NewsRadio. He runs a great room.

Another writer is Adam Resnick [Late Night with David Letterman, Get a Life, Cabin Boy].

I’m a huge fan of Adam’s work. It’s been great to see the recent uptick in interest and appreciation for Get a Life and Cabin Boy. It’s well deserved.

It’s funny. It’s almost had to reach the lowest possible level for Get a Life and Cabin Boy to bounce back to where they’ve always belonged. I have a lot of theories on why and how everything bad happened with Get a Life and Cabin Boy. People like to think they’re smarter than dumb Hollywood products, and these two got misinterpreted as being dumb comedies. Audiences wanted to be like, “How dare you push dumb things on us!” The difference is that Cabin Boy knows what it is. It’s not just a crass movie by Pauly Shore that’s trying to convince you that it’s smart but it’s also dumb. No, this was a smart movie made by smart people who were fascinated with the parameters of—who were so deep into comedy . . .

I sometimes wonder if one can be too deep into comedy when making a show or a movie intended to be a financial and popular success.

I don’t know. I think Get a Life and Cabin Boy have been vindicated.

It took a long time.

Sometimes it takes a long time, Mike. Sometimes you start doing a radio show when Bill Clinton is president and then you start finally getting attention when Obama is about to stop being president.
 

 
Well, let’s talk about your show and the attention it’s recently been receiving. And national attention. I saw your and Jon’s appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers [on May 15, 2015] to promote The Best of the Best Show. That must have been fun.

I don’t know if it was fun. I mean, that’s not fun, it’s terrifying.

It’s a strange thing to be on a show like that. It’s a fake conversation in a way. You’re taking a thing and you’re reducing it to two sentences. Our show is not an easy thing to talk about. It doesn’t necessarily translate that quickly, but we tried. It was great and Seth was great. I was excited about the whole thing. But I was also feeling like, This is not natural.

I recently attended my first-ever broadcast of a late-night show, in this case Letterman’s. It was fascinating to watch the behind-the-scenes machinations. It’s anything but natural. At one point, Reese Witherspoon, who was promoting her new movie, Hot Pursuit, showed a clip from the movie. I kept watching Reese, off camera, who was staring ahead, stony-faced. No expression. And it was only when she knew the cameras were about to go live again that she lit up and started laughing, as if she found the clip hilarious and hadn’t already seen it a hundred times.

It’s presentation. It’s just all a giant illusion, right? All of it.

Not your show.

Sure it is. It’s all presentational.

It’s presentational, but it’s not an illusion.

No, it’s replicating a call-in show, in a way.

It is a call-in show.

Yeah, but it’s also a version of a call-in show. I mean, do I care about the answers to the topics half the time? Not necessarily.

But you do obviously care greatly about the details. I’ve also been lucky enough to attend a live taping of your show. I remember that you were in the middle of a bit with Jon—who was in character at the time—and, as part of the bit, he told you to climb beneath your desk. Instead of pretending to do so, you actually got beneath your desk and asked, “Okay, now what?”

Well, I wanted it to sound good. To get that sound across, that’s what that was all about. I didn’t need to do it for performance sake, but I wanted it to sound like I was actually under the table.

That sense of detail is what makes your new boxed set so amazing. It’s an entire, very believable world you’ve created. It’s like a comedic version of Westeros or Narnia. There’s everything in this town: factories, mountains, lakes, even a jungle. Scores of characters, many of whom are related. I’m almost surprised there aren’t Newbridge Larpers.

As a performer, Jon is fully formed. He’s as talented as it gets. He’s working on two different levels: he’s one of the best drummers going [for Superchunk, Mountain Goats, Bob Mould and others], but that’s just one half of who he is. The other half is that he’s one of the best comedians going. This never happens.

Ringo did okay.

