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  • Martin Scorsese Directs
    10:47 am



    Martin Scorsese started making movies when he was a kid. He suffered from asthma which meant he spent time a lot of isolated at home in bed. He couldn’t play like the other kids. Instead he watched them from his bedroom window running free, playing baseball and getting in fights. His bedroom window was his first viewfinder. He watched the world outside and imagined stories about the people he saw. His imagination was inspired by the movies at the local cinema—films starring Victor Mature, or those made by Powell and Pressburger.

    Scorsese was raised a Catholic. He was an altar boy and his parents thought one day he might become a priest. In church Scorsese saw the power and drama contained in the religious statues and paintings—the pieta with its crucified Christ draped across his mother’s lap. The martyred saints showing their wounds and pointing to unknowable heavens. Imagery was a visceral source of communication. At home in bed he created his own movies, spending hours painstakingly drawing storyboards, frame by frame, for the imaginary films he would one day direct.

    In his teens he gave up on being a priest and went to the film school at NYU. He made the short films What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1963) and The Big Shave (1967). Scorsese’s greatest films are the ones informed with his own personal experience and knowledge of the world. Catholic guilt (Who’s That Knocking at My Door?); machismo posturing and violence (Mean Streets); violence, redemption and isolation (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull).

    Much of this is well covered in Joel Sucher and Steven Fischler’ profile of Scorsese. Made for the PBS series, American Masters  in 1990, this documentary follows the director during the making of Goodfellas.  It contains superb interviews (most delightfully Scorsese’s parents), choice cuts from his films and contributions from actors (Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Amy Robinson), producers and fellow directors—like Steven Spielberg who says the intense emotional turmoil of Scorsese’s work, “Sometimes you don’t know whether to scream or to laugh.”

    Previously on Dangerous Minds
    Behind the Scenes of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Mean Streets’

    Behind the Scenes of ‘Taxi Driver’

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Naughty, sexy vintage 50s cartoons from ‘Josie and the Pussycats’ creator
    10:18 am



    Humorama illustration by Don DeCarlo, 1950s
    Many of you may already recognize Dan DeCarlo’s name as the man behind the Archie Comics in the 1950s and most of the 60s. Some of you will also be aware of the kitschy fact that DeCarlo, who also penned the comic Josie and the Pussycats, modeled the character of Josie after his own wife whose name was, you guessed it… Josie. According to DeCarlos’ wife, it was the leopard cat costume she wore on a cruise with DeCarlo that inspired “Josie’s” signature leopard leotard with a tail that she wore on stage while performing with her rockin’ girl combo, the Pussycats.
    Don DeCarlo's
    Dan DeCarlo’s “Josie” in her cat costume (and her signature hairdo) from the pages of a ‘Josie and the Pussycats’ comic
    In the late 40s when Marvel Comics was still known as Timely Comics, the editor-in-chief (yes, Stan Lee), gave DeCarlo a few good breaks and DeCarlo would go on to work with Lee in different comic publishing outfits for many years. During the 50s and 60s, DeCarlo’s cheesecake pin-ups and racy (and often sexist) illustrations were routinely published in “Humorama” magazines like Breezy, Comedy, Romp, Eyeful of Fun, and other “digest sized” publications alongside fleshy pin-up images of burlesque queen Lili St. Cyr, Bettie Page and actress Julie Newmar. DeCarlo’s original illustrations are highly sought after by collectors and routinely sell for several thousands of dollars each.
    Dan DeCarlo Humorama illustration, 50s
    DeCarlo’s “amusing” illustrations are often accompanied by not-so-amusing captions that contained straightforward misogyny as well as the typical sexism that was rampant in the 1950s. There’s also a lot of spanking involved. Thankfully, as I’m a woman with a good sense of humor and strong appreciation for art (especially when it comes to historical documents belonging to notable and respected artists), I really dug looking at the “other side” of the man behind some of my favorite pop culture memories and his bawdy, scientifically impossible bodacious bad girls.

    If you too dig DeCarlo’s work, there are two wonderful books that detail his pen and paper obsession with cheeky girls—the 300-page Innocence & Seduction: The Art of Dan DeCarlo and The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo (published by Fantagraphics).
    Don DeCarlo's Humorama illustrations from the 1950s
    Dan DeCarlo’s “Humorama” illustrations from 1950s “digest size” magazines
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Wonderfully detailed bento box album covers
    09:53 am



    Japanese blog The Jacket Lunch Box turns bento boxes into detailed album cover art. It appears the blog hasn’t updated itself since 2012, but I encourage you to visit it anyway as there is an enormous amount of really cool looking bento box album cover art there.

