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‘Is the Father Black Enough?’ Monkee Micky Dolenz stars in bizarre 1970s racial exploitation flick
09.14.2017
01:50 pm
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Poster for sale at Westgate Gallery
 
Micky Dolenz will always be known as a Monkee and not as a dramatic actor, but he did do some non-Monkee acting after the band broke up in the early 1970s. One of Dolenz’s legacies as an actor is certain high-profile roles he did not end up getting cast in. He famously auditioned for the role of Arthur Fonzarelli in Happy Days (Michael Nesmith did too). The only thing we can say for sure about that is that there is zero chance he would have been as successful in the role as Henry Winkler was. He also was considered for the Riddler in Batman Forever, a part that eventually went to Jim Carrey.

One of his early acting roles was his star turn in Night of the Strangler, an exploitation film that came out in 1972. Directed by Joy N. Houck Jr., it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill serial killer movie except for two things, the complete and total lack of any strangling whatsoever during the entire movie and the progressive (???) use of an interracial love affair as the driver of events. The movie begins with the hasty return of Denise to her native Louisiana from Vassar College, where she has fallen in love with an African-American fellow who has impregnated her and whom she intends to marry. (I had to work in a mention of Vassar, seeing as how the same institution unwisely furnished me with an undergraduate degree.) This news is taken rather differently by her brothers Vance (Dolenz) and imperious Dan, who throws around the N-word a lot and threatens to kill Denise and her betrothed. Before that can happen, though, her man is shot by a sniper and Denise is drowned in her bathtub…...
 

 
The taglines for the movie were “He Gets Them All!” and “Southern Revenge!” As happened with many B-movies in the 1970s, this movie was released under multiple titles. I guess it wasn’t common for movies to have quite this many titles, most of which play up the race thing and (thank goodness) don’t mention strangling, as in Dirty Dan’s Women and Is the Father Black Enough? and The Ace of Spades (really?).

As with many violent B-movies, there isn’t enough motivation for the series of killings, which are there mainly to draw audience and titillate viewers. In between the spurts of violence, you can barely glimpse a more interesting movie, but even that aspect is just sketched together. Dolenz’s training from the Monkees sitcom helped him, however. He’s not great or anything but he’s perfectly engaging as the more recessive of the two brothers.
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.14.2017
01:50 pm
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‘Jack Johnson,’ 1970 documentary about the first black heavyweight champion, scored by Miles Davis
08.18.2017
09:02 am
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Even people who don’t like Miles Davis’ electric period (!) recognize the greatness of Jack Johnson, one of John McLaughlin’s finest moments, and a record I’d heard dozens of times before I realized it was the score to a movie. Long before
Ken Burns’ Unforgivable Blackness, there was this 1970 documentary by promoter Bill Cayton and fight film collector Jimmy Jacobs.

Jack Johnson was the first black boxer to win the world heavyweight championship. The phrase “great white hope” originates from the terror he struck into the hearts of pale Americans, both by winning the title and enjoying himself in public. His success did not go unpunished. Busted under the Mann Act and sentenced to a year and a day, Johnson skipped bail and fled the country. (In one memorable scene in Jack Johnson, the champ meets Rasputin.)
 

 
In his autobiography, Davis writes that he was boxing in the spring of 1970, when he wrote the soundtrack:

The music was originally meant for Buddy Miles, the drummer, and he didn’t show up to pick it up. When I wrote these tunes I was going up to Gleason’s Gym to train with Bobby McQuillen, who was now calling himself Robert Allah (he had become a Muslim). Anyway, I had that boxer’s movement in mind, that shuffling movement boxers use. They’re almost like dance steps, or like the sound of a train. In fact, it did remind me of being on a train doing eighty miles an hour, how you always hear the same rhythm because of the speed of the wheels touching the tracks, the plop-plop, plop-plop, plop-plop sound of the wheels passing over those splits in the track. That train image was in my head when I thought about a great boxer like Joe Louis or Jack Johnson. When you think of a big heavyweight coming at you it’s like a train.

