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The year Dizzy Gillespie ran for president—spoiler alert, he didn’t win
10.21.2014
06:09 am

Topics:
Music
Politics

Tags:
Lyndon Johnson
Dizzy Gillepsie


 
In 1964 the “fate of the free world,” ahem, came down to a contest between two men, Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Republican challenger, Barry Goldwater, U.S. Senator from Arizona. History tells us that the contest was decided in favor of Johnson, but the whimsically inclined can entertain another outcome in a parallel universe—John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie as U.S. President.

In that heady year the notion of Dizzy for President was a little bit of a thing in the culture, as the famous trumpeter, by then synonymous with bebop itself, announced his intention to become chief executive of the land. Dizzy even announced that his running mate would be Phyllis Diller.
 

 
As Barry McRae wrote in Dizzy Gillespie: His Life and Times:
 

Goldwater was a conservative who had voted against the civil-rights bill and exploited the ‘redneck’ backlash or favouring the “freedom not to associate.” At a Republican meeting he declared that “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

That such a man could be considered for the presidency worried Gillespie enormously, and when jazz writer Ralph Gleason suggested that Dizzy himself had better credentials for the job, he began to take the idea seriously. Gleason began to use his jazz column to promote his possible candidate. He pointed out Gillespie’s skill with people of all nationalities and the success of the State Department tours. Jon Hendricks put presidential words to Salt Peanuts and Dizzy himself thoroughly enjoyed the whole operation. …

He postulated a change of colour for the White House, suggest Bo Diddley as secretary of state and told doubters that he was running for president because “We need one.”

 
Gillespie promised that if he were elected, the White House would be renamed “The Blues House.” He proposed the following provocative positions: Duke Ellington (Secretary of State), Miles Davis (Director of the CIA), Max Roach (Secretary of Defense), Malcolm X (Attorney General—“because he’s one cat we definitely want to have on our side”), Charles Mingus (Secretary of Peace—“because he’ll take a piece of your head faster than anyone I know”), Ray Charles (Librarian of Congress), Louis Armstrong (Secretary of Agriculture), Mary Lou Williams (Ambassador to the Vatican), Thelonious Monk (Traveling Ambassador). The campaign buttons that Gillespie’s booking agency had produced some years earlier “for publicity, as a gag” were now enlisted in the effort; proceeds from them would benefit the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Martin Luther King Jr. He advocated U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, promised free education and health care, and pledged to put an African-American astronaut on the moon (if none could be found, Gillespie volunteered to go himself).
 

 
In 1963 Gillespie released Dizzy for President, which included as its final track “Vote Dizzy,” for which singer Jon Hendricks supplied new political lyrics to Gillespie’s trademark tune “Salt Peanuts” as follows:
 

Your politics ought to be a groovier thing
Vote Dizzy! Vote Dizzy!
So get a good president who’s willing to swing
Vote Dizzy! Vote Dizzy!

 

 
via Lawyers, Guns & Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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King Tut—would the ladies love him?
10.20.2014
02:44 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art
History
Music

Tags:
King Tutankhamun
King Tut


 
Steve Martin cashed in on the Tutankhamun mania with his 1978 novelty hit “King Tut,” which reached #17 on the U.S. charts and poked fun at the pop culture phenomenon the boy pharaoh had become after the massive Treasures of Tutankhamun traveling exhibit that toured the United States at that time. Martin told us that the “ladies love his style,” but would King Tut in fact be considered so dreamy today? Science suggests no, he’d have been something of an Uncle Fester-like loser, at least if his physical appearance by 21st-century standards is any indication.

BBC One undertook a “virtual autopsy” of the legendary pharaoh in preparation for a documentary called Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered, and the results were a surprise for anyone who can recall “Tut Fever.” The process required the use of over 2,000 computer scans as well as a genetic analysis of his parents, who were, ahem, brother and sister.
 

 
If you were dating him, you would have gotten a man who controlled everything in the Egyptian empire in roughly the year 1330 BC, but you would also have had to put up with buck teeth, a club foot, and a generally saggy build. Wide hips, manboobs, a tendency to wear diapers and frequent use of a cane aren’t the kind of traits you ordinarily see men bragging about on OKCupid, but I’m going to surmise that some guys probably brag that they “rule.” With this goofball, though, he’s not bragging.

All of this new “information” about Tut is just speculation, of course, but it’s fun to think about. King Tut’s allure a couple of generations back was just as much based on guesswork, mainly stemming from the breathtaking mask of Tutankhamun’s mummy, who cut a dashing figure indeed, equally seXXXy in 1330 B.C. and A.D. 1977.

The next thing you’ll tell me, King Tut wasn’t even born in Arizona.
 

 
via Gawker

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Beatboxing classic album covers come to life
10.20.2014
02:03 pm

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
album covers


 
Israeli artist and director Vania Heymann started creating videos when he was a student at Bezalal Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. He has been praised by the likes of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and atheist author Sam Harris. His latest video (made with his frequent collaborator Israeli musician Roy Kafri who provides the beatboxing with his song “Mayokero”) has a series of classic albums covers from bands like The Smiths, ABBA, David Bowie and Prince move their “mouths” and sing along.
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Discussion
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Big dude gets a moth AND a tick buried in his ear
10.20.2014
11:06 am

Topics:
Animals

Tags:
tick
moth
ears


 
Oh dear god, I watched this video TWICE (not because I wanted to) but to make sure I heard correctly that he also had a damned tick in his ear! Which he does!

In the video you see a large man on the floor and nearly in a fetal position because a moth had flown into his ear canal. The constant buzzing and flapping of its wings was driving the poor guy insane. Instead of taking the guy to the hospital, his friends—all of whom are in a bar (oh gods)—Googled that shit to figure out how to extract it. Aaannnnd… the rest of it is up to you to watch. You’ll wince and want to wear earplugs for the rest of your life after watching this.

Trust.

When I was in Mexico City a few years ago I had a similar experience with mosquitoes. One flew into my ear while I slept and buzzed for about five hours. I never did get that fucker out. I think he just died in there. I can relate to what the guy with the moth in his ear was going through. It truly makes you feel like you are losing your mind.
 

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘Saturn Drive’: When Alan Vega met Ministry, 1983
10.20.2014
11:03 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Alan Vega
Ministry
Al Jourgensen


 
Saturn Strip, Suicide frontman Alan Vega’s third solo album and his first for a major label (Elektra), kicks off with the single “Saturn Drive,” a six-minute hybrid of early Ministry synth and sequencer sounds and Vega’s futuristic rockabilly. Co-written by Vega and Alain Jourgensen, the single was recorded with the whole With Sympathy team: Jourgensen plays keyboards, his original Ministry partner Stephen George drums, and Ian Taylor and (former Psychedelic Fur) Vince Ely are credited with producing the song’s basic tracks. Vega’s staunch supporter Ric Ocasek, who produced Saturn Strip (as well as the second, third and fourth Suicide albums), also appears on the song playing guitar and keyboards.
 

 
Vega’s lyrics to this time-traveling sci-fi epic aren’t easy to find online, so I’ve transcribed them for you from my tear-stained copy of Cripple Nation:

Wild stormy Monday
A gray rain came
Touchin’ Infinity’s prison
The creature made a war
Take the plane to Saturn
Celebrate their comin’
Lord knows Mr. Cheyenne
It’s a crucified photo
Of the wrong century

High price soldiers
Knockin’ down Eternity
Soda city delusions
Snake knows for sure
Winning by confusion
It’s a losin’ game
Saturn’s rings of reason
So’s a lonely street
Profits by the billions
Got the mornin’ line

Momma’s future children
Buy a bad machine
The computer knows nothin’
It’s feelin’ sympathy
What price glory
It’s too much infinity
Take the plane to Saturn
Follow the Indian
Lookin’ for that comet
Feel that fantasy
Huh oh yea fantasy
Yea

The creature’s nothin’
Just a stain on a wall
Death Row gets a window
Here comes Eternity
A million candelabras
Ya gotta have a scheme
Dr. Doom got a lash
It’s a time machine
That comet got religion
Yesterday
Snake eyes
Layin’ on the shore
It’s a losin’ game
It’s lonely streets
I got that mornin’ line
Yea what price glory
There’s too much infinity
Take the plane to Saturn
Lord knows Mr. Cheyenne
It’s a crucified photo
Of the wrong century
Yea, it’s the wrong one
The wrong one

I had really hoped Jourgensen’s memoir would shed some light on how this collaboration came to be, but I found no mention of Vega. Maybe Al will reveal all in one of the upcoming sequels?

I realize the fruits of this collaboration might not be to everyone’s tastes. But look at it this way: if Vega and Jourgensen hadn’t worked together on “Saturn Drive,” Vega never would have delivered this completely insane performance of the song on Spanish TV, which must be seen to be believed.
 

 
Click here for Vega and Marc Hurtado’s 2010 remake of the song, “Saturn Drive Duplex.”

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Insane Salvador Dalí haircut & other follicle follies


Salvador Dalí
 
San Antonio-based artist and hair stylist Roberto Perez AKA Rob The Original creates these pretty nutty haircuts with the scalp as a blank canvas and a photo of the subject to work off of for reference.

A lot of Rob’s subjects crafted on heads are of pop stars, sports stars and reality TV dum-dums (none of which I care about). I did, however, find of few of his works I really dig like Salvador Dalí, Bruce Lee, Cesar Chavez and a few others. I’d imagine the two dudes who got the Cheech & Chong hairdos would always have to stand together though, because it would be rather confusing to onlookers if they were separated with just a Tommy Chong on the one head. Where’s Cheech, dammit?!

I would also like to see these haircuts after two weeks of hair regrowth. Do they all turn into the Wolfman? I mean Tupac as the Wolfman would be kinda of hilarious and inexplicable to sport on yer head, no? You’d still have a lot of explaining to do. 


Bruce Lee
 

Cesar Chavez
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Bukowski’s last stand: Hank’s final poetry reading from 1980
10.20.2014
09:04 am

Topics:
Literature

Tags:
Charles Bukowski
poetry

bukcarsung11.jpg
 
Good and original poets spawn bad and imitative poetry.

Look at all the verbiage spewed out by those green and dappled flecked imitators after Dylan Thomas had one too many on a New York afternoon; or all the poems about PMT, swollen ankles and the indifference of men that came forth after Sylvia Plath’s sad demise; or the short men who swaggered after Charles Bukowski died, juggling six-pack and pen, writing long anaemic poetry about drinking, fighting and love. Yes, good poetry does often inspire bad poets.

It doesn’t always appear after death, sometimes it rubs shoulders with the living poet in hope of capturing some of their spark. I recall when the cool got hip to Bukowski and he appeared in Andy Warhol’s Interview talking with actor Sean Penn, that everyone including Penn was writing long three word a line poems about nothing much in particular, but this how it is if you’re a poet and you know sensitive and you gotta live that kinda life on the edge kinda thing blah-de-blah-de-blah. Suddenly it was hard to find a magazine that didn’t have some sub-Bukowskian ode in it, that looked like the stuff from high school poetry clubs and always made me think of G.K. Chesterton’s line that:

To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.

Bukowski did not give many readings during his lifetime. Biographers have claimed he hated giving readings, but did it for the two hundred or three hundred dollars to keep him in booze, smokes and a wager on the horses. But this all changed in the 1980s, when money started coming in via checks and royalties for books and film options and Bukowski no longer needed that extra couple of hundred to tide him over. Bukowski gave his last poetry reading at the Sweetwater music club in Redondo Beach, California on March 31, 1980, almost a decade and a half before he died in 1994. The whole reading was (thankfully) filmed by Jon Monday, who left the performance unedited as he believed the sections between Bukowski reading his poems gave some insight into the man and his temperament. It certainly does, as Oliver Hardy would say, and shows why the original poet will always be better than the imitators.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Think Pink: Angelyne, the billboard queen of Los Angeles
10.20.2014
07:34 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Angelyne
Robinson Devor


 
All over Los Angeles in the mid-1990s were high-hoisted billboards in tribute to a pneumatic blonde named “Angelyne,” who peered over sunglasses to her admirers below. This was when I first visited the city in fall of 1994 and found that no matter where I traveled there was always a giant monument to Angelyne, the billboard queen—or as I thought of her, Our Lady of Los Angeles. When I asked who and what and why? no one knew much other than to say in that kinda laid back Angeleno way, “Oh, that’s Angelyne—she’s famous for being famous,” as if this somehow explained everything.

Famous for being famous?

I suppose it did in some kind of a way make sense and captured something of the hope people have for the great American dream, where anything or everything is supposedly possible. And in an unconsidered way, she seemed an appropriate metaphor for LA and Hollywood. For many years Angelyne’s billboards were LA landmarks, even earning her a cameo (via one of them) in the opening to the 80s TV series Moonlighting with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.
 
ang2billelynebrdla.jpg
 
Angelyne is an actress and a model and a singer and an artist and… she even ran for governor of California in 2003, where she polled 2,536 votes. She still sometimes appears in movies and exhibits her childlike portraits in galleries across LA, but no one really seems to know any more about her than they did back in 1994, or even 1984 when those giant pink “Angelyne” billboards first blossomed over Sunset. (For instance WHO was footing the bill for these billboards?)