    A lot of TLC went into making these edible delights. Then they probably ate the hell out of ‘em.

    I’ll have a Bad Brains box, please with a slice of Tommy for desert.





    More bento box art after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Finally! The lyrics of The Clash make total sense!
    09:19 am



    “Complete Control”—It’s The Clash’s fourth best song, featured on the U.S. release of their debut album.

    The song which is supposedly a “fiery polemic on record companies, managers and the state of punk music itself” is actually quite indecipherable —UNTIL NOW.

    I mean, you could do the boring thing and look up the actual lyrics on the Interwebs, or you could just take Jacob Rice‘s word for it—he’s prepared a video which does a very punk rock job of figuring out what the fuck mealy-mouthed frontman of “the only band that matters,” Joe Strummer is actually saying in “Complete Control.”

    “Open up the baklava! Dick Gephardt and a gecko!”

    Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
    ‘Pistol shots ring out in a barroom night’: Bob Dylan’s riveting performance of ‘Hurricane,’ 1975
    03:28 pm



    Yesterday, right after I’d finished reading an article on The Daily Beast about it being the 40th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s 1976 album, Desire, I clicked over to YouTube where I dialed up “Hurricane,” Dylan’s powerful narration of the story of middleweight boxing contender Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, which was the lead single from it. Carter was imprisoned for almost 20 years on flimsy evidence (a random bullet and a shotgun shell found in his car) and sketchy testimony (that the perpetrators had been black, pretty much) for a triple homicide “race killing” in a Paterson, NJ bar in 1966. I still had the Wikipedia page on Carter open on my browser when I saw, in another tab that New York attorney Myron Beldock, who worked for over a decade to free Carter, had died at 86.

    Throughout his long career Beldock, who described himself as “a creature of my time, liberal, progressive and idealistic” had a reputation for taking on legal lost causes. One such case was representing George Whitmore Jr., a black teenager who was arrested in Brooklyn in 1964 for the rape and knife-killing of several women. Whitmore claimed he was beaten by NYPD officers until he signed a falsified confession. The outcome of this case would become highly influential in the Supreme Court’s 1966 Miranda decision, which required police to advise suspects of their right to remain silent and be represented by an attorney, and in overturning capital punishment in New York State. But Beldock’s most famous client was Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.

    Carter’s case had been boosted by copies of his 1974 autobiography The 16th Round, which proclaimed his innocence, being sent around to notable lefty-types who might want to lend their celebrity to his cause. Esquire magazine’s art director George Lois organized a campaign to support Carter and Muhammad Ali was vocal in proclaiming that Carter was innocent. (Joni Mitchell, however, who was also one of the books’ recipients, passed thinking “This is a bad person. He’s fakin’ it.”)

    Her friend Bob Dylan felt differently. Dylan read Carter’s book during a 1975 trip to France, and visited the boxer—who was then incarcerated in a New Jersey penitentiary—in May. The two met for several hours and Dylan agreed to help him.

    Having difficulty cracking the lyrics, Dylan enlisted Jacques Levy, a New York-based theatrical director who had worked with Sam Shepard (and who’d staged the nude comedy review Oh! Calcutta! off Broadway) to help. Levy said of the song:

    “The first step was putting the song in a total storyteller mode, the beginning of the song is like stage directions, like what you would read in a script: ‘Pistol shots ring out in a barroom night… Here comes the story of the Hurricane.’ Boom! Titles. You now, Bob loves movies, and he can write these movies that take place in eight to ten minutes, yet seem as full or fuller than regular movies.”


    “Hurricane” was premiered to an audience of about 100 people in Chicago on September 10th, 1975 during the taping of Bob Dylan’s performance on the PBS TV series Soundstage. This particular episode was titled “The World of John Hammond,” being a tribute to the retiring Columbia Records executive and civil rights activist who’d signed Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and Leonard Cohen (among many, many others) during his fabled 45-year-long career in the music industry. The show, broadcast in December would be Dylan’s very first TV appearance since his duet with Johnny Cash in 1969. The 8:33 single was recorded on October 24 and released in November.

    Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue was used by the artist as a platform to campaign for Rubin Carter’s release and the first leg of the tour ended at Madison Square Garden on December 8th with a benefit concert dubbed the “Night of The Hurricane.” Roberta Flack and Muhammad Ali, who called Carter in his jail cell from the stage, also participated. A second event, Night of the Hurricane II, took place on January 25th at the Houston Astrodome and featured Stevie Wonder and Stephen Stills.

