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John Lennon’s nearly-forgotten 1974 Broadway flop
09.30.2014
05:13 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
John Lennon
Broadway


 
Although it is usually referred to as an “Off-Broadway” production—when it is referred to at all—the 1974 musical Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road, in fact, ran for 66 performances at the Beacon Theatre, which as any Westsider can tell you, is smack-dab on Broadway itself, even if it’s a cab ride away from “the Great White Way” theater district.

Likewise, I suppose it’s a bit disingenuous to say that this show was “John Lennon’s flop,” but Lennon was involved and aside from co-writing the music (duh) he attended several rehearsals and performances and helped promote the play. Paul McCartney on the other hand, may have never even seen it.
 

 
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road was conceived by Tom O’Horgan, the “Busby Berkeley of the acid set” as the New York Times described him in his 2009 obituary. O’Horgan was a proponent of experimental “total theater” and had directed Jean Genet’s The Maids at La MaMa in the East Village before moving uptown to the Broadway successes of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and Lenny.
 

 
From the surviving evidence of the show, it looked like it was totally insane. TIME magazine hated it, their review was titled “Contagious Vulgarity” and it went out of its way to excoriate O’Horgan’s style of musical theater. Other reviewers were much kinder and even enthusiastic, but the show which opened on November 17, 1974 was still closed by late January.

Ted Neeley, the actor long synonymous with the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar here played the Candide-like “Billy Shears.” The sexy siren “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was played by Alaina Reed (“Olivia” from Sesame Street), while the role of “Sgt. Pepper” went to David Patrick Kelly an actor best known for uttering the immortal line “Warriors…come out to play-ee-ay!!”
 

 
And then there were the dancers whose hair don’ts and dresses are a direct rip-off of Divine’s look in Female Trouble!

Apparently there’s very little documentation of the production. Opening night attendees included Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Lennon who went with May Pang, “Papa” John Phillips (whose own flop Broadway musical, Man on the Moon, produced by Andy Warhol would open two months later) and Yoko Ono who gamely supported her estranged husband.

While researching this post, I discovered that John Lennon at one point was offered the, er… Ted Neeley role in Jesus Christ Superstar but when he insisted that Yoko play Mary Magdalene, the offer was withdrawn. The jokes about her breaking up the twelve disciples would have written themselves…

One of the associate producers, Howard Dando, put together a slideshow plus some footage of opening night taken from John Lennon’s “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” promo film. Although the producer was Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood, who also produced the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band film, there was apparently not much of the O’Horgan’s musical play that made its way into the derided movie.
 

 
Thank you kindly Chris Campion of Palm Springs, CA! Mr. Campion is presently engaged writing the authorized biography of “Papa” John Phillips.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘The Mysteries of Conjugal Love Revealed!’ 18th century sex manual is a total hoot!
09.30.2014
03:14 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Books
History
Sex

Tags:
sex
18th Century


English caricaturist James Gillray‘s famous cartoon ‘Fashionable Contrasts’
 
If you’re not following John Overholt on Twitter, I suggest you get on it. As a Curator of Early Modern Books and Manuscripts for Houghton Library at Harvard, he Tweets about some strange, beautiful and often hilarious texts. Take The Mysteries of Conjugal Love Revealed an 18th century sex manual written by a French doctor, then translated to (“done into”) English by “a gentleman” (is a gentleman supposed to call himself a gentleman? Sounds a little excessively boastful to me.) Though the language is prissy, and the “information” wildly inaccurate, it’s important to remember that England was in the midst of a sexual revolution at the time, and books like this one represented a major move in cultural liberalism (for the upper classes, at least).

Still, let’s laugh at some particularly absurd excerpts!

We call the principle part of the Man’s Privaties the Virile Member, which the Ancients ranked among the number of their Gods under the Name of Falscines, to teach us what Empire it has acquir’d in the World: For no Charms or Enlightenments can equal it. If perchance a Woman perceives it thro’ some slight unfolding of the Garments, her Heart is at the same Instant inflam’d with a Passion, that is with Difficulty assuaged.

I feel like you might be giving yourself a little too much credit here.

The Privy parts of a Woman, by some called Nature, because all Men owe their Origin to them, are the cause of most of our Sorrows, as well as our Pleasures; and I dare say, that all Disorders, that every happen’d in the World, or do happen in this our time, spring form the same source.