In 1995, a young filmmaker named Robinson Devor made a short film about Angelyne. Devor is a highly talented, genuinely brilliant maverick filmmaker whose work includes the movie The Woman Chaser and the disturbing award-winning hybrid documentary Zoo about the death of a man after intercourse with a horse. But long before all this (and sadly many other unrealized projects), Devor shot a grainy B&W documentary on Angelyne, which looks almost like a taster tape for a longer doc—but still its five minute + running time probably says all that needs to be said about Our Lady of LA, Angelyne.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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This photographer went to a Biblical theme park in Florida, so you don’t have to


Going through the metal detectors… just like Jesus used to to do
 
Photographer Daniel Cronin traveled far from his secular home of Portland, Oregon to the ancient and sacred land of Orlando, Florida to visit The Holy Land Experience, a Biblical theme park owned and operated by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (the station now run by that half-assed, pink haired Tammy Faye knock-off, Jan Crouch). It’s is about as chintzy as you’d expect—lots of suspiciously Nordic-looking Jesi, a disorienting sense of anachronism with costumed employees running the snack stands and metal detectors, the gory crucifixion reenactment, a slightly Rococo color palette—the works, really.

As with all televangelist ventures, The Holy Land Experience (which is legally a non-profit) has been mired in controversy. Founded by Marvin Rosenthal (who was born Jewish before his conversion, if you hadn’t guessed), the park attracted the ire of the Jewish Defense League who protested its opening believing it to be a ploy to convert Jews to Christianity. Of course it wouldn’t be Christian edutainment without some alleged misappropriation of funds—the HLE manages to avoid paying property taxes (amounting to $300,000 a year) by reclassifying itself as a “museum,” as opposed to, you know, a theme park. Also, HLE Director and CEO Jan Crouch has been accused (by her own granddaughter, no less) of ripping off both the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the park. For two years during The Holy Land Experience’s construction, her two pampered pooches (both Maltese, a toy breed) got their own luxury hotel room adjoining her own.

You know… just like Jesus’s pups!
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Strange Trip: Artist takes LSD in 1955, while doctor interviews him on film
10.20.2014
06:15 am

Topics:
Drugs

Tags:
LSD
CIA

LSD Bottle
 
The study of the psychological effects of LSD was fairly widespread in the United States and the UK during the 50’s and 60’s producing thousands of pages of research. Cary Grant, Federico Fellini and even Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, all took LSD under very legal psychiatric supervision in the 1950’s. 

The U.S. Central intelligence agency also conducted thousands of experiments with LSD and other drugs on subjects both willing and otherwise during the 50’s and 60’s through a clandestine operation code named MKUltra. The CIA was testing the effects of LSD in part to find out if the mind-bending hallucinogen could be used as a thought-control substance. MKUltra came the attention of the general public in the mid-1970s. Hearings and a collection of declassified documents have revealed all sorts of insane mental experiments like subjects being observed while tripping for up to 77 straight days and dosing random people without telling them that they were about to have their minds blown and then subjecting them to hours of interrogation.

Is the clip below a “CIA sponsored trip” as the YouTube poster’s title indicates or just one of many psychological experiments conducted openly by U.S. medical practitioners before LSD’s official ban? I’m not sure, but it certainly gives an indication of the bizarre clinical nature of what these government sponsored “psychological evaluations” might have been like. The subject in the video, entitled Schizophrenic Model Psychosis Induced by LSD 25, at least seems to be perfectly willing to go along with the test in this case.  He reveals himself to be Bill Millarc, a 34-year-old painter from Los Angeles. As the video begins, the doctor, Nicholas A. Bercel, M.D. of the University of Southern California Medical School’s Department of Physiology (himself the very first American to drop acid, in 1951), gives Bill a dose of 100 liquid micrograms of LSD and begins to narrate Bill’s trip while conducting an interview throughout the entire experience. (Interestingly, the opening credits state “Material furnished through the courtesy of Sandoz Pharmaceutical Co.” Sandoz is the same Swiss company for which Albert Hoffman was working when he both famously and accidentally discovered LSD’s hallucinogenic effects back in 1943.)

Before long, Bill starts to report a few changes in perception. The rug’s pulsating. He has a very pleasant feeling of nausea. He feels like he’s hearing the singing of angels. It’s a very odd thing to watch as the guy tries to stay focused enough to answer the doctor’s questions as he starts to go further and further into “the zone.”

Many of us have seen the drawing circulating around the Internet where people make art under the influence of various controlled substances.  Here, the doctor does something similar by having Bill draw a charcoal rendering of a person summoned to the room early in the trip. Later, as Millarc seems to be just about flipping his lid, the doctor asks him to draw the same person.  As you can probably imagine, the second picture’s a little different from the first one.

Truth be told, I haven’t done acid in years and, thankfully, all of my experiences were eye-opening ones, but I can’t imagine tripping balls and having the doctor in this clip breathing down my neck the whole time. At one point the doctor claps his hands to snap Millarc out of what seems to be a particularly revelatory moment and Millarc becomes obviously annoyed:

“I was getting somewhere and you interrupted it.  I was sort of getting somewhere I suppose.”

 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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