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Elvis busts that look nothing like Elvis
02.28.2017
10:33 am

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Art
Music
Pop Culture

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Look, I get that time rolls on and that nostalgia kills. I get it, I do. Your average millennial is not all that concerned with rock n’ roll in general, nevermind who the “King” of the greatest American art form of all time is, or was. But I do. It’s Elvis. Elvis Presley is still the fucking King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. And all I have wanted for the past ten years is an Elvis bust that looks enough like him that I don’t have to explain why I’ve got a statue of, like, a generic fat guy with greasy hair in my living room.

Back in the 70s, before he gasped his last pill-shoveling breath on his golden toilet, Elvismania was at its apex. Most American homes had some evidence of Elvis worship, be it a crying Elvis black velvet painting, a ‘68 “Comeback Specal” commemorative ashtray, an Elvis Golden Hits box set, or a giant gaudy Elvis bust. My Canadian uncle Al had one of the latter, a memorial ‘77 Chalkware edition rushed out shortly after his death. That particular model became the standard-bearer. They even made a lamp out of it. It didn’t really look like Elvis, but you got the drift with the scarf, at least.
 

Elvis(?) lights the way
 
There were many others before and after, some as recent as the late 90s. Some are even animatronic. None of them capture the essence of the man who was, lest we forget, as close to a God as any American has ever gotten. I’ve been searching for a decent Elvis bust for years, but so far it’s been a disaster. Here’s a few of the travesties I’ve encountered.
 

Creepy 50s greaser with jaundice making duckface for a selfie, or the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll?
 

Grumpy old neighbor Elvis wants you to move your car
 
More Elvi (that’s plural) after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
‘We’re going mad’: The Smiths young and miserable on a bus with a bunch of kids in 1984
02.27.2017
10:17 am

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Music
Pop Culture
Television

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The Smiths have two enduring legacies. Their music is the first, of course, particularly their run of perfect early singles, a collection of gloomy, fragile, almost hilariously depressed bummer-pop songs. The second is their singer’s gloomy, fragile, almost hilariously depressed public image. So, what’s the least likely place to find Morrissey in the summer of 1984? How about frolicking in a park with a gaggle of excitable children?

We are so far away from the time and place this video was first produced that it now seems like a warped parody of itself, like a hip late-night comedy sketch from some obscure corner of cable TV or a surreal dream you had after spinning all your Smiths albums and drinking straight gin all night.

This clip is from ITV’s breakfast television franchise TVAM in Britain, presumably from 1984. It aired during their Saturday morning kid’s line-up, SPLAT. “Charlie’s Bus” was a recurring segment on the program. It allowed kids to interview and interact with various celebrities. On this particular day, a bunch of bemused pre-teens mixed it up with The Smiths, who they have clearly never heard of. And why would they have? They weren’t exactly a kid-friendly band. I mean there’s a song on their first album about notorious kid-killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, for chrissakes. But here we all are, on Charlie’s Bus on a sunny afternoon.

The kids want to know how The Smiths got their name. Johnny Marr explains that he wanted to call the band the Rolling Stones, but Morrissey thought that was too much of a mouthful.

Kid: “Where are we going?”
Morrissey: “We’re going mad.”
Kid: “I thought we were going to Kew Gardens.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Joan of Arc video recreates Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ clip with stop motion animation
02.21.2017
11:11 am

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Music
Pop Culture

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kuygduyfbugln
 
Here’s Chicago’s Joan of Arc with a Dangerous Minds exclusive premiere of their new music video for “Never Wintersbone You” from their latest—and first album in five years—He’s Got The Whole This Land Is Your Land In His Hands out now on Joyful Noise Recordings. Directed by band members Melina Ausikaitis and Todd Mattei, and featuring a puppet and set design by Melina, “Never Wintersbone You” plays off of the infamous myth surrounding Phil Collin’s 1981 hit song, “In the Air Tonight,” from his debut solo album Face Value. The new video is modeled after that older music video, and stars a mullet-sporting Phil Collins stand-in doing some soul searching in empty rooms and endless hallways.
 
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I asked the band’s publicist about the “In the Air Tonight” myth and he said:

The myth goes something like: a young Phil Collins and his friend went swimming and the friend was having trouble staying above water.  The life guard on the shore froze and did nothing to help. Phil’s friend drowned. Later, Phil hired a private detective to find the lifeguard, sent him a free ticket to his concert, and premiered “In the Air Tonight” with a spotlight on the man the whole time.

Totally untrue but an awesome story.

Snopes.com has a lot of information on the subject:

Of all pop songs for which elaborate, apocryphal backstories have been created to explicate the lyrics, Phil Collins’ 1981 hit, “In the Air Tonight” (from his Face Value album), has perhaps the most varied and fantastic set of legends associated with it. Encompassing adultery, rape, murder, drowning, and the dramatic exposure of a reprehensible wrongdoer (resulting in an arrest or suicide), the narratives all include despicable acts either witnessed by Phil Collins or visited upon him and his family (or friends), inspiring the musician to exact a form of revenge by encapsulating the experience in the lyrics of a song.

Amazing that such interesting stories can revolve around such a boring subject!

The Joan of Arc video premieres today, right after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
GG Allin is (still) dead, so all we have left is noise rockers Cock ESP
02.20.2017
11:25 am

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Music
Pop Culture
Punk

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What if I told you there was a 90s band still in operation who have one hundred albums out? I mean, none of them are even remotely listenable, but that’s still pretty impressive, isn’t it? It’s true. Not only that, but they’re also bloodthirsty maniacs, with a decades-long love-hate mostly hate) affair with their audience. Every live show from, say, 1995 onwards has been a chaotic display of grinding noise, cross-dressing, live sexacts, self-mutilation, fist-fights, erotic wrestling, eye-gouging, tooth extractions, and non-stop ecstatic dancing. And they only last three minutes. Their name is Cock ESP (really, what else could/would they be called?), and if they’re not your new favorite band, you must be some kinda fuckin’ dummy.
 

This shit is normal in Minnesota.

It’s obviously a long story, but the thumbnail version is that in 1993, Minneapolis power electronics noisemonger Emil Hagstrom teamed up with metal percussionist P.C. Hammeroids to form an even noisier metal percussion-slash-power electronics shithouse ball of hardcore lunacy. Insanely prolific from the beginning, the band released scores of records every year, many with humorous titles like Our Embarrassment Is Your Pleasure, Three and a Half Inches of Floppy Cock (released on a floppy disk, naturally), and Suicide Girls Has Ruined Porn For An Entire Generation. Most albums feature short bursts of harsh improvisational noise. Some feature slightly longer bursts of harsh industrial noise.Their most infamous release is 2000’s Monsters of Cock, a 5” vinyl single with 381 tracks on it, released simultaneously by a dozen different labels. Even five-second blasts of noise add up to a lot of work when you do it 381 different ways, man.
 

 
Hagstrom is the only original member of the band left, but he always manages to find a few new drifters, sociopaths or miscreants to keep things rolling. Cock ESP’s latest album, 2016’s Noise Bloopers, consists entirely of equipment malfunctions. For the past few years, the band has used wireless equipment on stage—they’re far less likely to accidentally hang themselves this way—but wireless noise boxes are constantly on the fritz, and even with a three-minute show they fuck everything up a lot. So they made a “worst of” album. It is completely indistinguishable from their other albums.
 

Cock rock for the now generation

Here’s the point: you are not as cutting edge as you’d like to be unless Emil Hagstrom has broken your nose at a gig or you own at least 38 Cock ESP albums (not 37, poser!). For better or for worse, they are as far out as you can possibly get. I mean it’s almost definitely for worse, arguably much worse, but GG Allin is still dead, so this is all we have left.

Watch these lunatics in action after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Hoaxes of Death: Secrets of the infamous death documentary REVEALED!
02.20.2017
10:05 am

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Movies
Pop Culture
Television

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One of the many pointless rites of passage for dopey teenage boys in the 80s (present company included) was watching Faces of Death on VHS. Originally released to theaters in 1978, the infamous “mondo” movie—a collection of “real death” scenes collected from various supposed “real” news sources and hosted by a death-obsessed world-traveling “pathologist” named Dr. Francis B. Gross (geddit?)—was a box office smash in the kind of greasy grindhouses and drive-in movie theaters where murder and mayhem reigned, eventually gobbling up a reported $35 million in box office receipts. But that was only the beginning…

Faces of Death really became a phenomenon in 1983, when the infamous Gorgon Video company released it on a garish, big-box VHS with its crude drawing of a grinning skull on a pitch-black background with the impossible to resist tagline: “Banned! In 46 countries!”  As soon as you saw it, you just knew you had to watch it. Faces was, arguably,  the first real “viral video.” It spread largely by word of mouth, each giddy viewer embellishing its beastly atrocities in a far-flung game of VCR telephone. By the mid-80s the film’s reputation had grown so fierce that even the title could send a nervous kid into a pile of trembling sweat and goo.
 

Don’t worry, this guy is gonna be fine.

So did it live up to the hype? Sorta. Everyone has their “favorite” moments—the “bloody” dog fight, the brutal electric chair execution, American tourists gorging on the brains of a live monkey, the guy getting eaten by an alligator, the Satanic cult cannibal feast, the dumb camper who tries to feed a bear a sandwich and becomes the real lunch—but even the least discerning sixteen year old was left with more questions than answers. Why would a camping couple bring multiple cameras with them to film a spontaneous inter-species act? Do you really bleed from the eyeballs when you get electrocuted? Why does the chimp suddenly turn into a monkey halfway through the “feast”? But here’s the thing: it was the 80s. We had no Internet. The true story of Faces of Death was not in the latest edition of Encyclopedia Britannica. We suspected some amount of fraud, but how much and how it was created was unknown. It should also be noted that although a lot of the film seemed fishy, most of it was definitely authentic. The dramatizations in Faces of Death are littered with actual slaughterhouse and morgue footage. It’s a grim view no matter what.
 

This monkey has some serious concerns about the ‘Faces of Death’ script.

The beans were finally spilled thirty years later…

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Ska, Ska, Ska: The Specials, Selecter & Bad Manners: Cool photos of the bands & their fans 1979-80
02.17.2017
10:36 am

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Music
Pop Culture

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Jerry Dammers basically ran 2 Tone Records out of his bedroom. It was a do-it-yourself label started in 1979 to record his band The Specials and promote a bunch of other ska groups—mainly friends and colleagues in and around Coventry, England.

2 Tone was the start of a ska revival. At one point nearly every new British ska band was on Dammers’ label—The Specials, Madness, Selecter, The (English) Beat, Bad Manners, The Bodysnatchers and even an indie act named Elvis Costello.

The world was turning black and white. Quite literally as it turned out when The Specials toured America. At the Whisky a Go Go in February 1980, the whole exterior of the building was painted in black and white checks.

That summer was the last great high for the ska revival. The UK pop charts were crammed with ska music. The Specials scored another top ten hit with their fourth single “Rat Race.” They were recording their second album and played a sell-out seaside tour of England with support from The Bodysnatchers. They had also made a legendary appearance on Saturday Night Live with “Gangsters” which according to some was a performance that stands out as one of the best in the show’s history. The Specials also toured Japan where their opening gig at Osaka sent the audience into a frenzy of ecstasy. The audience rushed the stage and mobbed the band. As a result of this, the band’s manager was arrested and their further shows canceled. In Japan audiences were forbidden from standing or dancing at concerts—something these young fans found all but impossible to do.