Then the question in my mind after I got to this was, well, is the music black enough, does it have a black rhythm, can you make the rhythm of the train a black thing, would Jack Johnson dance to that? Because Jack Johnson liked to party, liked to have a good time and dance. One of the tunes on there, called “Yesternow” was named by James Finney, who was my hairdresser—and Jimi Hendrix’s, too. Anyway, the music fit perfectly with that movie. But when the album came out, they buried it. No promotions. I think one of the reasons was because it was music you could dance to. And it had a lot of stuff white rock musicians were playing, so I think they didn’t want a black jazz musician doing that kind of music. Plus, the critics didn’t know what to do with it. So Columbia didn’t promote it.

Watch ‘Jack Johnson’ after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.18.2017
09:02 am
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Before ‘Dolemite,’ Rudy Ray Moore was an accomplished early rock and roll singer
06.09.2017
09:33 am
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Rudy Ray Moore is best known for his Dolemite character which appeared in a string of low-budget 1970s blaxploitation films. His jive-talking, rhyme-spitting comedian/pimp/martial artist character has become a cultural icon and has been homaged by Mad TV and in the loving blaxploitation tribute, Black Dynamite.

Moore’s best films, Dolomite, The Human Tornado, Disco Godfather, and (my personal favorite) Petey Wheatstraw have all been recently reissued in gloriously fully-loaded, ultra-deluxe Blu-ray editions by boutique label Vinegar Syndrome, and I can’t recommend them enough for fans of ‘70s so-bad-it’s-good grindhouse fare.
 

Rudy Ray Moore, straight pimpin’, in “Petey Wheatraw, The Devil’s Son in Law.”
 
Though Moore, who left this mortal coil in 2008, sold thousands of spoken-word “party records” as a comedian, he is not widely remembered for the dozens of records he released as a musician. Moore is considered by many to be “the Godfather of rap,” as his rhymed “toasting” storytelling style is often cited as one of the great inspirations on that musical genre; but Moore’s own musical recordings are, by and large, straight r&b and early rock and roll affairs, with many of the early singles demonstrating obvious Little Richard and Chuck Berry influences. 

His talent as a singer rivals his talents as a comedian and martial artist—and depending on your level of Rudy Ray Moore fandom, that is either a slight or high praise.

I’ll let you be the judge.

Have a listen after the jump you no-good, rat-soup-eatin’ motherfuckers…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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06.09.2017
09:33 am
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‘The Underside of Power’: New video from Algiers
04.27.2017
09:41 am
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Algiers have had a hell of a couple of years. In 2015, they dropped a fiercely original debut album that found an uncharted sweet spot between industrial rhythm and noise, post-punk guitar skreeeee, and the smoldering intensity of Southern black gospel. Wide acclaim, a few videos, and heavy touring followed, and the band’s core trio of singer/guitarist Franklin Fisher, bassist/synthesist Ryan Mahan, and guitarist Lee Tesche was augmented by touring (and now permanent) drummer Matt Tong, formerly of Bloc Party. In between all their rock labors, they wrote a second album, The Underside of Power, and WOW.

The Underside of Power, despite being written and recorded under duress of time, shows remarkable growth. The band’s disparate influences remain, but the album is characterized by a weird irony: the debut was written via file-swapping, when the band’s members lived in three different cities, but it feels like a rock band’s record. The second album, though it’s the product of a seasoned touring unit with a full-time drummer, feels more like the work of an electronic composer. That’s due to a combination of the band’s build-it-up-high-and-rip-it-all-down working method and Mahan’s stepping to the fore as the band’s primary tunesmith.

What haven’t changed are Fisher’s lyrical themes—his righteous and soulful declamations against injustice and abuse of power make Algiers one of this era’s most convincing purveyors of protest music. As a multi-racial band from Atlanta, GA, they engage head-on with race as well, a topic they handle powerfully on the song “Cleveland.” This one’s close to my heart—I’m born and bred in that fabled grey city, and the song deals in part with the extrajudicial execution of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland’s police. I know the neighborhood where Rice was killed quite well, and I pass that rec center often. It is still impossible to be anywhere near that block and not think about the senseless murder, the police’s wagon-circling around the shockingly incompetent officer who drive-by shot the poor kid, and the local media’s complicity in selling the cops’ ever-changing stories of how the shooting happened. That horrific event was a massive trauma in the black community, and more specifically still Rice’s family, but it was also, more broadly, Cleveland’s trauma (and it remains our shame), and hearing outsiders confront that event artistically is moving and illuminating.

