Anthony Bourdain and Nick Tosches discuss Nick’s book The Last Opium Den. Nick is one of my favorite writers, a dude who walks it like he talks it.
Driven by romantic, spiritual, and medicinal imperatives, Nick Tosches goes in search of something everyone tells him no longer exists: an opium den. From Europe to Hong Kong to Thailand to Cambodia, he hunts the Big Smoke…
This clip reminds me a bit of Richard’s wonderful interview with Mick Farren about speed, with some Guinness thrown in.
Bad acting (one of the puppets sounds Jerry Lewis), lousy jokes, a macrame space ship, cheesy special effects, what’s not to like? Join Moonshine, Lester and Solar on their exciting travels through incredibly bad stock footage.
I was thrilled to hear that Ideal, starring the very talented Johnny Vegas would be returning to BBC3 television on August 17th for a sixth series. Ideal is about “Moz” a smalltime Mancunian pot dealer—who may or may not be agoraphobic—and the whimsical characters (and psychotic criminals) who come in and out of his life wanting to buy an eighth of weed. It’s one of the smartest, best-acted, best-directed, best-written sitcoms that I’ve ever seen. How many sitcoms can you name that have Throbbing Gristle and Carter-Tutti references? Additionally it’s got one of the best soundtracks going. Did I mention that I love this show? Well I do, but the way series creator Graham Duff ended the fifth series, I was under the impression that the show was finished and had a bow tied on top, so the fact that it’s returning soon was viewed as unexpected great news in our household. Tara loves the show, too.
I love me some Mr. Johnny Vegas, who I think, truly, is one of the great comic actors of our time. I’m a huge fan. There is something about him that reminds me of WC Fields (this is a very good thing) and I’d call him “the funniest fat comedian of all time” except that the once unabashedly fat Vegas has slimmed down considerably from his peak weight. His verbal dexterity approaches that of a trained Shakespearean actor and his quick-witted stand-up material is shocking in its brilliance. I’ve seen him in practically everything he’s ever been in and I think he’s excellent in all of it. (All except for the awful, unfunny Sex Lives of the Potato Men, which is utter shit).
If you’ve never seen Ideal, obviously there are ways to get your hands on past episodes and if you are a fan of super-smart comedy, I suggest you do so.
This languid and dreamy, heavily phase-shifted late period mid-tempo disco masterpiece was released on the storied Casablanca Records label in 1979 by one Dennis Parker, better known as ill-fated porn and soap opera actor Wade Nichols. I guess the below clip is a fairly recent discovery which offers not only an oddly affecting melodramatic performance from Parker, er Nichols but also a gorgeous look at late 70’s mid-town Manhattan.
Manhattan cable television in the late 70s/early 80s was a viaduct for some of the wildest shit to ever invade the American airwaves. From porn to rock and roll to goofy infomercials and call-in shows, it was some of the most fun to be had at 2 a.m in the morning in NYC. If you weren’t actually in the clubs, bars and sex pits of Manhattan, you were watching it on cable.
Paul Tschinkel’s Inner Tube may have been low rent, but it was one of the grooviest TV rock shows in the history of the medium. On a zero budget, Paul managed to capture the raw energy of what is arguably the last great era in rock and roll. He filmed seminal performances from musicians like Klaus Nomi, Lydia Lunch, DNA, The Contortions, Johnny Thunders, The Blessed, The Cramps and many many more.
Here’s 12 minutes of great footage of The Cramps at the Mudd Club in 1981. If you were living in Manhattan at the time, you could’ve watched it on the tube.
Lux, Kid Congo, Nick Knox and Ivy.
Warning; this kicks in loud, so adjust your speakers or risk waking up the neighbors.
In 1956 hipster humorist Lord Buckley appeared on TV game show You Bet Your Life hosted by Groucho Marx. This was a meeting of two brilliant minds and it’s hard to believe that it actually occurred on network television. But, Buckley was so underground that the viewing audience was clueless as to who he was. While he’s rather low-key on the program, he still manages to slip some of his bebop prose into the mix. The ‘housewife’ Buckley’s teamed up with is a pretty cool broad herself. In contrast to the two contestants, Groucho comes off a bit square.
As an added attraction, I’ve included a rare clip of Buckley’s appearance on TV’s Club 7 circa 1949.
In this news clip from the Dallas ABC news affiliate we see the borderline hysterical coverage of The Sex Pistols gig at cowboy dancehall The Longhorn.
I love the marquee with ‘The Sex Pistols’ hovering over Merle Haggard’s name. That would have been one hell of a double bill.
It’s amusing to hear people complain that they had to pay $3.50 to see what was in effect a historic piece of music history. The date was January 10, 1978.
Texas punk band The Nervebreakers opened for The Pistols that night and recently re-united to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their once-in-a-lifetime gig. I’ve included some video footage of them playing in Dallas last year.
See footage of the Pistols Longhorn show and a recent Dallas performance by The Nervebreakers after the jump…
In 1971 Los Angeles television station KTTV refused to air this 60 second commercial for Captain Beefheart’s album Lick My Decals Off, Baby.
Conceived by Beefheart and directed by Larry Secrest and Jon Fizdali, the ad was considered to be ‘crude and unacceptable” by KTTV management. They also deemed the album obscene and refused to air the spot on that basis as well.
The National Association of Broadcasters banned the ad on their member stations, stating the commercial didn’t fit into their standards, which were to…
[...] enlarge the horizons of the viewer, provide him with wholesome entertainment, afford helpful stimulation, and remind him of the responsibilities which the citizen has towards his society.
Beefheart’s record label, Warner/Reprise, stood by the Captain and declared the spot…
[...] really different, it does everything a commercial is supposed to do. It begins with a cigarette flipping through the air in slow motion several times with Beefheart singing ‘Woe-is-a-me-bop.’ There are long silences, Beefheart finally appears doing his famed Hand and Toe Investment. Rockette Morton, one of the guys in Beefheart’s Magic Band, crosses the screen with a black sack over his head working an egg beater. The Captain kicks over a bowl of white paint in slow motion. It is non sequitur stuff that’s funny, attention getting, and pure Beefheart. It’s unfortunate that the station should be so frightened by it.”
In watching the commercial, one has to think that David Lynch had to have seen it at one point in his early development as a filmmaker. It’s a bold and surreal piece of film making that would have certainly baffled and spooked American audiences of the time. It’s still provocative.