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The space burial of Dr. Timothy Leary and ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry


 
Twenty years ago, the perihelion of the Hale-Bopp comet coincided with the mass suicide of the Heaven’s Gate cult, whose members believed death was a sure way of hitching a ride on a spaceship. They put on new pairs of Nike Decades before eating phenobarbital and tying bags around their heads. Among the dead in Rancho Santa Fe was Thomas Nichols, whose sister Nichelle played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek. “He made his choices, and we respect those choices,” she told Larry King.
 

 
One month later, a Pegasus rocket carrying the remains of Dr. Timothy Leary, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, physicist and space colonization advocate Gerard O’Neill, Operation Paperclip beneficiary Krafft Ehricke, and 20 other former space enthusiasts launched from the Canary Islands.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Chuck Barris is dead, but the scandalous ‘Popsicle Twins’ will live forever
03.22.2017
10:05 am

Topics:
R.I.P.
Sex
Television

Tags:
1970s
TV Hell
Chuck Barris


 
Well, the CIA lost their greatest assassin today. Gong Show host Chuck Barris has died, aged 87.  Dumb but beautiful and entirely emblematic of the decade in which it flourished, The Gong Show was quintessential 1970s junk TV, a swirling, whirling dimestore cocktail of low-watt celebrity worship, vaudeville schmaltz, and punk ferocity. Half game-show, half freakshow, it allowed ordinary knuckleheads a chance to shine on national television while D-grade stars like Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan, and Rip Taylor mocked them. It was like American Idol, except for that everyone was in on the joke. Lording over the whole chaotic enterprise was game-show impresario Barris, a bucket hat wearing goofball who could not care less if anybody won or if anybody died. It was so, so good, a riot of polyester, bubbles, desperation and abject failure. It made legitimate stars out of unlikely characters like Gene Gene the Dancing Machine and The Unknown Comic.

It was everything the 1970s promised and more.
 

‘Gong Show’ greatness: Gene Gene the Dancing Machine
 
Barris also created The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game and, according to his kooky autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (!), he ran his media empire while working as a spy-slash-assassin for the CIA. The CIA denied it, but of course they would.

Anyway, let us not mourn the man’s tragic passing, but celebrate his most towering achievement: the 1977 Gong Show appearance of “Have You Got A Nickel” AKA the Popsicle Twins. We could analyze it, but that’s not what Chuck would’ve wanted. All you really need to know is that sometime in 1977, The Gong Show featured 17-year-old twins eating orange popsicles on stage—that’s it—and the whole country almost had a heart attack.

Rest in peace, Chuck. You truly were a Dangerous Mind. Gong, but not forgotten…

Watch the Popsicle Twins after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Jimmy Page and the Yardbirds cover the Velvet Underground in 1968


 
In honor of what would have been Lou Reed’s 75th birthday, here’s the Yardbirds covering the Velvet Underground in 1968.

You may recall that Michelangelo Antonioni considered the Velvet Underground for the club scene in Blow-Up before choosing the Yardbirds, but the connection between the two bands does not end there. As I learn from Richie Unterberger, the Yardbirds’ last lineup—the one with Jimmy Page on lead guitar—had “I’m Waiting for the Man” in its repertoire. A recording survives from the May 31, 1968 gig at the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles, one of the Yardbirds’ final shows.
 

 
“I’m Waiting for the Man” was a forward-looking selection in May ‘68. John Cale was still in the VU; White Light/White Heat had been out for a few months, The Velvet Underground & Nico about a year. Yardbird Chris Dreja, who remembers “hanging out with Andy Warhol at The Factory” on the Yardbirds’ first US tour, suggests the cover was Page’s idea. As a session musician and arranger, Page had worked on Nico’s 1965 debut single “I’m Not Sayin’,” whose B-side, “The Last Mile,” he co-wrote with Andrew Loog Oldham. The following year, as Unterberger points out, the Yardbirds and the VU both played at Detroit’s Carnaby Street Fun Festival.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Behold a custom built Lemmy Kilmister fire pit that that spews flames from its face


The most metal fire pit known to man (or woman), the custom-built Lemmy Kilmister fire pit by Kustom Fire Pits.
 