I feel like you might be giving us a little too much credit here.

There is a part above the [Nympha?], longer more or less than half a Finger, called by Anatomists Clitoris,which I may justly term the Fury and Rage of Love. There Nature has plac’d the fear of Pleasure and Lust, as it has, on the other hand, in the Glans of Man. There is has plac’d those excessive Ticklings, and there is Leachery and Lasciviousnes establish’d;

I stopped after “half a finger.”

But ‘tis certain that Women have Testicles, spermatick Vessels and Seed, because they sometimes pollute themselves; and their Testicles, which are hollow instead of being solid, as Men’s are, contain several small Cellules, wherein a Humor is kept, that spurts up in the Face of those that cut them.

I don’t know what you’re doing, or with whom, or why there is “cutting” involved, but this does not sound like conventional heterosexual sex to me.

As soon as the Fancy is touched, and the small Fibres of the Brain shaken by the Thoughts of Love, there is an internal Sweat in our Privy Parts, and the Spirits which rush thither with Precipitation, force out a limpid Liquor of the Prostate which prepares the Conduit for the Passage of the Seed. But when one is join’d amorously to a Woman, the 2 small Bladders, most ready for evacuation, empty

Okay. Gonna start calling it “The Fancy”!

Chapter 6: What Hour of the Day one ought to kiss one’s Wife.

Well… they’re still English.
 
Via John Overholt and Harvard Library

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Title Shots: Luke Rockhold
09.30.2014
02:08 pm

Topics:
Advertorial

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Luke Rockford

Luke Rockhold
 
In this episode of “Moving Portraits: Title Shots,” we travel to Santa Cruz to learn how a lifetime of surfing and skating has shaped middleweight Luke Rockhold’s fighting style.

If you’ve ever spent any time in a California coastal town, you’ve probably noticed dozens of people heading for the beach to surf every morning at sunrise. It’s like they have to be there. Ever known a surfer who you wouldn’t describe as an adrenaline junkie? The thrill that comes from riding the breaks seems mighty addictive.

Surfing is the ultimate man against nature sport. The ultimate man against man sport—at least that which doesn’t involve actual weaponry—is mixed martial arts and Luke Rockhold, has mastered both. He’s also a skater and believes that it is his agility on the waves and on his deck informs his fighting style and stance.

Rockhold grew up surfing in Santa Cruz with his father and older brother pro surfer Matt “Rocky” Rockhold (long the face of Rip Curl). The waves there spawn the world’s best surfers, but as he mentions in the video below, Santa Cruz may appear to be a sleepy idyllic place, but it’s a fairly hard town, especially the beaches which can get very territorial between groups of surfers.

Luke Rockhold seems to have channeled his need for that adrenaline rush with his professional aspirations. As he admits in the portrait below, he was a wild and crazy, aggressive violent kid. Today the former Strikeforce Champion is #5 in the official Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight rankings.

On November 8th, Rockhold will be battling it out with British MMA fighter Michael Bisping at UFC’s UFC Fight Night 55 at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia. If their hilariously shit-talking press conference is any indication, it ought to be a doozy!
 

 
Sponsored by Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

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Bette Davis speaks candidly about gender roles and sexism in little-heard interview, 1963
09.30.2014
01:14 pm

Topics:
Feminism
History

Tags:
Bette Davis


 

“If men found out how to give birth to children they’d never propose again.” - Bette Davis

Blank on Blank dug up—and made a short animation to—a delightful taped interview with Bette Davis being interviewed in her home by entertainment columnist Shirley Eder in 1963.

Davis cuts through the bullshit and openly speaks her mind about gender roles, sexism in a male dominated workforce and marriage.

I think men have got to change an awful lot. I think somehow they still prefer the little woman. They’re just staying way, way behind and so as a rule I think millions of women are very happy to be by themselves, they’re so bored with the whole business of trying to be the little woman, when no such thing really exists anymore. It just simply doesn’t. This world’s gone way beyond it. The real female should be partly male and the real male should be partly female anyway. So if you ever run into that in either sex you’ve run into something very, very fine, I think.

Davis’ quick wit and no-nonsense POV makes me love her even more.

