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Gothtastic pics of the alluring Carroll Borland as Dracula’s daughter in ‘Mark of the Vampire’


Actress Carroll Borland in a publicity shot for the 1935 film ‘Mark of the Vampire.’
 
Director Tod Browning’s deeply strange gem from 1935 Mark of the Vampire (alternatively known as “Vampires of Prague” and “Vampires of the Night”) was actually banned in Sweden and Poland following its release for possessing too many gory scenes. In Hungary numerous scenes—especially any that featured bats—were removed, which sort of makes sense given Hungary’s long history with vampire mythology. The film’s tale actually started off a whole lot weirder and part of its incredibly dark and sinister storyline ended up getting slashed.

Browning—who also gave us 1932’s Freaks and 1931’s classic Dracula—directed 62 shorts and films during his career decided to add a layer of WTF to the already off-kilter flick which was adapted from his own 1927 silent film London After Midnight starring another famous movie monster, the great Lon Chaney. Apparently the screenplay had been enhanced and edited by such a large number of writers that at one point it included an incestual father/daughter relationship (noted in the book 2009 book Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Reader’s Guide)  between Lugos’s character of “Count Mora” and the gorgeous Carroll Borland who played the Count’s daughter “Luna.” And since that kind of deviance (according to the screenplay) was against the “Vampire Code of Conduct” Count Mora is sent to live out his days away from the dark world he once inhabited. He then ends up committing suicide by shooting himself in the head out of remorse for his crimes.

In all about fourteen minutes of footage was cut in accordance with the morality police in charge at the time. Though Browning campaigned to keep the footage and storyline intact he wasn’t exactly a studio darling after the massive financial hit the studio took on Freaks a few years prior.

If you’ve never seen Mark of the Vampire, despite its jumpy storyline I highly recommend it to you if for no other reason to see the scene where the gothtastic Ms. Borland flies onto the set with the help of a massive set of white bat wings. A trick that according to reliable folklore took nearly three weeks to nail. Nice.
 

Borland and Bela Lugosi.
 

Borland and Bela.
 
More more more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.13.2016
01:15 pm
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Disturbingly lifelike gender-bending mannequins
10.10.2016
12:47 pm
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Pierre Imans’ ‘lesbian’ mannequins that were featured in an exhibit called the ‘Streets of Paris’ in 1920.
 
In the early 1900s, a mannequin cost about $15 and it was around that time that Parisian artist Pierre Imans’ unconventional mannequins started to appear in windows around Paris. Imans would not only create the first mannequin of color (that was modeled after the great Josephine Baker) he also created a pair of lesbian mannequins (pictured above) that were part of an exhibition at the Moulin Rouge called the “Streets of Paris” back in 1920. While Imans’ creation were probably not so shocking for the far-ahead-of-their-time, progressive Parisians (Paris was the place everyone was getting their kinkly BSDM wear from during that time after all), they were still rather unconventional when it came to their appearance.

Imans’ mannequins drew somewhat from an Art Nouveau perspective and their forms had elegant modern lines and chiseled features. Many of Imans’ mannequins also possessed a sort of asexual look with the male mannequins having rather feminine features while his female models sported short masculine haircuts and menswear-inspired clothing. Even Imans himself didn’t care for the use of “labels” and preferred to operate under title of “sculptor” often using the phrase “Les Cires de Pierre Imans” or “The waxes of Pierre Imans” to describe his business. So revered was the Frenchman that upon the third exhumation of Saint Marie-Bernarde “Bernadette” Soubirous (or St. Bernadette whose initial claim to Catholic fame was seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary eighteen times) Imans was called upon to create a wax imprint of St. Bernadette’s face and hands so that the body would not show signs of decay where it remains to this day on display in a crystal coffin in Nevers, France.

To enhance his already spookily realistic mannequins the talented French master sculptor would use real hair for his models including eyelashes and eyebrows, glass eyes and teeth made of porcelain. Vintage creations by Imans’ sell for thousands of dollars and even promotional photographs of Imans’ mannequins sell for a tidy sum of cash on various auction sites such as eBay. I’ve included a variety of images from Imans’ vast catalog (that spanned more than three decades) of his more intriguing mannequins for you to stare at while waiting for them to actually move, below. 
 

 

 
More mannequins after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.10.2016
12:47 pm
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The Reich Stuff: The grim Nazi propaganda magazine aimed at women


An issue of ‘Frauen Warte’ a Nazi magazine marketed to women, 1940.
 
Frauen Warte (or “Women’s Worth” at least when translated using Google) was a women’s interest magazine put out by the Nazi party starting in 1935. Published twice a week Frauen Warte was full of recommendations and “advice” on how to properly raise children so they would be strong enough to “defend their fatherland with their lives,” how to clean and maintain their homes, and fashion advice that fell within the Führer’s tastes of respectability. Frauen-Warte even went so far as to include specific sewing patterns for clothing for women to make for themselves and their children. In more than one issue during the magazine’s run, a school set up by the Nazi party called the Reich Brides’ and Housewives’ School in Husbäke in Oldenburg was discussed in great, rather enthusiastic and misogynistic detail.
 

A page from ‘Frauen Warte’ detailing the activities at the Brides’ and Housewives’ School in Husbäke in Oldenburg.
 
