Aspiring actress Precious Taft appeared on Stairway to Stardom performing a monologue from a play called The Gingham Dog. The best part is the dramatic ending, where Precious (playing the part of Gloria) avows to bash her child’s head against the “goddamned radiator.” She then dramatically drops the microphone and the host creepily tells her how beautiful her performance was.
Meanwhile…in a garret in the Palace…Vivian Stanshall advises us to ‘Be Realistic. Ask for the impossible,’ as he tells a surreal comic tale that preempts the mash-up and scratch video. Originally broadcast on Up Sunday circa 1972.
It was then purchased by what is now Syfy, who never aired the series (for reasons you won’t wonder about, if you’ve seen it) despite them paying a fair whack of money for it. Eventually it came out on DVD (Netflix also has it).
In any case, this segment, “The Best of Both Worlds” was going to be the first thing viewers would have seen in year two, but I ended up shuffling that around a bit after several people warned me not to come on that strong and that I might want to ease into it with the C4 lawyers, so it ended up airing towards the end of the second series. When that episode did air (dealing with themes explored in Adam Parfrey’s Apocalypse Culture II book) there were tons of angry letters and viewer complaints. One memorable letter accused me of trying to “create mass social deviation” using the airwaves (the best compliment I’ve ever received, btw). I was later told that criminal fines were levied on a broadcaster who showed that episode in Thailand due to the piece on transsexual porn.
The thesis of the piece—and it’s something that was also written about by George Petros (who you’ll see in the segment in an interview that we shot in my then apartment in the West Village) in a provocative essay titled “The New Hermaphrodite”—is that what seemed to then be an eye-popping explosion of “chicks with dicks” porn, was not really something being marketed towards gay men at all, as might be expected, but at straight men, as a sort of “kink.” Gia Darling, a well-known director of transsexual pornography who I interviewed says this explicitly to me, that gay men are not even remotely interested in seeing depictions of femininity—especially the sort of hyper-femininity associated with transsexuals—in their porno. So who was renting all of the shemale porn that started coming out in the late 1990s then?
When the answer to this actually dawned on me—before I knew there was a question, I should say—I was walking around lowlife XXX video stores on “The Block,” Baltimore’s sleazy red light district at 7 am on a Saturday morning in 1998 (it’s actually two blocks long and at the time, still a pretty seedy spot). Perhaps a little explanation is necessary: that very weekend was one of those times in my life where my bank account went from having like $200 in it, to having quite a bit more by the following banking day. But this was the weekend before that money got deposited into my account and I found myself staying in what might be charitably have been described as a “crack hotel.”
I had taken the train to Baltimore to see Joe Coleman do a lecture (Hasil Adkins also performed) and I think I had an overly optimistic idea of what sort of reasonably priced accommodations I might find in the downtown area. The shithole I stayed in didn’t even have towels and the bed sheets (which I used as towels in the morning) smelled strongly of Pine Sol. Two morbidly obese women with their hair in curlers sat outside the place on the sidewalk on lawn furniture watching a B&W TV and chain-smoking. The clerk who checked me in did so from behind a two-inch thick bullet proof window. It was a fucking dump. The worst.
The second I woke up, I made to get out of there, but there’s not a whole lot to do in downtown Baltimore in the very early morning hours (at least not that I knew of) and so I ended up getting coffee at a 7-Eleven and wandering around until the bookstores and record stores opened. Then I bumped into “The Block.” Having read about it in one of John Waters’ books, I knew exactly where I was when I laid eyes on “it.” So I walked in—and then rather quickly out—of the stores and the strip bars that were open at that time of the morning. “The Block” lived up to its depraved reputation, but there was something I noticed that, at the time, seemed quite remarkable…
In every Baltimore porn store, there was a disproportionately high percentage of the floor space—25 to 40%—devoted to “shemale” DVDs. Mostly straight porn, then the transsexual porn and only then a very small amount (5-6%) of gay porn. Baltimore, if you’ve never been there, is more or less a hillbilly and poor black city (that doesn’t describe the entire city, no, but it will suffice). Even at that early hour, these places were pretty crowded. The men who were perusing these wares were all working class guys, the sort of dudes who carry lunchboxes to work with them. As “normal” as you could get. Why all the interest in “chicks with dicks” (at 7am) and yet the apparent disinterest in the “regular gay” DVDs?
