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‘Regarding Susan Sontag’: America’s last great intellectual rock star
01:45 pm

Pop Culture

Susan Sontag

From Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp’” (1964):

56. Camp taste is a kind of love, love for human nature. It relishes, rather than judges, the little triumphs and awkward intensities of “character.” … Camp taste identifies with what it is enjoying. People who share this sensibility are not laughing at the thing they label as “a camp,” they’re enjoying it. Camp is a tender feeling.

I won’t beat around the bush about Nancy Kates’ new documentary Regarding Susan Sontag because I loved every minute of it. For one, I’ve always been fascinated by Sontag herself, but beyond that, this is a very fine film, made with great flair, economy, and emotion. There’s not a single wasted frame. It’s the Susan Sontag movie that needed to be made.

Susan Sontag was a “social critic,” filmmaker, novelist, and political activist, although she is mostly referred to as an “intellectual,” a sort of rock star writer who emerged in the early ‘60s pontificating on a dizzying variety of subjects that no one had ever really thought of taking seriously before her. Sontag offered the readers of her essays opinions on “camp,” the hidden cultural meanings behind low-budget sci-fi films, photography as an unlikely impediment to understanding history, Pop art, warfare, the cinema of Jean-Luc Godard and much, much more. There was seemingly nothing that didn’t fascinate her, and this unceasing, insatiable search for novelty and new experiences is what fueled Sontag’s life on practically every level, including her personal relationships, which often didn’t run very smoothly.

What other 20th century intellectual giant was photographed as much as Susan Sontag was?
Although she often came across in her interviews as brash, even imperious, Sontag was someone who privately felt that she was a bit of an underachiever, always writing about artists and culture, but not taken as seriously as an artist herself for her own films and novels. Gore Vidal famously trashed her talent at writing fiction, which apparently wounded Sontag deeply.

Obviously it was Sontag’s right to have held this rather morose opinion of her life’s work, but it seems so cosmically unfair considering the literary gifts she left behind her. “Susan Sontag’s brilliance”—in a nice turn of phrase I’m pulling straight out of the press release—“gave form to the intangible.” No minor achievement, it is for this that she will be best remembered.

Filmmaker Nancy Kates is best known for her film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, about the gay African-American civil rights leader. If you ever get the chance to see this film, do take it. Kates will be screening Regarding Susan Sontag at the Sheffield Doc Fest on June 10 with a Q&A session afterwards. HBO will will airing the film in the fall of 2014.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Marilyn Monroe in a potato sack
08:44 am

Pop Culture

Marilyn Monroe

The story behind this 1951 photoshoot appears to be contested. Some say it was a response to a journalist who criticized Monroe’s less-than-modest clothing, calling her “cheap” and “vulgar,” and saying she’d be better suited to a potato sack. Another, more complimentary version says the pictures were inspired by a comment that Monroe could make even a potato sack look good. Either way, it’s an endearingly defiant move on her part—eschewing her obvious bombshell typecasting to do something funny and kind of trashy. I can’t help but think John Waters would approve.

The pictures inspired an Idaho potato farmer to send her a whole sack of precious spuds, but Monroe never got to enjoy them, saying “There was a potato shortage on then, and the boys in publicity stole them all. I never saw one. It just goes to show why I always ask, ‘Can you trust a publicity man or can’t you?’ ”

Lines like that remind me of Monroe’s underappreciated wit and natural comedic talent, so I threw in an art-imitates-life clip from her role in the 1950 Bette Davis classic, All About Eve. It was a brief but memorable part very early in her career. She plays an aspiring actress—a wily girl with an ingenue’s disarming mannerisms—and she gets in some perfect one-liners on the self-importance of actors and boorishness of the industry.