Fisher and Tesche were kind enough to spend a good chunk of an afternoon chatting with me about the new album, how touring has changed them and their work, and “Cleveland.” A goofy phone connection rendered a couple of Fisher’s comments unintelligible. Any errors are my own interpolations. I did my best to faithfully preserve his meaning and tone, scout’s honor.

Dangerous Minds: The new album was made in a somewhat and unfortunately different world than the first one, and I was wondering to what degree the primaries and their attendant escalation of American racism and violence had an impact on the new music? And since, broadly speaking, you’ve been dealing with themes of injustice anyway, would it have been so different an album had last year gone differently?

Fisher: Yes, I think all of it except maybe “Cleveland” was written last year between June and the end of the year, but that being said, American racism and violence are always there.

“Death March” was about Brexit, the inspiration for it came from Brexit—the recording sessions started when we were in the North Country, and there was this cloud hanging over everybody. But at the same time, we were in this very expensive, very nice setup with these two professional producers, and we were kind of being forced to create, and I hit a wall, so I just went through the newspapers and responded, and everybody around us was devastated by it in ways we’d find out about on our own terms when Trump won the election a few months later.

Tesche:  From my perspective, when I was a teenager I was really into DC Hardcore, and I was feeding off of the Riot Grrrl movement and all that stuff, so everything that I’ve always been a part of has had some sort of greater political context or message, and I feel like we’re kind of all the same that way, so I don’t really know if the new record would have been that much different thematically, but throughout the whole process, one event after another changed our moods. When Brexit happened we were in England, and the U.S. election happened towards the end of tracking and mixing, and those things definitely influenced the very final shape and character of these songs.

DM: The Underside of Power feels more like an electronic album than the debut does—the guitars seem less prominent. Also Underside seems like it features more uptempo stuff compared to all of the first album’s slow-burners. Has your writing process changed much between the albums?

Tesche:  Not really. The way things got shaped in the mixing process, there were lots of guitars and lots of crazy sounds, and stuff was piled on, and as we made our way through the mix we pulled things back and peeled things off. It’s a result of that process more than the writing, just later on deciding what we wanted to push to the front. We were touring together for a year and a half, and when we recorded the second album we were coming from more of a live band perspective, and I think we were all kind of pulling things in different directions. This one may be more of a “soul” record than the first in a certain sense, but it’s hard to quantify those things, and we didn’t really have that kind of intent when we went in. We all set up to write sketches individually and we each had our own motivations, and so we all ended up with our own frustrations, and that’s what keeps you working towards the next one. Maybe the songs surprised us in how they turned out, but that’s how they exist, and maybe when we go out and play live, they’ll change and morph.

Fisher:The first record, we wrote it almost exclusively through online file swapping when we lived in three different cities. This record more was written when we were all together. I don’t think there’s any prescription or specific method for our writing. We did go away after the first couple months of touring and everybody kind of worked on compositions to bring back to the group, to see what we had, and what we could work on. The majority of the compositions on this record are Ryan’s, he’s gotten really hands-on with electronic programming.

Tesche:  There are a lot of different forces at play. On one hand, when I work on guitar stuff I try to approach it from an abstract perspective, to challenge myself to find a role for guitar that’s not just riffing, and Frank’s guitar playing was a response to that too. Not that we avoided normal guitar stuff altogether, but with Ryan writing the majority of it, and coming from this more synthetic place, guitar-wise you have to approach that somewhat delicately, because if you just come in and try and do a bunch of punk rock stuff on top of that, you can end up in a really awful place. It’s more about understanding what the songs are becoming, and what they’re supposed to be. The next record could be full of Iron Maiden leads, who knows?

Fisher:I’m still learning my role as a singer more than a guitarist. I’ve always been the guitarist in the bands I’ve played with since I was a kid, and there’s not really a need for me to do that so much with this band. Our process is such that we’ll tend to use a maximalist approach, in that we’ll just pile things on and pile things on, and then we stand back and look at it and then start stripping things away. I’m sure it’s pure coincidence that usually any guitar part that I’ve written is one of the things that winds up getting stripped away [laughs] so this record was the beginning of me coming to terms with my designation as a singer, exploring that instead of trying to force my guitar into songs. Like Lee said, you have to be careful, otherwise it turns into a really strange nasty brew of guitar music and electronics that can go sideways.

