Slayer, Maiden, Metallica and more in an amazing trove of ‘80s heavy metal shirts
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God bless the human magpies, for without them, finds like this wouldn’t come to light: Erna “Shelly” Hammer, an erstwhile DJ for the once-mighty Z Rock chain of heavy metal radio stations (under the name “Shelly Steel,” because evidently “Hammer” was somehow an insufficiently metal surname on its own…?), is exhibiting her collection of metal and alt-rock t-shirts, ranging in vintage from the early ‘80s to the mid ‘90s. In her lifetime of collecting, she’s discarded very little—what’s on display is a fraction of what she’s kept from her many years as an avid concertgoer, and from her time on the promo gravy train.

This is a good place to mention that this has been been a good week for vintage metal tees—Craig “The Human Clock” Giffen posted an amazing bit of pop culture archaeology (formatted in an amazingly archaic HTML style) endeavoring to catalog all the t-shirts spotted in Jeff Krulik’s classic short documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot. By all means, take a minute to check it out, this post’ll still be here when you get back.

If you happen to be in Northeast Ohio, you can see these shirts on display in a show called “You Are What You Wear” at poster artist Derek Hess’ eponymous gallery through mid-summer. They aren’t being offered for sale piece-by-piece, but when she talked with us about her, um, wardrobe archive, Hammer implied that selling them off in a single lot for the right sum wouldn’t be out of the question.

Hammer: The first real rock shows I went to, I was 15, and this guy I worked with at this diner first took me with him and his friends to see Aerosmith, and then a few months later, Kiss. I was in awe. I didn’t really get to go to too many more shows until I was driving, so I mail ordered shirts, whatever I could get.

Hammer: I had an awful lot, but I wore them—you can see some of them are pretty beat up, stretched, over-laundered. I bought them to wear, there was no intention of collecting. The only ones I got rid of were when I moved, I got rid of a bunch that were promo when I worked in radio, for bands I didn’t really care about. I got rid of a whole crate! All of the shirts from bands that meant something to me, I hung on to.

Hammer:  I never thought about selling them. When I got asked to do the exhibit, I was even skeptical about that, I asked “do people really want to look at a bunch of shirts?” and they assured me it would be cool. But there’s always a price on everything, you know. And eventually, after turning 50, it’s normal to want to start downsizing. So they could be for sale. But there’d still be one or two I’d have to hang on to.

Hammer: The one thing I love about shirts, it’s kind of like a club. When you see someone in a concert shirt by a band you like somewhere, especially if it’s a remote place where you don’t expect it, you feel a brotherhood or sisterhood with that person you know saw the same show as you did—they’re conversation starters!

More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
That time the Clash appeared in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The King of Comedy’
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An interesting cinematic footnote to the Clash’s time spent in New York City in the early 1980s—while they recorded their sprawling three-record Sandinista album—is their “blink and you missed ‘em” appearance in Martin Scorsese’s dark classic The King of Comedy.

Apparently both Scorsese and Robert De Niro were huge Clash fans and saw them during their famous series of seventeen concerts at Bonds International Casino in Times Square during May and June of 1981. Aside from the band going out to bars a few times with the director and actor, it’s mentioned in several Clash biographies—and several about Scorsese, too—that Gangs of New York was originally something he envisioned for the group!

Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon and some of their cohorts—sometime manager Kosmo Vinyl, singers Ellen Foley and Pearl Harbour and filmmaker Don Letts are credited in The King of Comedy as “Street Scum.”

Here the are in action, take a look:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Secret Life of the Human Pups’ reveals the men who like to dress up as dogs
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Tomorrow evening large numbers of U.K. viewers are expected to tune into what is being hyped as a startling documentary on Channel 4 called Secret Life of Human Pups. The documentary is about a fascinating subculture of men who have a secret predilection for dressing up as dogs in their spare time, including the donning of special plastic dog outfits, sleeping in cages, eating dog biscuits—they especially adore going out for walks on a leash, or on a “lead” as the British term it.

This morning, on a talk show called This Morning on ITV, British viewers received a sneak preview of the documentary’s content when a fellow named Tom, who likes to dress up as a Dalmatian named Spot, appeared for an interview with a close friend and former fiancée named Rachael. To put it mildly, the program has provided many Britons with a juicy fodder for water cooler conversation.

Tom is a sound and lighting technician in everyday life, and he has spent more than four thousand pounds—that’s nearly $6,000—on his canine accoutrements. Tom has a custom-made rubber suit and a dog crate that he uses for his nighttime slumbers. He says, “It doesn’t look comfortable, but you can curl up in different ways, there is more space than you think.”

According to the documentary, as many as 10,000 “secret pups” live in the United Kingdom. Many of them insist that the practice is not sexual in nature but is rather a response to stress in daily life, a reversion to a simpler state of being. As Tom says, the practice is “an obsession and an escapism. It would be a very boring life if there was no puppy play.”

