follow us in feedly
Brigitte Bardot, badass biker babe

Brigitte Bardot posing on a yellow Harley-Davidson chopper built by Maurice Combalbert.
It’s fairly well known that golden haired French film goddess Brigitte Bardot was a huge fan of the Solex (or “Velosolex”), a kind of moped/bicycle hybrid which the bombshell was widely photographed riding around in the 1970s. No stranger to knowing how to have a good time Bardot was also photographed tooling around while looking flawlessly beautiful on other kinds of motorized two-wheelers such as a Yamaha AT-1 for which Bardot did a series of 1971 print advertisements clad in hotpants and white gogo boots.

Some of the most iconic photos of the actress/model/singer and animal rights activist (Bardot dedicated herself to helping animals after retiring in 1973) and a motorcycle were taken along with a Harley-Davidson custom built by Parisian chopper pioneer Maurice Combalbert when Bardot performed her wacky love proclamation to the iconic motorcycle on her 1967 French television special Brigitte Bardot Show.

Here’s a nice selection of Brigitte Bardot looking cooler than any of us will ever look on various motorcycles, as well as a few where she’s making riding a regular bike look like the best time ever.


More Bardot on bikes after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Beyond Thunderdome: Vintage images of the death-defying sport known as ‘Auto Polo’
10:49 am


auto polo

A day in the life of some ‘auto polo’ players
According to the book Bain’s New York: The City in News Pictures 1900-1925 the idea for playing the traditional game of Polo with automobiles was the brainchild of a Ford from Topeka, Kansas with the snappy name of Ralph “Pappy” Hankinson. Originally Hankinson’s idea was intended to be a way to boost sales of the Ford Model T that the company had started producing in 1908.

Not only did Hankinson’s plan work, it quickly became a hugely popular sporting event in which not only the participants were at risk of injury or death but so were the spectators who flocked to such events. The matches were held across the country and the world, with the very first major auto polo exhibition being held in Washington D.C. in 1912. The outright brutality of the uncompromising sport also meant that cars would have to be routinely replaced since they would often give up the ghost in the middle of a match and because the main attraction of the sport was the very high probability that cars would crash into each other.

In other words auto polo was a bit like the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome only with cars operated by those insane enough to careen them around an arena armed with ball-smashing mallets at 40 miles per hour. So dangerous was the game of auto polo that an actual surgeon was onsite during the matches just in case anyone was injured (which according to most historical resources on the topic was shockingly rare). But deaths on the field did happen and those infrequent occurrences caused the sport to be banned in numerous states despite its rabid fan base. As I was looking through the images I found of matches that were held from 1912 until the early 1920s I noticed a distinct lack of protective equipment worn by the players who would drive the cars without seat belts as they were supposed to jump out of the moving car if it tipped over.  Which makes it even more surprising that more of the sports manly participants survived to ride another day which the following mayhemic images in this post will reinforce.


More mechanical mayhem after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Watch the infamous ‘Disco Demolition Night’ fiasco of 1979 in its entirety
10:52 am



A bounty from the Internet! Some outstanding personage has uploaded the entire broadcast of the WSNS Channel 44 Chicago broadcast of the July 12, 1979, double-header between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, better known to you as “Disco Demolition Night,” a promotion spearheaded by DJ Steve Dahl at Chicago rock station WLUP. The event notoriously became a single-header after the second game had to be canceled because of the mayhem brought upon by the antics of the mostly white audience of rowdy rock music lovers.

On that day, disco-haters were enticed by inexpensive admission (98 cents and a disco record to add to the pile) to come out in droves. The gimmick was that between the two games, a large box containing hundreds of disco records would be blown up. Some time earlier, Dahl had lost his job after WDAI switched to a disco format, which inordinately pissed him off, and he turned that ire into a big part of his schtick at WLUP, and eventually the idea for “Disco Demolition Night” was born. In the event, the large crowd was full of rowdy stoners who didn’t give a hoot about baseball and just wanted to heap scorn on disco music. The detonation of the disco records had the double effect of rendering the field unusable and causing the throngs to descend into truly lawless chaos. 

The uploaded video is nearly three and a half hours long. It shows the entire first (and, it turned out, only) game of the twin bill, in which the visiting Tigers defeated the hometown White Sox 4-1. By the way, Harry Caray, who later became a national icon for his work with the crosstown Cubs, was a White Sox employee at this time, and he is one of the announcers calling the action. (In fact, Caray’s true mark on baseball history came decades earlier, during his quarter-century of radio broadcasting for the St. Louis Cardinals.)

Moments after hundreds of disco records were exploded in center field
As Slate’s Matthew Dessem astutely points out, the tone of the day’s action was set early on, during the National Anthem, during which a fan’s cry of “Faggot!” can clearly be heard (it’s at the 6:44 mark).

In retrospect, the spasm of hatred directed towards a pleasure-oriented music genre that was inclusive in terms of African-Americans, Latinos, and homosexuals seems positively Trumpist in spirit. The United States is the only country that has had a strong “anti-disco” movement. I like the Allman Brothers and Black Sabbath as much as the next music lover, but you know, enough’s enough!