Tesche:  I think by design, part of the sound we’re crafting works well without much guitar in there, which of course is interesting for us as guitar players, becoming more choosy about when to play. With the last record, they took their final shape in the studio, and when we started performing the songs they became something else. I think these songs are going to go the same way, it’ll turn into something else. It’ll be after a few months touring that we’ll start to fully understand what this music is and what it should do.

DM: Franklin, earlier you mentioned that the song “Cleveland” came before the rest of the album. You guys probably guessed I’d have something to say about that one—was that a response to the Tamir Rice execution?

Tesche:  Frank can go into more specifics on that because that one was largely written by him, and there are a number of different levels to it, but yes. It does reference that, and the choir sample is the Reverend James Cleveland. It’s a multi-faceted reference in that sense. And I also recall the coincidence that when we recorded that song we were working with Adrian Utley from Portishead, and they early on started out in this little town called Clevedon.

Fisher: There’s a recurring pattern of people mysteriously dying in police custody, people who’d seemingly been lynched but the local police had swept it under the rug, time and again, going back years. I wanted to kind of do something to try to confront the fact that this is happening, happening all the time, it’s an ongoing symptom. The song’s title was meant to invoke Tamir Rice without actually mentioning him, because he’s a symptom of something that’s as old as this country, being lynched by police, no matter how old you are, and if you’re a person of color, it’s something you’re always afraid of, either consciously or in the back of your mind. If you read some of these cases, it’s beyond absurd, and it becomes sickening how there’s never justice or closure for these families. Like Keith Warren—I think this was in like ’89, in Maryland. Good student, intelligent kid. He was found hanging in the middle of the forest, from a tree that was bent over from his weight. And they cut the tree down and embalmed him before any evidence could be taken, before the crime scene was surveyed. Before any real work could be done on the case they basically called it off and deemed it a suicide. On what would have been his 25th birthday, a box of photographs of the crime scene showed up on his mom’s doorstep. His mom realized that the clothes he was wearing weren’t his, and there were so many other things that made no sense, and there’s still no closure for his family. His mom thought his friends sent her the pictures because they knew something but were afraid to talk, and shortly after, one of his friends died in a suspicious bicycle accident.
 

 
Though the new album isn’t due until June 23rd, the band released the first video from The Underside of Power this morning—and it’s the album’s title track. It features the band plotting antifa resistance in an underground bunker/undisclosed location, and it’s sprinkled liberally with vintage clips from the Civil Rights movement era so nobody can miss the point. Fisher is pretty awesome in it, and he had this to say about the song (this is quoted from press materials, it’s not from our interview):

I heard someone say once that you don’t know what real power is until you’re on the wrong side of it. That was the inspiration for ‘The Underside of Power’ To be someone who has known first-hand, the full brunt of institutional force, the feeling of being completely vulnerable to it and powerless against it, is a bitter reality for the vast majority of people. The image of an insect being squashed by a boot comes to mind. But with that image comes a slightly hopeful paradox: just as all systems have inherent flaws, so does the proverbial boot, which leaves the slight possibility for the insect to creep through and bite back.

 
Watch the new video from Algiers, after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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04.27.2017
09:41 am
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Dope Man: Trump’s dad nearly ran for Mayor of New York, watch his racist 1969 test commercials
02.10.2017
10:50 am
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UPDATE: Politico is now saying that the videos were a hoax. It looks like Sidney Blumenthal got punk’d. The spots were pulled on both Vimeo and YouTube. About an hour later the London Review of Books scrubbed the offending paragraph (see below) from their website with this message:

The original version of this piece contained two passages that require correction and clarification. At the time of the Roy Cohn leaks mentioned, the New York World Telegram was owned not by Hearst but by Scripps Howard. A paragraph referring to Fred Trump’s campaign for mayor of New York, although it accurately reflected Trump’s racial attitudes and his hostility towards Mayor John Lindsay, has been removed because the campaign ads referred to appear to be clever fakes.

“Dope Man” also made Snopes just now.

Yet another skeleton hiding out in Donald Trump’s closet, these unused TV spots were created when his father, Queens-based real estate developer Fred Trump, was mulling over challenging Republican mayor John Lindsay—who had angered Trump by refusing him certain city contracts—in the New York City mayoral race of 1969. Ultimately Trump Sr. decided not to run, but at least two television commercial tests were produced, proving, if nothing else, that the nut didn’t fall very far from the tree in his son’s case.

