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Fearless female motorcycle stunt women take on the ‘Wall of Death’


Marjorie Dare (Doris Smith) riding hands free around the ‘Wall of Death’ sideshow at the Kursaal amusement park in Essex, England.
 
Born from board track racing and velodromes (a popular sport featuring motorcycles racing on a wooded track) as well as early bicycle stunt racing (also done on a wooden track), the “Wall of Death” was a wildly popular carnival attraction that made its first carney appearance in 1911 at one of the United States epicenters of weirdness, New York’s Coney Island.
 

Look Ma! No Hands! Motorcycle stunt rider, Cookie Ayers (aka, ‘Cookie Crum’).
 
What made this dangerous attraction especially attractive was the fact that female riders were a huge part of the carnival motorcycle stunt scene. One of the first pioneers of the sport was Margaret Gast. Calling herself “The Mile A Minute Girl” Gast nearly met her maker several times during her career and was once carried out on a stretcher, presumed dead. Another early rider was Hazel Eaton who joined the carnival after running away from home when she was fifteen. Like Gast, Eaton also nearly met her end while riding on the wooden motordrome when her bike’s rear brakes locked up leaving her with serious injuries to her head and face as well as broken ribs. Weeks later, Eaton left the hospital like a badass—in an open wooden casket.

More after the jump…

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The Stranglers’ 1979 cricket match against the UK music press, featuring Lemmy and a bag of drugs


 
On September 16, 1979, the Stranglers held a cricket match to promote their new album The Raven and raise money for Capital Radio’s charity Help A London Child. They assembled a black-clad group of punk and reggae musicians to face a team made up of their usual adversaries and objects of abuse: rock journalists. Earlier that year, JJ Burnel had gaffer-taped writer Philippe Manoeuvre to the Eiffel Tower (Burnel: “it was only about 300 feet up”) and left him there, with his pants pooled around his ankles. “He wasn’t best pleased,” Jet Black remembers.

Cricket is played by teams of eleven, but the Stranglers were only four. To fill themselves out to the Stranglers XI for the charity match, the band recruited members of Motörhead, the Damned, X-Ray Spex, Flying Lizards, Steel Pulse, and other bands—a lot of people, according to their opponents in the Music Press XI, who claimed they saw a few supernumerary players on the field. Even Eddy Grant was on the massive team of rockers (“as many as 40 [...] at any one time,” the NME reported) that assembled at Paddington Recreation Ground on that storied day.
 

via Aural Sculptors
 
Lemmy showed up with a note from his doctor excusing him from the match because of a wart on his foot, but he lent his team moral and chemical support, while Kate Bush cancelled, according to Hugh Cornwell’s account in The Stranglers: Song by Song:

That was a fantastic event. [The Stranglers’ publicist] Alan Edwards came up with the idea of playing against the music press and managed to secure Brondesbury cricket ground in north London. Our team were dressed head to toe in black and wore black pads, black gloves and black caps. We even used black bats.

Kate Bush was going to play but pulled out. Lemmy turned up but had injured himself and had a sick note from his doctor, which was quite funny. He said, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll be watching on the boundary. If anyone needs a pick-up, my friend has a bag of whizz!’

Jet played and maybe John did. Some of the Finchley Boys played and a couple of members of the Damned. It just so happened that a friend of our dealer at the time had been a Hampshire [C]olt and was a demon fast bowler in his youth, so we got him out of retirement.

We batted first, with Jet and one of the large Finchley Boys opening the batting. We were all out quite cheaply, but managed to secure a tie because when the other team batted we kept sneaking on extra fielders to stop the run flow.

The opposition started complaining, but it was all for charity, so it got a bit ridiculous. The funniest point was when Richard Williams, who was editor of Melody Maker, came out to bat. He was brimming with confidence and had very expensive new equipment and strode out looking very professional. But our dealer clean bowled him almost immediately and Richard became very upset.

 

via Aural Sculptors
 
The blog Aural Sculptors has three press clippings about the match, and all of them contradict Cornwell on its outcome (“a fairly comprehensive drubbing,” the NME reported; “the Stranglers [...] spent a lot of their time lying down and threatening to take the bus home”), but at least Record Mirror corroborates Lemmy’s “bag of whizz”:

The Motorhead bit of the team had to keep vanishing behind bushes and under trucks. I really couldn’t figure out if this was for Lemmy to rest or to have some more talcum on his feet which he kept whipping out from the little paper bag. At least [I think] it was talcum, you never can tell with these rowdier boys.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Vintage photos of the US Amateur Roller Skating Association
05.13.2016
10:06 am

Topics:
Fashion
Pop Culture
Sports

Tags:
roller skating

1967
Skaters from the 1967 U.S.A.R.S.A. (the United States Amateur Roller Skating Association) competition.
 
Although I was an avid roller skater in my youth (as were both of my parents), I had no idea that the the United States National Amateur Skating Association (or U.S.N.A.S.A.) existed. Had I known, I would have immediately run away from home with my brown suede skates (with sweet orange wheels and stoppers) to pursue my dream of being an Olympic Champion roller skater. Regrets, I’ve had a few.
 

