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David Bowie’s transgender muse Romy Haag
06.23.2015
09:12 am

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Music
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Glamorous Romy Haag is one of the most famous transgender women in Europe and a cabaret performer of some renown. She is also well-known as a former lover and muse of David Bowie during his Berlin years (and indeed was the apparent reason for his move to the city in 1976). Her influence on his work is clearly evident in the “Boys Keep Swinging” video, where Bowie appears in triplicate as a chorus of drag queens.

Haag was born in 1948 and early in her life, the issue of gender reassignment was discussed. She developed breasts naturally. Haag left her home at the age of 13, working as a clown, then a trapeze artist with the Circus Strassburger before becoming a female impersonator in Paris. At this time, Haag began living as a woman.
 

 
After performing her nightclub act in Fire Island and Atlantic City in the early 70s, in 1974, she opened what would become Germany’s most popular nightclub during the disco-era at the age of 23, “Chez Romy Haag.” Celebrity guests included Bowie and Iggy Pop, who were regulars, Bryan Ferry, Freddie Mercury and Lou Reed. Mick Jagger was another patron and allegedly had a brief affair with Haag.
 

 
Haag began her musical career in earnest in 1977. In 1983, when she was in her 30s she had a sex change operation and in 1999, published an autobiography with the great title, A Woman And Then Some. She’s still an honored performer and going strong at the age of 67. Follow Romy Haag on Twitter.

Below, Romy Haag discusses her relationship with David Bowie.

 
Romy Haag in 1978 performing her disco single “Superparadise” on the ‘Musikladen’ TV show. Compare this to the “Boys Keep Swinging” video.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh predicts the rise of matriarchy
06.22.2015
12:17 pm

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Art
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This interview with Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO has been bouncing around for a while but with inexact provenance information. Yesterday Televandelist uploaded a better copy and usefully marked it as coming from The Cutting Edge Happy Hour, an MTV show started by the I.R.S. record label in 1983. For most of its existence the host of the show was the Fleshtones’ lead singer, Peter Zaremba, whose flat Long Island accent can be heard at the start of the clip.

It’s safe to say that this clip dates from 1987—Televandelist labeled it as 1987-1988. First off, Wikipedia explains that The Cutting Edge Happy Hour went off the air in 1987. Furthermore, Mothersbaugh was being interviewed to promote an exhibition of his postcard paintings—the astute Dave Thompson mentions in his book Alternative Rock that Mothersbaugh had just such an exhibition of his postcards in Los Angeles in 1987, so that’s certainly what we’re looking at here. 
 

 
These are the same postcards featured in Mothersbaugh’s 2014 book Myopia, which we wrote about last November.
Towards the end of the interview Mothersbaugh offers his views on the future of society—not so strongly in the hyperbolic Mothersbaugh “character”—and they’re pretty darn interesting:
 

I’m anticipating a matriarch system, where women finally say, “We’ve had enough of this shit [bleeped] with men in control,” and they take over. I mean, they’re smarter, they’re prettier, they live longer, they’re healthier, they don’t need men to have children anymore, they don’t need us as beast of burdens anymore even, they got machines to take care of all that, and so I think men should be ready to assume their logical place on the planet, and that is as objects of pleasure for females.

 
Amazing! Mothersbaugh accurately anticipated much of this decade we are in—women are increasingly the breadwinners in many families, and the question of machines supplanting workers in general has already become a pressing issue for unions and politicians for the foreseeable future.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Senior citizen strippers: Burlesque beauties decked out and working it for the camera
06.22.2015
07:08 am

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Sex

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La Savona, Indianapolis, Indiana (2012)
 
Last week the death of burlesque legend Blaze Starr reminded us all of a far cheekier era of stripper—an anachronistic kind of T and A, with a little more glam and giggle to it than today’s Las Vegas-style bottle service strip clubs. It’s easy to crystallize someone like Starr in our memory as a young bombshell, taking it all off for roaring crowds, scandalizing politics with the Governor of Louisiana (and probably JFK, too), but we should always remember—there is life after pasties! For her book Legends The Living Art Of Risque, French photographer Marie Baronnet captures the fabulous ladies of mid-century burlesque in all their mature glory.

Although I do appreciate Miss Toni Elling and her “hey, fuck it, I’m old” ensemble, the majority of the women featured remain gloriously glam, with sparkles, feathers and cheesecake pouts. There are some ladies who actually took it all off for Baronnet, but in the spirit of the vintage striptease, I’ve kept the selections pretty safe for work. Mostly it seems to be about muscle memory; there is a kind of sexual performance that these women still know how to work for the camera.
 

Camille, Fort Pierce, Florida (2000)
 

Stephanie Blake, Simi Valley, California (2013)
 
More senior citizen strippers after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Pretty girls sexy-eating döner kebabs are the new ‘thing’ on Russian social media
06.19.2015
11:00 am

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Food
Sex

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I could find something pithy to say about the “Beautiful Girls And Shawarma” page on VKontakte, which is Russia’s largest social network (this page at least is similar to an Instagram page), but I don’t feel like it. Like what? And why?

And why döner kebabs? Why not creamy whip ice cream? Lollipops? Bananas even? But döner kebabs? WTF? But apparently, it’s now a “thing.”

So here you go: Pretty girls upload pictures of themselves noshing on some delicious Turkish street food, it’s a thing. Have a nice weekend!
 

 

 

 
More pretty Russian girls eating döner kebabs after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Meet Allanah Starr, the world’s first and only trans, double F-cup, porn star and stand-up comedian
06.17.2015
10:11 am

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Pop Culture
Queer
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If you’re in Paris for the month of June, you have the possibility of catching a unique comedy performance, as Allanah Starr is performing at La Nouvelle Seine at 3 Quai de Montebello every Friday at 11 p.m. until the end of the month. The title of the show is “The Life of a Real Woman with a Fake Passport.”

The show’s promotional text runs in part, “Allanah STARR raconte son histoire, celle d’un petit garçon né à Cuba, devenu femme aux USA et qui est maintenant Show Girl à Paris,” which means something like, “Allanah STARR tells her story, that of a little boy born in Cuba who became a woman in the USA and is now a Paris showgirl.”

According to this interview with Abby Ehmann, Starr was born in Cuba, but her father was a “political prisoner” and left for the United States when his son was five years old. She has been living as a woman since 1998: “It was definitely the best decision I ever made regarding my personal happiness. I am 100% certain this was my destiny and that I was born with a gender identity disorder. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a girl.” She has appeared on Maury several times, and her best-known movie is likely Allanah Starr’s Big Boob Adventures.


 
According to Tristan Taormino, Starr participated in the world’s first porn scene “between a male-to-female (MTF) transsexual and a female-to-male transsexual (FTM).” Starr’s counterpart in that scene was Buck Angel.

Starr’s cup size is listed as “FF” on the page with that interview, while over at Boobpedia she is listed as being an F cup. “I’ve had 30 actual surgeries and countless procedures,” says Starr. “Of course, I plan to do much more. My first operations were my nose job and an otoplasty (I had my ears pinned back). Since then, it has become a hobby of mine. I always say I collect shoes, handbags, Hollywood memorabilia and surgeries.”

In her show Starr tells jokes and lip-syncs to Eartha Kitt’s “Champagne Taste,” among other light classics. Here, check it out for yourself:
 

 
via Technikart

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The weird world of cheesecake stock photography
06.12.2015
04:58 am

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Pop Culture
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This is the third and final installation of posts from the influential graphic artist Art Chantry’s forthcoming book Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History of 20th Century Graphic Design. The first is here, the second here. Chantry’s clear reverence for and deep knowledge of the history of his discipline, particularly in championing its seediest manifestations and its obsolete processes, informs a body of work which as much as anyone’s has been THE look of garage punk and grunge, and we’re grateful to Chantry and Feral House for letting us use his work in this form. —Ron Kretsch

We’re all familiar with stock photos. Nowadays, most professional photographers I know no longer take photos, but make stock images. These photos are sold through websites for download and reproduction. Designers grab these photos, sometimes actually paying for them, and then “re-work” them in Photoshop to create the desired image. Basically they take stock photos and make new photos out of them. Strange days.

Maybe not so strange. This system existed back in the earlier days of advertising and design as well. The images were often seconds, outtakes and highly adaptable images that could be used in any of a number of settings and advertising situations. The user would order it through the stock photo house (often out of a printed catalog). Then the stock house would send them either a slide or a print of whatever was needed for their use. The user would pay a “usage fee” depending on how the photo would be used. If it was to be used in a dummy or comp, the fee would be much smaller than if it were to be used in a brochure printed in the millions of copies and distributed worldwide. Very practical, and everybody made money. It would still cost much less than hiring a “live” photographer and working with them to obtain the custom photo image you might need.

In the postwar period—the glory years of “Mad Men”-style advertising—one of the most popular forms of stock photography was the “glamour” shot. This was an offshoot of model photography that would have a buxom, beautiful young woman posing in a variety of peculiar environments (and varying states of dress) that could be used for adverts or calendars or even be picked up by “men’s magazines” and used to entice America’s hormone-soaked males.
 