At first glance, the “Dope Man” spot almost seems like a parody or media-jamming meta-prank. I mean, WHO would have been so classless as to do something like this? [Editor: A Trump?] Although the two commercial tests have been posted on YouTube and Vimeo since mid-October of last year, no one has really touched them. It just doesn’t seem like they could be real… (like that Woody Guthrie song about “Old Man Trump” that seemed so Snopes-worthy at first) but here’s a citation from an article written by Hillary Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal that appears in the February 16th issue of the London Review of Books.

Check it out, folks:

In 1969, Fred Trump plotted to run for mayor of New York against John Lindsay, a silk-stocking liberal Republican. The reason was simple: in the wake of a New York State Investigations Commission inquiry that uncovered Fred’s overbilling scams, the Lindsay administration had deprived him of a development deal at Coney Island. He made two test television commercials. One of them, called ‘Dope Man’, featured a drug-addled black youth wandering the streets. ‘With four more years of John Lindsay,’ the narrator intoned, ‘he will be coming to your neighbourhood soon.’ The ad flashed to the anxious faces of two well-dressed white women. ‘Vote for Fred Trump. He’s for us.’ The other commercial, ‘Real New Yorkers’, showed scenes of ‘real’ people from across the city, all of them white. Fred Trump, the narrator said, ‘is a real New Yorker too’. In the end he didn’t run, but his campaign themes were bequeathed to his son.

There are no more words. NO MORE WORDS.
 
Watch ‘Dope Man’ after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.10.2017
10:50 am
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The Vanguard: Powerful photographs of the Black Panthers
01.05.2017
12:57 pm
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This week saw six people, including the president and the director of communications of the NAACP, arrested at the office of Senator Jeff Sessions in Mobile, Alabama. At issue was Sessions’ impending nomination as President Trump’s attorney general; the protests addressed Sessions’ history of opposition to the civil rights movement in its broadest incarnations. The list of problems is quite impressive: Sessions has denied any existence of voter suppression efforts directed at minority communities and once purportedly warned a black attorney to “be careful how you talk to white folks” in addition to joking that his only problem with the Ku Klux Klan was its drug use. Further, Sessions has referred to the NAACP as “un-American” in the past and has called the Voting Rights Act a “piece of intrusive legislation.”

Sessions’ elevation to the top law enforcement officer in the nation is far from the only signal that Donald Trump has some sketchy views on race. If ever there was a moment in which one might actively pine for a return of the Black Panthers—real Black Panthers, not the Fox News bogeymen—the the inauguration of Donald Trump as our 45th president is definitely it.

While it wasn’t a perfect organization, the three most salient facts about the Black Panthers are that (a) the resistance they advocated was richly justified, (b) they were thoroughly fucked with by the FBI, and (c) they did a huge amount of good in African-American neighborhoods, in the form of community organizing of the kind that Republicans have been known to deride. That they carried around scary machine guns, behaved like a paramilitary group and said things about armed resistance that scared the shit out of white people, well, consider what they were up against.

The 2011 documentary The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 and the 2015 documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution are both eloquent defenses of a group that constantly threatens to be lost to history in some sense. If historians are not vigilant about defending the group to white audiences, it will always risk caricature as a radical, violent organization, which the Panthers (mostly) were not.
 

 
In 1970 a book of photographs was published documenting the resistance efforts of the Black Panthers surrounding the 1968 trial of Huey Newton and its aftermath. The book was by two white photographers, a married couple named Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones. It was titled The Vanguard: A Photographic Essay on the Black Panthers. (A similar book of Baruch and Jones’ photographs was published in 2002 under the title The Black Panthers 1968.) The 1970 book includes a number of informative texts, such as “Review of Panther Growth and Harrassment”, “Rules of the Black Panther Party”, and the “Black Panther Party Platform and Program.”

The photographs were taken the same year that J. Edgar Hoover called the Black Panthers “the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States.” You don’t have to be Ta-Nehisi Coates (whose own father, Paul Coates, was a member of the Black Panthers and was internally discussed as a candidate for assassination by the selfsame FBI) to consider that judgment to be a mite premature…...... 

As they used to say of Richard Nixon, we can now say of the Black Panthers: Now, more than ever…..
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…....