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Get in the ring: Vintage images of female bodybuilders and ‘strong women’ showing off

Strong woman and acobat Louise Leers (aka Luise Krökel), 1930s.
Some of the images of the badass strong women in this post date all the way back to the very early 1900s however the female “strong woman” was an attraction as long ago as the early 1700s where women such a the “Female Italian Samson” and the “Little Woman from Geneva” would perform impressive feats of strength such as bearing massive amounts of weight on their backs or effortlessly hoisting several men in their arms.

The ‘Great Sandwina’ aka, Katie Brumbach.
Sometime in the late 1800s the appearance of strong women became more prevalent in sporting events and were also a common attraction in circuses where they would showcase their superhuman strength. This in turn paved the way for other rule-breaking girls such as female wrestlers and bodybuilders. One of the best known super women was Katie Brumbach called the “Great Sandwina.” Hailing from Vienna, Brumbach’s parents were also circus performers and it would appear that she was the combination of her father (who stood 6’ 6”) and her mother (who was herself a strong woman of sorts, sporting biceps that measured 15 inches around). She not only inherited her parents physical prowess and she performed with them, as well as many of her fourteen siblings. Brumbach would go on to wow audiences by lifting her husband (who reportedly weighed 165 lbs) over her head with only one arm and 300 pounds of weights with both. In her later years Brumbach joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a powerlifter where she snapped iron bars with her bare hands. At the age of 57 she was still able to pull to hoist her husband above her head with only one arm.

Another notable strong woman Kate Roberts went by the intimidating name “Vulcana.” In addition to her muscular build and ability to lift heavy weights (allegedly 181 lbs with one arm) she has some fascinating superhero-style folklore attached to her. In addition to saving a couple of drowning kids, Roberts dragged an unfortunate would-be purse snatcher who tried to steal her handbag all the way to the police station by herself. According to various historians Roberts also freed a wagon that had become stuck in a ditch in front of a crowd of awestruck Londoners. I’ve included images of other kick ass women in this post such as Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton (who was a notable member of the “Muscle Beach” crowd in the 1940s), and Joan Rhodes who enjoyed bending iron rods with her teeth and breaking nails with her bare hands.  There’s also a video of Rhodes showing off her strength in a cabaret act called the “Iron Girl in a Velvet Glove.”

‘Vulcana’ (aka Kate Roberts).

Abbye ‘Pudgy’ Stockton.
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘The Insult’: The web comic that makes a mockery of making a man out of ‘Mac’
11:45 am

Pop Culture

Charles Atlas

“The Insult that Made a Man out of ‘Mac’” (or a variation on the theme) was impossible to avoid if you read practically ANY comic book between the 1940s and the 1980s—and maybe beyond. It was an ad for the Charles Atlas “Dynamic-Tension” fitness program—our hero, a weakling named “Mac,” is humiliated in front of his girlfriend by an archetypal sand-kicking bully on the beach. Later, at home, wounded by the affront, Mac subscribes to the Atlas Dynamic-Tension program and quickly becomes a he-man cut like a Greek statue. He returns to the scene of his emasculation to knock the bully down with a single punch and become the “HERO OF THE BEACH!” His girlfriend of course immediately returns to his side, but other women are taking notice of the musclebound Mac, sooooo…

I am frankly baffled by a contradiction as regards the longevity of that ad. Not that it doesn’t deserve its classic status—disregard for the moment the cringeworthiness of its deference to violent machismo and misogyny and note how well it adheres to the “Hero’s Journey” template, though it first appeared years before Joseph Campbell named and described that literary trope in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. My problem is just that, OK, look, obviously people were buying the program or the ad wouldn’t have run in every comic for decades, but male comics fanatics aren’t exactly reputed for being chiseled physical specimens (obviously there are exceptions but go to a con and tell me how much beefcake you see). If the ad was so successful, wouldn’t the opposite be the case? Wouldn’t the comic shop guy on The Simpsons be an Adonis instead of an obese, embittered, overlooked snob?

I’m tempted to conclude that nobody who bought the book actually followed through with it.

The ad’s eternal appeal has made it fit matter for parody, and indeed, it’s been parodied plenty. Recently, John “Derf” Backderf, the Eisner-winning author of Trashed and My Friend Dahmer (we’ve told you about him before), hipped me to “The Insult,” a webcomic that’s detourned the ad nearly 100 times. Currently, its creator Scott Marshall is posting a new one every day in a lead-up both to his own birthday and to this weekend’s Dartmouth Comics Arts Festival in Nova Scotia. If you have an idea for an “Insult” strip, Marshall maintains an online suggestion box.

Here’s an assortment of strips. Dangerous Minds’ column width makes them a little small to read properly, but a mouse click will spawn an enlargement.


More ‘Insults’ after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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
10:06 am

Pop Culture

roller skating

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…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Gentle Giant: Rosey Grier’s ‘Needlepoint for Men,’ 1973
09:49 am


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
09:13 am


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
Page 1 of 16  1 2 3 >  Last ›