USARSA Senior Dance Champions of 1961, Jay & Janet Slaughter of Illinois.
 
In 1937, a Detroit-based group comprised of seventeen roller rink owners formed the RSROA (the Roller Skating Rink Operators Association). The creation of the RSROA didn’t go over that well with the Amateur Athletic Union (or AAU, a national amateur sports organization formed in 1888 who worked with amateur athletes all around the country, helping many on their way to the Olympic Games) as the membership of RSROA included the rink owners themselves and professional skaters. So, in 1939, the United States Amateur Roller Skating Association (USARSA) came to be and became a part of the the good-old AAU.

There were so many competitive categories within the USARSA, ranging from skate-dancing, novice, a curious sub-novice category, and a few for “tiny tots” that could skate (photos from which have been cataloged over at the site USA Roller Skaters), that I can only imagine the competitions themselves were long, grueling events not only for the skaters, but for the fans in attendance. The images in this post provide a fun and fascinating look back in time. Some remind me of the beautiful awkwardness that is the obligatory (and dreaded) senior prom photo. Your good-times roller skating flashback moment, begins now! 
 

Hugh Devore 3rd Place (the outfit is 1st place material all the way), USARSA Senior Men’s Singles, 1956.
 

USARSA Junior Dance contestants, 1953.
 
More after the jump…

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Gentle Giant: Rosey Grier’s ‘Needlepoint for Men,’ 1973
04.08.2016
09:49 am

Topics:
Books
Heroes
History
Sports

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Rosey Grier


 
I never realized what an awesome role model Rosey Grier was to kids—and to full grown men who enjoy needlepoint—in the 1970s. Really Rosey? (See what I did there? No?) I mean, how many former NFL players can you name who wrote books on needlepoint and sang songs like “It’s Alright To Cry”? None probably.

More than anything, Grier was showing that it was okay for young males to be in touch with their softer side and that there was nothin’ shameful about expressing emotions like crying. What a stellar message to get across, especially in the early 1970s when I’d imagine it was a lot tougher for even a former NFL tackle to get that message out without laughter and ridicule.

Rosey Grier is 83 years old now, and an ordained minister who keeps up a brisk pace of public service. He is the last surviving member of the Fearsome Foursome. As a bodyguard for Ethyl Kennedy during the 1968 presidential primaries, when RFK was assassinated, it was Rosey Grier who took control of the gun and subdued, Sirhan Sirhan.

Let’s also not forget his guest star turns on Dora Hall specials or his co-starring role in 1972’s The Thing With Two Heads (Ray Milland plays a rich white racist who has his head transplanted onto the body of a death-row inmate played by Grier.)
 

 

 
More Rosey after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Super-saturated images of cars, corporate logos and mullets at the Daytona 500
03.04.2016
09:13 am

Topics:
Art
Sports

Tags:
photography
Daytona 500


 
On his website, photographer Chip Litherland recently posted a stunning gallery of photographs taken at an iconic American sporting venue under the title “Expired at the Daytona 500.”

A striking feature of the day’s shooting is that Litherland used no digital gear for the shoot and used the event as an occasion to see what happens when he limited his film stock to a bunch of “super-expired” rolls of 35mm film that he had amassed over the years: “This is film expired with dates like: March 1996. November 1975. April 2004. January 1992. October 2006. Expiration dates that are probably older than some of you reading this.”

His work product from that day represent a triumph for good old-fashioned analog methods.

Litherland describes his guerrilla mindset that day:
 

I’m used to rolling up to a huge sports event with a 400mm on my shoulder a suitcase full of Canon pro bodies, an arsenal of lenses, compact flash cards, and strobes. I didn’t have any of that shit. It was just me, a couple bodies clanking together around my neck and kind of a newbie attitude I hadn’t felt in a while.

 
Even if you hate NASCAR, hate auto racing, hate sports, you should really check out these shots. The ultra-vivid colors seems an utterly perfect visual referent for the ultra-American subject matter of sunshine, fast cars, corporate logos, denim, mullets, palm trees, and so on.

