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‘Psychedelic Sex’: The revealing retro coffee table book of trippy titillation
02.16.2015
10:59 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Sex

Tags:
Psychedelic
Sexploitation
Paul Krassner


 
Taschen has released a titillating title called Psychedelic Sex written and compiled by Yippie co-founder and Realist publisher Paul Krassner with self-proclaimed obsessive collector, Eric Gotland. The racy retro collection is edited by Dian Hanson whose job title at Taschen appears actually to be “Sexy Book Editor.” Nice! Hanson produced a ton of men’s magazines from Juggs to Legshow between 1976 and 2001 and is also responsible for other Taschen titles like The Little Book of Big Penis and The Big Butt Book 3D, so obviously you might want to get your hands on Psychadelic Sex. The addition of Paul Krassner’s penchant for countercultural hilarity makes this kind of a must have in my humble opinion.

From Taschen’s website:

In a brief golden span between 1967 and 1972, the sexual revolution collided with recreational drug exploration to create “psychedelic sex.” While the baby boomers blew their minds and danced naked in the streets, men’s magazine publishers attempted to visually recreate the wonders of LSD, project them on a canvas of nubile hippie flesh, and dish it up to men dying for a taste of free love.

Way Out, Groovie, Where It’s At—each magazine title vied to convince the straight audience it offered the most authentic flower power sex trip, complete with mind-bending graphics and all-natural hippie hotties. Along the way hippies joined in the production, since what could be groovier than earning bread in your birthday suit?

At its height, psychedelic sex encompassed posters, tabloids, comics, and newsstand magazines, but the most far-out examples of all were the glossy magazines from California, center of both hippie culture and the budding American porn industry. It’s these sexy, silly reminders of peace, love, and pudenda we celebrate in Psychedelic Sex.

Do I really need to tell you that these images (except maybe the one of the book cover) probably aren’t safe for work?  I’m assuming the little winking smiley faces are added by Taschen for the website and don’t actually show up when you buy the book.
 
Article Cover - Psychedelic Sex
 
Psychedelic Sex1
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and friends.
 
Drugged and Liked It
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Keep it prim and proper in the bedroom with this Victorian era sex guide
02.16.2015
08:13 am

Topics:
Amusing
Books
History
Sex

Tags:
sex
Victorian


 
A while back I found some excerpts from the 1712 physician-penned sex manual, The Mysteries of Conjugal Love Revealed, a hilarious little tome of outdated bedroom advice (though with a surprisingly decent take on anatomy). One would hope vast scientific (and socially progressive) improvements would be made in 150 years, but this 1861 Victorian sex manual, The Book of Nature; Containing Information for Young People Who Think of Getting Married, on the Philosophy of Procreation and Sexual Intercourse; Showing How to Prevent Conception and to Avoid Child-Bearing. Also, Rules for Management During Labour and Child-birth (yes, that is the entire title), proves otherwise—those Victorians, man! Here are some choice highlights!

The proper time for sexual indulgence is an important consideration, inasmuch as carelessness in this respect may tend to dyspepsia, indigestion, and other affections of the stomach. Persons who are predisposed to such diseases should never have sexual intercourse just before eating, nor very soon after a full meal. Its peculiar effect on the stomach is calculated to weaken digestion, particularly on the part of the male; and many a miserable dyspeptic might trace his unhappiness to imprudent acts of sexual intercourse. From two to three hours after or before eating a full meal, is the proper time for this business.

Burgers in bed may be poor sexual etiquette (depending on the situation—one wouldn’t want to refuse a dish from one’s host), but I’m fairly sure medical science has since given us the go ahead on that one.
 

 

Coition, or sexual union, may be compared to a fit of epilepsy, or to an electrical shock.

Either you’re doing it very right, or you’re doing it very wrong, but I’m intrigued by your description, so go on…

When a man is performing this act, if his thoughts wander, the product will be feeble, and if his wife become pregnant the offspring will be inferior. This fact is applied to the offspring of great geniuses, who are supposed to be thinking of something else when they beget their children, and hence their descendants are often much below them in intellect. In further confirmation of this theory, history informs us that some of the greatest men the world ever saw were bastards—children begotten with vigor, and when the minds of the parents are supposed to have been absorbed in the one idea of a loving sexual embrace.

