Dirty Books: Nasty, filthy, taboo-breaking retro sex novels
01.17.2017
09:54 am

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Books
Sex

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Pornographic literature should have lost the war the day Hugh Hefner first published Playboy in 1953. Who wants to read porn when there are pictures to ogle? Yet, somehow dirty books hung on—through the fifties, through the sixties and beyond. Even today a trashy “sex romance” like Fifty Shades of Grey—which has no redeeming merit beyond its (alleged) masturbatory content—can still top the NY Times book charts.

When porn mags and stag movies spread throughout small town suburban America from the late 1950s on, pornographic literature had to find new ways to command an audience. Literary pornographers quickly realized their only choice was to publish taboo-breaking stories about incest, underage sex, bestiality, rape, torture, kidnap and slavery. These books had titles like: Family Affair, Brother and Sisters, Already Wet for Daddy, The School Bus Rapes, The Captive Mother and Teacher Wants to Suck. This was not the kinda stuff you’d find via the Book of the Month recommendations. These were nasty, filthy sex fantasies that normalized some deeply troubling sex acts—Raped by Daddy being an obvious example.

These books didn’t even have to bother with a half decent cover design—the title alone usually sold the product. Visual porn, the magazines and films, soon caught up with incest porn, bestiality flicks and alike were available to the mass market. Today you can easily find extremely specific sex fetish niches with a quick browse of blog sites like Tumblr.

This small selection of retro porn novels captures some of the racy literature with which Dad and Mom (mostly Dads) got their jollies. And for those with a taste in such, many of these titles can still be bought today via Triple X Books.
 
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More filth, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The soundtrack to cult comedy horror classic ‘Basket Case’ is finally being released—a DM premiere
01.17.2017
09:27 am

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Movies
Music

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Basket Case
“The sickest movie I’ve ever seen!”—Rex Reed

Basket Case is an ultra-gory low-budget horror comedy. Written and directed by indie filmmaker Frank Henenlotter, this 1982 motion picture concerns a young man, Duane, who’s seeking revenge for the forced surgery that separated him from his Siamese twin brother, Belial, who’s disfigured—so much so, that Duane carts Belial around in a basket. Effectively mixing humor and over-the-top gore on a minuscule budget, the film earned a cult following and spawned two sequels.
 
Basket Case poster
 
Gus Russo is responsible for the solid Basket Case score. Russo’s spooky (and often altogether hair-raising) synth work alternates with bossa nova tracks, and pieces driven by various instruments—usually sax or vibes. It’s quite an accomplishment, considering how little Russo had to work with AND that it was his first attempt at scoring a film (more on all of that in a moment).

On January 20th, the Terror Vision record and video label will put out the score for Basket Case, and we’ve got an exclusive audio preview. But first up is a Dangerous Minds interview with Gus Russo, who tells us how serendipity played a role in both the score coming together and its eventual, impending release.

Gus Russo
Gus Russo (on the left) in a scene cut from ‘Basket Case.’

How did you get the job scoring Basket Case?

Gus Russo: I was gigging in Upstate New York, and some of the regulars who used to come to this one club— they were just the rowdiest bunch of people, in a good way. One night, we—the band—introduced ourselves and said, “Who are you guys anyway?” And they said, “Well, we’re from the Glens Falls Hospital’s psychiatric unit.” So, we thought they were people on some sort of relief program—turns out they were the doctors and the technicians (laughs). They just really knew how to party. One of them was Edgar Ievins. He ended up being the producer of Basket Case.

Edgar and I became friends because he was a violinist, and he would sit in and play violin with us. Then Edgar disappeared from Upstate New York, and about a year or so later I heard from him, and he said, “I’m doing movies now in New York City, wanna write the score for the first one?” That’s how it got going.

But I met him at a gig. After work, he would come and sit-in on violin with my band. Then he moved and got involved somehow with Frank [Frank Henenlotter] in New York City.

What was your process like for scoring Basket Case?

Gus Russo: We had no money, even though Edgar went around and raised some money, it really all went to film stock. I had just a few dollars. Once I got the gig, I went down to New York City, from upstate, and met with Frank and watched some rushes of what he had filmed. He gave me the script, and then we talked about styles he wanted. He wanted a variety of music for different scenes.

I have an acoustic guitar back upstate, an electric Gibson, and a four-track tape deck. So, I go back up there and say to myself, ‘How can I create Bernard Herrmann music’—which is what Frank really likes—‘with no money.’ So, I just did the best I could. He wanted a theme that repeated throughout the movie in different styles, like Bernard Herrmann would do, so I came up with that theme. When he had the doctor’s office scene—we couldn’t even afford to buy generic bossa nova background music—so I had to write elevator music for the doctor scenes.

It was all done in my living room on a four-track tape deck. All live, no digital, no nothing.

Did you play all of the instruments?

