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‘We Are Family’: Nina Hagen’s German reality TV show—yes, really
09:01 am



Nina Hagen
This show is SO fucking good, I really wish more of our readership could understand what they’re saying. In 2007 Nina Hagen did this reality TV show called We are Family! So lebt Deutschland (The second part translates as “This is how Germany lives”). It seems it was on the ProSieben cable network. I don’t know “how Germany lives” when the focus is on other subjects, but in Nina’s case it meant sending a camera crew out to LA and following her around for a while. They were able to generate three solid hours of programming, and it’s all up there on YouTube for all to see.

When this was filmed, Nina was 52 and her son Otis, then 16, was living with her. The announcer explains that Otis was raised in France and a few other places, and didn’t live with his mom until a few years ago. They’ve been in LA for four years. In the show, Nina takes Otis to take his driver’s exam, they go shopping, and they visit a nice house for sale with a realtor (Nina doesn’t think much of the house, apparently). The entire thing’s in German, and well, obviously Nina is a force of nature who transcends any attempt to boil her personality down to the weird confines of ANY reality show. She says whatever she wants, whenever she wants, often cackling with mischievous glee. She clearly so does not give a shit, it’s extremely refreshing. Obviously she is wearing the most garishly colorful outfit she can put together without making it seem like she gave it any thought whatsoever. In America the trend is to show “normal folks” or somewhat marginalized (i.e. desperate) C-list celebrities—it’s so awesome to see a reality show with someone who’s pretty intelligent, worldly, discerning, and so forth.

There’s a seven-minute “teaser” that just corresponds to the first seven minutes of the entire thing, which runs three hours. If you speak German or just can’t get enough of Nina no matter how little you understand—believe me, I get it—then you can enjoy both of those. Note that the long-form version has a small but irritating watermark in the middle of the frame, but you can still see everything just fine.
Nina Hagen
Nina inhaling deeply the alluring scent of cabbage
Otis seems like just about the most normal 16-year-old guy ever, which isn’t a dis; you just wouldn’t automatically assume that he was the son of the extravagantly extroverted genius who conceived and recorded Nunsexmonkrock. Otis is trilingual, it seems—his German is perfectly OK, but he does speak with an accent, it’s clearly not his go-to language. Most of what he says in the teaser is pretty innocuous, like Nina’s a great mom and they get along great, stuff like that. He doesn’t like those environmentally friendly detergents because they make his clothes smell weird.

For the shorter video, well, I’m far too lazy to translate the stupid announcer’s patter or Otis’ utterances (even if he seems very nice), so I reckon what people really want to see is what Nina says. So here is that, everything she says, in chronological order. I missed a couple things here and there, but that’s okay, and it’s loosely translated, like I gave a pretty close idea if not perfect. If you read this while watching the video it should sync up pretty sensibly. (Hint: the part where she talks about how amazing the cabbages smell, she says that when she’s smelling the cabbages.)

When you’re 18 years old you can destroy the environment as much as you want!

We’re like an old married couple, aren’t we? Ha!

How can you POSSIBLY live without an auto?!?

Why are they showing us this? I’ve lived in several heavenly places, I know what that looks like, more or less.

Right, left, straight ahead. Where are you, my little boy?

I love LA, here is where I feel the best, in California I can recharge my batteries, here I can make my ideas a reality the best, so I can bring them back to my home country. I belong here. I wouldn’t come here if I didn’t belong here. Hey, my colleagues at the German embassy are also here in Los Angeles. Ask them why they’re here and not in Paris. Because our karma, our destiny, positioned itself here.

Goodness, cabbage! Look Otis, have you ever seen anything like this? It makes my mouth water. You have to get me away from this container (slurps) because it smells so delicious! Cabbage! My god. (smells) [something about how sour it is] It’s delicious, what do you put it in?

Careful, careful, a sauerkraut-bomb.

God, the poor kid must be ashamed of his mom—because she’s so loud.

My son Otis is an absolutely honest guy, he’s up for anything. He knows what friendship means. And he’s still living with his mom—thank God.

My daughter somehow got away from her mother and brother very early, but we still have a very friendly and familial relationship, we talk on the phone every day, we’re always happy when she returns to LA, it’s always a great pleasure when she turns up in LA, and the two of them have a totally wonderful and special relationship, the two siblings. In spirit she is always here with us.

Why did you get Clorox? That isn’t one of the “green” ones.