H/T: Messy Nessy Chic

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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New York’s a go go and everything tastes nice: Freakout at the Cheetah Club, 1966
10:42 am

Pop Culture


Opening its doors in April 1966, The Cheetah Club was New York City's first massive multimedia mega club. With its roots in many earlier dance ballrooms dating back to the 1920's, dancing was the only thing the walls and floors of this building had ever known. According to Steven Watson's book Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties, it “was the granddaddy of the big commercial disco”:

The most elaborate discotheque was Cheetah, on Broadway and 53rd Street, where everybody, according to LIFE, looked like “a kook in a Kubla Khanteen.” The three thousand colored lightbulbs dimmed and flicked and popped into an infinity of light patterns, reflecting off shiny aluminum sheets. Cheetah held two thousand people and offered not only dancing but a library, a movie room, and color television. “The Cheetah provides the most curious use of the intermedia,” wrote Jonas Mekas. “Whereas the Dom shows are restricted (or became restricted) to the In-circle, Cheetah was designed for the masses. An attempt was made to go over the persona, over the ego to reach the impersonal, abstract, universal.”


Brewster and Broughton’s Last Night A DJ Saved My Life describes the place as follows:

This had been opened by Le Club’s staid Frenchman, Oliver Coquelin. Situated on the site of the Arcadia Ballroom near Broadway’s theatre district, it threw its doors open on May 28, 1966. The cavernous space had a dancefloor with circular podiums scattered randomly like outsized polka dots. Each supported a girl frugging. Above, a cavalcade of 3,000 colored lights palpitated gently, while a boutique at the back sold the latest Carnaby Street fashions. And there was smooth and soft black velvet everywhere—except the bar, which was covered in fake fur. In the basement there was a TV room and on the upper floor a cinema showed the latest, strangest, underground movies. Variety got rather excited about this new boite: “GOTHAM’S NEW CHEETAH A KINGSIZED WATUSERY WITH A FORT KNOX POTENTIAL.” A striking Puerto Rican teenager, Yvon Leybold, clad in hot pants and fishnets, ventured down from Spanish Harlem. “Cheetah was the first real disco club I went to,” she recalls. “That was a lot of fun. It was a very mixed atmosphere. It was the first time I went into a place and you see lights and you see atmosphere, instead of the rinky-dink places I was used to.”

Joel Lobenthal’s Radical Rags: Fashions of the Sixties offered this description:

By the time Cheetah opened near Times Square in April 1966, the discotheque had become a self-contained Aladdin’s Cave, in which the visitor surrendered his or her everyday identity in search of Dionysian transport. Cheetah employed many conspiring elements to bedazzle its switched-on congregation. Banks of colored lights shone on its patrons. Suspended high above the writhing crowds, huge sheets of chrome—a giant mobile created by industrial designer Michael Lax—undulated rhythmically, while at the club’s opening night the customers echoed the mise en scene: “each girl was more electric than the next,” Eugenia Sheppard reported. “The swinging hair. The wild colors. The mini-mini-skirts.”...Cheetah initiated a trend by selling earmarked discotheque attire in a boutique included in a multi-level complex consisting of dance floor, underground-film screening room, and hot dog stand. The proprietor of Cheetah’s boutique noticed that many customers were purchasing clothes to exchange for those they had arrived in, so the checkrooms were specially expanded.

Even among the endless psychedelic distractions in the club (seperate bars, stores, library, TV room, etc), it was still all about dancing, to DJ’s and to live bands.
Apparently the club had its own dance, according to this guy named Larry who posted about his experiences: He had to pay for the dance classes, but he learned more about moving his feet from his job at the Cheetah - New York’s first discotheque. In between checking coats, Larry got his feet wet, so to speak, on the dance floor at the hottest of hot spots in the hottest of hot cities on the planet. “It’s time for ... the Cheetah Shuffle!” That was the rallying cry—an approximation of it, anyway. Gangs of dancers would hit the floor at the call and perform the line-dance like moves and grooves that constituted the Cheetah Shuffle. The regulars, such as they were, got so attuned to the fancy footwork that they actually gave their motions names and numbers. “Cheetah 1!” “Cheetah 2,3!” “Cheetah Cheetah!” With a word or two and a number or two or three—and don’t forget the exclamation point—the gangs would move in sequence. And Larry, because he was there every night, checking coats, was soon their leader.