As a bastard myself, I’m moved to concur, but my commitment to the truth supersedes my ego in this particular situation and I must correct you, sir—I don’t think a man’s wandering mind makes his kid stupid. We live in a busy, modern world, yet it’s not entirely inhabited by idiot distraction-babies.

Amorous females generally breed female children, while those of a colder temperament breed boys. When both are moderate in their desires, children of both sexes are produced. When the female is unnaturally amorous, (and such cases frequently occur,) she seldom becomes impregnated at all. The following mode of influencing the sex of the child, some physiologists assert, is really effective, and it looks reasonable.

 

 
I assume boys were considered prefereable at his point, so this line apparently encourages frigidity? Are they trying to sneakily trick horny newlyweds into making babies by promising them they’re too lusty to have children (ha!)? Is this an earnest misconception? So many questions!

The causes of a non-development of the Penis are various. Sometimes a general torpor of the Testes retards its growth. Disease or excess will frequently make it wither and decrease in size; and many a youth by early masturbation prevents the full development of the organ.

Sorry dude, they’re still gonna do it. You can tell them self-love causes instant death, they are still gonna do it.

You can find the entirety of the text here.
 
Via The Paris Review

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Fifty Shades of ‘Tortura’: A soundtrack to dominate your mate to
02.13.2015
01:25 pm

Topics:
Music
Sex

Tags:
Sado Maso
pleasure
pain
domination
Tortura


 
This is one of the more baffling records I have ever come across. It’s a record album from 1965 with the title Tortura: The Sounds of Pain and Pleasure…., subtitle “A Factual Living Record of Discipline and Punishment,” which of course recalls a famous book by Foucault, who, come to think of it, would probably have dug this LP.  The label was called Bondage Records.

After learning of the album’s existence (as well as that of a follow-up), it took me a while to find mp3s of it, in which the individual cuts had usefully been concatenated into simply “Side A” and “Side B” files for ease of listening (see below). The album has very little actual music on it. The record contains a series of untitled tracks, perhaps ten per side, featuring the sounds of a whip in use accompanied by the sounds of a human being cooing or whimpering in intense pain/pleasure. I think most of the moaning is coming from men but not all of it. There’s a common paradigm here of the woman being the one who gets to dole out the pain/pleasure, which possibly is being recapitulated here—it’s hard for simple, wordless audio tracks to convey any information about the power relations being depicted. It’s pretty much what you would hear if you put your ear up against the wall in a dungeon of some sort, albeit with no dialogue, no commands or anything like that. Basically it’s just whip/reaction, whip/reaction, over and over again.

To be clear, there’s every reason to believe that these are simulated sounds, by professional actors or Foley artists at work making a product for public consumption; it does not appear to be an actual record of bondage play.
 

 
Playing the record is an interesting experience. On both sides, the tracks are mostly interchangeable. Generally the human is exhibiting some kind of intense but stifled response, basically simple moaning, although some of the tracks unmistakably simulate an intense, er, “release” reaction on the part of the human being. On both sides, with a minute or two to go, some piano jazz suddenly materializes to accompany the moaning and the whip strikes.

Jazz music aside, the alternation of whips and moans has a musical quality all its own, which lends the proceedings an amusing quality in a DEVO kind of way, or possibly a Firesign Theatre kind of way. As the sides progress, however, it becomes a little bit challenging to persist with the listening, or at least I found it to be so. Simply put, it is not easy to listen to the sounds of human beings experiencing pain with complete equanimity.

For some reason there is almost no data about this album. It does not appear in the Discogs listings, and its tracks are almost entirely absent from YouTube. Viewed on a browser, the album cover looks (to my eyes) more like a deftly executed mockup of a 1965 album from recent years than the real thing, but further research disabused me of that notion, and eventually I found actual mp3s as well. There was an auction on eBay about a week ago in which the follow-up to this album (subtitle: “An Evening with the Marquis de Sade”) sold for $171 shipped, and there is an auction going on right now where you can buy this album for a base price of $195.