Jon’s funnier than Ringo. And a better drummer.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Frankie goes to a bacchanalian gay fetish bar: The original, hilarious banned video for ‘Relax’
07.09.2015
06:39 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Queer
Sex

Tags:


 
Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s 1983 single “Relax” is so gay. Specifically gay sex. It’s amazing that when the song first came out, the band actually tried to deny its obvious prurience. Two years later though, co-songwriter and bassist Mark O’Toole wrote in the liner notes of their follow-up album, “when people ask you what ‘Relax’ was about, when it first came out we used to pretend it was about motivation, and really it was about shagging.” It wasn’t the most forgiving time for explicit homoerotic sexuality, but the band was never apologetic, and really pushed the boundaries.

During an infamous Top of the Pops performance, frontman Holly Johnson actually tore up a copy of The Sun, the tawdry rag that had been harassing his parents at home for quotes about their gay son. “Relax” also had a 16-minute-long “Sex Mix” that was just a bunch of samples of water noises—apparently even gay bars refused to play it. Then there is the original music video for “Relax,” an unintentionally hilarious ode to gay hedonism, which was almost immediately banned.
 

 
Johnson says the video got pulled when “a big wig in the ‘Big Brother Broadcasting Company’” found his kids watching it. Later the record company asked them to make a second video, the one everyone now knows as the “Relax” video. The second video is dated, naturally, and Johnson describes it as “almost like a satire of a regulation pop video—you know, guys in makeup and laser beams, lots of looking at the camera.” To be fair, the song does contain the line “hit me with your laser beams,” but I think that might be referencing something a little less… literal.

The video is utterly ridiculous of course, but what strikes me is the relative tameness of the queer debauchery. Drag queens and leather daddies, some people in cages and on leashes, a lot of mesh tank tops and gratuitous contouring blush, an actual tiger, and a hedonistic old queen overseeing the entire spectacle while being shaved. Completely insane? Yes. Is there innuendo? Definitely (especially the rather obvious reference to water sports). But there’s nothing hardcore, and it’s hard to believe that a video featuring this kind of hetero sybaritism would have gotten banned.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Caitlyn Jenner, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, Biggie, Beyoncé and more, painted in food
07.09.2015
05:50 am

Topics:
Art
Food
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
Jesse Bearden is an illustrator and art director who hails from Austin, TX and has a clear flair for portraiture. Her online portfolio is full of quite nice pencil, ink, and watercolor works, but she really shines when she takes her work to the fridge and pantry. Her Instagram—totally worth following, I suppose it should go without saying—is full of wonderful celebrity portraits that she executed in food. Few of the foods chosen are conceptually pertinent—Caitlyn Jenner rendered in Wheaties (and what I assume must be Cocoa Pebbles?) was a gimme, no? But Bearden’s choices are still inspired: the frosting Beyonce, condiment Notorious B.I.G., bagel John Lennon, chocolate Elvis (SO MUCH BETTER THAN VELVET ELVIS, RIGHT?) and a Hendrix made out of fruit preserves are all great fun. This thread in her personal work looks to be creeping into Bearden’s professional life—she recently did a time-lapse video, for McDonald’s, of herself painting a coffee drinker in McDonald’s coffee.

Hopefully, she didn’t get burned.
 

 

 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Pirate radio station plays Geto Boys for months, middle-aged white guy with kids gets pissed
07.08.2015
06:06 am

Topics:
Hysteria
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
It was reported by Local 12 WKRC-TV news last week that a pirate radio station in Cincinatti had been playing nothing but gangsta rap group, the Geto Boys, for months until a concerned citizen made a call to the FCC.

The worldview and imagery of the Geto Boys’ transgressive lyrics could be described as Clive Barker filtered through Iceberg Slim. Certainly not kids-stuff, but we still can’t help but laugh like twelve-year-olds at their lyrics and at this middle-aged white guy freaking out about them.