He doesn’t give a shit! He wants to buy this detergent, I say it’s totally poisonous for the environment, the other supermarket has totally healthy ones.

So for a 16-year-old French-German-American young man, he’s not so interested…..



Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Beatle George Harrison’s brief journey into experimental electronics
09:20 am



george harrison moog portrait
In May of 1969—a full eleven years before Paul McCartney baffled his fans with the goofy electronic experiment “Temporary Secretary”—George Harrison released his second solo album, Electronic Sound, consisting of two side-length explorations composed on a modular Moog synth, “Under the Mersey Wall” and “No Time or Space.”
electronic sound
Unsurprisingly, the album barely charted in the U.S. and failed altogether in the U.K.—even in a period as indulgent as the late ’60s, a novice knob-twiddler’s pair of lengthy beepscapes wasn’t going to fly with the masses—and has only been reissued once, in 1996. But as it was one of the first albums ever to feature a Moog exclusively, and because let’s face it, it was made by a Beatle, it remains an item of interest among historically bent electronic music obsessives and Beatles completists. You can hear the entire album below. For whatever it’s worth, I’m a little more partial to side two (a composition that was the subject of a minor controversy), which starts at about 18:44.

The LP was the second release on Apple Records’ “Zapple” imprint. Zapple was intended to be Apple’s avant-garde subsidiary, but it only existed for a few months in 1969 and only released two albums, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s also very rare Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions being the first. The label was folded by Beatles manager Allen Klein only a month after Electronic Sound’s release—evidently enough was already enough. Harrison himself had much to say about the difficulty of curating a record label in this rare contemporary interview.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
So, what does the Internet think might be on the next Radiohead album?
09:36 am



There was once a time, long, long ago, when the casual music listening world would generally only learn about a new release when the single turned up on the radio, when the LP showed up on the NEW THIS WEEK! rack at the record store, or when they read a review after the fact of the release. Obsessives who pored over gossip columns in music magazines might have learned about a release maybe a month or so early. Today, of course, online fora can be all abuzz about a forthcoming album before its songs have even been written, and when a band’s fan base is as massive and rabid as Radiohead’s, the speculation begins ridiculously early—the apparently now defunct Green Plastic had a thread on the subject almost a year ago! Two of my favorite sites for Radiohead übergeekery, Citizen Insane and TKOL Part 2, have proffered some credible speculation as to what the still-hypothetical Radiohead album #9 might contain, based on hints dropped in interviews, info gleaned from the Atoms For Peace Reddit AMA, new songs registered with ASCAP, and fan videos of unreleased songs performed in concert. With Atoms For Peace’s tour precluding any Radiohead activity in the second half of 2013, and with the two songs recorded at Jack White’s Third Man studio in spring of 2012 seeming increasingly unlikely to surface the more time passes, I thought it might be an agreeable diversion to post an assortment of unreleased material that’s considered by the informed fandom likely to turn up on the next album. Understand this is intended to be neither exhaustive nor predictive, and I’m fully aware that that the more deeply fervent Radiohead fans among you already know some of this stuff and I unhesitatingly acknowledge how totally cool you are for having heard songs before most other people. Truly, the world is yours. This is just about having some fun and checking out some lesser-known but quality material by a great group whose last album is almost three years behind us and whose next offering remains a tantalizingly huge question mark. So off we go!

To start, there’s the very pretty “Skirting on the Surface.” It was a live staple of Thom Yorke’s solo performances over four years ago, but Radiohead took to playing it out in 2012. Though the solo piano versions one can find are quite stunning, I went with full band here.

Next up, “Identikit.” It’s been performed live a zillion times, and it’s known to be one of the songs from the Third Man sessions. There were plenty of versions of this on YouTube, but I got a kick out of this fan video cut from old cartoons.

“Cut A Hole” is another mighty nice tune that’s had some live exposure.

Infuriatingly, the only apparently extant version of “Come To Your Senses,” the existence of which has been known since 2006, and which was explicitly cited as a contender for a new recording by Thom Yorke in his October 2011 Rolling Stone interview, cuts off before even a minute passes. What’s there sounds awesome, reminiscent somewhat of Hail To The Thief‘s “Go To Sleep,” a big favorite of mine. I’m kind of rooting for this one to get finished and released one of these days.