Yet for all the success, the Specials were falling apart. There was infighting between lead singer Terry Hall and guitarist Roddy Radiation and loud disagreements between Dammers and other band members over the new direction the Specials’ music was heading. At the end of the year, Lynval Golding was brutally stabbed in a racist attack outside a concert in London. It began to look like the great multicultural pop movement represented by the Specials and all the other ska bands was coming to an end. The following year, the Specials split. Ska was replaced by the New Romantics and synth-pop.

These photographs capture the bands and fans of 2 Tone during 1979 and the summer of 1980 when ska united a nation.
 
02skanstaplesjdammers.jpg
Neville Staples and Jerry Dammers of The Specials, circa 1979.
 
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Sarah Jane Owen of The Bodysnatchers, 1980.
 
More memories of the summer of ska, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Beyond the Valley of the (FABULOUS) Dolls: Babs, Bewitched, Boosh, Jerri, Janis, Little Edie & more!
02.14.2017
10:09 am

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Art
Fashion
Pop Culture

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Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale

I’m totally smitten with these handmade dolls by artist Dennis Beltran. They’re lovingly handcrafted works of art, in my opinion. Just amazing. The dolls’ approximate height is 15”. As for the price of each doll, depending on how intricate the beading is for the costumes or how elaborate the hair is, the average price for one is $500. Beltran also does work on commission. I noticed some fantastic The Mighty Boosh dolls on his Instagram page (which you MUST follow, btw). 

I think I need to own the Louise Lasser doll, in her signature role as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. It’s truly adorable.

I picked my personal favorite dolls for this post on Dangerous Minds, but there are sooooooooo many others! Visit Dennis Beltran’s Facebook and Instagram to see more of his work.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these fabulous dolls or have any questions, you can contact Dennis Beltran at DoubleSupaFantastico@yahoo.com.


Jerri Blank
 

Barbra Streisand in ‘Funny Girl’
 

Leigh Bowery
 

Truman Capote
 

‘Clash of the Titans’
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Retro wonderland: exploring the postmodern aesthetics of ‘90s Taco Bell interior design
02.07.2017
09:23 am

Topics:
Design
Pop Culture

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Taco Bell in Las Vegas, NV courtesy of @heycomet‘s instagram
 
The year is 2017, you’re driving across the country and you’ve decided to pull over at a random offramp for a quick bite. You’re not familiar with your locale, but you see a familiar restaurant and you’re hungry so you put your better judgment aside and walk into a Taco Bell. As soon as you enter you are instantly transported 25 years into the past, a time capsule of early 90’s interior design. You are standing in one of the very last Taco Bell franchises that have not yet succumb to the horrible, present day faux-Tuscan make-over.

It was the Milan-based Italian design and architecture company The Memphis Group and their fun, colorful, geometric, postmodern aesthetic that were responsible for this specific style of design. The Art Deco and Pop Art movements collided in all their concepts throughout the 1980s. By the time the 1990s rolled around the style had become so mainstream and widely popular that it could be seen all over television, such as on shows like Saved by the Bell where the gang from Bayside High School hung out in a similarly wacky diner called The Max.

Los Angeles-based interior designer Jared Frank of Topsy Design explains just how quickly Memphis trends trickled down into popular culture. “On TV you could find it, most noticeably all over MTV, which was postmodern not just in design but also in its very style of programming. Another thoroughly postmodern show in both design and concept was Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The Simpsons flirts with it. And of course, every coked-out ‘80s movie about a movie producer, record executive, or radio deejay is guaranteed to show sets that look like Otho from Beetlejuice was asked to design an office space.”

Luckily I was not alone in my nostalgic love of Taco Bell’s past designs. Photographer Phil Donohue (not to be confused with talk show host Phil Donahue) began using film to document the few remaining Taco Bell locations in California that were still home to that beautiful pink, purple, red, and turquoise color combination, artificial plants, and squiggly geometric shapes. “Most of the design from the ‘80s and ‘90s was so quickly discarded for something even more corporatized and mediocre that I wanted to contextualize what was left before it was gone,” Donohue said via e-mail. “Capturing it digitally seemed to only highlight this mediocrity so shooting on film was, for me, the best way to translate this feeling of what the past was, with what is still present. I probably have another year or two before a lot of what is genuinely out there is gone — before everything is stuccoed over or faux-Tuscan.”