Gus Russo: I didn’t play them all, but I had friends come by and play. I played a lot of synthesizer. I used the ARP String Ensemble to play fake violins. I went around to my friends and said, “What can I borrow from everybody, because we’ve got no money?” One guy said, “I have a timpani.” Another guy said, “I’ve got vibes.” I had an Echoplex tape machine, which is basically an analog tape loop that we used to use to make tape echo. That played a big part in it, because that was one of the main tools that we had. So, you had this bizarre menagerie of things in my living room—an upright piano that was out of tune, an Echoplex, a timpani drum, a set of vibes, and friends that would come by and play a part. So, it was really wild.
 
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Don’t try to interpret Susan Sontag’s ‘Duet for Cannibals’
01.16.2017
05:43 pm

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Movies

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In 1969, the American writer and intellectual Susan Sontag (born on this day in 1933) made her first film Duet for Cannibals AKA Duett för kannibaler in Sweden. Like Godard and Truffaut before her, when Sontag moved from serious critique to the arthouse, she stayed quite true to her own ideas about cinema.

In her seminal 1966 essay, “Against Interpretation,” Sontag wrote:

The most celebrated and influential modern doctrines, those of Marx and Freud, actually amount to elaborate systems of hermeneutics, aggressive and impious theories of interpretation. All observable phenomena are bracketed, in Freud’s phrase, as manifest content. This manifest content must be probed and pushed aside to find the true meaning - the latent content - beneath. For Marx, social events like revolutions and wars; for Freud, the events of individual lives (like neurotic symptoms and slips of the tongue) as well as texts (like a dream or a work of art) - all are treated as occasions for interpretation. According to Marx and Freud, these events only seem to be intelligible. Actually, they have no meaning without interpretation. To understand is to interpret. And to interpret is to restate the phenomenon, in effect to find an equivalent for it.

In her writing, Susan Sontag sought to liberate art from interpretation (which is a bit ironic, of course, from someone who was essentially an exalted critic). When it came to her own film, she made something that intended to deliberately confound the notion that there was any sort of underlying meaning beyond exactly what the audience was seeing on the screen directly in front of them.

More from “Against Interpretation”:

Again, Ingmar Bergman may have meant the tank rumbling down the empty night street in The Silence as a phallic symbol. But if he did, it was a foolish thought. (“Never trust the teller, trust the tale,” said Lawrence.) Taken as a brute object, as an immediate sensory equivalent for the mysterious abrupt armored happenings going on inside the hotel, that sequence with the tank is the most striking moment in the film. Those who reach for a Freudian interpretation of the tank are only expressing their lack of response to what is there on the screen.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, in other words.

Sontag’s definition of “interpretation,” then—what she’s agin’—is selectively taking only certain elements from a work of art and then using them for the purpose of “translating” the work in a particular context (Marxist, Freudian), as opposed to simply accepting it. What you see is what you get and stop looking for the subtext or allegory in everything. Art should be sensuous and just wash over you is how, I, er… guess I would interpret it.
 

 
Vincent Canby wrote something along these same lines in a 1969 New York Times article about the films on offer at The New York Film Festival that year:

“The key to the enjoyment of the film…can be found in Miss Sontag’s essays. It’s not because the film recalls either Godard or Bresson, about whom Miss Sontag has written with extraordinary insight. Rather it’s because the film adamantly refuses interpretation on any level but he surface one. It simply is what it is, a self-contained comedy of set pieces, some of which sort of remind you of events (political and psychological) outside the film without ever actually representing those events.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Surreal paintings of Francis Bacon as ‘The Joker,’ Charlie Parker as ‘Big Bird’ & many more
01.16.2017
05:37 pm

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Amusing
Art
Pop Culture

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‘It was all a Dream.’ An oil painting depicting rapper Biggie Smalls as ‘Max’ from Maurice Sendak’s 1963 book, ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’
 
Artist Camargo Valentino is a painter whose beautifully mashed-up, pop-culture inspired oil paintings routinely fetch between $4,000 - $14,000 bucks a pop. Though he is self-taught when it comes to his preferred medium of oil-painting, Valentino graduated from the Art Institute of Houston and then went on to study under the tutelage of Norwegian artist Odd Nerdrum in Norway and Iceland.

As a child, Camargo spent much of his time drawing pictures based on his toy collection. According to the artist, his creations can take anywhere from 40 to 200 hours to complete and the influence of masters such as Diego Velasquez and his mentor Nerdrum are vibrantly apparent in the composition and use of color to evoke mood in his dreamy oil paintings. Here’s more from Camargo on what inspires him to paint pop culture icons such as jazz great Charlie Parker clad in a “Big Bird” costume:

I paint what I am most attracted to; icons; comics; movies; history; art; sports figures; hip hop; my heritage and world myths. So my paintings are a combination of all these things rolled into one with a splash of myself.

I’ve included a nice selection of Camargo’s paintings below that I think you will love just as much as I do.
 

‘Bird Lives.’
 

Painter Francis Bacon as the Joker.
 

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment