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  • Cha-cha Vans: Custom-made Divine gym shoe
    02:58 pm



    “The filthiest gym shoe alive”! 

    Divine on Facebook alerted me to these custom-made Divine Vans by Sink or Swim Custom Kicks! I visited the Sink or Swim Custom Kicks! website and couldn’t find any pricing information. If you’re interested, I’d reach out to them via their “contact” which is at the bottom of their homepage. I’d also message them on Facebook about ordering, pricing and shipping.

    I wish I had more information, but I simply don’t. Interestingly, Divine’s look was created by Divine, John Waters and a fellow named Van Smith. Smith, who died in 2006, designed all the costumes and did the makeup for every John Waters film from 1972 to 2004. Vans need to do a Van Smith Vans tribute next.


    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Comics-inspired Criterion movie posters by Daniel Clowes, R. Crumb, Ralph Steadman & more

    A 2010 movie poster for the 1968 film ‘Head’ by Wayne Shellabarger.
    Back in 2010 Criterion had the fantastic idea to have director Jim Jarmusch select a number of notable artists including Daniel Clowes, R. Crumb and Hunter S. Thompson’s pal Ralph Steadman to design movie posters for various Criterion releases. The posters made their debut during an All Tomorrow’s Parties festival which Jarmusch curated in 2010.

    A poster for the 1963 film ‘Shock Corridor’ by Daniel Clowes.
    If you’ve not seen the artwork that Clowes created for two films in Criterion’s collection directed by Samuel Fuller—1963’s mental hospital fever-dream Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss—you are in for a treat. I’ve assembled a number of the posters done by a wide range of artists that pay homage to films by Wes Anderson, Hal Ashby and David Cronenberg just to name a few. In 2014 Criterion published a massive book Criterion Designs that features a collection of artwork created for films in their catalog including many of the ones featured in this post.

    ‘Crumb’ by R. Crumb.
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Beach Blanket Bug: All the kids will want a giant inflatable cockroach pool float!
    12:48 pm



    Summer is almost over, folks! That means you only have a few more weeks to sport this giant inflatable cockroach pool float at your next pool party or beach outing. It’s gross, but I dig it.

    The six-foot cockroach raft sells for $29.95 here.

    I really wish I would have blogged about this sooner, but I didn’t know about it. There’s always next summer (or you could dress as Gregor Samsa for Halloween?)


    via Bored Panda

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Grapefruit: Forgotten Beatles protegés produced by Lennon & McCartney (and their AC/DC connection)
    11:59 am


    John Lennon

    Unless you’re a truly “deep cut” Beatles freak—or a big AC/DC fan (I’ll get to that in a minute)—it’s unlikely that you’ll have heard of the 60s pop-psych group Grapefruit. Recalled by history as the first performers to be thought of to be protegés of the Fab Four, Grapefruit—named by John Lennon—were signed to Apple Publishing, although their music came out on Decca Records. They were only an active band for about two years, from late 1967 to the end of 1969. They recorded two albums and some singles before splitting, although their sound changed dramatically for their more “rock”-oriented second album with a different singer. Less Beatlesesque and more like Traffic perhaps.

    Lennon and McCartney were co-producers of a song called “Lullaby” (a number with the working title “Circus Sgt. Pepper”) and Terry Doran, a friend of Lennon’s who’d worked with Brian Epstein, became their manager. When their record came out, Lennon introduced the band at a press conference attended by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan and Cilla Black. Paul McCartney directed a promotional film for their single “Elevator” and band member John Perry was invited to attend the “Hey Jude” recording session.

    Now here’s the AC/DC connection: The group’s songwriter/bassist was a chap named George Alexander, who was born Alexander Young in Scotland, one of eight children who included younger brothers Malcolm and Angus Young who would later go on to form AC/DC. When the Young family emigrated to Australia, he’d remained behind in Great Britain. Another musically talented Young brother is George Young of Aussie chart-toppers The Easybeats.

    Their first album Around Grapefruit was reissued in May of 2016 as Yesterday’s Sunshine: The Complete 1967-1968 London Sessions with rare tracks from the original master tapes.

    Performing “Dear Delilah” in France on ‘Dim Dam Dom’ in 1968:

    More of the sweet sounds of Grapefruit after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Ben Wheatley’s amazing storyboards for ‘High Rise’

    Film director Ben Wheatley tweeted his storyboard drawings for High Rise over the weekend. Based on the dystopian novel by J. G. Ballard, High Rise is a brilliant and astounding movie. Its cinematic quality again confirms Wheatley’s status as one of the most talented and original film directors at work in film today. As a director Wheatley stands in direct lineage to the likes of Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, John Boorman and Stanley Kubrick. He is an auteur of exceptional brilliance.

    Wheatley plans his films meticulously. He works in partnership with the multitalented screenwriter/editor Amy Jump—who is also his wife. Before filming, Wheatley storyboards the entire film scene by painstaking scene. As evidenced by the selection of drawings below, Wheatley considers everything from shot size and angle to action and camera moves within a sequence. These storyboards will may make better sense if you have seen High Rise—which I recommend you do. It stars as Tom Hiddleston as Dr. Robert Laing, Jeremy Irons as Anthony Royal, Luke Evans as Richard Wilder, Elisabeth Moss as Helen Wilder, Sienna Miller as Charlotte Melville, and Keeley Hawes as Ann Royal. The film takes place in a luxury tower block (designed by Royal) during the 1970s. The block is split into three class structures—with the poorest at the bottom. As the tenants become removed from the outside world—chaos and violence unfold. High Rise is now available on Blu-ray.

    The ever industrious Wheatley has just finished his latest film Freefire which will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next month. Freefire is “a real time shootout” action thriller starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley and Armie Hammer. Martin Scorsese is the executive producer and I, for one, am certainly looking forward to that…
    Ben Wheatley director selfie on the set of ‘High Rise.’
    Laing finds Digby the Dog.
    Morning—High Rise.
    The rest of Ben Wheatley’s storyboards for ‘High Rise,’ after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    A dozen classic albums, googly-eyed
    09:03 am


    Googly Eyes

    Googly-eyes are the “Yakety Sax” of craft supplies, rendering hilarious pretty much anything they’re introduced to. Case-in-point, these altered album covers. The best googly-eyeifications are the ones done to particularly iconic sleeves or sleeves with artwork which is supposed to convey a sense of seriousness, dignity or dread. This is why metal albums, in particular, are always good choices for googly-eyeing. There’s an entire Tumbr page dedicated to googly-eyed metal albums, which we’ve told you about here before. A few of these pieces have been featured on that particular Tumblr page, while the rest have been collected from various corners of the web.

    Googly, or “wiggle eyes” are fairly inexpensive to obtain. This set of 700 eyes of various sizes is only $7.99. Hit up some thrift stores or record shop dollar bins, and you can be making your own D.I.Y. googly-art album cover masterpieces in no time. Or don’t.

    Check this gallery for inspiration:


    More after the jump…

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    Notable airplane crashes recreated in flight simulator program
    09:01 am



    Aftermath of the 1986 Cerritos mid-air collision—this is not going to end well…..
    A young man in the Philippines named Allec Joshua Ibay has developed an interesting—and morbid—hobby. Using Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, Ibay likes to recreate noteworthy airline crashes from the past.

    Ibay’s dedication to this hobby is impressive, with upwards of 30 such crashes now documented on YouTube. The tone is uniformly elegiac, with lachrymose music cues, but the videos also attempt to foreground useful information such as the actual dialogue between the doomed pilots and the control tower.

    On some level Ibay knows that what he’s doing is creepy. The default video on his YouTube user page is a 9/11 tribute—not to worry, Ibay has done simulations of both UA Flight 175 and AA Flight 11. He seems to have gone out of his way to find FS2004 topics that are a bit less unsettling, as for instance this tribute to Heathrow or this compilation of safe landings on the island of Sint Maarten, where the airport is notoriously much too close to the beach, which has led to some fairly hilarious pictures of volleyball players confronted with a 747 jet landing almost right on top of them. (Last year we took a look at Jet Airliner: The Complete Works, a memorable book of such photos.) Ibay is currently 18, and some of these videos are more than a year old—I’d feel a little more squicked out if Ibay were in his thirties.

    After the jump, some of Ibay’s greatest, er, “hits”......

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    ‘Freedom for the Wolf’: The rise of Illiberal Democracy

    Earlier this year, at the opening ceremony for the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament, makar or national bard Jackie Kay read from her poem “Threshold.” The poem is a rallying call for people to come together and protect the nation’s “incipient democracy”:

    Find here what you are looking for:
    Democracy, in its infancy: guard her
    Like you would a small daughter -
    And keep the door wide open, not just ajar…

    Though I don’t regard Scotland as nation with an infant democracy—our history tells us otherwise—it is fair to say the poem’s sentiment is well-intentioned—if a tad cutesy. Democracy must be guarded responsibly if we are to enjoy its freedoms.

    The issues of freedom and democracy are at the heart of a new feature-length documentary by writer and director Rupert Russell. His film Freedom for the Wolf is epic in scale—covering events on four continents—finely made, thoughtful and nuanced. It examines how different people across the world—from Tunisian rappers to Indian comedians, from America’s #BlackLivesMatter activists to Hong Kong’s students—are joining the struggle for “the world’s most radical idea—freedom—and how it is transforming the world.”

    This sounds all very exciting—though I don’t think the struggle for freedom as something new—it has been a central thread of human history for millennia. Yet every generation comes afresh to politics (most recently the Occupy Movement and Bernie Sanders revolution) and sex (Fifty Shades of Grey)—and so it is with Freedom for the Wolf.

    That said, Russell’s film does highlight how different movements, primarily youth movements, are fighting the threat of governments combining dictatorships with democracy to create what is termed “illiberal democracies.” In other words, countries replacing real democratic freedom with consumerist choice—the right to liberty exchanged for the right to shop—or, as Juvenal put it, “bread and circuses.”
    Occupy demonstrator in Hong Kong.
    Rupert Russell was born and raised in England. He is the son of the brilliant film director Ken Russell. Rupert graduated from Cambridge University before he went on to study for a PhD in sociology under Orlando Patterson at Harvard University.

    Patterson is a preeminent historical and cultural sociologist—best known for his work Freedom in the Making of Western Culture (1991), which won a National Book Award. Born in Jamaica, Patterson has long had an interest in the cultural meaning of freedom. His interest was inspired by his birth country’s association with slavery. Slavery has shaped our understanding of freedom. Patterson examined slavery from a long historical perspective pointing out that the derivation of the word slave comes from the ethnic group Slavs. Blond, blue-eyed Slavs were once the main ethnicity of slaves—further the “vast majority of slaves for over 2,000 years of Western history were white.” But it’s a different kind of slavery that threatens democracy today.

    Patterson appears in Russell’s documentary and his work on freedom—what is it? what does it mean? how is it being eroded today?—underpin some of the film’s central themes—as Russell explained to me when I spoke with him over the phone:

    Rupert Russell: Our original intention was to examine what freedom meant in different cultures around the world. I’d been thinking about freedom and the paradox of freedom for quite a while and I decided to do a bit of exploration into not only what freedom means in different cultures but how does it relate to power.

    My advisor at Harvard during my PhD was Orlando Patterson who had already done quite extensive research on this. For example, he examined how ordinary Americans when you ask them to talk about “freedom” there were all kinds of things they said from being naked on a beach to driving their car. But invariably what they they didn’t talk about was voting.

    Orlando’s hypothesis actually explains how people such as George Bush and other politicians of the Iraq war era were able to use the idea of freedom in the forefront of their rhetoric while at the same time eroding democratic institutions through things like the Patriot Act.