Of course, true experts of the postmodern movement will not be fooled by imitators. “In light of Robert Venturi calling out emergent ‘70s architecture as, ‘communication over space’ these Taco Bell interiors are cleanability over communication.” explained Matthew Sullivan of AQQ Design. “Hyper-cleanliness is the designer here—from the impermeable upholstery, to the visible floor drains, down to the drip or crumb channels or whatever the fuck those recesses in the banquets are called. It’s operating room meets diner- super Ballardian. Personally I could never make a value judgment—should be labeled something like disinfranchisementarianism. Looks as fine a place as any to stomp on someone’s face or make-out or enjoy a double-decker-taco-supreme.”

So why did it go away? “Culture eats itself” designer Jared Frank concluded. “Folks then reacted against the exuberance of PoMo and found safety in the corporate style of the ‘90s. And then folks reacted against that with the ‘new sincerity,’ the ‘authentic,’ all those horrible reclaimed wood walls. And of course, Taco Bell followed suit, jumping onboard the latest trends just as they’re flaming out.”
 

Taco Bell in Milpitas, CA courtesy of yelp user Maria A.
 

Taco Bell in Anaheim, CA courtesy of @heycomet‘s instagram
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
1978: The year the world bowed to the power of Styx (or ‘TV spot bites off more than it can chew’)
02.01.2017
11:22 am

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Music
Pop Culture

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dadzax
 
I’m not here to convince you of Styx’s late 70s glory—I have a video to do that. It’s a fruitless endeavor anyway. The fact of the matter is, Styx were never cool in the way other once-monolithic hard rock acts like Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Thin Lizzy or even BTO were. Despite a name that dips into the spookier end of Greek mythology and a penchant for trippy concept albums, Styx never dabbled in the black arts, and despite their alleged rampant cocaine use, they never seemed even remotely dangerous. But it’s much worse than that. I’ve been crunching the numbers and their odious 1973 mega-smash “Lady” might be the first significant power ballad, the shameful template that later spawned puffball horrors like “I Want To Know What Love Is,” “Keep On Lovin’ You,” “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Sister Christian.” Actually that last one is a dope jam, but you know what I’m talking about. Styx was the gateway drug to 80s AOR rock, the boring, toothless garbage that played in mall food courts. If they came out today, Styx would be The Decemberists or some shit.
 
STr
 
Anyway, the Chicago band had reached their commercial apex in 1977 when they released their Grand Illusion album, which shot to triple-platinum status mostly on the strength of yet another power ballad, the over the top diabetes-maker “Come Sail Away.” Naturally, they hit the road to support it and spent basically all of 1978 on tour. It was one of the biggest concert treks of the year. Times may have been changing on the dancefloor and on the left end of the radio dial, but Styx were not afraid of the Sex Pistols or the Village People or anybody, really. They had cocaine, they had hits, and they had the endless road.

Styx’s tour mates throughout the year were a mixed bag of the classic (Thin Lizzy), the Canadian (Trooper, Mahogany Rush), the futuristic (Cars, Dire Straits), the ridiculous (Angel) and the hopelessly obscure (Head East, Starcastle). Lizzy notwithstanding, this was not the hottest hard rock package deal money could buy, especially since KISS, Queen, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, AC/DC and Judas Priest were all on the road, too. So how do you get skeptical pre-teen headbangers like yours cruelly psyched for a band who wore satin and sang songs about The Lord of the Rings?

With literally the most kick-ass tour promo TV ad of all time.

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Meet Dorothée: The French Olivia Newton-John look-a-like who sang about Ewoks and Dungeons & Dragons
01.31.2017
12:23 pm

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Music
Pop Culture
Television

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Dorothée is the stage name of Frédérique Hoschedé, the TV host whose hit children’s show Club Dorothée ran in France for ten years. With an insane daily schedule which included a before-school show, an after-school show, and all day long broadcasts on holidays… thousands of kids spent nearly 20 hours a week watching Dorothée on their television sets. Despite the show’s extreme popularity with children, Club Dorothée‘s tight shooting schedule made it nearly impossible for the writers and producers to turnaround any sort of quality, and many teachers, parents, and intellectuals attacked Club Dorothée for being violent, lazy, and even racist programming.

Dorothée received her first break in 1973 when she was asked to host a short children’s program called Dorothée and Blablatus. Blablatus was a skinny, pink, Charles Dickens looking muppet who wore polka dot bow tie and a top hat. Program manager Eliane Victor declared that Dorothée was incompetent for the hosting job and fired her, she then spent the next several years working as a secretary in a plumbing fixture factory, as a waitress, and as a sandwich maker in a supermarket. In 1977 at the age of 24, Dorothée got a second chance at fame when she was hired to host the program Dorothée and her Friends. The show was co-presented by famous French cartoonist Cabu (who sadly became a victim of the January 2015 shootings at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices).
 
In March 1980, Dorothée released her first album Dorothée in the Land of Songs which sold 70,000 copies. She then proceeded to record one album a year from 1982 to 1997. Among her many hits were “Les Schtroumpfs” (a theme for The Smurfs), “Les petits Ewoks,” written for the Star Wars made-for-TV film movie Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, and “Donjons et dragons” (for the animated television series Dungeons & Dragons based on the role-playing game). “Allo allo monsieur l’ordinateur” (“Hello Hello Mister Computer”) was a tongue in cheek song about asking love advice from a machine and in “La valise” she sang about the items she put in her luggage, and released a new version of the song on every album. For her live concert performances, Dorothée would be joined on stage by actors wearing Ewok costumes.
 

 
In 1987, Dorothée and her producers were contacted by rival channel TF1 who offer her a higher budget, attractive salary, and a bigger studio. Club Dorothée immediately became an institution with its wild cartoons, sketches, and games. Children who were members of the studio audience could win a variety of prizes: everything from expensive gifts to series pins and subscriptions to Dorothée magazine. Dorothée presented several music episodes where she sang along with guest stars like Chuck Berry, Percy Sledge, Cliff Richard, and Ray Charles. “I have very good memories, it was non-stop craziness,” she said in an August 2012 interview. 
 
Adults were highly critical of Club Dorothée, they thought games and the sketches were ridiculous, stupid, and noneducational. Channel TF1 purchased a high volume of Japanese cartoons to help fill out the length of each program. These cartoons were poorly dubbed and broadcast without first being reviewed. Many parents found them to be too violent for children, and many complaints were filed to the CSA (the french equivalent of the FCC) after one particular cartoon featured a character wearing a Nazi-like symbol. Viewers also complained about the blatant lack of diversity in the show, pointing out that the only black people ever to have appeared on Club Dorothée were represented by the most archaically outdated stereotypes imaginable, such as a “comedic” dance sequence for a song called “Banania.”
 

 
In addition, the actors often complained about the bad sketches and dialogue that were presented to them on a daily basis. “We do not talk like that, the endless sentences that don’t mean anything, the tirades that have nothing to do with anything… we have been legally bound to go along with these scripts that don’t make any sense” said actor Philippe Vasseur. Terrible rumors about Dorothée began spreading in the early days of the internet: that she hated children, had previously acted in pornographic films, and was only interested in making money. As audience viewership and album sales declined, Club Dorothée was finally canceled in August 1997 after a ten-year run. When the show ended, Dorothée disappeared from the spotlight and immediately fell into the “Where are they now?” file. 
 

 

 

 

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
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