Oh boy, can I relate to this one. Apparently I talk a lot in my sleep, too (or so my husband tells me). I often find myself cringing in the morning when he tells me I was yapping in my sleep again as I almost always say (or shout out) something embarrassing or inexplicable like, “Don’t touch the pumpkin heads already!” or “I will put it in the birdhouse, but I think it must be yellow now.” WHAT?
Well, evil boyfriend and redditor, Soggybrick, decided to keep a little diary of what his girlfriend says when she’s sleep-talking. Honestly, you can’t really argue with her sleepy witticisms. I mean, the lady needs more feet! Who doesn’t need more feet? And my favorite, “The Parmesan doesn’t go like that.” People who don’t know how to use Parmesan properly are really annoying, aren’t they?
Perhaps one day I’ll get my husband to collect my best “sleep-talking poetry” and share it with all of you.
It’s been a year since the amazing Swiss surrealist painter H.R. Giger was lost to us. He was best known for his “Xenomorph” creature design for the film Alien, album art for Emerson Lake and Palmer and Debbie Harry, and for the notorious poster included in Dead Kennedys’ Frankenchrist LP, the utterly preposterous censorship repercussions from which derailed that band’s existence. To mark the first anniversary of his passing, the Museum of Arts and Design, on Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan, is hosting a three program festival of Giger documentaries, and rare films to which he contributed design work. The films will run over Memorial Day weekend, with a program on Friday, May 22, 2015, and two programs on Saturday the 23rd. If you’re not a New Yorker, keep an eye out; a traveling version of the festival isn’t out of the question.
H.R. Giger and Debbie Harry, 1981
The Friday 7:00 PM program is notable for its inclusion of A New Face of Debbie Harry, the FM Murer documentary about Giger’s videos for Debbie Harry’s KooKoo LP, and it will be introduced by Harry and Chris Stein. (DM told you about those videos last year.) But even more importantly, it also features Murer’s amazing 1969 film Swissmade 2069. The strange 40-minute work is a look at a dystopian future in which nonconformists and maladapts are exiled to reservations, while valued citizens are subject to insanely granular levels of central planning—right down to actual mind-reading—viewed through the Bolex-lens eyes of an alien visitor, which was designed by Giger (his credit is for “Future-Design”). It’s has never been screened in the USA before, which blew my mind to learn—after the Alien films made Giger famous among civilians, you’d think there’d have been at least an arthouse interest in a prior film with a Giger alien design!
When I was a kid growing up in Edinburgh during the 1970s, I became aware of a cinema called the Jacey on the city’s main thoroughfare Princes Street. It was difficult not to be aware of the Jacey—with its brightly lit foyer, white-painted exterior and beautiful French-styled windows—it looked like some kind of respectable brothel or a dodgy gentleman’s club—which wasn’t too far away from the truth, as the Jacey was an adult cinema showing imported Scandinavian porn and American sexploitation movies.
Outside, directly visible to all passing trade, were small framed windows where customers could view the promotional photographs, lobby cards and posters for the forthcoming attractions. Like many inquisitive schoolboys, I stopped here on the way home from school (for purely educational purposes, of course…) to view the photos of scantily clad men and women in black & white or garish colors frolicking as nature intended. This display became like a kind of barometer for me as it reflected the “atmospheric” changes in public taste for adult entertainment. At first, there was the innocent healthy lifestyle documentaries on nudist camps with fit youngsters playing games, stretching muscles and touching their toes. Then the more specialized films from Sweden with young blondes quieting their existential angst with spontaneous sexual adventures with strangers. Then American movies that mixed bad sex with bad acting and bad dialog. On occasion, there were screenings of arthouse films by Pasolini (Canterbury Tales) and Fellini (Satyricon)—perhaps the titles had suggested more than these films delivered? The Jacey closed around May 1973, its last double-bill was I Am Sexy and Do You Want To Remain a Virgin Forever?
As this “golden age” of seventies blue movies waned there arrived the awful British sex comedies that regularly starred Anthony Booth (father-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair) and a host of respected character actors (including Beryl Reid, Roy Kinnear and Richard Briers), and even employed the writing skills of Monty Python’s John Cleese and Graham Chapman.
The audiences seemed to change too—from old men to liberated and progressive young couples to teenage boys their first flush of lust. This was a time when virginity was still considered “sacred” and sex before marriage was generally discouraged—which made having a porn cinema on Edinburgh’s most famous and busiest street an odd comment on what was deemed acceptable. Edinburgh was then a very genteel city, and “sex” for most of its middle class citizens was what the coal was delivered in.
Then again, apart form their saucy taglines, most of these films rarely had anything as explicit than can be found on the pages of Tumblr today. This collection of 1970’s sexploitation posters covers all the bases—from nasty stag films, to smut movies starring Batman‘s Adam West, to the saucy comic Brit flicks.
Dubbed the “father of modern neurosurgery,” Dr. Harvey Cushing had a brilliant medical career. In 1901 he discovered what was later called the Cushing reflex—basically, what happens to your body when the brain is squeezed (That sounds way less science-y than it actually is, I swear). From there he continued to pioneer new ways of diagnosing brain tumors through X-rays, which produced new surgical techniques that drastically improved patients’ chances at survival from previously deadly conditions. Cushing also left a collection of about 500 preserved brains and nearly 10,000 patient photographs for posterity. In 2010—after sitting in a Yale dorm basement for more than 30 years—the brains were transferred to a museum, but it’s only recently that the pictures have been made available to the public.
The full series, titled “Cushing Tumor Registry,” covers Cushing’s patients from 1900 to 1933, and honestly if you had told me these were taken by Richard Avedon or Irving Penn, I wouldn’t have questioned it. The saturated, intense portraiture is stunning, whether focused on a pretty face or a brutal scar. Despite the medical nature of the photography, nothing in this cross-section elicits a shudder. Even the photo of the disembodied brain just looks like a still life.
Man, when I was a kid EVERYONE wanted a pair of checkerboard Vans just like Jeff Spicoli wore in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. At that moment in time, that was the epitome of cool.
But you know what’s a million times cooler than Jeff Spicoli’s pair of checkerboard Vans?
Jeff Spicoli’s checkerboard Vans on a pair of Vans!
“People on ‘ludes should not design shoes.”
The super-talented Alexis Winslow designed this pair for a charity art show. Her piece, “The Creation of Spicoli,” is a not-so-subtle homage to Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,” featuring Spicoli as Adam and, of course, Mr. Hand as God.
This pair is hand-painted and hand-embroidered.
The backs of the shoes feature the infamous Fast Times at Ridgemont High quotes, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Dice,” and “Learn it, Know it, Live it.”
‘‘I’ve sung, I’ve entertained, I’ve pleased your children, I’ve pleased your wives, I’ve pleased you—YOU SONS OF BITCHES!’’
The 2 CD quasi-bootleg set, Judy Garland Speaks!, has to be one of the single most demented things that a major celebrity has ever left behind for the world to discover several decades after their death. Even people who would normally never care about something Judy Garland-related marvel at the incredible pathos and dark insanity of these tapes, which come off like Garland performing in a one-woman show written by Samuel Beckett.
YES, they are that good.
Recorded between 1963 and 1967 when the great performer was down on her luck financially for the purpose of helping Garland write her autobiography, the tapes are a part of the Judy Garland archive at Columbia University. It wasn’t until Gerald Clarke made use of the recordings in his excellent—and ironically titled—book Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland in 2000, that they escaped to the outside world.
The tapes start off slow, with Garland, alone, obviously drunk and having a hard time figuring out how to use the reel to reel tape recorder that literary agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar had given her for the task. We hear her confused, turning the machine off and on and addressing it as an “obvious Nazi machine.” Soon, though, she’s drunkenly ranting and raving about her ex-husband Sid Luft (who stuck Garland with his gambling debts), how the entertainment industry has ripped her off, speaking to her frustration at the public’s perception of her problems with drugs and alcohol and generally laying her tormented soul bare in a way that can alternately produce titters of nervous laughter or sorrowful tears in the listener.
Comedian Dana Gould, who might actually be the world’s most fervent Planet of the Apes fan, often says that the appeal of the first movie lay in the fact that it featured “Moses dressed like Tarzan running from King Kong dressed like Fonzie.”
In the run-up to the final episode of Mad Men, AMC generated these self-congratulatory videos in which prominent people gush about how awesome the show is. Gould took advantage of his segment, linked at the bottom of this post, to point out that Mad Men had included the historically accurate touch of Don Draper reading a copy of The Ape in “The Flood,” an episode from Season 6 in which Don takes his son Bobby to see the sci-fi classic (a new movie in the narrative, of course).
Don Draper enjoys The Ape in Season 6 of Mad Men
Yes, it does appear that 20th Century Fox went the extra mile and had fake newspapers called The Ape and Future News printed up. Given the headline on the Future News one, it’s likely that that one was intended to promote Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, which came out in 1972. The idea of a newspaper called Future News (and billing itself as “The Future’s Picture Newspaper”) is pretty hilarious in itself. You know how we all live in the future from the perspective of our ancestors, so we do that all the time too, right? The date on that one is “Monday, May 22, 1992,” which is consistent with the plot of Conquest, which starts out in 1991, but that day was actually a Friday, and most memorable to some people as the final night of Johnny Carson’s tenure as host of The Tonight Show.
Solving the tangled chronology of the Planet of the Apes—even just the first five movies—would take the combined brainpower of MIT, and something similar goes for trying to suss out the details of these promotional newspapers, about which there isn’t very much information online.