 
A lot of these glamour stock photo companies were little more than a single somewhat slippery fella with a studio, camera equipment and a lot of props. I think of this territory as classic “bachelor pad” photography—that weird fetishistic territory where the hot-shot handsome young man with a camera used the existing system to meet hot chicks and maybe get lucky. Then they would make some money on the side. It’s one small step above pornography. Indeed, back in the days of our fathers, this was viewed as “R-rated” pornography. Those old “morality code” systems disappeared in the late ‘60s and are almost forgotten.
 

 
Once in a while I’ll get lucky and find an old catalog of glamour photography stock photos. Some of the glamour photographers became quite famous, like Russ Meyer and Peter Gowland and even Bunny Yeager. Exactly what kind of advertising could this stuff be used for? Dunno. They all have terms and conditions of use on the cover and the rest of the catalog is only photos of buxom scantily clad babes in silly poses. I swear I’ve seen some of these images in old “men’s magazines” of the ‘50s and ‘60s with names like Cocktail and Duke.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Art Chantry is a graphic designer with more awards and accolades than he can shake a stick at, including a Golden Lionne from Cannes. Over his 40-year career, he worked on the dark side of the marketing world, concentrating on popular culture and broken clients.  during that time he managed to brand a cultural moment in time - grunge. His works hangs in the Smithsonian, MoMA, the Library of Congress, the Louvre, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. More recently, he’s been getting old and writing down his heretical notions about the work he immersed himself in. The results weren’t pretty. Art Chantry Speaks: A Heretic’s History of 20th Century Graphic Design is due out on July 14th.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Idiot Christian couple pledges to divorce if gay marriage is legalized
06.10.2015
12:11 pm

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Belief
Politics
Queer
Sex

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The director of a conservative policy institute in Australia has announced that he and his wife of 10 years will divorce if the Australian state recognizes the legality of gay marriage. On the surface Nick and Sarah Jensen appear to be happily married, are in love, have children—the move would be a response to the changing nature of marriage as defined by the Australian state.

Millions of married couples have watched gay marriage enter their communities and not file for divorce, mainly because they recognize that the extension of marriage to apply to homosexual couples does not threaten their own marriages as such.

It would take the director of a think tank to make a stand such as this—in other words, Nick Jensen is grandstanding in order to make a political point. It is interesting that Sarah Jensen is nowhere quoted on the subject, it would be interesting to hear more from her. Or their children.

You can also read his statement, which ran in the Canberra City News. On this page from the Sydney Morning Herald you will find snippets of an interview with Nick Jensen in which he explains his reasons for getting divorced (it was not possible to embed the video). It runs like this:
 

Well, once you say that marriage is detached from children and is just about love, then when three people come to the state and say, “We’re all in love,” then the state has no grounds, except on just discrimination, to say why they can’t get married. So when it becomes detached from a child’s right to a mother and a father, and the sacred institution that it is, then suddenly it becomes meaningless, and those boundaries can’t be put back into place.

When we got married all those years ago, we made an agreement with the state—when we signed that marriage certificate—and that was an agreement about what marriage was and what we were entering into, and that was, as husband and wife, as a fundamental order of creation, part of God’s intimate story with human history, man and woman, for the sake of children, faithful and for life. And so if, later on in the year, the state does go ahead and potentially change the definition of marriage or change the terms of that contract, then we can no longer partake in that new definition, unfortunately.

I think states should have a role in marriage if it is affirming what is good about marriage. I can understand why some people might be upset, but our intention isn’t to hurt anyone or focus on any individual, but really our intention is for discussing at a deeper level what marriage actually is.

 
Opponents of gay marriage have long trotted out “slippery slope” arguments identical to the ones Jensen uses here—Senator John Cornyn famously speculated about a marriage between a man and a box turtle. Obviously such arguments are oblivious on the subject of the way marriage has been redefined over the centuries, from a system scarcely distinguishable from organized rape and kidnappings to suit political ends to one based far more on consent. Furthermore, the inclusion of homosexual couples in the kingdom of marriage doesn’t have any relation to marriages involving three people or involving a person and a bear. (Also, there have been cultures that permitted polygamy, it’s not a gross contradiction in terms or anything, society continued to function.)

Jensen invokes these spectres because he has no good arguments and because he wants to scare his fellow citizens into supporting measures to protect “traditional” marriage.

