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Cult actress Tura Satana has died
02.05.2011
08:03 pm
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Tura Satana died yesterday of heart failure, in Reno, Nevada. Satana had a brief but iconic career during which she was an exotic dancer, starred in the ground-breaking cult film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, dated Elvis Presley and became a cinematic icon.

Satana began her career as a dancer at 14, and was a victim of the brutality and sexism endemic at the time, as she explained in 2008:

“At the age of 15 I became an exotic dancer in the clubs of Calumet City, Illinois, because I had left home due to a bad situation stemming from when I was raped. Instead of the guys who raped me going to jail, I was sent to reform school because they paid the judge one thousand dollars to get off. So I went instead, supposedly because I enticed them to rape me.”

Satana went onto appear in numerous TV shows and films, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Billy Wilder’s Irma La Douce, but it be for iconic role in Russ Meyer’s classic 1965 film Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! for which she will always be remembered. In the film, Satana played Varla, a sexy, voluptuous anti-hero, who proved:

“A woman, like my character, was able to show the male species that we’re not helpless and not entirely dependent on them. People picked up on the fact that women could be gorgeous and sexy and still kick ass.”

Satana also said:

“There are a great many similarities between Varla and myself. Varla was an outlet for some of the anger I felt growing up. She was also a statement to women all over the world that you can be a take-charge person and still be sexy. She also showed the women world-wide that women don’t have to be weak, simpering females. They just go after what they want and usually get it.”

John Waters once described Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! as:

”The best movie ever made, and possibly better than any movie that will ever be made.”

Born in Japan in either 1935 or 1938 (dates vary), Satana worked her way though a variety of minor TV roles, including appearing with Dean Martin in Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?, before being chosen by Meyer for Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. Filmed in the desert outside Los Angeles, in temperatures often over hundred degrees, Meyer claimed that “She and I made the movie…” and that Satana was “very capable”:

“She knew how to handle herself. Don’t fuck with her! And if you fuck with her, do it well! She might turn on you!”

Satana went on to make The Astro Zombies (1969) and Ted V. Mikels’ The Doll Squad (1973), after which she was shot by a former lover. Satana then worked as a nurse, until her cult celebrity led to her return to acting this century with Sugar Boxx, Rob Zombie’s animation The Haunted World of El Superbeasto and Astro Zombies: M3 Cloned.

An announcement on her official web site reads:

R.I.P. 1938-2011

My dear, dear friend, you have no idea how much you will be missed…

In 2008, Satana talked to Zuri Zone about her cult status:

“I’m thrilled with the status Faster Pussycat has received when it was first released and at all the additional releases. I think the popularity that it has is because we gave them something that they really wanted to see. I also hope that it is because it shows that women don’t have to be weak and helpless to be sexy. We can be in control and still be feminine. I think that I remain a cult figure even after 40 years because the public like what they see on the screen. At least on the film, I will be forever ageless.”

 

 
Bonus clip from ‘Faster, Pussycat!’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.05.2011
08:03 pm
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Mick Karn, Bass-player with Japan Dead at 52
01.04.2011
04:30 pm
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Mick Karn the former bass-player with highly influential group Japan has died at the age of 52.

An announcement on his website reads:

It’s with profound sadness that we have to inform you that Mick finally lost his battle with cancer and passed away peacefully at 4.30pm today, 4th January 2011 at home in Chelsea, London. He was surrounded by his family and friends and will be deeply missed by all.

Karn was an intrinsic part to the success of Japan which, under David Sylvian’s talents, fused synth-pop with elements of Bowie and Roxy Music. They first came to prominence in the mid-1970s, and went onto produce the highly acclaimed albums Quiet Life, Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Tin Drum; as well as the hit singles “Ghosts”, “Quiet Life” and “I Second That Emotion”. Japan’s music was to prove greatly influential over the next decade.  After the band’s demise, Karn collaborated with Bauhaus singer, Pete Murphy on the seminal album The Waking Hour. He also worked with Gary Numan and Kate Bush.
 

 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.04.2011
04:30 pm
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Singer/songwriter Gerry Rafferty has died
01.04.2011
03:21 pm
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Scottish singer/songwriter Gerry Rafferty has died at the age of 63. Rafferty was best known for “Stuck In The Middle With You,” a 1972 hit for his band Stealer’s Wheel and later for his solo smash “Baker Street,” which made him a millionaire overnight.

The Beatleesque “Stuck In The Middle With You” was used to hilarious effect in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. And the haunting sax riff of “Baker Street” is an indelible part of 70s rock and roll. A great hook.

Through the 80’s and 90s, Rafferty continued to write and record critically well-received albums, but health problems related to alcoholism got in the way of any sustained success.

Drink drove him into fits of depression and he’d disappear for periods of time. Angry, garrulous and unpredictable, Rafferty sabotaged his musical career until it simply didn’t exist anymore.

He died of suspected liver damage.

In his 1978 Rolling Stone review of Rafferty’s album “City To City,” Ken Emerson wrote what might serve as a fitting eulogy for Rafferty’s career and life:

Even in his mother’s womb, Gerry Rafferty must have expected the worst. This Scotsman entitled his melancholy 1971 solo album Can I Have My Money Back? (the answer was “No!”). And when Stealers Wheel, the group he subsequently formed with Joe Egan, became an overnight success with the hit single “Stuck in the Middle with You,” only to lapse into morning-after obscurity, he probably said, “I told you so.” On City to City, his first LP in three years, Rafferty sticks grimly to his guns. Not only does he use the same producer (Hugh Murphy) and several of the same musicians, but a similar un-self-pitying fatalism pervades the record.

However, there is a slight but significant change for the better that makes City to City as eloquently consoling as the spirituals Rafferty echoes in “Whatever’s Written in Your Heart.” Indeed, there’s a prayerful quality to the entire LP, a quality reminiscent of the dim dawn after a dark night of the soul. “The Ark” begins as a Highland death march, complete with doleful bagpipes, but swells into a stirring hymn to love. And, after etching a relationship stalemated by the inability of two lovers to express their feelings, the somber “Whatever’s Written in Your Heart” (whose only instruments are a piano and a hushed sythesizer) concludes with a coda of vocal harmonies that sing of sublime forgiveness.

Hope, in almost all these songs, lurks on the horizon. And when it springs fully into view—as on “City to City,” with its rollicking train tempo, and on the jaunty “Mattie’s Rag”—the music almost burbles with anticipation.

Gerry Rafferty still writes with the sweet melodiousness of Paul McCartney and sings with John Lennon’s weary huskiness, and his synthesis of American country music, British folk and transatlantic rock is as smooth as ever. But his orchestrations have acquired a stately sweep. For all their rhythmic variety—from the suave Latin lilt of “Right down the Line” to the thump of “Home and Dry”—these are uniformly majestic songs. The instrumental refrain on one of the best of them, “Baker Street,” is breathtaking: between verses describing a dreamer’s self-deceptions, Rapheal Ravenscroft’s saxophone ballons with aspirations only to have a sythesizer wrench it back to earth with an almost sickening tug. If City to City doesn’t rise to the top of the charts, its commercial failure will be equally dismaying. And our loss will be greater even than Rafferty’s. After all, when was the last time you bought an album boasting more than fifty minutes of music? And great music at that.”

- Ken Emerson, Rolling Stone, 1-15-78.
 

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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01.04.2011
03:21 pm
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Disco goddess Sylvester plays live underground, 1979
12.17.2010
02:00 am
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San Francisco disco diva Sylvester James’s appearance at a dance party in a subterranean SF Muni station in the Castro district in 1979 couldn’t have been more fraught. The neighborhood had just been shaken to the core the previous fall with the shooting death of Harvey Milk, SF’s first openly gay supervisor. Ahead lay the AIDS epidemic, which would eventually take Sylvester himself 22 years ago this week at age 41.

But on that night, Sylvester was at the peak of his success. He was just about to release his 5th album, Stars, the follow-up to 1978’s Step II, which had hit #7 on the American R&B charts and included one of gay America’s legendary anthems, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” After his first taste of mainstream success, and after nine years of the official Gay Pride parade in San Francisco, after coming this far, perhaps it seemed fitting for the community to get back to its roots and and take the party underground again.
 