Baffled viewers took to Twitter to express their befuddlement—and also to register their skepticism that the practice has no sexual component. One woman named Kirsty tweeted: “I’m sorry but him saying it isn’t a sexual thing is lying! It’s extreme bondage gone weird.”

One man quoted only by his puppy name Dynamo, commented, “A lot of them work in high pressure jobs and control a lot of people, they are CEOs and it is a way for them to express themselves in a way they can’t as a human.” Another fellow who becomes a rottweiler named Chip says “When I am not running around on all fours I work in catering.”

After the documentary airs tomorrow night, you can expect a whole new round of office conversation to start up again.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Kicking Against the Pricks: How Pauline Boty’s pioneering Pop art bucked the art world’s boy’s club
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pop art
Clive Goodwin

Pauline Boty was an artist, activist, actress and model. She was one of the leading figures of the British Pop art movement during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Her contemporaries were Peter Blake, Derek Boshier and David Hockney. But when Boty tragically died at the height of her fame in 1966, her work mysteriously disappeared. Not one of her paintings was exhibited again until 1993.

Boty was all but forgotten by the time a cache of her paintings was rediscovered on a farm in the English countryside in the early 1990s. The paintings had been stored in an old barn for safe-keeping by her brother. Their rediscovery placed Boty firmly back into the center of the Pop art boy’s club.

Throughout her life, Boty kicked against the men who tried to hold her back. Born into a Catholic family in 1938, her father (a by-the-book accountant) wanted his daughter to marry someone respectable and raise a family. Instead she chose to study art to her father’s great displeasure. In 1954, Boty won a scholarship to Wimbledon School of Art.

At college, Boty was dubbed the “Wimbledon Bridget Bardot” because of her blonde hair and film star looks. She went onto study lithography and stained glass design. However, her desire was to study painting. When she applied to the Royal College of Art in 1958, it was suggested by the male tutors that she would be more suited studying stained glass design as there were so few women painters. Though Boty enrolled in the design course she continued with her ambitions to paint.

Encouraged by the original Pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi, Boty began painting at her apartment. Her makeshift studio soon became a meeting point for her friends (Derek Marlowe, Celia Birtwell) and contemporaries (Blake, Boshier, Hockney and co) to meet, talk and work. Boty started exhibiting her collages and paintings alongside these artists and her career as a painter commenced.

In 1962, Boty was featured in a documentary about young British pop artists Pop Goes the Easel alongside Peter Blake, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips. The film was directed by Ken Russell who created an incredibly imaginative and memorable portrait of the four artists. Each was given the opportunity to discuss their work—only Boty did not. Instead she collaborated with Russell on a very prescient dream sequence.

It opens with Boty laying out her paintings and drawings on the floor of a long circular corridor—actually the old BBC TV Center. As she examines her work a group of young women appear behind her. These women walk all over her artwork. Then from out of an office door, a nightmarish figure in a wheelchair appears and chases Boty along the seemingly endless twisting corridors. Boty eventually escapes into an elevator—only to find the ominous figure waiting inside.

Her performance in Russell’s film led to further acting roles—in Alfie with Michael Caine, with James Fox on the stage, Stanley Baxter on television and again with Russell in a small role opposite Oliver Reed in Dante’s Inferno. Boty was photographed by David Bailey, modeled for Vogue, regularly appeared as an audience dancer on Ready, Steady, Go!, and held legendary parties at her studio to which everyone who was anyone attended—from the Stones to Bob Dylan. Boty was the bright flame to whom everyone was attracted.

She was a feminist icon—living her life, doing what she wanted to do, and not letting men from hold her back. But the sixties were not always the liberated decade many Boomers would have us believe. Boty’s critics nastily dismissed her as the Pop art pin-up girl. The left-wing party girl. A dumb blonde. Of course, they were wrong—but shit unfortunately sticks.

Boty’s work became more politically nuanced. She criticised America’s foreign policy in Vietnam; dissected the unacknowledged sexism of everyday life; and celebrated female sexuality. She had a long affair with the director Philip Saville—which allegedly inspired Joseph Losey’s film Darling with Dirk Bogarde and Julie Christie. Then after a ten day “whirlwind romance” Boty married Clive Goodwin—a literary agent and activist. She claimed he was the only man who was interested in her mind.

In 1965, Boty was nearing the top of her field when she found she was pregnant. During a routine prenatal examination, doctors discovered a malignant tumor. Boty refused an abortion. She also refused chemotherapy as she did not want to damage the fetus. In February 1966, Boty gave birth to a daughter—Boty Goodwin. Five months later in July 1966, Pauline Boty died. Her last painting was a commission for Kenneth Tynan’s nude revue Oh! Calcutta! called “BUM.”
Pauline Boty in her studio holding the painting ‘Scandal’ in 1963.
‘A Big Hand’ (1960).

More of Pauline Boty’s paintings plus Ken Russell’s ‘Pop Goes the Easel,’ after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment