File this one under “I did not know that” (said like Johnny Carson): If you look him up on IMDB (which I did recently, although I can’t exactly recall why) you will see that rocker Lowell George, he of Little Feat fame, made a cameo appearance on the sixties TV sitcom F Troop. In 1967 George portrayed a long-haired member of an anachronistic teen combo called The Bedbugs, the joke (one F Troop used more than once) being that you have a rock group right after the Civil War. Har!
Along with George, the other members of the Bedbugs were played by guitarists Warren S. Klein (who was in the Stooges circa 1973) and Martin F. Kibbee; and future Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward. At the time, the four of them were collectively known as The Factory. Frank Zappa would produce two songs for the group, which remained unreleased until 1993’s Lightning-Rod Man anthology.
After the Factory disbanded, Lowell would briefly join The Standells before becoming (again briefly) a member of Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, appearing on the Weasels Ripped My Flesh album on rhythm guitar. The teetotal Zappa either fired him, or George left voluntarily, over Lowell’s penchant for partying and pot.
For all the ballyhoo around VH1 Classic rebranding itself as MTV Classic, the channel’s programming still doesn’t include very much music. In fact, most of the programming seems to date back only to the ‘90s, after the network began transitioning from actual music television to youth-culture oriented reality programming. If your nostalgic tastes run towards Pimp My Ride, The Real World, and Cribs, well, great, hunker down and binge. But if your trip is musical discovery, may I point you in the direction of the new streaming channel launched this year—to much less fanfare—by Night Flight?
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, you missed something amazing. From 1981-88, during the weekend’s wee hours, the USA cable network aired Night Flight, a four hour block of weirdo-culture programming that often defied easy categorization. Random bumps were culled from the most shocking scenes from John Waters films and strange old out-of-copyright cartoons, music from the backroads of post-punk subcultures was given a fair hearing—including but not limited to the late Peter Ivers’ incredible New Wave Theatre, profiles of outré performers were produced, and cult movies were aired in their entirety, including the punk documentary Another State of Mind (Who would have guessed back then that not only would Social Distortion be a band forever, but that they’d become SO HORRIBLE?), the not-to-be-missed proto-Riot Grrrl satire/drama Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, and The Clash’s classic Rude Boy. For that era’s weird kids who lived in flyover country, without access to the coasts’ record stores, clubs, and cinematheques, that basic cable freakshow was manna from heaven. More after the jump…
Right this moment, I really wish I spoke Russian, the better to understand this 1964 commercial that turned up yesterday on the wonderful Soviet Visuals Twitter feed.
Perhaps calling it a “commercial” is a misnomer—Soviet agriculture was mostly organized into a system of collective and state farms, so commerce wasn’t the objective here—there was no brand competition. The context for this ad was a big push for corn that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had undertaken in the mid-‘50s. Corn was never important to Soviet agriculture, but Khrushchev valued it as livestock feed.
”Corn—The Source of Abundance,” 1959
Corn’s failure in the USSR was one of the factors that weakened Khrushchev (the Cuban Missile Crisis was a much bigger one) and allowed for the more conservative Leonid Brezhnev to successfully conspire to depose him, but while that’s interesting, it’s not singing corn interesting. This ad is great fun, and about the only thing that could have improved it would be if it had starred Eduard “Mr. Trololo” Khil. It features animated ears and cans of corn, seemingly petitioning a singing chef to cook them. We’re then treated to a panoply of corn dishes. It’s supposed to demonstrate the grain’s culinary versatility, but every meal looks sufficiently unappetizing to have been culled from The Gallery of Regrettable Food. And I particularly love the overwrought fake smile on the woman near the ad’s end who’s eating corn on the cob as though for the first time ever in her life.
The mysterious Steelberg has been re-imagining newly released movies as VHS tapes that you would have rented from your local video store when video stores were everywhere. Housed in beat up cases with torn plastic slip jackets, curling price tags, staff recommendations and various other battered stickers (Beta!), Steelberg replicates the real thing to an eerie degree.
Stranger Things is particularly effective for the very reason that it’s an homage to those 80s movies that packed the shelves of Blockbusters back in the days when you could be kind by simply rewinding. This is what we’re talking about when we talk about form following content.
Well this is nice. The world’s longest-running science-fiction series Doctor Who reimagined as retro Penguin books from the 1960s-1980s.
I do like Penguin books. They are the acme of paperback fiction. And while I may have an apartment already crammed wall to wall and floor to ceiling with way too many books, I know I could just about find enough space for a few of these.
While there are literally dozens of real Doctor Who novelizations—some even published by Penguin—none are quite as stylish or as desirable as these beauties. Check out more Doctor Who book designs here.
More classic Penguin-style designs, after the jump…
So, if you’re like me, your entire social media newsfeed is blowing up with people going absolutely apeshit over Stranger Things. Everyone loves the nostalgic 80s throwback and its cold synthy score. Word has it that the popular series has been picked up for a second season.
For all you fans on that 80s nostalgia kick, MondialCreative has produced a completely unnecessary, yet totally awesome mashup of the Stranger Things opening with scenes from the hit sitcom Perfect Strangers.
Perfect Stranger Things—GET IT?
Anyway, this is actually rather well done. Dumb, but dumb well done.
Jeremy Irons is one of the great screen actors. A multi-award winning star of Brideshead Revisited, The Mission, Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (above), Die Hard 2 and of course more recently a scheming Pope in The Borgias.
But once upon a time, long, long before this all happened, Mr. Irons was a very popular presenter on a BBC children’s series called Play Away.
Play Away was the sister show to another daytime kids series called Play School. Play Away was the weekend edition—a kind of Saturday supplement. Both shows were aimed at pre-school and junior school kids with the noble intention of encouraging interest in reading, writing and role playing. It was like Sesame Street without the Muppets or The New Zoo Revue starring just Doug and Emmy Jo.
The format centered on three presenters (usually led by the likeable Brian Cant) who sang songs, told stories and played the same kind of games kids did in the yard. Irons was one of the regular co-hosts. He appeared on the same roster as a number of other young actors and actresses. Most notably Tony Robinson—better known to millions as Baldrick in Blackadder; and Julie Covington—the original Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show stage play, star of TV series Rock Follies and hit singer of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”
With no multi-channels or 24-hour scheduling, kids TV in 1970’s UK was kept within strict time zones—early morning and then late afternoon. The dearth of suitable entertainment meant shows like Play Away attracted kids of all ages and quite a few hungover university students too. I know because I was one of the older school kids who tuned in.
Play Away was a refreshing twenty-five minutes oasis in the grey Saturday schedule of sports and war movies. I do recall Mr. Irons. He seemed very earnest, like an older brother trying to impress the grownups at a party. But still, he was fun. And proof—if ever it was needed—of the truth in the words of Dorothy Fields’ showstopper: “It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. It’s not how you go, it’s how you land…”
“In 1972 God spoke to Rev. Woody Martin and told him to lay hands on the building that is now Victory Temple Worship Center, a center of signs, wonders, and miracles following the spoken Word of God.”
So spaketh the poorly-designed website for Rev. Martin’s Bible Deliverance Ministry, located in the town of Lenoir City, Tennessee. It goes on to inform the reader that:
In his first service, God opened the blind eyes of an eight-year-old girl by the “laying on of hands.” Victory Temple is a Bible-believing Pentecostal Deliverance Church where expectations are met through Christ. Thousands have come to Jesus through anointed radio broadcast, publications, television, and miracle crusades. Precious souls have been delivered and set free by the power of God.
Rev. Woody (who also is known as “Prophet Martin” for reasons that are unclear) has another method of achieving unspecified Jesus-related goals and stuff and that is his “The Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil.”
Despite the apparently pedigreed name, “The Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil” is just regular olive oil and red food coloring. Prophet Martin admits to such in the description.
“It is regular olive oil which represents the Holy Spirit and a special coloring to make it look red thus we call it “The Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil.” There is no virtue or healing in this oil, it is a point-of-contact and an act-of-faith.”
You see, for it to work, you only have to believe! (And if it doesn’t work then obviously you are not believing HARD ENOUGH.)
“The Bible says in Mark 6:13, “And they cast out many devils, and ANOINTED with oil many that were sick, and Healed them!” Jesus’ disciples used this unusual ministry to bring healing and deliverance to the sick and oppressed. They would anoint them with a little oil that God had blessed by His Holy Spirit. The oil alone had no power, but when saturated by prayer, it became the Holy Spirit’s point of power for bringing deliverance to people.”
It’s not like he and his wife can legally be, you know, accused of cheating anyone with such an honest description, right? And if it works, then it works, right? Who am I to shit on an old couple’s hobby? Besides that, the first vial is free for the asking. (They also got “healing” DVDs, Rev. Woody’s music, ways to lose weight through the Lord, all kinds of stuff, in the online store.)
Some of the many uses for Mr. and Mrs. Woody Martin’s “The Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil” are the warding off of witchcraft, protection from the evil eye, reversing bad luck and the effects of evil hoodoos, leprachauns and so forth. But it’s also good for the removal of snakes.
You heard me right: The removal of snakes. Apparently this shit works great for that. Listen to the testimonial below and praise Jesus!
Above, Mrs. Woody Martin proudly reads a letter from one of their satisfied “Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil” customers! Use this oil and you, too, will stop seeing snakes!
Brisbane-based illustrator/designer Steven Rhodes can handle an impressive diversity of styles, but as I perused his portfolio, the quirk in his oeuvre that struck my fancy the most was his truly impressive gift for recreating the distinctive look of cheap mid-century print graphics. He used that talent to wonderful effect in a new set of prints, available from Society 6, in which he imagines matchbook covers for locations in David Lynch’s cult TV series Twin Peaks. I wish he’d actually have matchbooks made—I’d definitely get a set! That said, while the diner, gas station, casino et al all seem like businesses that might have custom matchbooks, I question whether the sheriff’s department and the mill would have them. But it’s hard to quibble too much when it’s all in fun, and the sawmill cover is actually pretty great.
Welcome to Twin Peaks debuted them earlier this summer, and Rhodes explained what attracted him to the project:
“Twin Peaks has always evoked a sense of nostalgia. There’s an innocent 1950’s aesthetic to the town that contrasts so well with the darkness beneath. It was important that the artwork felt as authentic as possible to the mid-century era.”