The first question that comes to mind is “why would someone set up a pirate radio station to play the Geto Boys for months?” The answer to that question being, of course, “because ‘why not?’” and also “because they’re fucking awesome.” One of the most crucial and influential gangsta rap acts since the late ‘80s, Houston Texas’ Geto Boys have always played by their own rules, never selling out, always on that “other level of the game.” The Geto Boys’ own lyrics decry the commercial radio stations that would never play their music: “a lot of bullshit records make hits, because the radio is all about politics,” and “fuck your radio stations and fuck your parents against rap—we buried you fucking cockroaches”—perfect fodder for pirate radio.

The news report on the incident features an “operations specialist ” at a local (legit) radio station who essentially gives a grocery list of what equipment you would need to procure to start your very own pirate station.

But the star of the report is Pete Witte who made the call to the FCC about the illegal station’s problematic broadcasts. “It’s very challenging as a parent to listen to this channel and to think that my kids, on a whim, or by being influenced by friends, could tune this in.”
 

Concerned parent worried about content on his childrens’ radios.
 
Here’s the thing, middle-aged white guy: it’s 2015 and I promise your kids are not listening to FM radio.

This guy’s gonna shit when someone tells him about the INTERNET.

A staticky broadcast of “Read These Nikes” ain’t got dick on “two girls, one cup.” It’s Goaste O’clock—do you know where your children are?

Here’s the full story on the pirate radio broadcast:
 

 
And if you aren’t familiar with the Geto Boys’ quality science, there’s a new romantic guy dancing to “Size Ain’t Shit” after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Rock starts: Your favorite rock stars when they were children
06.29.2015
12:04 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


Nick Cave
 
This morning, my husband sent me the above baby Nick Cave photos for a chuckle (talk about a “bad seed” wonk wonk). For whatever reason, it became my mission, dear Dangerous Minds readers to find even more photos of rock starts (that was a typo, but I’m leaving it) as children. So, yeah, this what I’ve spent my morning doing. YOU’RE WELCOME.

We were all babies once, you know!


Debbie Harry (who turns 70 on July 1!)
 

David Bowie
 

Dolly Parton
 

Brian Eno
 

Kathleen Hanna
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Woman transforms her face into Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop, Keith Richards and more
06.24.2015
09:49 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


Lucia Pittalis before transformation

As RuPaul once said, “You’re born naked and the rest is contour and shading.” And Italian portrait painter and artist Lucia Pittalis proves that point with these insane makeup transformations. Lucia uses her own face as a canvas and turns herself into these iconic characters that are simply fan-fucking-tastic. She nailed Keith Richards, IMO.

If you want to see more of her work, you can follow Lucia on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Frank Zappa
 


Iggy Pop
 

Bette Davis
 

Keith Richards
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Chews your idols: Celebrities upstaged by a wad of gum
06.23.2015
08:16 pm

Topics:
Kooks
Pop Culture

Tags:


“Celebrigum” brainchild, Steve Young—pictured here with The Gum
 
In August of 2010, a strange website called CelebriGum appeared on the Internet, without fanfare, conducting some sort of Dadaist examination of America’s unwavering worship of fame and celebrity. For three years straight, CelebriGum presented a barrage of images of famous celebrities who, without their knowledge, were photographed from a second story office window with a piece of old hardened gum on the window ledge that was always in the frame. CelebriGum featured a revolving door of celebrities of all kinds, but The Gum remained constant and unchanging. Celebrities were made to share photographic space with a piece of inanimate matter that eventually came to be as beloved, to some fans, as the celebrities themselves.

CelebriGum was the brainchild of Steve Young, who (up until May 20th of this year) was a 25 year veteran writer for David Letterman. But Young, a Harvard graduate who cut his comedy teeth writing for the Harvard Lampoon, has been involved in much more than just writing jokes for late night television. He has written for The Simpsons, most notably the season eight masterpiece entitled Hurricane Neddy.

In 2000, he won an Annie Award for his screenplay adaptation of the animated holiday special Olive the Other Reindeer. And he’s recently written what many consider to be the definitive history of the industrial musical in the remarkably strange and informative book Everything’s Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals.