    I was already aware there was a very sophisticated way to think about the relationship between freedom and power—the different definitions of freedom and how they can interplay with each other. How we may emphasise in a culture too much of a personal version of freedom and not connect that with a democratic or institutional version of freedom upon which our personal freedom depends.

    More from Rupert Russell on ‘Freedom for the Wolf,’ after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    The Yardbirds: The legendary supergroup that boasted of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page & Jeff Beck
    03:10 pm


    Jimmy Page
    Eric Clapton
    Jeff Beck

    The Yardbirds are one of those groups who didn’t quite make the jump when the drawbridge goes up between the R&B and “English invasion” beat group era and what came after, i.e the psychedelia and beyond. Very few groups of their vintage did, just a small handful when you think of it—the Beatles, Stones, Who and Kinks obviously come readily to mind—but not the Yardbirds who are often thought of as a mere footnote in the later careers of Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds go somewhat a little too far back for many music fans who might otherwise love what’s on offer from them. They are seen ultimately as a B&W era rock act, if you take my point. Unlike one group of their peers—the Pretty Things—they didn’t really last long enough to bloom in that same way, although surely the promise of the Yardbirds flowered within Led Zeppelin, Cream and the Jeff Beck Group (not to mention Renaissance).

    But the Yardbirds were an absolutely amazing, astonishing and astounding group. To some, who know “of” them, but not much of the actual music they produced, they have the reputation of being merely a really good English blues band when that’s not even remotely accurate, although this still might be the impression one is left with if you end up introduced to them via a crappy CD compilation (and there are dozens of crappy Yardbirds comps). These guys were insanely great musicians, way ahead of their time, adding exotic instrumentation (sitar, tabla), Gregorian chant, shifting tempos, and screaming and distorted lead guitar solos (and feedback) to the three-minute pop song before any of that stuff was routinely done. Their exemplary mid-60s hit singles are amongst the most innovative and furthest-reaching pop music of its day. Even put up against the measure of what the Beatles were getting up to at the same time, the Yardbirds’ output demonstrated that they could more than hold their own with the toppermost of the poppermost. (Worth noting that the Yardbirds opened for the Beatles at at least one concert in Paris.)

    The Yardbirds (their name a nod to jazz great Charlie Parker) were originally formed in 1963 by lead singer Keith Relf and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith who’d already been in a band together. They were joined by guitarist Chris Dreja, drummer Jim McCarty and the original lead guitarist “Top” Topham, who was then just fifteen and much younger than the rest of them. Top was pressured by his parents to take his education more seriously and he recommended his school chum Eric Clapton to take his place. Within a matter of months of forming, the group was approached by rock impresario Giorgio Gomelsky—who ran the Crawdaddy rhythm and blues club in Richmond—to replace the ascent Rolling Stones as the house band at his hip nightspot. He also became their manager and record producer getting them signed to EMI for Five Live Yardbirds, a recording of one of their sets, featuring blues standards stretched to 5 or 6 minutes with wailing guitar solos and feedback, something they called having a “rave-up.”

    Below “Louise” with Eric Clapton on guitar:

    But when the Yardbirds wanted to do something a little more experimental—like their first hit single “For Your Love”—Eric Clapton got all “blues purist” on them and quit on the very day the single was released, not even agreeing to appear in the promotional film made for the record. Clapton soon joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Jimmy Page by that point a session musician boy wonder of some notoriety was approached to replace Clapton. Page turned them down and instead recommended that they hire Jeff Beck (who can be seen below miming Clapton’s guitar parts in the promo for “For Your Love” filmed soon after he joined the group).

    With Beck in the line-up, the Yardbirds were on fire, turning out several classic hit singles and touring America many times, where they had several hit records. When Paul Samwell-Smith decided he wanted to go off and become a record producer, again the group approached Jimmy Page about joining and this time he agreed to help out, filling in on bass until Chris Dreja could learn the instrument, whereupon Page would switch to guitar. But as fate would have it, there was very little actually recorded with the dual guitar Page-Beck pairing.

    The legendary guitar-smashing scene in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 60s classic Blow-Up used the Yardbirds to represent the violent energy of “mod” London. Originally—and for obvious reasons—Antonioni wanted The Who to do this, but they weren’t available. Eric Burdon turned him down, too. He thought about having the Velvet Underground in the scene but they couldn’t get a working visa in time and it would have been expensive to fly their entire entourage to London. The director thought about using a band called The In-Crowd (later Tomorrow) a group that featured future Yes-guitarist Steve Howe, but they were jettisoned in favor of the Yardbirds at the last minute. Since they’d already made prop guitars to be smashed, you’ll note that Beck is destroying a Gibson 175, the guitar Howe famously uses.

    The song they’re seen performing here, one of the rare instances of a dual lead from Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck is called “Stroll On,” a rewrite of their earlier “Train Kept A-Rollin” hit with the lyrics changed by Keith Relf to avoid any legal problems with the original songwriters.

    Plenty more Yardbirds after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Vintage driver’s licenses once issued to Alfred Hitchcock, Johnny Cash, James Brown & more!

    Johnny Cash’s California driver’s license issued in 1964.
    Back in 2013 my Dangerous Minds colleague Tara McGinley put together a post containing images of passports once used by David Bowie, Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin (among others) which I found very entertaining. Mostly because the celebrity subjects look less than thrilled to in their photos—with the exception of Joplin who is grinning from ear to ear. Perhaps the result of an unplanned acid flashback, who can say? At any rate, while conducting my ongoing “research” for my “job” here at DM I came across one of Cash’s old driver licenses from 1964 and that discovery led me down a rather intriguing rabbit hole that was full of other vintage driver’s licenses—some with equally intriguing backstories to go with them.

    Robert De Niro’s taxicab licence from 1976.
    Cash’s California state driver’s license (pictured at the top of this post) was sold in an auction in 2014 for $4,480 and even made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman along with the man who had acquired it, Rick Harrison (the star of the reality television show Pawn Stars) who purchased it from an individual who brought it into his store in Las Vegas. Not one to be outdone by the Man in Black, a license once belonging to Alfred Hitchcock (which you can see below) sold at an auction for the tidy sum of for $8,125. Whoa

    Then there’s the coolest one in the lot I dug up belonging to a 33-year-old Robert De Niro (pictured above) issued by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in 1976. Known for his commitment to getting as “method” as possible when it came to his acting roles, De Niro prepped for his role as Travis Bickle the aspiring vigilante about to go off the rails in Taxi Driver by spending a number of weeks driving a New York City yellow cab. According to folklore associated with De Niro’s time behind the wheel, when he was recognized by one of his passengers they actually believed that De Niro was still working as a taxi driver after winning an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in The Godfather II for his impeccable portrayal of young Vito Corleone. Who knew?

    When it comes to the story behind Manson’s alleged driver’s license things are a little sketchy. In the 1971 book The Family author Ed Sanders was able to substantiate that Mason lived at the address noted on the license in Santa Barbara—705 Bath Street—along with Lynn “Squeaky” Fromme and Manson Family member Mary Brunner (the mother of Manson’s son Valentine) sometime during 1967—two years prior to his participation in the brutal slayings of director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate and four others at Polanski’s home in Benedict Canyon. The license notes Manson’s date of birth as November 11th—which is a point of contention between historians and criminologists alike as Manson’s date of birth has also been said to fall on November 12th. So while the jury is still out on the actual authenticity of this creepy artifact, it’s still nothing short of chilling to actually see a mundane personal document belonging to the one of the most notorious criminals in history.

    You can see Manson’s maybe driver’s license as well as others that once belonged to Davy Jones of the Monkees (RIP), Joe Strummer, Dean Martin and a beaming James Brown all of whom look about as happy as we all do (with the exception of Brown of course because, cocaine) in our DMV photos which proves that the DMV does in fact hate everyone.

    California driver’s license allegedly issued to Charles Manson in 1967.

    Back in 2008 this driver’s license once belonging to Alfred Hitchcock sold at an auction for $8,125.
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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