Curiously, one of the first things to cement the idea in my head that this album really existed was that it pops up in a legal case involving the First Amendment in the late 1960s. In the 1969 U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit case United States v. Baranov, we learn that “the matter found to be obscene consisted for the most part of printed booklets containing photographs and illustrations pertaining to nudity, masochism, flagellation, and lesbianism, together with accompanying text material. One count pertained to a phonograph record entitled ‘Tortura, the Sounds of Pain and Pleasure.’”

According to this helpful BDSM wiki, the album was produced by Flag Publishing out of Los Angeles and San Diego, but the writeup suggests that an LP of this type was not typical of Flag’s product line.

If you would like to hear the whole album, this website is helpful.

Here’s the last track of side B:
 

 
And here’s another track:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The inflatable rubber fetish of Mr. Blow Up
02.11.2015
07:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
Sex
Unorthodox

Tags:
fetish

000mrbu111.jpg
 
About fifteen years ago, way back when I made my living producing television, I interviewed Mr. Blow Up for a documentary on the rise of Internet fetish sites. He was one of the more interesting characters I met—alongside representatives from the wet and messy (“sploshing”) communities, adult babies, furries and used panty-sellers. Mr. Blow Up lived on a quiet London road amid rows of lace curtained windows and neatly trimmed herbaceous borders and distant towering high rises. His charming wife served cups of tea and chocolate biscuits for the crew while Mr. Blow Up talked about his love of being inside a latex suit that was pumped full of air. Mr. B. explained how he had first been attracted to the idea of being constrained in an air-filled rubber suit when playing with a beach ball as a child. He wondered what it would be like to be inside the ball, as it was thwacked and bounced all over the dunes.
 

 
Mr. Blow Up, with the help of his latex-clad wife, slipped into one of his talcum sprinkled outfits and sat on the sofa while she used a foot pump to blow-up his headdress. Just at the very moment I thought he might explode (like some sort of latex Mr. Creosote), Mr. B gave a thumbs up. He later explained how being so constrained made him feel happy, secure and excited.
 

Relaxing with pals.

It seems likely that Mr. Blow Up’s pumped up peccadillo served as the inspiration for one of the most insane moments of that most insane BBC comedy The League of Gentlemen.

This clip of Mr. Blow Up comes from some flip show where the voiceover has the arched eyebrow of condescension—though it is amusing and a rather good introduction to Mr. B and his inflatable fetish.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Sin in the Suburbs’ & other cinematic delights: Joe Sarno’s life in dirty movies
02.09.2015
07:50 am

Topics:
Movies
Sex

Tags:
Joe Sarno
sexploitation

Poster art for
 
There is nothing more inspirational, beautiful and harrowing than an artist who takes true risks. Being an artist, especially an independent filmmaker, is hard enough. It’s not like things like job security, steady paychecks and any sort of proper retirement are going to be a constant. Couple that with being a filmmaker who works within a genre that is often critically maligned and life is suddenly a much more harsh trek to cut through. But none of that ever stopped Joseph Sarno, whose cinematic trail began in the 1960’s, with such arty and dramatic forays like Sin in the Suburbs and Inga, then segueing firmly into being one of the most notable cult directors of the 1970’s and 80’s. His legacy was first covered in print thanks to RE/Search’s seminal Incredibly Strange Films book. However, it was only a matter of time for an enterprising filmmaker to come along and do a documentary on the man and his work.

It took Swedish director Wiktor Ericsson and his film, A Life in Dirty Movies to make this needed venture a vital reality and bless him for it.
 
Great Poster art for Sarno's amazing
 
Ericsson and company had the chance to delve into Sarno’s rich cinematic past, talk with a few of his key artists and associates, as well as portray a slice of life into Joe’s golden years with his former actress, wife/partner, the lithe juggernaut of a woman, Peggy Steffans-Sarno. But A Life in Dirty Movies is about more than just a man who who forged his own path in the worlds of sexploitation and hardcore cinema and even, to some degree, more about one incredible love story of loyalty. It’s about the heart and soul of an artist in his later years who has given so much of himself to something he truly believed in. There are few things more compelling than a creative person with a “damn the torpedoes” approach, especially when it is coming from someone as emotionally forward thinking and sensitive as Joe Sarno.

A Life in Dirty Movies is an interesting title for this film, since early on, it becomes readily apparent that Sarno’s approach to film was anything but dirty. In fact, a couple of commentators joke about how any raincoat crowd going to see one of Sarno’s moodier character studies would have been crippled when it came to having a private hand-party in the theater. (This all invokes one of my favorite film descriptors ever, courtesy of Eddie Muller and Daniel Faris’ book Grindhouse. The term in question is “a no hatter.” This was a term to describe a sexploitation film that failed to arouse the male audience, since they would often attend wearing hats for them to take care of business in.) But that’s the thing. Simple prurience can become boring quick unless there are other layers going on, which was something Joe often incorporated.
 
One of the best film titles ever.
 
With that, we get glimpses of his work, ranging from his exquisitely lit, black and white art-type 60’s films, like Sin in the Suburbs and Vibrations to his 1970’s color character-melodramas such as Laura’s Toys and Abigail Leslie is Back in Town. Former collaborators, ranging from editors to actors (including the fantastic Annie Sprinkle), noted film writers like Jim Morton, as well as admirers in the form of John Waters, are all interviewed and have similar observations of both Sarno the man, as well as the director. One of the biggest ones was Joe’s emphasis on female pleasure. In a world where male orgasm is king, while pleasure is relegated to borderline incidental for women, Sarno was indeed a rare bird in his time and, to a lesser degree, even now. He definitely paved the way for female-centric filmmakers in erotica, which would go on to include Eric Edwards (an actor who was in a number of Sarno’s films in the 70’s) and another ground breaker in the form of Candida Royalle, whose company, Femme, catered specifically to women. These were just two of many who were able to create what they created thanks to filmmakers like Joe. One impressive tidbit that is revealed within the film is that Joe wrote the scripts for every single film he ever directed and given that his filmography, including both his soft and hardcore work, is well over a hundred, that is no mean feat!
 
Soap Opera meets Sexy Art: Abigail Leslie is Back in Town
 
Sarno’s love and respect for women can also be summed up by his decades long marriage to Peggy. Well educated and born from a wealthy family in New York, Peggy’s an absolute lioness to her lion in twilight. Dark haired with piercing eyes and a throaty, yet feminine voice, Peggy’s most striking feature is her absolute fierce loyalty and belief in her mate. Especially given that it is not the blind, Hollywood-variety of faith. She talks candidly about the harsh realities of their financial situation and past deals that did zero to line their pockets. (Talk about the sad, blues-song reality of too many talented and notable artists in their later years.) Their relationship is, in many ways, even more notable than Joe’s impressive filmography because it is so intensely rare.

More sweetness that is captured is getting to see Joe enjoy the beginnings of the revival of his art while he was still here. (He passed away on April 26, 2010.) It is hard to not feel some tremors of heart ache when you hear him say, “I thought everyone had forgotten me,” which makes moments like seeing him enjoy his very own tribute at the British Film Institute all the more resonant.

Speaking of tributes, A Life in Dirty Movies is an honest and loving one to an American filmmaker whose craft was, to quote Peggy, “...in his blood.” It’s a great documentary for fringe film fans and the curious alike. You don’t have to be into adult-themed films to appreciate the real-life story of a director who truly worked hard and cared about his craft and people in general.
 

Posted by Heather Drain | Discussion
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The amazing, unpublishable burlesque pop-up book
02.02.2015
07:22 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Sex

Tags:
burlesque
Peter Larkin
pop-up


 
Peter Larkin, 88, was, in his day, a Tony Award-winning production designer, who, in the mid-‘50, took top nods for his work on Ondine, The Teahouse of the August Moon, No Time for Sergeants, and Inherit the Wind. He’s also a highly-informed burlesque aficionado. In 1994, he illustrated the book The Best Burlesque Sketches, and in the twenty years since, he’s been mocking up a pop-up book on the subject, with the delightful working title Panties Inferno. The Paris Review published a series of photos of the mock-ups, along with a detailed interview with Larkin.

I started doing pop-ups in 1994. My early ones were pretty crude. I had to figure out the engineering, if that’s what they call it—but I had fooled around with pop-ups before, because I used to make theatrical models for stage sets, so with my experience that wasn’t too difficult. I was a good draftsman and with a drawing board and triangles I could figure it out. You have to use the motion of opening the book to power the whole thing. Nowadays, there are guys who use string and elastic—all kinds of strange things in there, which as a purist, I would say aren’t exactly pop-ups. There’s also a certain amount of tumescence involved there. It’s sort of phallic, the pop-up. Why would you make a book that things popped up out of?

The book is arranged as if it’s a whole evening of burlesque, from start to finish. It always ended with a really awful production number. They got a set of steps—stairs—and covered it with some kind of sleazy material. Then there were all kinds of strange things.

Sadly, due to the complexity of Larkin’s pop-ups, the sheer expense of producing it has led publishers to deem it unpublishable. Mr. Larkin, again, is 88 years of age, so someone please tell him about Kickstarter, and quickly!
 

 

 

 

 

 
More wonderful images and animations at The Paris Review.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
Looking for a ton of burlesque matchbook covers? Well, you can stop looking.
‘How to Undress in Front of Your Husband’: the exact opposite of a feminist film

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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The song co-written by DEVO and John Hinckley Jr., Ronald Reagan’s failed assassin


 
If you look carefully at the credits for DEVO’s 1982 album Oh, No! It’s DEVO, you will spot a name that doesn’t ordinarily pop up in the DEVO universe or even the music world generally. The name is John Hinckley, Jr., and he is best known to the world as the man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981, in a batshit-crazy attempt to win the amorous affections of Jodie Foster, then still a teenager. Hinckley was strongly influenced by The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and, far more pertinently, Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, in which Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle considers assassinating a U.S. Senator named Palantine but then opts to murder the pimp who has rights over a teen prostitute portrayed by the selfsame Jodie Foster.
 

 
When Foster enrolled in Yale University, Hinckley moved all the way from Texas to New Haven, just so he could be near her. He engaged in a lot of creepy, stalker behavior that if you saw it in a movie, you’d think it was overdone, enrolling in the same writing class as her, leaving all kinds of poems and messages for her, and calling her repeatedly. Eventually he would squeeze off six rounds outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, wounding two Secret Service agents and Reagan’s press secretary as well as (via a ricochet) the president himself.

According to Rolling Stone, DEVO got in touch with Hinckley and acquired one of his demented love poems to Foster and adapted it into a song called “I Desire.” Here are some representative lyrics:
 

I pledge allegiance to the fact
That you’re wise to walk away
For nothing is more dangerous
Than desire when it’s wrong

Don’t let me torment you
Don’t let me bring you down
Don’t ever let me hurt you
Don’t let me fail because

I desire your attention
I desire your perfect love
I desire nothing more

 
The stunt not only annoyed Warner Bros., who learned that they would be obliged to send Hinckley royalty payments for the song, but also, according to Rolling Stone, won DEVO the official attentions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
 

As Mark Mothersbaugh recalled, “[Hinckley] let us take a poem that he had written, and we used it for the lyrics and turned it into a love song. It was not the best career move you could make. We had the FBI calling up and threatening us.”

 
In November of 1982, Hinckley wrote a letter to the “Morning Zoo” crew of KZEW, a Dallas radio station, in which he professes his love for “New Wave music” (hey, me too!) and requests that the station play “I Desire” a total of “58 times each day.” Here’s the full quote:
 

I like New Wave music, especially Devo, since I co-wrote a song on their new album. The song is called “I Desire” and I want you to play it 58 times each day.

 

 
In the letter Hinckley also writes, “I used to listen to the song ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie when I was stalking Carter and Reagan. It got me in a strange mood. ... In March and April of 1980, I hung out at Peaches Record Store on Fitzhugh.” Peaches, which used to be on the intersection of Cole and Fitzhugh in northern Dallas, has, alas, bitten the dust.

Below, listen to “I Desire,” the only new wave ditty ever co-written by a presidential assassin:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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The Mad Monk’s junk: Is this the mythically massive member of Rasputin?
01.28.2015
08:38 am

Topics:
Amusing
History
Sex

Tags:
Rasputin


 
Romanov svengali Grigori Rasputin is so steeped in legend, he’s become more myth than man, but in my opinion the most fascinating bit of Rasputin rumor pertains to this jarred pickle right here—reported to be the Mad Monk’s massive member. The manic-looking man holding the jar is Igor Knyazkin, Head Physician of the Prostate Center of Russian Academy of Sciences and the founder of The Museum of Erotica in St. Petersburg Russia—that’s right, an actual doctor, who put together a museum of his own creepy collectibles. Obviously we have no way of confirming this is actually Rasputin’s junk (I guess it got misplaced in all the commotion after he was supposedly, poisoned, beaten, stabbed, shot and castrated), but since the artifact is between 11 and 13 inches long it remains a novelty in its own right, though some suggest the specimen is actually animal genitalia.

If this is the Mad Monk’s junk, it’s traveled extensively! The jarred pee pee’s journey can allegedly be traced back to Paris in the 20s, when it was apparently worshipped for its mystical fertility powers until Rasputin’s surviving daughter intervened. At one point there was definitely a false phallus floating around, inherited by the same daughter. After her death, it was willed to a Rasputin biographer who learned upon testing it that it was actually a sea cucumber (how embarrassing!). I don’t much mind a man with 15,000 sex objects using a bit of famous phallic flash to get people into his weird museum. My main “beef” with Knyazkin is that he claims viewing “little Rasputin” can correct sexual dysfunction—if anything, looking at the specimen on display at this museum might leave you impotent!
 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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The transgender women of Singapore’s ‘Boogie Street’
01.28.2015
06:59 am

Topics:
History
Queer
Sex

Tags:
photography
transgender

Bugist1980s(5).jpg
 
Singapore’s Bugis Street was renowned as a meeting place for trans women to mix, mingle and have fun during the 1950s-1980s. Each evening, a fabulous parade of glamorous trans women would walk up-and-down the rundown streets at Bugis Junction, flirting with tourists, sailors and G.I.s, often charging them to have their photograph taken, inviting them to a bar for a drink, or taking them to a quiet room (or rooftop) for sex.

Bugis Street was a popular area for touring British servicemen in the 1950s, who became fans/lovers of many of the trans women, and rechristened the area “Boogie Street”—a mispronunciation of the district’s name that stuck in 1970s with the rise of disco.

For thirty years, Bugis Street thrived as a haven for trans women and their admirers, until the government cracked down on what was described as “shameful” and “lewd behavior” in the 1970s. Many servicemen were arrested at gunpoint, tourists were threatened and frightened away, the bars were closed and many trans women were arrested. Eventually the hard-line puritans won and old Bugis Street was demolished in the mid-1980s and replaced by a shopping mall and entertainment outlet.

In December 1980, French photographer Alain Soldeville was on a two-year trip to Asia and Australia when he arrived in Singapore. After a few days sight-seeing, he headed out one evening to Bugis Street.

Within an hour, strange androgynous creatures arrived by taxi. Dressed in sexy, tight-fitting dresses or satiny pants, wearing heavy stage makeup and high heels, they took over the territory. The street seemed to belong to them and their dramatic entrance was followed by scrutinizing eyes. It appeared that most visitors were there to watch the show that had just begun.

I stroked up a conversation with Anita who was of Malaysian background. She was 23 years old, with a clearly outlined masculine face, tall, thin and muscular. She wanted to know where I came from, how long I was going to stay in Singapore. During the following weeks, I became close to Anita and she introduced me to her friends: Amina, Danita, Delphine, Rosa and Susanna. They liked having me photograph them and would strike natural poses.

After five or six weeks in Singapore, short of money, I had to leave for Australia. I would return in 1984 only to learn that Bugis Street was about to be torn down to make way for the subway.

Bugis Street still has its glamorous legend, and a moderately successful film was made about the transgender women of the area in 1996. Soldeville forgot about the photographs he took in 1981 of Anita and her friends for over twenty-five years, until he rediscovered them in storage. Since then, they have been exhibited in France and Thailand.
 