    Continues after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    ‘The Height of Goth’: Visions of goths enjoying a night of dance, 1984
    02:18 pm



    It’s something of a miracle that The Height of Goth: 1984: A Night at the Xclusiv Nightclub exists. According to Patrick Torsney, who was at the venue in Batley, West Yorkshire, near Leeds, that night and who posted it to YouTube in 2011, it was created by Ann and Pete Swallow, who managed the Xclusiv Nightclub, as a promotion and only about 50 VHS copies were ever made. The video Torsney found so many years later was “trashed, mildewed, beyond junk” but the restoration did a pretty good job of making it watchable on YouTube. The first few minutes are a little wonky but it settles down after that.

    At the outset we see the impressive edifice that houses the Xclusiv and meet the Swallows—Pete hilariously says that his club’s clientele are mainly “way out young people.” The Height of Goth is a remarkable bit of amateur documentary, showing exactly what a night on the town at a typical, Goth-y nightclub was like in northern England in the halcyon year of 1984. It’s two solid hours, and almost all of it is just regular folks gyrating on a dancefloor while tunes like the Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way” supply the soundtrack.

    About halfway through the dude pretending to be a local reporter type interviews some of the attendees; his attitude is actually pretty dismissive of all the crazy fashions and stuff, but hardly anyone seems to notice. The first couple he interviews, bedabbed with goth-y face paint, in all apparent sincerity claim to like Glenn Miller better than anyone else, a note that is also struck by the DJ, named Paul, at the beginning of the video. I don’t know what’s up with that except to say that where there’s dancing, you might find Glenn Miller fans?

    One of the last songs in the DJ’s set, a little after the 1:55 mark, is David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?”—the homespun choreography for that bit has to be seen to be believed.

    This was a goth-y kind of affair but in fact, what’s quite apparent is that a paying audience of adults (even if this was a special night for the filming) aren’t going to want just wall-to-wall Siouxsie and Echo, so there’s REM and Bowie and “The Monster Mash” and the Stranglers and goth-y precursors the Doors mixed in with New Order and Blancmange.

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Classic albums represented as vintage Penguin paperbacks
    12:26 pm



    David Bowie, Aladdin Sane. Those red and blue spines seem artfully placed, hm?.......

    I’ve collected Penguin paperbacks for years; I’ve always been drawn to the groovy mid-century aesthetic of the covers from the pre-1980 era (actually pre-1970 for the really good stuff), with the stately and ineffably British typesetting and the promise of erudite treasures within.

    So something in me totally lit up when I saw the StandardDesigns shop at Etsy. Clearly whoever is doing this store is a kindred spirit. You see, their main stock in trade is making posters where each of the songs of certain classic albums (there’s an emphasis on Bowie and British postpunk and Britpop, but not to worry, it’s not like VU and Springsteen and the Pixies and Tom Waits aren’t also in the mix) are represented by a single book from the midcentury Penguins. Once you do all of the songs of Doolittle or OK Computer or Substance, say, you’ve got a tidy little shelf of dog-eared paperbacks, each with a title in the often-teeny Penguin spine lettering.

    Appreciating these posters is assisted by knowing some of the basics of the Penguin paperback world. One great thing about midcentury Penguins was the wonderful rules they set down in order to communicate things. For instance, the Pelican imprint specialized in nonfiction subjects and used blue as the indicating color, while murder mysteries almost always used green.

    The early (and quite famous) phase of Penguin paperbacks were dominated by Jan Tschichold’s 1940s-era design with author and title information set in Gill Sans, flanked by huge orange stripes on the top and bottom. In 1962 Romek Marber came up with a standardized layout for Penguin titles that came to be known as the Marber Grid, which did a great deal to clarify what a Penguin cover was supposed to look like. Opinions may differ but most of my favorite covers use the Marber Grid.

    The Marber Grid
    The posters go in for a lot of little in-jokes or otherwise apt use of the Penguin spines. The “shelves” for Nebraska, Velvet Underground and Nico, Aladdin Sane, Velvet Underground and Nico, Unknown Pleasures and a couple others strongly mimic the album covers they’re recapitulating, while in most of the other cases there’s just a vague color resemblance. For Velvet Underground and Nico they’ve worked in the name “Andy Warhol” as the “editor” of the volume Heroin. The one for Led Zeppelin’s “Zoso” album doesn’t mention the band’s name anywhere—just like the real cover—and also uses exclusively titles from the Penguin Poets series from the late 1950s, while OK Computer, quite aptly, is made up entirely of those blue nonfiction Pelicans. My favorite detail actually comes from the poster for The Queen Is Dead, where “Bigmouth Strikes Again” is the only spine that’s one of those green mystery covers, which is somehow totally appropriate.