So here’s the deal—I don’t know a whole lot about this custom Lemmy Kilmister fire pit. But I do know enough to tell how to get your hands on one, or one of the other Motörhead inspired fire pit designs done by an outfit in the Netherlands called Kustom Fire Pits.

According to their Facebook page, the incredibly cool artisan behind these completely metal creations is an artist known as Sjaak. In addition to his many designs, he also accepts commissions. Over on Sjaak’s official site, I learned a little more about the Lemmy fire pit, specifically that it took 120 hours to craft and weighs about 88 pounds. Which unless you live in the Netherlands or Netherlands adjacent, getting the massive Lemmy fire pit to your zip code without taking a second mortgage out on your house might be a challenge. However, once you get a look at some of the other Motörhead pits as well as more of the creations by the talented Dutchman, I think you’ll seriously consider making one of them yours. Here’s a link to Kustom Fire Pits official site where you can get more info on how to do that. Images of the metal as fuck fire-burning Lemmys and other very metal fire pits follow.
 

 

 
More fire-breathing Lemmy after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The art of mourning: Vintage wreaths & other memorial keepsakes made with the hair of the dead
02.21.2017
10:22 am

Topics:
Art
History
R.I.P.

Tags:
hair
mourning wreaths


A depiction of a French cemetery scene in a mourning dome made with human hair from 1881.

Memorial artifacts that were made or contained the hair of the recently deceased is a mourning tradition that dates as far back as the 1600s. As a matter of fact, a place in Independence, Missouri that claims to be the “only hair museum in the world” Leila’s Hair Museum is in possession of a Swedish mourning brooch by that dates to 1640. Works of art made from hair were actually a pretty common thread throughout the world and while not all were intended to symbolize a person’s passing, the examples featured in this post were.

During the Victorian era, owning mementos made with or containing hair was a way of life. Some families would create a hair wreath using hair from every member of their family which were used as a family tree of sorts and utilizing the hair as a way to communicate details about their lineage. Even churches were known to create hair wreaths created by donations from members of their congregations. Mourning wreaths would generally be constructed in a distinct half-moon style to convey that the deceased had begun the journey to the afterlife. Though they are in every sense of the word macabre, they are also intricate, intimate works of art.
 

A close look at a memorial hair dome created in 1886.
 

A mourning hair wreath made with human hair, wire, and wood. Approximately 1850-1900.

More mourning wreaths after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
For Sale: The Private Life of Marilyn Monroe

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This is what it comes to when we die: a wardrobe full of clothes, shoes, some scattered notes, several albums of photographs and a few good memories to be shared by others.

When Marilyn Monroe died on August 5th 1962, she left behind a shitload of personal effects from which we can learn more about her private life than any biography or old movie magazine interview could ever reveal. This November, Julien’s Auctions are selling some of Marilyn’s personal belongings from the collections of David Gainsborough-Roberts, the estate of Lee Strasberg and the estate of Frieda Hull. The lots up for grabs include clothes, costumes, jewelry, photographs, memorabilia, private journals, and poetry.

Julien’s shortlists the sale as follows:

Highlights from Marilyn Monroe Property From The Collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts include a sheer black beaded and sequined dress worn by Monroe in her Golden Globe winning role Sugar Kane as she crooned “I’m Through With Love” in the award winning 1959 film Some Like it Hot; an elaborate embellished stage gown worn by Monroe as she sang “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It” in the 1953 comedy There’s No Business Like Show Business which was designed by one of Marilyn’s all-time favorite designers, William Travilla; a pink linen halter wiggle dress designed for Monroe by Dorothy Jenkins for the 1953 thriller Niagara

The Marilyn Monroe Property From The Estate of Lee Strasberg collection includes one of just a few pieces of fine jewelry ever owned by Monroe: a ladies platinum and diamond cocktail watch with movement reading “Blancpain, Rayvill Watch Co. 17 Jewels, Unadjusted Switzerland.” Other highlights in this collection include a beautiful 1950’s brown alligator ladies handbag from I. Magnin & Co. with matching accessories; a grey pony handbag from Mexico still containing three one peso bills; a number of other handbags, fur coats and stoles; a stunning ladies minaudière with the original box, featuring multiple compartments containing loose powder with cotton buffer, mirror, comb, two mercury dimes, eight Phillip Morris cigarettes and a tube of used Revlon lipstick in “Bachelor’s Carnation” with a date of 1947, a virtual time capsule of one of the star’s nights out on the town.

Déjà vu Property From The Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe includes personal items originally sold at Christie’s 1999 and Julien’s Auctions’ 2005 Property From The Estate of Marilyn Monroe auctions and other consignors.

Among these incredible treasures are many of Marilyn’s intimate writings which reveal her frustrations with acting, her fear of being unable to love another, and various poems including one which might be about suicidal feelings:

Stones on the walk,
every color there is
I stare down at you
like a horizon
The space—air is between us beckoning
and I am many stories up
my feet frightened
as I grasp towards you.

The auction takes place over three days on November 17th, 18th and 19th, Los Angeles in what would have been Marilyn’s ninetieth year. View the catalogs here and full details of the auctions here.
 
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More Marilyn Monroe memorabilia auction, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Intimate photos of David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly & more from the set of ‘Labyrinth’


A candid moment between David Bowie and his look-alike stuntman Nick Gillard on the set of ‘Labyrinth.’
 
As Halloween approaches I’ve become more and more convinced that this year will bring a cavalcade of David Bowie fans dressed as various personas developed by the Thin White Duke over his long career. Even yours truly is planning on “becoming Bowie” on October 31st and I’m so committed to my quest to look like Aladdin Sane that I’m planning on dying my hair bright red for the occasion. Now that’s dedication.

My month long homage to all things Halloween also includes watching as many horror films that I can fit into a 31-day period (which isn’t a huge departure as I’m actually a year-round die-hard horror film fan) and this year it seemed fitting to throw one of my favorite films into the mix: David Bowie as the unforgettable villain “Jareth” in the 1986 flick Labyrinth. Originally director Jim Henson was seriously considering at other musicians for the role—Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson and Sting (as well as David Lee Roth and Roger Daltrey)—that would ultimately go to Bowie. Henson also gave thought to the idea that the Goblin King should be played by one of his Muppets. According to folklore it came down to Jackson and Bowie and after receiving a handwritten letter penned from Henson along with an early version of the Labyrinth script Bowie became convinced that he should take the role.

As with other movies that have achieved the cult status that Labyrinth has, there’s a fair amount of great behind-the-scenes legends associated with the film. Such as the use of juggler Michael Moschen who was responsible for helping Bowie make it look easy to twirl a crystal ball, and actor Toby Froud who played adorable infant kidnapping victim “Toby” (and the bane of Jennifer Connelly’s teenage existence). Fround actually grew up to be a puppeteer of sorts himself, a natural move as his father Brian Froud was responsible for contributing to the design of the set and the inhabitants of both Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal

Of course if you are of a certain age then you may even remember the massive marketing campaign that produced oddities such as Labyrinth-themed bubble gum (tastes like Hoggle?), a talking door knocker, and a bizarre hot pink phone card (released in Japan) with Bowie and Jennifer Connolly on the front. There was even a sweet belt based on the film that sadly never made it past the prototype phase made by Lee Jeans. The 80s were so goddamn weird and wonderful, weren’t they?

And now to the point of this post which is to show you some fantastic behind-the-scenes photos captured during the filming of Labyrinth (which celebrated its 30th anniversary this past summer) especially ones of our departed hero who has perhaps inspired your Halloween costume this year. In other good news, a new nearly 200 page book Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History promises to take an exhaustively detailed look at every aspect of the film from rare artwork, concept sketches and equally rare photos taken on the set. You can pre-order it here. So in lieu of what wonders the book will reveal I hope you enjoy looking through the images in this post as well as a video of Bowie as “Jareth” and juggler Michael Moschen trying to make Bowie look like he can do mystical things with crystal balls that follows.
 

David Bowie as ‘Jareth (aka, ‘The Goblin King’ the star of the 1986 film, ‘Labyrinth.
 

Jareth and ‘Baby Toby.’
 

35mm contact sheet from ‘Labyrinth.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Unknown hero of rock ‘n’ roll: Soul singer, percussionist Vin Cardinal, R.I.P.
09.24.2016
06:20 am

Topics:
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Vin Cardinal and The Queens


 
Vin Cardinal’s son announced Friday on Facebook that Cardinal has died at the age of 83. While Cardinal never made it big in America, he had a devoted following in Scandinavia and Europe for decades.

A superior soul singer and percussionist, Vin Cardinal left his home in Trinidad and moved to Sweden where he became a pop star in the 1960s. With his band The Queens, Cardinal toured throughout Europe and recorded several albums which were regional hits. In the early 1970s, he moved to the States and signed with Motown but never attained the popularity in America that he enjoyed overseas.
 

 
This beautifully shot 1967 film footage of Vin and The Queens performing at the Bilzen Jazz And Rock Festival in Belgium is one of the coolest things ever. The Queens are divine and Vin is a knockout of a singer. A power trio delivering some delicious garage soul. This performance alone should be enough to secure Cardinal a spot in R&B’s storied history.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
New Wave: Peek inside ‘Bogey’s Underground Fashion’ catalog from the good old 1980s


A page from the vintage fashion catalog ‘Bogey’s Underground Fashion,’ late 80s, early 90s.
 
Today I have for you something that I know many of our readers will recall coming across back in the mid to late 80s: a catalog catering to goth, “new wave” and punk style clothes sold by the New York-based company “Bogey’s Underground-Fashion From London.”
 

 
Back in the Boston-area during the 80s (where I was busily stomping around at the time) there were several shops in Cambridge that catered to the crowd who wanted their clothes to be black and tight with zippers and holes in all the right places. I spent A LOT of cash at the Allston Beat (RIP) in Harvard Square. To this day I refuse to get rid of the few pieces I still have that I purchased there back in the late ‘80s.

Much of the clothing and shoes sold by Bogey’s appeared to be from London (specifically pieces from “BOY of London”). Additionally, they sold their own “Bogey’s” brand which I will cautiously assume might have been designed in the company’s former home-base at 767 5th Avenue in New York. I can also tell you that looking at these images (best viewed whilst listening to Bauhaus, Adam & the Ants or Alien Sex Fiend) you may wish that Bogey’s awesomely cheesey 800 number, “1-800-YO-BOGEY” still was in operation, as they called it a day back in the early spring of 1993.
 

 

 
More pages from Bogey’s Underground-Fashion From London catalogs after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘He was like a walking hit of acid’: Remembering Rex Thompson of the Summer Hits (1968-2016)
09.14.2016
11:59 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Los Angeles
Surfing
Mixtapes

Rex in the Sea of Cortez, Baja Mexico 2001
Rex in the Sea of Cortez, Baja Mexico 2001 Sasha Eisenman/Sun-Godz
 
In the early 1990’s a 22-year old surfer kid from Newport Beach hit the L.A. music scene and turned it inside out. Rex Kingsley Thompson (nickname: “Tatarex”) was a thin, cool, attractive, 6’4” tall creation that looked like he had just arrived in a time machine. His band The Summer Hits released a handful of singles between 1992-1996 and were played on BBC Radio 1 by legendary deejay John Peel. Then like a flash, Rex left southern California for Europe without a penny in his pocket where he spent twelve years exploring chic, tropical islands and castles with beautiful women of royalty. Last week the news of Rex’s passing at the age of 47 hit the internet and saddened thousands of friends and followers who recount his super unconventional lifestyle and profound cult-like influence on people everywhere he went.
 
Known around skateboard parks for always drinking pink lemonade, Tatarex was also somewhat of a local at “The Wedge” in Orange County, a surfing spot just off the end of the Balboa Peninsula popular for its big waves and laid-back lifestyle. As a mohawked youth back in Glendora, Rex had originally intended to be a tennis player but once he hit his 20’s and left home he began shifting his focus towards other interests such as fashion, the beach, music, and recreational drug use. “He walked around like he was this psychedelic blue blood sometimes. You know what I mean? Because he was always asking everybody about their fashion, and clothes, and hygiene, and appearance. He didn’t judge you he would just kind of point people in the direction of the finer things in life. Not just expensive things, but the things that make you live free and think that you can really enjoy life” says longtime friend Brent Rademaker.
 
Rex drove around in a Volkswagon bus he called “Peanut” searching local vintage stores for groovy clothes and groovy records. Brent recalls the modes of communication before cell phones existed: “He worked at the Newport Classic Inn, I’d call him there. The only way to get in touch with him would be to call him at work. He’d answer the phone ‘Good afternoon the Newport Classic Inn Hotel this is Rex speaking’ It was kind of like the thing in Quadrophenia when the Ace Face gets outed as a bellboy. I even went down there and Rex is dressed in a button-down shirt with a tie. Darren and I came from Florida and Rex really lived all things west coast and lived all things southern California. He made us honorary Californians and he didn’t treat us as outsiders.”
 
The Summer Hits, mid-'90s collage courtesy of Brent Rademaker
The Summer Hits, mid-‘90s collage courtesy of Brent Rademaker
 
With no prior musical experience or training, Rex picked up a left-handed bass and taught himself to play. After his first band fell apart (a C86 influenced local group called Speed Racer) Rex formed The Summer Hits by recruiting friends Darren Rademaker and Josh Schwartz (of the lo-fi “indie rock” band Further). They released a handful of 7"s on labels such as Small-Fi, Volvolo, Silver Girl, and 1000 Guitar Mania. Rex’s unique singing voice on the 8-track recordings was nearly drowned out by a wall of fuzz and feedback, with lyrics that reflected all of his most favorite things: summer, the beach, drugs, listening to music, girls, runnin’ from the fuzz, and retreating into the desert night.
 
In 1997 the year following the band’s split, Brent issued The Summer Hits compilation CD on his own label Xmas Records. “I took every dime I had to put that Beaches and Canyons CD together. I found all the comp tracks and all the singles and all the tapes and I took them down to Capitol (Records) tower and mastered them. The guy looked at me like I was insane when it came on. You know? And I’m like ‘Can you add even more fuzz?’ and he’s like ‘What?! I can’t clean these up,’ I said ‘I don’t want you to clean them up, I want you to make them dirtier.’”
 

 
Besides being the life of the party and a psychedelic social butterfly, Rex Thompson had been making amazing mixtapes which were then duplicated and passed down by friends and friends of friends. The more tapes Rex made the deeper the tracks got and the more extensive his handwritten linear notes became.  One tape of Rex’s in particular titled Find the Sun really stood out amongst his circle of friends and focused on recordings from 1966-1973 by groups all over the world experimenting with the “west coast sound.” Rex’s personal description of the tape was “Magic hippie vibes for lost cosmic children with countrified brains.” Brent recalls, “It had a great title and it was full of obscure, beautiful, beautiful groups. One day Chris Gunst, Josh Schwartz, and I were listening to that tape and one of us just said ‘We can make a group that sounds like this.’ Slowly our clothes started changing, next thing Chris was wearing cowboy western shirts.” L.A. supergroup Beachwood Sparks was formed, they had a successful career on Sub Pop Records and were later featured on the soundtrack to the 2010 cult classic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. “We wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for that tape and Rex’s influence.”
 
Radio Stars vol.8 mixtape courtesy of Sasha Eisenman
“Radio Stars vol.8” mixtape courtesy of Sasha Eisenman/Sun-Godz
 
Find the Sun mixtape linear notes courtesy of Maura Klosterman
“Find the Sun” mixtape linear notes courtesy of Maura Klosterman
 
“Another thing that speaks so highly of Rex, the linear notes on his tapes are so in depth. And I’m not saying that the pre-internet world didn’t learn or share knowledge or do research. But at what he had at his disposal he really went in depth and he knew what he was talking about when he was talking about country rock, psych, folk, west coast garage, fuzz. Whatever it was, he knew it.”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
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