I also like Litherland’s final words on the day’s shoot: “All that being said film is a pain in the ass. We have it so easy now.”
 

 

 
Much, much more after the jump…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Peter Tosh rides a unicycle
03.04.2016
08:42 am

Topics:
Music
Reggae
Sports

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Peter Tosh


 
This year is the 40th anniversary of Peter Tosh’s solo debut Legalize It—now available on CD in the superior, uncluttered “original Jamaican mix”—and his shoes remain vacant. Tosh’s rebelliousness was bound up with his eccentricity: he spoke in his own riddling, punning language, blew pot smoke in the faces of the most powerful men in Jamaica, and, time and again, perversely bit hands that fed him. In his way, he was full of good cheer, too. Whose day wouldn’t be brightened by the sight of this sharp-tongued, militant, six-foot-five Rasta passing by on unicycle?
 

Tosh practices smoking and cycling in a hotel hallway
 
John Masouri’s biography Steppin’ Razor reports that Tosh acquired his first unicycle at a bike shop in New York on June 19, 1978, hours before opening for the Stones at the Palladium. Masouri, who says Tosh learned to ride the unicycle by practicing in hotel hallways on the road, quotes manager Herbie Miller on the singer’s fondness for novelty items and pets:

He was young at heart and as funny as any stand-up comedian, and also spent quite some time purchasing toys and gadgets associated with youth culture and activities for his own use. So, skateboards, roller skates, slingshots, electric motorcars, unicycles and layback cycles were most precious and guarded. He also loved pets and kept fishes, a variety of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds. I once had to talk Peter out of returning from a European tour with a pet chimpanzee; for me, it was a monumental achievement since it was virtually impossible to talk him out of some things, including ‘beating the gate’ with hamsters from a previous tour.

 
More Peter Tosh on a unicycle, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Meet the legendary ‘glam rock’ wrestler of the 1970s, Adrian Street
02.10.2016
11:59 am

Topics:
Sports

Tags:
wrestling
glam
Jeremy Deller
Adrian Street

0ardstreet1.jpg
 
In Britain during the 1970s live wrestling matches were broadcast every Saturday afternoon on the ITV channel. Millions of fans tuned in to watch such legendary British wrestlers as Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo, Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. These men were working class heroes—no nonsense traditional wrestlers in trunks and boots. Though they looked like your Dad—a bit a chubby, with a liking for beer—in the ring they were ruthless. Each was a master of a particular wrestling technique with which they showed off their athletic prowess.

Then one Saturday there arrived Adrian Street—a peroxide blonde, in lipstick and mascara, nail polish and pantyhose. He was the most glamorous wrestler on the planet. Street was camp, outrageous, a glam rock wrestling superstar who dispatched his opponents without chipping a fingernail. He was the “merchant of menace,” the “sweet transvestite with a broken nose.” A herald of the social and sexual changes happening at full tilt across the country. He was loved and loathed in equal measure—an older generation feared what he represented; a younger generation embraced it.
 
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Each week Adrian turned up in more elaborate costumes, more glittering makeup and a selection of moves that brought the crowds to their feet. His trademark was to kiss his opponent. While they reeled from the shock of being kissed by another man, Adrian flattened them with a forearm smash, a drop kick, or his favorite the sleeper hold.

Adrian Street was born into a mining family in Brynmawr, Wales in 1940.  As a child he fantasized about running away with a tribe of Native American Indians. He wandered neighboring fields dreaming he was Tarzan and picking bluebells to give to his mother. In his teens he started body-building and briefly worked with his father down the mines. He then moved to London where he began his wrestling career in 1957. He was trained by Chic Osmond and fought under the name Kid Tarzan. During his time in London Adrian had his first taste of bohemia life hanging out with artists and writers most notably Francis Bacon. By the late sixties, Adrian reinvented himself as the androgynous wrestler “The Exotic One.” He went on to fight an estimated 15,000 bouts over a seven decade career.
 
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In 2010 the artist Jeremy Deller made a documentary on Adrian Street called So Many Ways To Hurt You. Deller had been inspired to make his film by a photograph of the wrestler.

I first became aware of [Adrian] through a photograph showing him with his father in 1973, which seemed to me possibly the most important photograph taken post-war. It encapsulates the whole history of Britain in that period – of our uneasy transition from being a centre of heavy industry to a producer of entertainment and services. It’s a rather bizarre and disturbing photograph, taken when Adrian went back to Wales, to the mine that he had worked in as a young man, to meet his father. Adrian’s still very much alive and still wrestling in Florida, where he has settled. He’s an incredible person, who has tremendous willpower and a great sense of his own worth. His story has an epic quality to it, he has basically reinvented himself for the late twentieth century.