“The Present Tense” is a contender that’s been performed this past fall on the Atoms For Peace tour, which doesn’t necessarily take it out of the running:

We’ll end this with “Full Stop,” often spelled “Ful Stop” based on a possible misspelling from a page of rehearsal notes that turned up in an eBay auction. It started appearing in concert in 2012.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Johnny Cash and The Cowsills would like to sing you a little ditty ‘bout Baby Jesus
10:30 am



What could have been more square in the late 1960s than a family band with MOM in it? The Cowsills became a badge for the co-optation of counterculture when they sang the theme song for Hair, and their rep for milky white safeness was cemented forever when The Partridge Family pilfered their schtick pretty much wholesale. But with a few decades elapsed between then and now, I think it’s no longer a betrayal of The Revolution to be OK with them, because ultimately, they just wanted to sing, and bland content or not, they sang very, very well. And while they do shoulder some blame for David Cassidy’s career, at least the Osmonds aren’t their fault.
cash/cow 2
WHAT THE—okay, maybe they weren’t entirely safe.

Here’s a seasonally timely clip of the Cowsills on The Johnny Cash Show, guesting with Cash on the gospel number “Children, Go Where I Send Thee.” Not only do they admirably hold their own backing up Cash’s rich basso voice, pay attention around 2:09, at which ten-year-old Susan Cowsill peers confidently into the camera and nails a solo verse. This, again, is a ten-year-old kid sitting next to Johnny By God CASH and singing with laudable poise. That talented little kid went on to gain a measure of hip cred playing in Dwight Twilley’s band in the ‘80s, and in The Continental Drifters with The dBs’ Peter Holsapple (her husband for a time). She continues to pursue an active solo career.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Old Men Can’t Jump: Evel Knievel endorses Legend Scooters
10:56 am



Evel Knievel Legend Scooter
Before his death of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2007 at the age of 69, Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel apparently endorsed this Legend 2000 model motor scooter (PDF) from Pride Mobility Products Corp.

Obviously there’s something kind of funny about Evel Knievel, of all people, endorsing a vehicle that can’t even jump.

Here’s the famous Wembley jump from 1975 in which he attempted to vault over thirteen London buses. The clip is long, but the buildup is worth it.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dylan reselling everything at once, because, hey, let’s face it, people will buy it
03:33 pm



that bucket is full of cash
At age 72, with a career behind him spanning just a bit over 50 years, Bob Dylan is releasing this November a boxed set spanning his entire oeuvre, titled The Complete Album Collection Volume 1.

“Volume 1.”

At a cost of over $250, the massive set contains 35 studio albums, 6 live albums, and two discs of rarities, some remastered, some appearing on CD for the first time, posh book, blah blah blah, can we circle back to this “Volume 1” thing? It implies a presupposed Volume 2, kinda, a little, doesn’t it? But for such a volume to be comparably exhaustive, it would seem like it would have to wait until the durable (won’t get off the stage) and prolific (enraptured by the sound of his own voice) icon reaches about 120 years of age. Or so.
look at all that crap
Come to think of it, it’s not so doubtful that he could pull that off. Though haggard, he’s still decently preserved and he has more money than God. Might a Volume 2 comprise his groundbreaking head-kept-alive-in-a-jar years? Will submersion in formaldehyde affect the tone of his harmonica reeds?

Or, given that he’s hardly released a single note worth listening to since Desire, maybe this set is a bloated, hubristic exercise in wrenching one last big wad of cash out of nostalgia-obsessed baby boomers before they all go on Social Security?

Obviously early Dylan is worth being nostalgic for, and if someone is really itching for a box set, there’s already 2010’s The Original Mono Recordings, comprising his first eight LPs, and though it’s a few albums shy of completely collecting his best work, it doesn’t charge exorbitantly for three and a half decades worth of stuff that nobody wants.

For a taste of Dylan’s mastery at the height of his early, folkie phase, check out this stunning rendition of “North County Blues,” from 1963.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Trash with Class: John Waters’ muse Divine immortalized in $1300 knitted sweaters
10:54 am

Pop Culture


While I love the above knitted Divine sweater (I’d probably wear it) by designer James Long, I hate the one below. The sleeves! Oh gawd those hideous sleeves!

And when I say “I’d probably wear it,” I’d probably wear it if I had an extra $1300 to burn ‘cause that’s how much these “high-fashion” sweaters cost. Holy crap!