Thanks to Erica Green for bringing this to my attention…
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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12.17.2010
02:00 am
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A great rock hero died 30 years ago: Darby Crash
12.08.2010
05:51 pm
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May he rest in peace. And somebody get him a beer…
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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12.08.2010
05:51 pm
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Creepy Barack Obama Urn
12.03.2010
01:58 pm
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Now you or your loved ones can sleep forever with angels inside Obama’s head. This handy Obama urn will cost you $2,600.

You can thank me later for helping out with your last minute holiday gift.

Cremation Solutions: Tomorrows Traditions

(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.03.2010
01:58 pm
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Some of Sleazy’s Best: The ecstatic anthropology of Threshold HouseBoys Choir
11.26.2010
12:16 pm
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Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson’s passing yesterday evoked many tributes to the man as a member of influential electronic acts Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV and Coil. But we haven’t heard quite enough about one of his best solo projects, Threshold HouseBoys Choir.

Both live and on the guise’s single proper release, Form Grows Rampant, THBC basically comprised Sleazy backing his own video of various rituals at the Vegetarian Festival in southern Thailand’s Krabi Town (12 hours from his adopted home of Bangkok) with an abstract soundtrack that drew on the many field recordings he made in the city. Christopherson’s infamous fascination with the young active male body is clear in this work. But many of the problematics surrounding the European gaze that typifies exotica seem mitigated somehow by the late composer’s intimate audio-visual treatment. 

Overall, Christopherson’s work helped create a literary, psychotropic aesthetic that synthesized aspects of outside sexuality, technology, and ritual magick, bound by a wry sense of humor. THBC brought that angle to a highly personal level, and will stand as an evocative late moment in the man’s prolific career.
 

 
More from Form Grows Rampant after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Nachmann
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11.26.2010
12:16 pm
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R.I.P. Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson 1955-2010
11.25.2010
09:08 am
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Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, founding member of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, and Coil, died in his sleep yesterday, 24 November, at his home in Thailand, he was 55.

The initial announcement was made by Throbbing Gristle members Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter who tweeted the same message:

Our dearest beautiful Sleazy left this mortal coil as he slept in peace last night.words cannot express our grief.

Throbbing Gristle’s official website has been updated with the message

We are saddened to announce the death of Peter Christopherson.

Sleazy passed away peacefully in his sleep on the

24th November 2010 at his home in Bankok.


Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson

1955 - 2010


 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.25.2010
09:08 am
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Norris Church Mailer RIP
11.21.2010
06:03 pm
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Norris Church Mailer (1949-2010), the sixth and final wife of the late novelist, Norman Mailer, has died today after a long battle with cancer, it has been announced.

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Norris Church Mailer, widow of Norman Mailer, who died November 21, 2010, after a long and valiant struggle with cancer. Norris was many things to many people. She was an unusually gifted and talented writer, an insightful observer of the human condition, both as novelist and memoirist.

She was an acclaimed professional painter and illustrator, as well as a teacher in her native Arkansas and then a beautiful fashion model in New York. She was the pilgrim soul who captured and won Norman’s heart and mind and who shared with him the last three decades of his life. She was a loving mother and adored stepmother, the glue that held together the eclectic Mailer clan. And she was a good, passionate and generous friend for so many of us who came to know, admire and love her.

Announcement from the Norman Mailer Society.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.21.2010
06:03 pm
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Factory Records boss Tony Wilson’s headstone designed by Peter Saville and Ben Kelly
10.22.2010
01:30 pm
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via Creative Review:

In death as in life: Peter Saville and Ben Kelly’s memorial to their friend and collaborator Anthony H Wilson is three years late, but it was worth the wait. Factory Records founder Anthony H Wilson died in August 2007. Just over three years later, a memorial headstone designed by Wilson’s long-term collaborators Peter Saville and Ben Kelly was unveiled in The Southern Cemetery in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester. The headstone carries a quote from The Manchester Man, the 1876 novel by Mrs G Linnaeus Banks (aka Isabella Varley Banks), the story of one Jabez Clegg and his life in Victorian Manchester.

And yes, there is a FAC catalogue number involved ! According to a comment on the Creative Review site his casket has the FAC number 501 and his estate has vowed that would be the last thing cataloged.
 
Close-up on the quote after the jump…

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Posted by Brad Laner
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10.22.2010
01:30 pm
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