In 1983 Dennis Hopper went to Rice University in Houston, Texas ostensibly to screen his latest film Out Of The Blue. But little known to anyone, other than Hopper and a handful of his buddies, he had another agenda entirely. While he did indeed screen his movie, Hopper had actually come to Houston to blow himself up.
After screening Out Of The Blue, Hopper arranged to have the audience driven by a fleet of school buses to a racetrack on the outskirts of Houston, the Big H Speedway. Hopper and the buses arrived at the speedway just as the races were ending and a voice was announcing over the public address system “stick around folks and watch a famous Hollywood film personality perform the Russian Dynamite Death Chair Act. That’s right, folks, he’ll sit in a chair with six sticks of dynamite and light the fuse.”
Was famous Hollywood personality Dennis Hopper about to go out with a bang?
Hopper apparently learned this stunt when he was a kid after seeing it performed in a traveling roadshow. If you place the dynamite pointing outwards the explosion creates a vacuum in the middle and the person performing the stunt is, if all goes according to plan, unharmed.
After bullshitting for awhile with the crowd and his friends, a drunk and stoned Hopper climbed into the “death chair’ and lit the dynamite.
A Rice News correspondent described the scene:
Dennis Hopper, at one with the shock wave, was thrown headlong in a halo of fire. For a single, timeless instant he looked like Wile E. Coyote, frazzled and splayed by his own petard. Then billowing smoke hid the scene. We all rushed forward, past the police, into the expanding cloud of smoke, excited, apprehensive, and no less expectant than we had been before the explosion. Were we looking for Hopper or pieces we could take home as souvenirs? Later Hopper would say blowing himself up was one of the craziest things he has ever done, and that it was weeks before he could hear again. At the moment, though, none of that mattered. He had been through the thunder, the light, and the heat, and he was still in one piece. And when Dennis Hopper staggered out of that cloud of smoke his eyes were glazed with the thrill of victory and spinout.
In this video footage shot by filmmaker Brian Huberman, we see Hopper in all his intoxicated glory before and after his death defying stunt.
Women in Drag: The address given for their untitled cassette, in Albuquerque, NM 87123. Source: MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL, issue no. 29, October, 1985. Street view date: June, 2014. Sample quote from the review: “Sun-baked punk, thrash, Egypto-crypto-weirdness.”-Tim Yohannan
I have always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Maximum Rocknroll. On the one hand, they were an indispensable and formative resource for awesome writing and great comics (and I may or may not have submitted an EP in desperate hopes of being reviewed by them). On the other hand, their editorial tone could come off a bit snobby, and I kind of agree with Jello Biafra when he said, “If ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ were released today, it would be banned from Maximum Rocknroll for not sounding punk.” Still, my feelings are ultimately fond, and I love that Marc Fischer and alternative archivists Public Collectors have created Hardcore Architecture, a sort of punk rock home tour. From the site:
Hardcore Architecture explores the relationship between the architecture of living spaces and the history of underground American hardcore bands in the 1980s. Band addresses are discovered using contact listings found in demo tape and record reviews published from 1982-89 in the fanzine MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL (MRR). Google Street View is used to capture photos of the homes. Street names and numbers are removed to respect the privacy of people currently living at these addresses.
Two things immediately jumped out at me. First, I am reminded that most of inhabited America is fuck-ugly. Like, suburbia from an Alexander Payne movie kind of ugly. Second, more than centrally located big cities or towns, it appears a lot—if not most—of the rage necessary for the mosh-pit comes out of the suburbs. It makes sense: they have the room and the money for instruments, I can’t say I blame them for their disaffection—that shit is bleak.
Honeymoon Killers: The address given for their “Uncut! Uncensored!” cassette in New York, NY 10009. Source: MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL, issue no. 15, July, 1984. Street view date: Oct., 2014. Sample quote from the review: “A screeching pet rock cousin to New York’s current school of avant-noise bands. The difference here is their fondness for trashing 50′s standards. “Who Do You Love” and “Ubangi Stomp” have never been abused quite like this before.”-Jello Biafra
Civil Defense: The address given for their “Gun Control” EP, in St. Paul, MN 55119. Address source: MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL, issue no. 16, August, 1984. Street view date: Aug., 2014. Sample quote from the review: “An uneven debut but C.D. have potential.”-Jeff Bale
I’m digging these Cthulhu, Bigfoot, “Ancient Alien Pyramid” and “Scholarly Skull” throw blankets by Middle of Beyond. It looks like (don’t hold me to it) they’re large enough to fit on a double bed. Although, if I had one of these, I’d probably use it on my couch.
The blankets are reasonably priced at $59.99 + shipping. According to the website, all the blankets are in stock and ships in 1-2 days. Not too shabby.