As much of an influence as all the pop artists who liberated teenage minds during the 1970s, Adrian Street opened up a world of rich diversity to an older generation who had been shaped by the austerity and hardship of post-War Britain.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Dragon Power,’ the disco tribute to Bruce Lee
01.08.2016
09:11 am

Topics:
Music
Sports

Tags:
disco
Bruce Lee


 
Given that people like to make money, I suppose it was inevitable that Bruce Lee mania and disco fever would intersect—but when, and where? In 1978, history chose as its instrument England’s JKD (as in Jeet Kune Do) Band. On the Dragon Power (A Tribute to Bruce Lee) 12-inch, JKD Band provided an inoffensive party-record backing to screeches and bits of dialogue lifted from Enter the Dragon, and the result is delightful. Disco would sound a lot better if all the songs were ginned up with war cries, bones cracking, and other combat sounds, don’t you think? Enterprising young people: let’s make 2016 the year of war disco.
 

 
According to Discogs, the arranger of this disc, John Altman, played sax on Van Morrison and Graham Parker records, and he’s collaborated with Neil Innes of Rutles, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Monty Python fame on several occasions.

If this rings your bell, Amazon has the JKD Band’s full Dragon Power album, though I should warn you that I didn’t hear any shrieking, pulverizing or Eastern philosophizing on “Hooked on the Boogie” or “Let Your Body Do the Talking.”

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
The forgotten heroes of ‘Midget Wrestling’: Vintage photos from the 60s and 70s

0081lttlbruiseranther.jpg
 
These are the men who became heroes of the ring as Midget Wrestlers during the 1960s and 1970s. Out of traveling carnivals, circus acts and sheer ambition, these wrestlers started a sport that was followed by hundreds of thousands across America, Canada and England.

The best wrestlers (Sky Low Low, Little Beaver, Lord Littlebrook, Little Tokyo) mixed great physical prowess with acrobatic skills to give their fans edge-of-the-seat thrills and entertainment, with just a hint of comedy. Wrestlers fell in two categories—the goodies and the baddies, who would either seek the cheers or loud disapprobation of the audience by skill or pantomime cheating.

Sadly, many of the biographies and details of these wrestling heroes (and villains) have either been lost or passively excised due to political correctness—which is a shame, for these men (and and a few women) were athletes and acrobats who excelled at the sport.

Thankfully, during a golden age of wrestling, photographer David Maciejewski documented the legends of the ring from 1966 to 1974—from which some these pictures have been culled. More of Maciejewski’s superb photography can be seen (and purchased) here.
 
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Little Bruiser ready for a bout in Chicago, September 1 1972. Born Murray Downs in Wallaceburg, Ontario, Little Bruiser was the only son among four sisters. His father was an alcoholic and his abusive and violent behavior towards his son led the teenage Murray to run away from home. He joined the carnival and started wrestling. His powerhouse antics made him popular and he quickly became a star. He fought as part of a tag team and was often picked to fight 6ft 10in 350lbs wrestler Blackjack Mulligan who would wallop Bruiser onto the canvas. Little Bruiser was a demon in the ring, but a gentleman outside. He later quit because of back pain and died in a auto accident in 1995.
 
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Tag team: Little Bruiser and Billy the Kid, September 23 1972.
 
More mini wrestling heroes, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Bettie Page & more roller skating (because roller skating rules!)

Andy Warhol roller skating
Andy Warhol roller skating
 
If you keep up with my posts here at DM, you know I often put together cool photo-sets featuring famous people doing things that we all like to do like hitting the beach or lying in bed. This time around I’ve pulled together something fun for you to kill time with this Friday - images of people way cooler than us on roller skates.
 
Bettie Page and Gus the Gorilla roller skating, mid-1950s
Bettie Page and Gus the Gorilla roller skating, mid-1950s
 
Some of the images are from the wide variety of films with either roller skating themes or scenes in them such as Raquel Welch tearing it up on the derby track in the 1972 film, Kansas City Bomber. Others are from the late 70s and 80s when Roller Disco was all the rage. There’s even a few that go way back in time that I slipped in because they were just too cool not to share.

I’ve also included a video that features Dutch girl band, the Dolly Dots roller skating around in leotards lipsynching to their 1979 track, “(They Are) Rollerskating.” Because, like I said, roller skating RULES!
 
Grace Jones roller skating at Compo Beach, 1973
Grace Jones roller skating at Compo Beach, 1973
 
Judas Priest roller skating in 1981
Judas Priest, 1981
 
Many more famous rollerskaters, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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