Bugist1980s(6).jpg
 
Bugist1980s(2).jpg
 
Bugist1980s(8).jpg
 
Bugist1980s(10).jpg
 
More pictures of Bugis Street, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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John Waters calls ‘Fuego’ ‘a hetero film for gay people to marvel at’
01.27.2015
10:13 am

Topics:
Movies
Sex

Tags:
John Waters
camp
Fuego


 
From the Dangerous Minds archives: For those of you snowed in today, here’s a sizzling hot cult film to keep you warm. Highly recommended!

I first heard about Armando Bo’s lusty 1969 Argentinian sexploitation film Fuego (“Fire”) due to John Waters championing of the film, but I didn’t actually get to see it until last night. I’m always interested in seeing something that John Waters is enthusiastic about and I reckon that quite a few of you feel the same way. If so, then you need to watch Fuego toot sweet.

It does not disappoint.

Fuego stars the outrageously hot, extremely well-endowed Isabel Sarli, who has the sort of “brick shithouse” build that Russ Meyer was so very fond of. Fuego and Meyer’s Vixen would make a great “ants in her pants” double bill, but a more appropriate match-up would be Female Trouble and Fuego, which now that I’ve seen it, was obviously a big influence not only on John Waters, but also on Divine. Much of Dawn Davenport—the character’s fashion sense, walk and bouffant hairdo—would appear to be closely modeled on Isabel Sarli. Sarli was also an outrageously hammy actress and Divine just took her already over-the-top “undulating” acting style and turned the volume up to 11.

Sarli plays the insatiable, irresistible Laura and in this role, lemme tell ya, she is perfectly cast. Laura is a complete uninhibited and naturally this gives Sarli plenty of excuses to doff her duds, which she does constantly and we see her engaged in trysts with both men (any man seems to do, her catchphrase—normally screamed—is “I need men!!!”) and with her older, lizard-like lesbian maid. A wealthy businessman named Carlos (director Armando Bo, who also wrote the script and the insanely incessant music) sees some girl-on-much-older-girl action on the beach and later attends a party at Laura’s boyfriend’s house. Soon Carlos is seeing Laura, but he has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. She roams the streets flashing her tits and he is constantly catching her in bed with other dudes. It happens a lot.
 

 
The first part of Fuego is where most of the skin is shown, whereas the later half is talkier, more melodramatic and way more nuts. Laura realizes that her uncontrollable urges are causing her husband grief when he nearly kills an electrician he catches her bonking. They go to a “sex expert” to discuss what can be done about her “condition” (a Pocket Rocket might help...) During a gynecological exam, Laura has a thundering orgasm. The pair travel all the way to New York where Carlos is told by a doctor there that the only thing that can save Laura is his unwavering love.

I won’t tell you how it ends, but when you know in advance that Armando Bo and Isabel Sarli made 27 films together—with her rolling around with little to nothing on in every single one of them—and that they were famously lovers for years (although he never left his wife for her), you can start to project all sorts of psychological things onto Fuego. First off, Bo wrote the script and so he therefore wrote the cuckold role for himself. There’s also the voyeuristic aspect of Bo arranging to see his woman getting her tits out for so many other guys.

There’s a certain “subtext” to Fuego, let’s just say.

Waters calls Fuego: “A hetero film for gay people to marvel at” and truly, it’s a movie that covers all the bases. I’d recommend watching it in a group, like Birdemic or something like that. It’s enjoyable no matter what, but like most “so bad that it’s good” movies, experiencing it for the first time with other people is the way to go. I also recommend the dubbed version (below), the actors obviously had fun with it.

Armando Bo died in 1981 and Sarli stopped making films. She is now a cult figure with a devoted following. Sarli was feted at Lincoln Center in 2010.
 

 

 
The NSFW trailer for Fuego:
 

 
In the clip below from his John Waters Presents Movies That Will Corrupt You show, the Fellini of Baltimore waxes poetic about one of his favorite films, admits that he “stole” a lot of stuff from Fuego and you can see some of the opening titles:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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