At this time the small but prolific record label called Audio Fidelity released an LP with the Cheetah logo on front, featuring the house bands at the time The Esquires, Mike St. Shaw & The Prophets, and The The Thunder Frog Ensemble doing very hip (by today’s garage snob standards) hits of the day by the Rolling Stones, James Brown, etc. The LP cover is at the top of this article. Amazingly, I just noticed the LP is available on Amazon in MP3 form, click here for sound samples and to purchase Where It’s At - Live At The Cheetah.
The Squires played there in 1966, featuring Curtis Knight and pre-fame Jimi Hendrix (dig those site-specific cheetah-print shirts!). Richie Havens reminisces about young Jimi’s performance here.

The Velvet Underground and Tiny Tim played the Cheetah on April 11, 1967. This event, a benefit for WBAI, was billed as “An Imperial Happening” to mark “the coronation of his Serene Highness, Prince Robert, first American Emperor of the Eastern Byzantine Roman Empire.”

A Dark Shadows costume party was held there, possibly on a Halloween night, with cast members in attendance and between its Public Theater debut and its long Broadway run at the Biltmore Theater, HAIR had an engagement at the Cheetah from December 22, 1967 through January 28, 1968.

There were also Cheetah clubs in Los Angeles (in the former Aragon Ballroom on Lick Pier in Venice Beach), Chicago, and Toronto, all having incredible shows with the most legendary bands of the 60’s (especially the one in Los Angeles).

The Cheetah later enjoyed a very successful second life as the center of Boogaloo and Salsa music. “Salsa” is a term that was possibly first used—but definitely made popular—at the nightclub.

Suzanne de Passe was the Cheetah’s talent booker before embarking on careers as a Motown executive and later as head of her own television production company. WABC-TV filmed a documentary short called “Cheetah, The Mod Mecca,” unseen for decades, it has been found and uploaded to YouTube. It strikes me as quite odd that the lion’s share of this 23 minute documentary is straight up live footage of great frat/club bands The Esquires and The Jewels just doing their set while people dance. An amazing slice of pre-hippie, early LSD era life not usually seen outside of very short edited clips. The Cheetah Club was indeed “where it was at” for many thousands of people in the perfect pop culture year of 1966 and could only have really lasted a short time (a couple years) in its original form, as the world at that time was spinning too fast and moving faster than any wild cheetah could.

A tip of the hat to the It’s All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago blog.

Posted by Howie Pyro | Discussion
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The Unarius Academy of Science, America’s zaniest UFO cult

At some point in the fall of 1992 Jello Biafra and I travelled to El Cajon, California with a small camera crew to shoot a short documentary about the Unarius Academy of Science for a Showtime pilot I was directing. The Unarius Academy of Science is a colorful (and quite harmless, no hint of a Heaven’s Gate vibe) UFO cult with their own cable access show, and was at that time housed across the street from both a center for recovering drug addicts/methadone clinic and a sleazy plasma center where you could sell your blood for cash. A Foster’s Freeze was a block or two away. There wasn’t much of anything else going on there. Just a bunch of empty parking lots and an occasional unoccupied building, some threadbare thrift stores and a funeral home. Not to say it was a ghost town, but minus the Unarians, and the junkies, in this part of town, there seemed to be almost no one else around.

To a certain extent, that might be the reason that people joined the cult in the first place: because there is next to nothing to do in El Cajon which isn’t related to gang activities, drug dealing, burglaries, car theft and crime in general. El Cajon’s crime rate is three times the national average. There are very few legitimate jobs for the people who live there, even at the best of times. Maybe some of the town’s residents looking for a little solace from a cruel universe that dealt them the shitty hand of ending up in El Cajon, might be an explanation for the goofy cult’s local appeal.

But then again, maybe nothing can adequately explain it.

The Unarius Academy of Science was formed by Ernest and Ruth Norman, a couple of dotty New Agers, in the mid-1950s. Unarius is an acronym which stands for UNiversal ARticulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science. The story I heard was that Norman was a traveling psychic medium who put grieving WWII widows in touch with their dead husbands and Ruth was one of his clients. One of his wealthier clients, whose dead husband had left her a restaurant chain or so the story went…

The two met and were married within weeks. Soon Ernest would start self-publishing channeled books and they began having public meetings in Glendale, CA, ultimately publishing over 100 books and garnering several hundred followers. After Ernest’s death in 1971, Ruth Norman moved Unarius to the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, where she also bought up several parcels of now valuable real estate so that a landing strip could be built for the “Space Brothers” of whom Archangel Uriel (as Ruth Norman now called herself) was their emissary on Earth.

The Unarian cosmology predicted that 33 planets would simultaneously send ambassadors in spacecraft that would lock together and form a futuristic city. Uriel taught that beings outside of our direct experience and comprehension exist—she was one of them!—and that one day the Space Brothers will help us silly humans evolve, turn deserts into vegetable fields, stop wars and improve our architecture. 

In the early 80s, “The Arrival,” an elaborate, seemingly high budget film about the Space Brothers showing up in the year 2001 was produced by the group, allegedly with the help of someone who worked for George Lucas doing special effects on the Star Wars films.

In the early 80s, certain members of the cult began to take an interest in making a cable access television program promoting the group’s beliefs: “Everything is energy.” “You, as a form of indestructible energy, possess a soul that has recorded data from past lives.” “All happenings to you currently have their origins in past lives and past actions.” “Negative acts must be compensated for by positive acts.” And best of all, Asians are Martians and vice versa (Unarians are not racists, this is seen as a good thing, i.e. proof that the aliens have been here for millennia!). The “star” of these programs, naturally was Uriel/Ruth Norman, who took to wearing clothing that would make Liberace blush, often made with Christmas tree lights that needed to be plugged in, thereby awkwardly limiting her mobility!

Some of the shows would just be Uriel talking to her followers and others would be like super low budget “psychodramas”—think Kuchar Brothers, early John Waters, Andy Milligan, etc.

These “psychodramas” were unfuckingbelievable, featuring full outer space costumes, zany make-up and and batshit crazy scenarios. For instance, Uriel might decide that a certain Unarian had been a murderous space captain or an evil sea serpent in a past life. So the group would do these semi-improvised and somewhat elaborate plays, that were designed to “drastically relive” these past lives, so that the Unarian follower would be freed from their karma (more or less). In the one with the sea serpent, they literally videotaped it next to a swimming pool and several people got into a crappy aquatic dragon suit fashioned from floating pool furniture and inner tubes and swam around as the rest of them held a trial and passed judgement on the “creature.” A lot of their psychodramas had a “trial by jury” aspect to them. Holy shit were they tweaked.

These programs made it as far as New York’s cable access weirdo home, Channel J. I used to have dozens of them on tape (which were tragically all stolen, along with the camera originals of the shoot with Biafra, from a car parked inside the old Playboy building in Beverly Hills. Who would steal goddamned hand-labeled tapes?)

Biafra and I never did get to meet Ruth Norman herself, her health didn’t permit it, but he did speak to her on camera via a speakerphone. The next morning, in their parking lot, we shot their Interplanetary Confederation Day, where far fewer than 33 Unarians marched around in a circle with fewer than 33 banners representing the (hilariously named) 33 planets who were supposed to supply all 33,000 of the Space Brothers who would arrive here in 2001. A tin spaceship contained 33 doves who were supposed to spill out into the sky at the ceremony’s climax, but they didn’t figure on it being as hot as it was on the day and most of the birds could barely dribble out of the thing. Some probably fried inside as the fully-costumed Unarians marched around their parking lot to the amusement of the folks, like myself, who were there to gawk at them in amazement. Spectacular it wasn’t, but you had to admire their commitment in the face of mainly disinterest, secondarily people driving by and shouting insulting things at them the whole time and that it was boiling hot that day and they were all in their layered interplanetary garb.

I believe they still do the Interplanetary Confederation Day every year. Frankly, I’m just amazed that 20 years after Ruth Norman’s death that the cult still exists. But they do. And even with their leader long gone, her prophecies that didn’t even remotely come close to passing and the sheer pointlessness of the whole thing, the Unarians persist, although the ones who we met 22 years ago are a bit longer in the tooth now (aren’t we all?) What’s weird is that they never grew out of their quirky belief systems even after the Space Brothers failed to arrive—the WHOLE THING that their belief system hinged on—in 2001. Uriel herself was supposed to return then, too. She didn’t even send a text!

If you think of the Unarians as characters straight out of a Daniel Clowes comic, it might make a little more sense.

This weekend at Cinefamily in Los Angeles, Jodi Wille, co-director of the acclaimed documentary on The Source Family hippie cult of the Sunset Strip has arranged a THREE DAY spectacular screening of rarely seen films and videos from Unarius. This “full-immersion” weekend includes core Unarius members onstage for live Q&As, the world theatrical premiere of Unarius’ 1979 film The Arrival, highlights from their massive archive of public access videos — plus a Unarius costume exhibit, Uriel’s space Cadillac, a pop-up reading room stocked with Unarian literature, workshops and tea house on Cinefamily’s back patio.

Here’s the trailer for the event:

After the jump. the trailer for Bill Perrine’s feature-length Unarius documentary, Children of the Stars…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Dialectics & Disco: Post-punk Marxists Gang of Four get funky on ‘Dance Fever,’ 1982

Ohhhhhhh, this clip of Gang of Four doing their biggest “hit” on that most mainstream of American pop TV programs of the 1980s, Dance Fever, is good but ultimately it’s best considered an occasion for a little “what if” speculation. If you squint your eyes just so, you can imagine the punk-funk art school Marxists up there doing “At Home He’s a Tourist” or “To Hell with Poverty,” or, perhaps even, “Capital (It Fails Us Now)”—can’t you just picture that shit??

Goddamn, that would really have been something seeing and hearing their jagged-edge critiques of Western culture beamed all across Reagan’s America! (Although “I Love a Man in a Uniform” was less politically strident than many of their songs, it was banned by the BBC during the Falklands War in 1982.)

But still, seeing them introduced by fuckin’ Denny Terrio does have its charm…
Gang of Four
Of course, it would be even better if they weren’t lip-syncing…. I half-suspect that Jon King intentionally did a shitty job with the sync as a subtle nod to the diehards, but it may just be his natural intensity and enthusiasm. Sara Lee’s prominent bassline in this song makes the groove unstoppable. There’s a reason “I Love a Man in a Uniform” got them invited to be on Dance Fever and it’s that bass.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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These old Scooby-Doo background paintings are pretty amazing
08:08 am

Pop Culture


When you set nostalgia aside, it’s pretty clear that Hanna-Barbera cartoons mostly sucked ass. Of course, in their ‘60s heyday, they produced some durable classics like The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Jonny Quest, and my childhood favorite, Top Cat, the theme song from which will be my walking-out music if I’m ever a guest on a talk show. But come the ‘70s, they were mostly churning out it’ll-do halfassery like The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan and Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo.

But even their greatest stuff was cheap as hell, often pushing limited-motion animation techniques so far that they’d become distractingly bad. Ever wonder why Yogi Bear had a collar and a necktie with no shirt? That was to create a straight line behind which artists could animate just the characters’ heads and keep everything else in the frame static, because cheapness. Same deal with Betty Rubble and Wilma Flintstone’s necklaces. Pretty much every character design had some variation on that tactic. Which would be forgivable if HB weren’t already so notorious for their “hey, didn’t they walk past the same rock like three times already?” approach to backgrounds. The reality is, they were grinding out product, and while they ground out some inspired product early on, they were ultimately still just an animation mill.

So when Decaying Hollywood Mansions’ Facebook page turned up this 2007 Secret Fun Spot roundup of INCREDIBLE Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! background paintings, my jaw bounced off the floor a few times. The artistry on display in these gorgeous and gloomy scenes of abandoned and mysterious places is remarkable, certainly beyond what I was equipped to really appreciate when I was little. It kind of makes me want to have a look at those old shows again.












Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Nuff said? Stan Lee’s letter confirming Steve Ditko as Spider-Man’s co-creator
07:54 am

Pop Culture

Stan Lee
Steve Ditko

In 1999, comic book hero Stan Lee wrote an open-letter confirming Steve Ditko’s role as co-creator of Spider-Man. The letter was in response to some public niggling between Ditko and Lee over who did what in the creation of the character.

The controversy came about after Lee “reminisced in Comic Book Marketplace about his inspirations for writing an acclaimed late 1965 issue of Amazing Spider-Man.” This led to artist Steve Ditko breaking his long silence on the subject, as told in Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics—The Untold Story:

“Stan never knew what was in my plotted stories,” the artist wrote to the [Comic Book Marketplace] editors, “until I took in the penciled story, the cover, my script and Sol Brodsky took the material from me and took it all into Stan’s office, so I had to leave without seeing or talking to Stan.”

A few months later, after Lee was identified in TIME magazine as the creator of Spider-Man, Ditko popped up on that magazine’s letters page, too:

“Spider-Man’s existence needed a visual concrete entity,” Ditko wrote. “It was a collaboration of writer-editor Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as co-creators.”

This time Lee picked up the phone and called Ditko, for the first time in more than thirty years.

“Steve said, ‘Having an idea is nothing, because until it becomes a physical thing, it’s just an idea,’” Lee recalled.

“And he said it took him to draw the strip, and to give it life, so to speak, or to make it actually some- thing tangible. Otherwise, all I had was an idea. So I said to him, ‘Well, I think the person who has the idea is the person who creates it. And he said, ‘No, because I drew it.’ Anyway, Steve definitely felt that he was the co-creator of Spider-Man. And that was really, after he said it, I saw it meant a lot to him that was fine with me. So I said fine, I’ll tell everybody you’re the co-creator. That didn’t quite satisfy him. So I sent him a letter.”

In the letter dated August 18th, 1999, Lee wrote:

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to go on record with the following statement…

I have always considered Steve Ditko to be Spider-Man’s co-creator.

When I first told Steve my idea for a shy, teenaged high-school science student who’d be bitten by a radioactive spider, thus gaining the ability to stick to walls and shoot webs, Steve took to it like a duck to water.

Steve’s illustrated version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and his coterie of supporting characters was more compelling and dramatic than I had dared hope it would be. From his very first panel, Steve created and established the perfect mood and gestalt for Spider-Man.

Also it goes without saying that Steve’s costume design was an actual masterpiece of imagination. Thanks to Steve Ditko, Spidey’s costume has become one of the world’s most recognizable visual icons.

Nor can I forget to credit Steve with the many, many brilliant plots he furnished as the strip continued to increase in popularity with each passing month. So adept was he at story-telling, that Steve eventually did most of the plotting and illustrations while I, of course, continued to provide the dialogue and captions.

I write this to ensure that Steve Ditko receives the credit to which he is so justly entitled.

Yours sincerely,

Stan Lee

Nuff said?! Perhaps not: Ditko was apparently upset that Lee used the word “considered,” as Lee explains in the clip from Jonathan Ross’ BBC documentary In Search of Steve Ditko embedded below.

Check out more of Sean Howe‘s on-line supplement to Marvel Comics: The Untold Story here. Below, Stan Lee’s original letter, plus a selection of Steve Ditko’s artwork for Spider-Man after the jump.
Stan Lee discusses Steve Ditko’s role in the creation of Spider-Man—and Ditko’s reaction to this very letter—with Jonathan Ross from the BBC documentary In Search of Steve Ditko:

Some Ditko splash-pages from Spider-Man, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Andy Warhol, wrestling fan?


“I’m speechless. I just don’t know what to say.”

At some point during the 1980s, it made sense that MTV would try do something to take advantage of the pop culture juggernaut that was the World Wrestling Federation and some perceived rock/wrestling crossover that probably just boiled down to Cyndi Lauper’s dad being played by Captain Lou Albano in her “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video and little else.

“The War to Settle the Score” was a series of WWF matches with a storyline that involved Albano, Lauper and her manager David Wolff (I won’t bother to explain it in detail, but Albano was a manager and Wolff and Lauper are trying to steal clients.) “Rowdy” Roddy Piper got pissed off about the whole MTV connection and this brought another “feud” into the storyline, but also in real life.

Piper was disqualified from the championship match against Hulk Hogan and a brawl erupted.  At one point, Cyndi Lauper, who had rushed the ring with Mr. T to support Hogan, was kicked in the head.

Since the event was live, MTV had cameras set up backstage to interview Hogan, Lauper, Mr T and Albano afterwards, but Andy Warhol apparently opened the wrong door and was pulled into an impromptu interview with “Mean Gene” Okerlund.

You’ll notice that Okerlund refers to the Pope of Pop as a “one of the greatest wrestling fans” at the end.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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The Kim Sisters: Rat Pack-era Vegas headliners, fierce Korean divas
11:20 am

Pop Culture

The Kim Sisters

I’ve been listening to a lot of Korean music lately, and rather enjoying The Kim Sisters (Sook-ja, Ai-ja, and Mia—though Mia was actually the sisters’ cousin): a trio of multi-talented singers and musicians (“Who rate amongst the most versatile entertainers in the business. They not only sing, they play about 20 instruments” was how they were introduced on American TV). The Kim Sisters went from Korean post-war poverty to Las Vegas success in the 1960s.

Sook Ja and Ai-Ja’s mother was the Korean singer Lee Nan Young, and their father was Kim Hae Song, a respected classical conductor. Their father died during the Korean War, and the family home was destroyed. To support her family Lee Nan performed in shows to American troops stationed in the country. It was during one of these shows that Lee Nan introduced her two daughters and their cousin, Mia, as The Kim Sisters. Their singing and musical act proved a hit, and encouraged by their initial success, the girls started regularly appearing on the bill of GI shows.

They often sang just for food, as the family, like most Koreans during and after the war, were in direst poverty. They began singing American show songs, learning the lyrics phonetically. This increased The Kim Sisters popularity, and in 1959, they were helped by a talent manager to perform in the US at Las Vegas’ Thunderbird Hotel. So, began The Kim Sisters American career.
From being paid beer, fruit and chocolate for their singing, the trio of girls were soon earning $400 a week. From the Thunderbird, they were quickly booked to play the Stardust Hotel, where they developed their act by learning to play an incredible selection of instruments.

Eventually TV came a knockin’ and by the time The Kim Sisters appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dean Martin Show they were bringing in around $12,000 a week. When Ed Sullivan heard that Lee Nan Young was still in Korea for lack of a visa, he intervened, but with the understanding that she would appear on his show with the Kim Sisters.
Their success made them a mainstay of Las Vegas, and LA nightclubs, and The Kim Sisters continued to perform through the sixties and seventies. Their musical style was a mix of the Andrews Sisters meets The Supremes, moving from Tin Pan Alley hits to pop songs. This small selection of videos will give you an idea of The Kim Sisters’ appeal. First up is a clip of The Kim Sisters on The Hollywood Palace television show. Stay with it for when they all three start playing the xylophone together (or go directly to about 3:22 in). It’s pretty cool:

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Brain-frying Idaho Republican debate shitshow: The Supercut

So this guy is running…

“I did kill a wolf, while it was still on the endangered species.”

These are the words of Walt Bayes, who is running for Governor of Idaho on the Republican ticket. His primary political goal is “to stop abortion.” The other crazy onstage is biker Harley Brown, whose charming website contains carefully curated list of “Harleyisms.” A sampling:

I was preparing my income tax and thought “thank God we don’t get all the government we pay for!”

Burn up all of the gas - That’s the American way - God Bless America

Register Communists, not firearms. That means domestic enemies of the United States Constitution such as Bloomberg, Schumer and Pelosi

A while back I visited Israel and discovered the REAL reason Jewish men get circumcised - Because Jewish women won’t touch anything that is not at least 20% off

Loud pipes save lives

Gun control means hitting your target. (Editor’s note: I recommend “Gun control is accomplished by a firm grip with both hands”)

Democrats piss me off

The difference between the IRS and a whore is that a whore will quit screwing you after your dead

Why wasn’t Jesus born in Poland? They couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin.

And my personal favorite:

Riding a Jap bike is like f_cking a faggot I guess it feels OK until somebody sees you doing it & you sure as hell don’t tell your buddies about it the next day.

In the words of Harley Brown, “you have your choice folks—a cowboy, a curmudgeon, a biker, or a normal guy.” Choose wisely, Idaho. Choose wisely.

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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