    Each poster costs $26.54 but there are bundle deals if you want more than one. If you want to learn more about the history of Penguin design, I can’t recommend Phil Baines’ book Penguin By Design strongly enough, and Seven Hundred Penguins is also a fantastic treat.

    Click on any of the posters for a larger view.

    Velvet Underground and Nico

    Pulp, Different Class
    Continues after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Vintage documentary charts the rise of the Superstar DJ
    12:03 pm



    John Peel
    Once upon a time, long, long before TV and computer technology made them irrelevant, the radio disc jockey was the person millions turned to in order to hear the latest, hippest, grooviest sounds their earholes could handle.

    Radio DJs were the arbiters of sound, music, information, gossip, jokes, fashion and news—a bit like the Internet, except far more cuddly and user friendly.

    In Britain during those promiscuous 1970s, millions of youngsters were shocking their parents by going to bed with John Peel and then waking up with Tony Blackburn… and his dog Arnold. The sound of the DJs could be heard everywhere—from cars, shops, kitchens, homes, factories, schoolyards and those dinky little pocket radios that everyone and their Mom seemed to have, dangling from plastic wristbands.

    The music revolution of the 1960s really began with the arrival of cheap polyvinyl chloride in the fifties which meant record companies could mass produce singles and albums. Previously record discs had been made of the far more expensive Bakelite. The PVC revolution tied in very neatly with the incredible flourishing of young musical talent—and so the Swinging Sixties were born.

    Suddenly youngsters wanted to hear music before they bought it, or even if they didn’t buy it. This gave rise to Pirate Radio. At the time the BBC was the only organization in Britain with the license to transmit radio shows. However a small loophole in maritime law allowed DJs to broadcast from ships anchored just outside UK waters. And so pop-pickers Pirate Radio was born.
    Radio genius Kenny Everett.

    In 1967 the BBC admitted defeat and launched Radio One—a youth radio station for pop music. Radio One became the biggest and most successful radio station in the country with generation after generation of youngsters learning their love of music or finding their inspiration to form bands from listening to the station’s DJs.

    This delightful BBC documentary from 1970 looks at the rise of the Radio One DJ and features Emperor Rosko, John Peel, Kenny Everett and Tony Blackburn—four very different radio hosts. The program takes a rather condescending tone throughout and even suggests, in commentary that sex with fans was one of the perks of working for the BBC!

    Radio One belongs to the taxpayer and doesn’t splash princely salaries around for men like Emperor Rosko. He accepts the BBC’s shop policy of paying low wages as both sides know about the big big perks that can accompany the adulation of this new empire—British teeny boppers.

    The interviewer also tries to dish dirt from these innocent little teenyboppers, grilling one poor girl about her infatuation with Emperor Rosko:

    “I listen to him and I like listening to his voice and I get carried away” says one young besotted teenager about the subject of her adoration DJ Emperor Rosko:

    “What do you mean you get carried away?” says Ms. Prim from the BBC

    “I just hear his voice and I imagine him…” says adoring young fan.

    “When you say you imagine him…you imagine him doing what?” continues our interrogator.

    “Talking and smiling and…all the actions with it. It’s just good.”

    “And where do you do your listen to this?”

    “In the bedroom.”

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    The Bernie Sanders / Johnny Cash T-shirt mashup America has been waiting for
    11:14 am



    Wear Dinner, the apparel purveyors who gave the world that wonderful Black Sabbath/Minor Threat mash-up we told you about last summer, have upped the I-want-one stakes with their new Bernie Cash shirt, which plops the face of encouragingly popular left-wing insurgent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders onto Jim Marshall’s indelible image of Johnny Cash flipping the bird at San Quentin prison in 1969, a juxtaposition that aptly captures a lot of the anti-establishment hostility expressed by some of the candidate’s backers.

    The shirts are available only in black because duh. $5 from each shirt sold will benefit the Sanders campaign.

    Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
    Photos of women and giant-ass mainframe computers from the 1960s
    09:51 am



    Computer Operators
    All hail the vintage female geek culture from the polyester past! These splendid images come from Lawrence Harley “Larry” Luckham. Yep, that’s his name. Anyway, he used to work for Bell Labs back in ‘60s “managing a data center and developing an ultra high speed information retrieval system.”

    I took a camera to work and shot the pictures below. I had a great staff, mostly women except for the programmers who were all men. For some reason only one of them was around for the pictures that day.

    Women and giant-ass computers! What more could you ask for? So retro-looking that they’re almost futuristic!

    Computer Operations Supervisor
    Computer Operations Supervisor

    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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