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Could Ray Charles really land an airplane? Apparently the answer is YES!
11:10 am



“Tell me what’d I fly…”

When my dad, a professional musician, was working A Chorus Line on Broadway, he once sent in a sub for a week in order to work with Ray Charles, whom he loved. When he came back, he kept bragging and blabbing about “my buddy Ray” (e.g.: “I was playing with my buddy Ray Charles last night,” etc…).

After a while of this, the drummer got fed up and (noticing my father’s recent haircut) asked, “Hey E! Who cut your hair? Your buddy Ray?” Laughter, of course, abounded, at my pop’s expense.

Periodically over the years, my father would tell me a story he had heard from members of Ray’s band. Here’s the best one:

After Ray Charles had gotten famous and was riding in a chartered private jet, every once in a while, the pilot would call for “a Mr. Ray Charles” over the intercom, and Ray would spring up and enter the cockpit. Apparently, the pilot was a big Ray Charles fan and he’d let Ray fly the plane and even, on occasion, land it! According to the legend, the cats in the band REALLY didn’t like it when Ray flew the plane, though they apparently didn’t know when Ray had landed it too. When Jamie Foxx in Ray came out, I looked to see if they’d validate the “pilot Ray” legend, but unfortunately they didn’t: They showed Ray his crew flying in his private jet, but they didn’t show him actually flying it.

So was it true? Were the legends about Ray Charles’ piloting his private jet true?

Once again this Internet thingee comes in handy: According to Mr. Ray Charles himself the legends were indeed true! Here, in fact, are Ray’s own words on the subject (reported way back in 1997):

Ray Charles doesn’t suggest other blind people try it, but he has driven a car, a motorcycle and, in a jam, could land an airplane.

“I done all kinds of nutty things,” Charles told U.S. News and World Reports in an interview for editions that go on sale Monday. “I don’t recommend it because I don’t want other blind people to say if Ray Charles did it, I can do it, because I don’t want to cause anybody to get themselves killed.“The singer said he also once rode a motorcycle - “I know if I could see, I’d have me a Harley for sure” - on the old Mike Douglas television show in Philadelphia. The show blocked off a street for him.

“I know how to fly an airplane, too. I always had an attitude that anything that can kill me I want to know about,” the 66-year-old Charles said.

Yeah! Alright! Ray Charles indeed not only flew a plane, he could land one too!

Below, Ray Charles live in São Paulo, 1963

Bad acid trip: ‘Carol Channing Is Better Than You’
08:15 pm



“One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small…” but whatever Broadway great Carol Channing is on in this clip from the 1985 Alice in Wonderland TV movie, I want no part of it. It might take years of therapy to get over this one. The mayhem starts at around the 2:10 mark. That’s my jam!

“Alice” has the right reaction to the frenzied gyrations of the “White Queen” (ahem):

“That’s confusing!”

Don’t ever decide to watch this version of Alice when you’re tripping, it could seriously scar you for life.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Steve McQueen and Charles Manson’s ‘Death List’
09:46 am

Pop Culture


Steve McQueen was one of several Hollywood celebrities placed on a “Death List” allegedly compiled by Charles Manson. The other names were Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones.

On August 9th, 1969, members of Manson’s “Family” carried out the brutal murder of Sharon Tate and 4 of her friends.

McQueen had briefly dated Tate, and had planned to visit the actress the night of her death.

In December 1969, Manson and the killers had been arrested.

When McQueen heard he might be targeted by Manson’s followers, he started carrying a gun. In October 1970, a still cautious McQueen wrote to his lawyer to find out if any “Family” members were still active, and to have his gun license renewed.


October 17, 1970

Mr. Edward Rubin
Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp
6380 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90048

Dear Eddie:

As you know, I have been selected by the Manson Group to be marked for death, along with Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones. In some ways I find it humorous, and in other ways frighteningly tragic. It may be nothing, but I must consider it may be true both for the protection of myself and my family.

At the first possible time, if you could pull some strings and find out unofficially from one of the higher-ups in Police whether, again unofficially, all of the Manson Group has been rounded up and/or do they feel that we may be in some danger.

Secondly, if you would call Palm Springs and have my gun permit renewed, it was only for a year, and I should like to have it renewed for longer as it is the only sense of self-protection for my family and myself, and I certainly think I have good reason.

Please don’t let too much water go under the bridge before this is done, and I’m waiting for an immediate reply.

My best,

(Signed, ‘Steve’)

Steve McQueen


cc: William Maher

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Steve McQueen’s 1964 Driving License

The True Story of the Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust

With thanks to Simon Wells, via Letters of Note

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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