It seemed to me that the answer to that question would make good television.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning about this piece is a sort of “oh duh” epiphany I had when I was doing some interviews at Gia Darling’s apartment. Alyssa, Gia’s downstairs neighbor (who I assumed, until I was told otherwise, was a biological female and Gia’s zany “fag hag” friend) was trying to explain something to me about the difficulty for her to find a straight boyfriend because she wasn’t herself interested in being with a gay man (in fact, she seemed to look down on the idea with great disdain).
Later, when we were editing the piece and I was watching the raw interview footage, I could hear myself not quite getting what she was trying to communicate to me, like it just wasn’t computing in my brain, and Gia can be heard off camera trying to patiently explain it to me. It seemed to make a lot of sense to cut it around Alyssa’s poignant remarks because I didn’t want the piece to seem lurid or unsympathetic (For the record, I wholeheartedly agree with what Gia Darling says towards the end about the daily heroism of a transgender person. It made me happy to be able to include that part).
When the show aired and I sent videotapes to all the participants, I was pleased to see how positively Gia, Alyssa and everyone else felt about the piece and how jazzed they were to be able to say the things they got to say on network television.
Shot and edited by Nimrod Erez, music by Adam Peters and Chris Brick (Family of God). (Don’t blame me for the distorted audio or the typo, it’s not my upload).
Television evangelism meets rock ‘n’ roll mayhem in Beth B.‘s Salvation, a delirious satire from 1987 starring Exene Cervenka, Viggo Mortensen (in his first starring movie role), Dominique Davalos (singer in Dominatrix) and a splendidly deranged Stephen McHattie as the Swaggart-like Reverend Edward Randall.
Even with a rather hefty $800,000 budget, Salvation manages to exude a down and dirty D.I.Y. vibe that feels true to Beth B.‘s roots, underground subversiveness slathered with a sleek Hollywood veneer. The movie is not altogether successful in eliciting laughs, but it’s cock-eyed energy has a manic propulsion that sent me into fits of giddiness. And it has an exceptionally cool soundtrack.
With music by New Order, Cabaret Votaire, Arthur Baker, Dominique and The Hood.
Jon Stewart reminds American Walmart workers why they’re lucky they aren’t working for Walmart in Bangladesh…
When I saw the part with John Payne, the CEO of Wstreet.com, as his lower third identifies him, on Fox News (2 minutes in), I wished that I could reach into my TV set and strangle him.
How long can it be before this douchebag is offered a contract on Fox News? He’s already proven his fealty to fucking idiocy, now it’s time for Roger Ailes to step up with financial rewards for this heroic act of complete asshatery…
Failed 2010 Republican Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (“19th Worst CEO of All Time”) is a confirmed failure in both business and politics—an extremely notable failure at that—and yet for some inexplicable reason, her “success” at nearly destroying HP saw Fiorina gifted with a $42 million “golden parachute” severance package when they fired her. (She claims $21 million, conveniently forgetting the other half). Hell, I’d be willing to run HP into the dust for the bargain price of $500,000, less, even, how’s about you?).
Portfolio magazine described Fiorina as “a consummate self-promoter” (A job creator!) who “paid herself handsome bonuses and perks while laying off thousands of employees to cut costs.” 18,000 people to give you a nice round number.
So why does NBC News keep booking her as an “expert” on Meet the Press? What are Carly Fiorina’s qualifications to have her opinions on the so-called “fiscal cliff” taken seriously? How is Fiorina’s “expertise” measured when SHE, of ALL PEOPLE, makes a statement like this one:
“It is not fair that public employee union pensions and benefits are so rich now that cities and states are going bankrupt, and college tuition is going up 20 and 30%… There is a lot that isn’t fair right now.”
Fair? Who is Carly Fiorina to decide what’s fair or not? How fucking fair is it that an individual rewarded with $42 million for being a total fuck up (during her tenure at HP, the company’s stock lost half its value) is on NBC News whining and pontificating about public union employees? Someone who fired 18,000 workers as she ground a major American corporation into the curb? Yeah, let’s canvass her opinion on the direction the country needs to take!
Hell, Carly Fiorina is so clueless that she even ran as a Republican in CALIFORNIA! I mean, what’s up with that? (Endorsed by Sarah Palin, Fiorina lost by 10 points!) If she’s any kind of expert on anything beside failing upwards then I’m Sean Hannity.
And for the record, 7 of 10 public union employees—like cops—retire on a pension of around $30k a year. Just sayin…
So tell me who is really part of the moocher class that corporate CEOs and 1%-ers keep talking about? Are they the people asking for basic healthcare or the people who have enough money to build moats and personal golf courses around their mansions? Another tip off sign of a moocher is that no matter how much they have, it’s not enough and they want more of your money.
Damn if these Republicans don’t always want stuff.
Tee-hee. I’m SO sick of hearing about this fiscal cliff nonsense, but ESPECIALLY from the likes of Carly Fiorina. If they try to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits, there will (finally) be riots in this country (which is why I don’t think anything is going to happen on that front, just “talk”). They need to dump the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 (it’s at least a start) and GUT THE PERPETUAL WAR MACHINE and hey, presto, no more fiscal cliff… Obviously, if they cut back on the war toys, America would be swimming in money.
This morning an email arrived from the Senate’s sole openly socialist member—and I think, a great American—Bernie Sanders of Vermont:
At a time when the wealthiest people in our country are doing phenomenally well, we must eliminate the Bush tax cuts favoring the top 2 percent.
At a time when corporate profits are soaring, we must end the absurd tax policy that allows about one-quarter of large, profitable corporations to pay nothing in federal income taxes.
At a time when the federal treasury is losing over $100 billion annually because the wealthy and large corporations are stashing their money in tax havens in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, we must pass real tax reform that ends this outrage.
At a time when we spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we must cut defense spending. There is also waste in other governmental agencies which must be eliminated.
This kinda sounds like a better plan than cutting pensions and healthcare benefits for older Americans.
And to Carly Fiorina, why don’t you have some dignity and fuck off. No one, but no one, wants to hear your opinions. NO ONE CARES what you think about the lives of ordinary working men and women and the direction American needs to go in. Go count your mountain of money away from the cameras, safe from the moochers in your gated mansion, stop embarrassing yourself and get off my tee-vee.
The whole thing is kind of tragic. I mean, what if someone saw the most embarrassing thing you did as a young person, caught it on video, and broadcast it to the entire world? By this, of course, I’m not referring to an intense religious fervor (one which he’s likely to grow out of), but rather an entire childhood spent creating one of the most insipid sitcoms ever made. 19-year-old star Angus T. Jones said recently in an interview with Christian group, Forerunner Chronicles:
I’m on Two and a Half Men and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it and filling your head with filth. People say it’s just entertainment. Do some research on the effects of television and your brain, and I promise you you’ll have a decision to make when it comes to television, especially with what you watch on television. It’s bad news.
For the record, post-Charlie Sheen, this show has become so much more family-friendly, it makes Everybody Loves Raymond look like a Bertholt Brecht play. While it’s difficult to understand how a kid who makes almost $8 million a year can be this unhappy, I think we’ve learned at this point that childhood fame rarely creates well-adjusted adults. He mentions going to three or four churches each Sunday and looking for an all-black congregation (clearly fumbling with the politics of race); the guy is obviously having some identity issues and looking for meaning.
Maybe this is just the kid’s way of dealing with being a part of a project he doesn’t believe in. It’s a sitcom that replaced a wacked out Charlie Sheen with an even more hateable Ashton Kutcher. I can only surmise that Jon Cryer is some sort of magical angel of sweetness and charisma (who doesn’t love Jon Cryer?). I have literally, never in my life, met anyone who watches it, and yet, it persists? It’s been running for nine years, and they’re working on a tenth season.
Maybe this is just his way of sabotaging the show, committing career seppuku. (“Winning” as defined by his TV uncle Charlie Sheen?)
Packaged highlights of Roxy Music in concert at Konserthuset, Stockholm, as recorded by Swedish Television on January 27th, 1976.
01. “The Thrill Of It All”
02 “Mother Of Pearl”
04. “Out Of The Blue”
05. “Street Life”
06. “Diamond Head”
07. “Wild Weekend”
08. Band Introduction
09. “The In Crowd”
10. “Virginia Plain”
11. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”
This concert was available as a bootleg within days of its performance, and has been a staple of the unauthorized Roxy catalog ever since. The concert was considered solid and workman-like at the time, but now it looks bloody marvelous.
Bonus…Bryan Ferry on his latest album ‘The Jazz Age’, after the jump…
In this excerpt from British TV show The Real…, Larry Hagman spares no details in describing the time he drove Keith Moon to rehab after the drummer over-indulged in Black Beauties (amphetamine). Moon and Hagman were friends, having originally met on the set of Stardust, a 1973 movie about the Brit rock business starring David Essex.