Whenever the subject of gay marriage would come on the news, my atheistic mom would cry out to my agnostic dad—in complete facetiousness—”Oh no! Don’t you see—the gays, they’re threatening the sanctity of our marriage!!!” In this mutual joke they were both affirming the silliness of any political position that relies heavily on “sanctity” or any “sacred” quality.
 
via Death and Taxes

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
DIY sex toys. One of ‘em involves a turntable.
06.09.2015
11:38 am

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Art
Music
Sex

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Dutch band De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig (which means to “Kids These Days” or “The Youth of Nowadays”) released a music video a few years back for their song “Elektrotechnique” which only features DIY sex toys. I’m not going to lie, I don’t understand a few of these homemade “sexual pleasure enhancers.” Okay, let me correct myself, I understand how they work, I guess I just don’t get how some of these would feel good or be pleasurable? I’m going to assume the majority of these are just freaky art installations. Who knows.

But hey, if they get your rocks off… then go for it. I don’t want to be all judgmental about something certain folks might dig.

 
via WFMU on Twitter

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Photographer documents a man’s domestic relationship with his lifelike silicone sex doll
06.05.2015
08:25 am

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Art
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The rhesus monkey experiments of Dr. Harry Harlow live in legend as breakthroughs in the study of primate socialization, but there is a tragic (and some argue unethical) edge to his methods. Harlow did a lot of work on isolation, often keeping baby monkeys away from mother and playmates, to see how it affected development. In one experiment, he offered two “dummy mothers” to a baby—one made of wire that produced milk, and one made of soft cloth that didn’t; he found the babies would cling all day to the cloth mother, ignoring the nourishing mother except for feedings.

Sandra Hoyn’s photo series “Jenny’s Soul” shows the same yearning “contact comfort” Harlow discovered in the monkeys. Sort of…

Hoyn’s photographs shows the behind-closed-doors life of a middle-aged man, “Dirk” (a pseudonym), and his “wife” Jenny, a realistic silicone sex doll. Hoyn has attributed an entire personality to Jenny, whom he loves dearly, and says he prefers to his previous marriages (he does not specify if these marriages are with real women or Real Dolls). Oddly enough, Jenny is not maintenance-free. She’s heavy, and must be rolled around in a wheelchair, and she requires bathing and powdering once a week. He describes their relationship thusly:

“Jenny gives me security. I never want to live without her again. I am moved by her words. The purity, serenity and honesty of her speaking.”

Despite Dirk’s apparent diligent care, Jenny’s silicone is degrading—she’s “aging.” Dirk is unfazed though, and completely devoted to caring for her. Though he dreams of taking her out in public, he keeps his marriage a secret, aware that what makes him most happy would leave him totally ostracized.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Muslim televangelist: Jerking off will make your fingers pregnant in the afterlife!
05.26.2015
06:32 am

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Amusing
Belief
Kooks
Sex

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0045pregfingers098765342qwerty.jpg
 
Once upon a time, masturbation was said to make you blind or lead to hairs growing on the palm of your hand, now it is claimed onanism will have serious consequences for men in the hereafter.

During a television interview in 2000, self-styled Muslim “televangelist” Mucahid Cihad Han told viewers that men who masturbate will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife. (What I wonder, happens to women’s hands?)

Han’s bizarre warning took place during a Q&A session with viewers when he was asked for advice by a viewer who “kept masturbating even though he was married.” Han initially looked puzzled by the question, but after the interviewer repeated the sticky question Han urged the man to “resist Satan’s temptations” and added:

“Moreover, one hadith states that those who have sexual intercourse with their hands will find their hands pregnant in the afterlife, complaining against them to God over its rights.

“If our viewer was single, I could recommend he marry, but what can I say now?”

Frankly, I’m at a loss.

When Han tweeted this interview to his 12,000 followers on Saturday, he “was mocked on Turkish social media,” according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.
 

 
In its report on the story, the paper queried Han’s interpretation:

“Istimna,” the Arabic term for masturbation that Han also referred to, is a controversial issue in Islam, as there have been varying opinions on its permissibility throughout history. The Quran has no clear reference to masturbation and the authenticity of many hadiths is questionable.

Despite Han’s assertive religious stance, only a limited number of Islamic interpretations categorize masturbation as “haram,” while most of others call it a “makruh” (disliked) act. Many of the mainstream Islamic interpretations even allow it in certain conditions, like if the act could be used to avoid the temptation of an extramarital affair.

Han, who has more than 12,000 followers on Twitter, was mocked on Turkish social media on May 25, after newspapers published his latest television “fatwa.”

“Are there any hand-gynaecologists in the afterlife? Is abortion allowed there?” one Twitter user asked, while mentioning Han’s Twitter user name.

“So you think that being pregnant is a God-given punishment?” another user asked.

We have the video of Mr. Han’s interview, but alas no subtitles and still no answer regarding women’s hands.
 

 
Via the Hurriyet Daily News.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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