 
With thanks to David Gerlach!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Massive mural pays homage to cult film ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’
09.30.2014
11:14 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Jeff Krulik

Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural by Jasper Patch
 
New York City based artist Jasper Patch was invited to hand-paint this 8’ x 70’ mural on a wall outside of a bar called Clyde’s in Chattanooga,Tennessee. The owners of Clyde’s left the subject matter up to Patch and he chose wisely, as the mural features several of the most memorable stars of director Jeff Krulik’s 1986 cult documentary “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.”

The mural took Patch about ten days to paint and according to the artist himself the response has been as big as his painting. In my estimation, the only thing this metal monstrosity is missing is an image of the long-haired acid tripper from HMPL, the forever shirtless Graham (“you know, like, gram of dope n’ shit?”). Here are a few close-ups of the mural.
 
Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural braces girl
 
Heavy Metal Parking Lot mural Zebraman
 
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the drunken kids of “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” I have good news. In 2006, Jeff Krulik and his partner in crime John Heyn tracked down some of the film’s alumni to see what they’ve been up to. To the surprise of nobody they are all still headbanging devotees. They even found “Zebraman” (pictured above), an unwitting fan favorite of the flick who despite his acid-soaked proclamations about Mars, is improbably still alive.

“PRIEST IS THE BEST!”
 

 
Previously featured on Dangerous Minds:
‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ trading cards

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Stevie Nicks’ selfies from the 1970s
09.30.2014
09:05 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Stevie Nicks
Fleetwood Mac


 
Never-before-seen—until now, naturally—Stevie Nicks self-portraits from the mid-1970s. There are a lot wickedly cool Nicks selfies in this collection—all of which were shot with a Polaroid camera.

(Eat your heart out Kardashian clan! Your selfies got nothin’ on Stevie!)

Some people don’t sleep at night - I am one of those people. These pictures were taken long after everyone had gone to bed - I would begin after midnight and go until 4 or 5 in the morning. I stopped at sunrise - like a vampire… I never really thought anyone would ever see these pictures, they went into shoeboxes, where they remained. I did everything - I was the stylist, the makeup artist, the furniture mover, the lighting director. It was my joy - I was the model…

Leaving aside the matter of what was keeping Ms. Nicks awake in the 70s, the Morrison Hotel Gallery is doing an exhibition of her photos in Los Angeles and New York City. You can buy prints online if any image strikes your fancy.
 

 

 

 
A few more images after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Cranky Lou Reed interview from 1975 is full of hilariously nasty gems
09.30.2014
08:41 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Lou Reed


 
Oh, my…. Hell hath no fury like Lou Reed in close proximity to a journalist who has gotten on his bad side. I’d imagine a good chunk of the DM audience has already seen the hilarious clip of Lou Reed being royally unhelpful to some Australian journalists in 1974…. my first exposure to that footage was before a Morrissey show I saw in Dublin in 2009, it was part of the pre-gig entertainment.

This desultory interview from 1975 isn’t as well known, but it deserves to be considered in the same league as that Australian clip. It’s odd footage because it’s almost uncut raw footage, we get to see a dude with a boom mic several times—a couple times at the start or end of a take, the camera might zoom off crazily to one side, etc.
 

 
The best bits come right around the middle, when Lou and his interviewer engage in a series of one-liners that are somehow vaguely reminiscent of an ill-tempered Abbott and Costello routine:
 

LR: Don’t believe what you read.
I: No, I don’t.
LR: Don’t believe what you see.
I: Is it true that you wrote Sally Can’t Dance in the studio?
LR: If I say so, I guess….
I: But did you?
LR: I wasn’t there!
I: You were there.
LR: No I wasn’t. Dougie [Yule] did it.
I: Are you happier as a brunet?
LR: Ahh…. are you happier as a schmuck?
I: I’m no schmuck.
LR: I’m no brunet.
I: You were blond last time.
LR: No I wasn’t.
I: You were.
LR: I was a bleach blond.
I: A bleached blond.
LR: Trashy blond.
I: You looked younger as a blond.
LR: Well, you look older.
I: I’m not a blond, though.
LR: I know, it’s worse.