Given his background in creating and disseminating the odd and hilarious, a peculiar sociological project like CelebriGum was certainly not outside the realm of possible weirdness for Young. And as a writer for The Late Show, he could choose from an endless supply of celebrities as they were arriving at or leaving the Ed Sullivan Theater. He would linger at the second floor window and wait for the opportunity to snap perfect photos of some of the most famous people in the world—alongside an old piece of gum.

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before Young’s photos, which would always be presented on the website with some sort of witty caption or deep observation, began to acquire a fan-base. More precisely, The Gum began to acquire a fan base. True fans of The Gum understood what Young was up to with his surreal goofiness, and they looked forward to each new installment to see who was the latest celebrity being made to look ridiculous from above. CelebriGum was, as David Letterman described it, “a perfectly silly, genius idea.”
 

David Letterman and The Gum
 
CelebriGum ran for three years before Young voluntarily pulled the plug on the project—but during that time, he actually got to hold a New York Times reviewed gallery exhibition of his CelebriGum photos.

We were fortunate enough to pin Steve Young down for a few questions about the CelebriGum experience:

How long had you been taking photos of celebrities from your office window before you realized that those A-listers were being upstaged by a piece of old gum that was clearly visible in each photograph? What kind of an epiphany did you have at that moment?

Steve Young: It was actually the other way around. I noticed the gum first, somewhere around the beginning of 2010. I looked at it every day as I hung out by a window in the hall near Dave Letterman’s dressing room, and thought “maybe I can do a photo project of the gum enduring all sorts of weather until someday presumably it falls off.” I took a few photos, but it wasn’t really very interesting.  Then one day, the Eureka moment: I realized that celebrities were getting out of limos and SUV’s on the street below. I could get both at the same time.  CelebriGum was born: “Different day, different celebrity, same gum.” I launched the CelebriGum.com site in August of 2010.
 

“The Gum” itself, in a rare close-up.
 
Your photographs possess a keen sense of the absurd. Can you elaborate on any techniques you may have used to enhance the CelebriGum experience? Or did you find that the element of total randomness, as opposed to any staging or manipulation, produced the most striking images?

SY: There was a certain element of “the broken clock that’s right twice a day.” I found that after the initial conceptual notion of celebrity plus old gum had settled in, I was searching for ways to get pictures that were visually interesting within the very limiting framework I’d chosen. Sometimes it was just snapping a lot of pictures and later noticing the telling detail that made one particular shot a winner. Sometimes it was new conditions, like snow or a blinding onslaught of paparazzi flashes at night. Sometimes it was the lucky composition of a guest coming in on a gray day with an orange traffic cone providing the one vivid flash of color in the picture. And sometimes it was a magical moment of a star interacting with a crowd, or a star trudging along the sidewalk seemingly alone. But plenty of the photos aren’t very interesting. I only presented a very small percentage of what I shot.

I didn’t do much manipulation. Once in a while I did some overtly clumsy photo doctoring in the service of a joke, but mostly it was cropping and adjusting levels to get the picture I wanted.

Were cell phone cameras used for the majority of these photos? At some point there’s an upgrade in the quality of the photos. Can you tell us about your gear?

SY: At first I was just using the very modest camera in a circa 2007 Motorola flip phone. That was okay for the first few months, but I realized that I’d need something more sophisticated if I was going to continue when the days got shorter and it got dark in late afternoon. I bought a used Canon point and shoot camera on eBay to use as my CelebriGum camera. That did pretty well for a while, though night-time photos were still a challenge. I eventually bought a Sony RX100, which is an outstanding camera that can still fit in a pocket, not just for CelebriGum but for my other photography as well. And during the last winter of CelebriGum I bought a little light that I used to illuminate the gum on the ledge. It may be a cool photo of Mick Jagger down on the street, but if you can’t see the gum, it ain’t a CelebriGum photo.
 

Mick Jagger and The Gum
 
Your photos seem symbolic of something much deeper than the simple juxtaposition of famous people with a piece of old gum as a goof. CelebriGum seemed to be providing a winking commentary on the inherent ridiculousness associated with fame, and the possible dangers posed to those who seek it—a hammering home of the notion that fame and celebrity will eventually chew you up and spit you out. The poignant undercurrent running through the entire CelebriGum narrative is that fame is ephemeral and fleeting. Some of your images actually evoke a feeling of profound sadness. Was any of that intentional?

SY: That was always there, though I didn’t want to be heavy-handed about it. Ideally, the better pictures worked because they were weird and visually striking, and for each post I always tried to have a humorous riff inspired by the photos. But from the beginning, I thought that the juxtaposition of celebrity and old discarded gum had that potential built-in commentary. Just as you say; fame chews you up and spits you out when your flavor has been extracted. Looking back at the run of photos now, there are many instances in which a temporarily well-known person has fallen off the radar. In at least a couple cases, celebrities in the pictures have died.  Everything is temporary, even the excitement and glamour of an A-list star. Someday all that will remain of each of us is a wad of inert matter. But in the meantime, ooh, look, Tom Hanks!  Tom!  Tom!  Over here!
 

Tom Hanks and The Gum
 
How much of CelebriGum’s popularity do you think was based on the American fascination with celebrity schadenfreude? Do you think that the idea that famous celebrity millionaires were being taken down a notch and unknowingly made to look kind of silly by The Gum’s stoic presence in every shot was an element of CelebriGum’s success?

SY: From the aerial view, I got an interesting perspective on celebrity culture. It certainly doesn’t seem like much fun to be a celebrity. Sure, you get to ride in a luxury SUV, and an assistant carries your bottle of water, but parts of your life are dehumanizing, and not just because you’re being photographed with old gum. In many pictures, there’s a crush of paparazzi photographers waiting for the star to step out of their vehicle, and they’re not there because they care about Celebrity X, most likely, but because they need to make a buck. Nothing wrong with making a buck, but it just illustrates the cynicism of the machinery of fame. And if it’s someone who’s not a very big name, and the weather’s nasty, then there may be nobody jostling to get their photo, and that’s depressing in a different way. Then there are the fans. There were often many real fans excited to see a star and get a picture and maybe an autograph. But there was sometimes a creepy feral mob mentality to it. Dozens or hundreds of people screaming, supplicating, and if you didn’t feed the crowd and give them what they want and just dashed inside because you were late, “Boo!  You suck!” Meanwhile, twenty feet up, the gum serenely surveys the madness, unchanging. Yes, there are many wonderful entertainers and athletes and even politicians whose efforts enrich the world, but some days they would probably prefer to be the gum, literally and figuratively above it all. 

The element of the gum also was the great equalizer. Celebrity, assistant, security guard, photographer, fan, bike messenger, pedestrian: all equal in the presence of The Gum. Okay, the celebrity is special in one regard: they have to be there to provide the celebri- half of the equation. But I ended up regarding stars mainly as props for my photography.

After CelebriGum became more well-known, were you ever aware of any celebrities who arrived at the show hoping or expecting to be photographed from above with “The Gum?”

SY: There were a few celebrities who were aware of it, but it was generally after the fact. I’d give them a shout-out on Twitter, “Hey, look, you’re on CelebriGum!” and a few responded and were charmed. Alec Baldwin requested a copy of one of the photos. The only celebrity who ever looked up and acknowledged the camera was Jamie Oliver. He passed me as he came down the stairs from his dressing room after his appearance, and I said “Hi!  I’d like to take your picture from this window with this old gum once you’ve gotten down to the street! Could you look up and say hello?” He did look up but didn’t go so far as to wave. I’m sure it all seemed very odd.
 