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.05.2017
12:57 pm
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‘The Story of Skinhead’ is must-see TV
11.04.2016
04:14 pm
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My personal experience with skinheads—a “run in” you might call it—was brief, lasting mere minutes, but it was a memorable occasion…

The year was 1983 and I was a 17-year-old lovesick dickhead living in a south London squat who wanted to impress this super gorgeous goth chick I knew. My choice of attire has always been more to the preppy side, but I realized that if I was to have any chance with this beautifully morbid creature, I needed to switch up my look from Brooks Brothers to something a lil’ more Peter Murphy. So I hennaed my hair black and spiked it up with hairspray, wore eyeliner and makeup and donned a black trenchcoat. The object of my affections was not in the least impressed with my new look, but that’s beside the point.

Later that night, right after the pubs had shut, I was going home, alone, rejected and dejected, on the London subway, and feeling like an idiot. The goth look I’d worn for all of maybe five hours just wasn’t me. When the train stopped at Leicester Square, a massive rush of people crushed into the train, including a gang of eight very large, very fearsome, very mean and very fucking drunk skinheads. They were with their girlfriends, who were also wearing boots and braces. All had the “Chelsea cut” that female skins wore. The girls seemed even harder than their boyfriends, and just as ugly.

One of the female skins noticed me and pointed out the “goth poofter,” suggesting that her boyfriend and his pals should kick my faggoty ass. They jeered at me, brandished their fists at me and let me—and every other passenger in that subway car—know that they were going to beat me within an inch of my life. If I was lucky. Suffice to say that my life might’ve changed course dramatically that night had things turned out differently.

My first instinct was to piss in my pants or start crying like a baby begging them for mercy, but I decided that hoping for some cops to magically appear and save my quivering hide was probably a better strategy. Then the train conductor announced over the intercom system that we’d be stopping at the next station, and that the train we were on was being taken out of commission so all the passengers needed to exit and wait on the platform for the next train to arrive.

This was not necessarily good news, I thought.

I mentioned how crowded the train was. When this positively bursting-at-the-seams car cleared out a bit, I made to exit in the opposite direction from where the skinheads had been taunting me when the biggest and meanest one of them stomped right over and drew his arm back to wallop me with a haymaker. Had his punch connected, I’ve no doubt that he would have knocked me unconscious and probably broken several bones in my face. But he didn’t connect. He barely grazed my forehead and I felt his fist rush by me like a gust of wind as it just barely missed cracking my skull into several pieces.

The platform at the station was even more densely packed than the train had been. I needed to find some cops—and was frantically trying to push my way through the sardines, followed closely behind by this drunken, bloodthirsty skinhead wolfpack—but there were no London bobbies anywhere to be found. I kept moving, hoping something would happen when the train turned up. Standing still and waiting for them to catch up to me wasn’t an option, and there were several yards between us. I plowed onwards.

Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.04.2016
04:14 pm
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Lamentations: Stunning stained glass windows of black lives by Kehinde Wiley
10.26.2016
10:54 am
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Kehinde Wiley has been collecting laurels for over a decade, for his amazingly vivid, large scale, ultra-realistic portraits of contemporary African-Americans in an epic style that nods to Barkley L. Hendricks, but with much heavier doses of old-master grandeur, appropriating for everyday people the majesty of Renaissance nobles. Though on paper it seems like a simple conceit, his gifts as a painter render it spectacular, and his body of work taken as a whole raises powerful points about race, social class, and the true meaning of “nobility.”

Given his obeisance to Renaissance tropes, stained glass windows would seem an obvious medium for Wiley to explore, and this has in fact happened. An exhibit currently showing at Le Petit Palais in Paris features six Wiley stained glass works and four paintings. It’s the artist’s first French solo exhibition, and is loaded with religious imagery, including a couple of pietàs that MUST be intended to recall America’s hideous and apparently unswerving habit of murdering young black boys. Interestingly, the paintings are being shown among Le Petit Palais’ 19th Century collection. The exhibit is titled “Lamentations,” and is scheduled to run through January 15, 2017.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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10.26.2016
10:54 am
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Ass-kicking ‘Faster Pussycat’ heroine Tura Satana during her younger days as a burlesque dancer
10.06.2016
01:09 pm
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Bad girl rule-breaker Tura Satana’s name is pretty much synonymous with the film that propelled her to fame as the ass-kicking, man eating “Varla,” Russ Meyer’s 1965 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!. And if you know anything about Satana’s background you already know that she lived up to one of her famous lines (which I’m riffing on here) in the flick by never trying anything. She just did it.

Born Tura Luna Pascual Yamaguchi in Hokkaido, Japan in 1938 (or 1935 according to some sources) both of Satana’s parents were performers. Her father (who was part Japanese and part Filipino) was an actor who appeared in silent films. Satana’s mother performed in circuses as a contortionist and was of a mix of Native American and Scottish descent which further contributed to Satana’s exotic and unique look.

After moving to the U.S. in 1942 when Tura was only four, she and her father were sent to an internment camp in California for Japanese-Americans where they lived for two years until they reunited with her mother in Chicago. As the feelings of resentment toward the Japanese were still high following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 Tura (as well as other U.S. residents of Japanese descent) was the object of harassment and routinely subjected to bullying at school. At the age of ten Tura was brutally gang-raped by a group of teenagers. Despite her age and the horrific magnitude of the crime the five assailants were never prosecuted for the despicable assault. As a response to help protect his child, Tura’s father apparently tutored her in various martial arts such as Aikido and Karate so that she would always be able to protect herself. According to Satana herself for her portrayal of Varla she drew from the internalized rage from her rape which would further immortalize her face-smashing character in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.
 

Tura Satana as ‘Varla’ in Russ Meyer’s ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!’
 
At thirteen, her parents entered her into an “arranged” marriage with a family friend John Satana that would end only nine months later while Tura was starting her career as an exotic dancer. Not long after her marriage ended Satana found her way to the city of broken dreams, Los Angeles and was quickly discovered while performing her special blend of burlesque dancing mixed with martial arts moves. She got her first acting role in the 1959 ABC television series Hawaiian Eye. This led to many other acting roles one of which was with one of Satana’s rumored love interests, director Billy Wilder in 1963’s Irma La Douce and a role that same year opposite Dean Martin (where she played a stripper) in Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed. And if super-groupie Pamela Des Barres is to be believed (detailed in her 2008 book Let’s Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies), it was Tura herself who taught The King, Elvis Presley (another of Satana’s boy toys) his signature dance moves. 

Satana ditched her dance routines when California changed the laws governing exotic dancing which allowed clubs to require dancers appear topless and instead turned to straight jobs such as nursing, and in her later years even working as security detail for a Hilton casino in Reno, Nevada under the name “Tura Jurman” after marrying former police officer Endel Jurman in 1981. I’ve posted a variety of incredible photos of Satana from when she was known as “Miss Japan Beautiful” (a nickname that would follow her throughout her career) that were taken during her days as a burlesque dancer for you to oogle below. I’ve also included footage from Tura showing off her dance moves in the 1973 film The Doll Squad. Naturally since this is Tura Satana we are talking about, please assume that many of the images that follow are NSFW. Much like the woman herself.
 

Tura Satana in ‘Burlesque Magazine’ when she was only nineteen, 1957.
 

 

 
More Tura! Tura! Tura! after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.06.2016
01:09 pm
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‘Get Out’: Jordan Peele’s new horror-comedy is REALLY going to piss off racist Republicans
10.05.2016
01:24 pm
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That grand guy, satirist, novelist and screenwriter Terry Southern (who wrote, among other things Dr. Strangelove, Barbarella, The Magic Christian, Candy and Easy Rider) reflected on a two-month assignment working as a fiction editor at Esquire magazine:

“...before my tenure was done I had so refined my critical faculties that I could reject a story after reading the first paragraph. Then it got to be the first sentence. Finally, I felt I could safely reject on the basis of title, and at last on the basis of the author’s name—if it had a middle initial or a junior in it. Under this system I lost a few things by Vonnegut and Selby… but I never claimed it was perfect.”

I feel the same way about movie trailers: If they don’t grab me by the first 30 seconds, I mean, why should I bother to watch 90 minutes if this is all they got?

Something tells me that even Terry Southern—perhaps especially Terry Southern—would wholeheartedly approve of this outrageous new trailer for Jordan Peele’s upcoming horror comedy Get Out. The film will drop—like an atom bomb if this hilariously tweaked trailer is any indication—in February of 2017.

Just watch it.


Watch it now.

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.05.2016
01:24 pm
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