 
At one point, in response to an admittedly inane query about Berlin, Lou says, “It was a long time ago. I’m obsessed with Metal Machine Music.” So the interview was perhaps in support of what is widely considered one of the more prominent eff-yous in recording history, a fact that informs Lou’s contrary attitude, perhaps? (Or else it was for Lou Reed Live, which also came out in 1975.)
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
U.S. money redesigned with contemporary icons
09.30.2014
07:36 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Heroes

Tags:
money


 
Ah, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Iggy Pop were on the five-dollar bill? Or if Warhol were on the ten? I used to live in Austria, and back in the pre-Euro days, when they still had the Schilling, their banknotes had Erwin Schrödinger and Sigmund Freud on them—not bad. Belgium used to have Magritte on its 500-franc note. France put Antoine de Saint-Exupéry on one of their bills. James Joyce at one time was on Ireland’s ten-pound note.

How long before Iceland puts Björk on a bill? 

It’s difficult to look at these defaced U.S. banknotes, part of James Charles’ “American Iconomics” series, and not think of J. S. G. Boggs but Charles’ satires are less totalistic in their intent—closer to Mad Magazine, say.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
via Ufunk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Ghost of black-eyed girl seen for first time in 30 years
09.30.2014
06:45 am

Topics:
Amusing
Occult

Tags:
Ghosts
paranormal

ablkeyeghst.jpg
Black-eyed girl selfie

The reappearance last year of a ghoulish apparition at Cannock Chase in England has led to considerable media frenzy in the UK and an allegedly “in-depth investigation” by paranormal investigator Lee Brickley.

Last summer, Lee wrote of his receiving an email regarding a sighting of the ghost of a black-eyed child. According to Lee, this ghoulish spectre was first seen in Staffordshire in the 1980s. The sighting created worldwide interest in “the black-eyed girl,” which eventually led to the ghost becoming an Internet sensation.

In 2013, the ghost has been seen by a mother and daughter while walking through woods at Cannock Chase. The account given to Lee Brickley was very similar to previous reports of the “Black Eyed Child—who has coal-black pits for eye sockets.”

The woman (given the pseudonym Mrs. Kelly) was out walking in the woods with her daughter, when they heard horrific screams which seemed to come from a terrified child somewhere in the woods.

“We instantly started running towards the noise,” she said. “We couldn’t find the child anywhere and so stopped to catch our breath. That’s when I turned round and saw a girl stood behind me, no more than 10 years old, with her hands over her eyes.It was as if she was waiting for a birthday cake. I asked if she was OK and if she had been the one screaming. She put her arms down by her side and opened her eyes. That’s when I saw they were completely black, no iris, no white, nothing. I jumped back and grabbed my daughter. When I looked again, the child was gone. It was so strange.”

On his website, paranormal investigator Lee said the woman’s experience mirrors the earlier sighting:

“In the summer of 1982, my aunt was 18 years old, and she and her friends would often meet on Cannock Chase in the evening time, probably in much the same way many teenagers still do today. One evening, just before dark, she heard a little girl frantically shouting for help. Rushing to locate the sound, she stumbled upon a dirt track and caught sight of the girl, about six years old running in the opposite direction. When my aunt caught up, the girl turned around and looked her in the eyes, and then ran off into the dark woodland. Her eyes had been completely black with no trace of white. There was a police search but to no avail. At the time, no-one had any reason to believe anything paranormal was going on. The girl certainly appeared to be of flesh and blood.”

Brickley goes on to speculate about these “black eyed kids” writing:

... if you look around on the Internet and read a few books you’ll find many different theories as to their origins. Some people believe them to be extraterrestrials, vampires, ghosts and even inter-dimensional entities, but there is one immense difference between the sightings of black-eyed children around the world and the stories coming out of Cannock Chase: only on Cannock Chase do the sightings consistently happen during the daytime.

In the U.S many reports suggest that black-eyed children often appear in groups, regularly knocking at the door’s of unknowing victims and asking quietly if they may “come inside.” Some other stories tell the tale of these devilish children appearing in the back-seats of cars when a driver is travelling alone at midnight, or walking around on empty early morning streets asking anyone around for help, but I wonder what would happen if you offered them your assistance? What would happen if you let them inside your house? Not many people know, but there are a few reports knocking around, like this one, originally posted in pararational:

“......so I let them in, the one who needed the toilet just walked in and straight up the stairs so I shouted up its on the right, I don’t know why I didn’t find this strange but most toilets are upstairs and as he was young I didn’t think anything of it. I told the other one that the phone was down the hall, “thanks” he said and he started to walk down the hall, I followed him and then I suddenly came over with a really awful feeling like something bad was going to happen, I became very nervous and a bit shaky I still cant explain how that happened, the boy stopped at the phone and paused, “everything OK?” I asked, he turned to me and looked up and that’s when I saw his eyes, and trust me I will never get that picture out of my head, I was so scared that I couldn’t even scream as I turned to run down the hall the other kid was standing at the end.”