Jamie Oliver and The Gum
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Pink Flamingos: Creator of iconic lawn ornament has passed away
06.23.2015
07:27 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:


 
Sad news from Improbable Research: Donald Featherstone, the man behind the iconic pink flamingo lawn ornament, has died at age 79.

Don created the flamingo when he was freshly graduated from art school, and newly employed at a plastics factory. One of his first assignments was to create three-dimensional plastic lawn ornaments (up to that time, most plastic lawn ornaments were more or less flat). The flamingo was one of his earliest efforts for the factory.

Eventually he became president of the company. After Don retired, dire things were done, by his successor, to the flamingo, triggering a worldwide protest, which eventually led to a more or less happy rallying of the forces of Good, and a restoration of the plastic pink flamingo’s status. In 2011, the flamingo attained new heights, when the Disney movie Gnomeo and Juliet featured a plastic pink lawn ornament named “Featherstone”.

 

 
Featherstone’s lawn sculptures have become beloved badges of American suburban kitsch, adored ironically by probably about as many people as enjoy them sincerely. And of course, their ticky-tacky ubiquity inspired the title of John Waters’ breakthrough film Pink Flamingos, which has nothing to do with the ornaments. Waters discussed the connection in an interview with Smithsonian.com:

“The reason I called it Pink Flamingos was because the movie was so outrageous that we wanted to have a very normal title that wasn’t exploitative,” Waters says. “To this day, I’m convinced that people think it’s a movie about Florida.” Waters enjoyed the plastic knickknack’s earnest air: Though his own stylish mom might have disapproved, the day-glo wading birds were, back then, a straightforward attempt at working-class neighborhood beautification. “The only people who had them had them for real, without irony,” Waters says. “My movie wrecked that.” Forty years later, the sculptures have become unlikely fixtures of a certain kind of high-end sensibility, a shorthand for tongue-in-cheek tackiness.

Featherstone is survived by his wife Nancy.
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Meet Allanah Starr, the world’s first and only trans, double F-cup, porn star and stand-up comedian
06.17.2015
10:11 am

Topics:
Amusing
Pop Culture
Queer
Sex

Tags:


 
If you’re in Paris for the month of June, you have the possibility of catching a unique comedy performance, as Allanah Starr is performing at La Nouvelle Seine at 3 Quai de Montebello every Friday at 11 p.m. until the end of the month. The title of the show is “The Life of a Real Woman with a Fake Passport.”

The show’s promotional text runs in part, “Allanah STARR raconte son histoire, celle d’un petit garçon né à Cuba, devenu femme aux USA et qui est maintenant Show Girl à Paris,” which means something like, “Allanah STARR tells her story, that of a little boy born in Cuba who became a woman in the USA and is now a Paris showgirl.”

According to this interview with Abby Ehmann, Starr was born in Cuba, but her father was a “political prisoner” and left for the United States when his son was five years old. She has been living as a woman since 1998: “It was definitely the best decision I ever made regarding my personal happiness. I am 100% certain this was my destiny and that I was born with a gender identity disorder. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a girl.” She has appeared on Maury several times, and her best-known movie is likely Allanah Starr’s Big Boob Adventures.


 
According to Tristan Taormino, Starr participated in the world’s first porn scene “between a male-to-female (MTF) transsexual and a female-to-male transsexual (FTM).” Starr’s counterpart in that scene was Buck Angel.

Starr’s cup size is listed as “FF” on the page with that interview, while over at Boobpedia she is listed as being an F cup. “I’ve had 30 actual surgeries and countless procedures,” says Starr. “Of course, I plan to do much more. My first operations were my nose job and an otoplasty (I had my ears pinned back). Since then, it has become a hobby of mine. I always say I collect shoes, handbags, Hollywood memorabilia and surgeries.”

In her show Starr tells jokes and lip-syncs to Eartha Kitt’s “Champagne Taste,” among other light classics. Here, check it out for yourself:
 

 
via Technikart

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