“I became very dizzy and struggled to stand up, he walked closer to me and said that they had been sent to collect me, I still couldn’t bear to look into his face, I pushed away from him and ran into my front room and slammed the door shut, I was in so much shock about what was happening I couldn’t think straight, this is something that you don’t even expect to happen even in movies. After standing against the door for around and hour or so I finally got the courage to make a run for the back door, so I ran to it and unlocked it, I ran to the back of my garden and jumped over the fence not once looking back…..”

Very frightening indeed…..

Of all the paranormal phenomena experienced on Cannock Chase, black-eyed children have to be the most eerie by far. The only advice I could offer anyone who comes across these unhallowed, unrelenting and unsympathetic strays is: start running while you still can!

Last year’s sighting of the Black-Eyed Child has now made the front covers of several UK newspapers (must be a quiet week…) as well as local papers—none of which mention that the sighting actually/supposedly took place in 2013.
 
Via the Daily Mirror

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Erotic performance from Tanny LeClercq, groundbreaking ballerina later stricken with paralytic polio


Francisco Moncion and Tanaquil Le Clercq from Jerome Robbins’ ballet ‘Afternoon of a Faun’
 
Too often Tanaquil Le Clercq’s contributions to the world of ballet are unfairly attributed to her husband and choreographer George Balanchine, the so-called “father of American ballet.” Balanchine infamously exercised a kind of droit du seigneur with the dancers under his direction, marrying them, divorcing them, cheating on them with their coworkers and even firing them when they rejected his advances. Tanaquil Le Clercq, or “Tanny,” as she was known affectionately, was no different. After admittance to Balanchine’s school of American Ballet at the age of 12, Tanny quickly became one of Blanchine’s favorite dancers,

At the age of 15 Tanny danced alongside Balanchine for a polio benefit show he choreographed—Balanchine played polio itself while Tanny played his victim, ultimately overcoming her illness at the end after children threw dimes at the stage. At 19, when Blanchine’s relationship with his former muse (and first American prima) Maria Tallchief had cooled, he took up with Tanny. When she was 21, they were married, with nearly 25 years between them. During the next few years, Tanny came to represent the ultimate “Balanchine ballerina,” her thin frame and long limbs belying a lean muscularity and a deft nimbleness (you can see some of her explosive footwork here, from the ballet Western Symphony with Jacques d’Amboise). Balanchine had always favored leaner bodies—prior to his influence ballerinas were often built more like gymnasts, more visibly muscular and compact. It was Tanny however, with her ultra-long legs and impossibly narrow sternum that represented the extreme of his vision.

Tragically, at the age of 27, Tanaquil collapsed onstage and was rushed to the hospital. She was diagnosed with polio; she had avoided vaccination, which she worried would leave her sore and unable to dance for a short time. Wracked by superstitious guilt, Balanchine spent years trying to train her body to dance again, but Tanny herself accepted the inevitable earlier than anyone. Eventually they split, and Balanchine went after his new muse, Suzanne Farrell. (She spurned him. He fired her.) Tanny eventually regained the use of her upper body and returned to teach ballet, using her long arms to demonstrate what should be done with legs. (There’s an amazing documentary of her life story you can stream from PBS.)

The performance below, “Afternoon of a Faun,” is not choreographed by George Balanchine, but by his colleague Jerome Robbins, who also vied for Tanny’s affections before her marriage to Balanchine—after her paralysis he wrote her love letters and photographed her extensively. Jerome Robbins never got the high society credit Balanchine did after leaving ballet to choreograph movies like West Side Story, but he’s clearly a genius of the genre. The performance is devastatingly erotic, with pelvic movements not considered “pretty” in classical ballet, and the use of Debussy, an impressionist, rather than a romantic of classical composer lends a dreamy ambiance to the entire affair. It’s filmed beautifully, and as Le Clercg and partner Jacques d’Amboise break the fourth wall to turn from the sparse stage setting to look at the camera, the audience is made to feel almost voyeuristic.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
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