Brides and aspiring housewives (according to Nazi doctrine a woman’s place was to get married, have children and care for their family) would attend the school for a period of six weeks during which they would learn various skills to help them succeed as they embark on their “careers” as housewives, such as cooking, sewing, how to properly decorate their homes, creating and maintaining a household budget, and of course, how keeping their hardworking German men “comfortable” when they comes home from work. During this time women were also told to adhere to the following guidelines in order to ensure they would emulate the “ideal” German woman:

Women should not work for a living
Women should not wear trousers
Women should not wear makeup
Women should not wear high-heeled shoes
Women should not dye or perm their hair

Various articles in the propaganda masquerading as a magazine included such topics as “The Expert Housewife of Today,” the bleak sounding “Ready to Die, Ready to Live” (whose focus was to encourage women to propagate even during wartime), and “Strength from Love and Faith” that stated that all Hitler really wanted for his birthday was for his followers (in this case specifically women) to work hard. To reinforce Hitler’s feelings about the role of women, the failed painter and leader of the Third Reich even wrote for the rag about the importance of a woman’s role when it to the advancement of the Nazi’s quest for global domination.

What a man proves through heroic courage, the woman proves in eternal patient suffering. Each child that she brings into the world is a battle she fights for the existence or nonexistence of her people.

This feel-good article finishes up with a passage seemingly straight from Satan’s own playbook requesting that anyone reading the magazine (which had a circulation of 1.9 million readers by 1939) follow Hitler “on this path through the raging fire of war.” Which as we know was what the Germans figuratively and quite literally did. A large volume of detail including covers of the magazine, numerous articles and photos from the magazine (which you can see in this post) have been cataloged by Randall Bytwerk, a Professor Emeritus of Communication Arts and Sciences Calvin College in Michigan in the German Propaganda Archive hosted by Calvin College’s website. Issues of Frauen Warte published between the years 1941 and 1945 (which put out its last issue shortly before the Nazi’s unconditionally surrendered in France in May that same year) can be seen over at The University of Heidelberg website. If this is of interest to those of you that collect these kinds of artifacts copies of Frauen Warte are fairly easy to come by online.
 

1939.
 

1939.
 
More good housekeeping tips from the Nazis, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.28.2016
09:14 am
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‘Hell Drivers’: Wild vintage images of fearless car stuntmen
09.20.2016
10:46 am
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Lucky Teter (or perhaps one of his stuntmen) jumping over a truck, 1930s.
 
Back in the early 1930s a man by the name of Earl “Lucky” Teter formed a troupe of eager thrill-seeking stunt-drivers for his daredevil extravaganza “Lucky” Teter’s Hell Drivers. It would mark the first time that a traveling “auto show” would put on as a “traveling” attraction.
 

Ward Beam’s signature ‘Dive Bomb’ or ‘T-Bone’ stunt, 1920s.
 
Inspired by the balls-out stunts by Ward Beam’s “Thrill Show” from the late 1920s who in addition to performing a wide array of stunts also played a bizarre game involving speeding cars and a giant ball called “auto pushball” or the Jimmie Lynch Death Dodgers who were getting started during the 1930s as well, Teter began trying to perfect his own “ramp to ramp” style stunts that had him hurtling over several cars or a city bus—a stunt that would ultimately take his life in 1942. Though his career was tragically cut short when his car failed to jump two Greyhound buses, Teter was the first person to coin the name “Hell Drivers” which would go on to be used by many other groups of adventurous automobile enthusiasts who would continue on with the legacy established by both Teter and Beam. Speaking of the crash-happy types of drivers here’s a want-ad that was posted by Beam in the Amherst Bee (a New York based newpaper) on August 6th, 1931 that will give you an idea of what it took to be a part of Beam’s “Congress of Daredevils.”

Wanted: Single man, not over 25 years, to drive automobile in head-on collision with another car at the Albion Fairgrounds in connection with the Congress of Daredevils on August 19. Must crash with another car at 40 mph and give unconditional release in case of injury or death. Name your lowest price. Write B. Ward Beam, Albion, N.Y.

I’ve been to exactly one demolition derby/car stunt show in my entire life and I was completely fucking terrified the entire time. That said, the images in this post don’t look much like what I lived through but they are still full of high levels of reckless and eminent danger, or in other words good old-fashioned family entertainment. Loads of pictures of the Death Dodgers, Lucky Teter in action and more pre-Dukes of Hazzard fun with cars follow.
 

A driver for Jimmie Lynch’s Death Dodgers driving through a wall of flame.
 

Lucky Teter.
 
More thrilling photos (and film footage) of these old school automotive daredevils, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.20.2016
10:46 am
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Ingenious 1930s burlesque queen, the great Sally Rand
09.13.2016
01:49 pm
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Actress and burlesque star Sally Rand and her giant bubble.

I haven’t been out of work since the day I took my pants off.

—Sally Rand.

Though Sally Rand is famous for her “fan dance” which she debuted at the Chicago World’s Fair in May of 1933 in which the petite performer used two pink seven-foot ostrich fans strategically to “cover” what appeared to onlookers to be her nude body, she is equally well-known for her beguiling “bubble dance” which Rand brought to Chicago when she returned in 1934.
 

A show flier advertising Sally Rand’s famous ‘bubble dance’ at the Paradise Cabaret in New York.
 
Born Harriet Helen Gould Beck in the small town of Elkton Missouri, Rand left home in search of fame and fortune and joined a carnival. It would be one in a long line of jobs in the entertainment business that Rand would hold during her career. Calling herself “Billie Beck” Rand took a job with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus as an acrobat, which eventually led to another more serious job with a theatre company where the young aspiring star would play opposite to future (and then nearly unknown) Hollywood superstar Humphrey Bogart in a “summer stock” production. Rand would then go on to hook up with the great Cecil B. DeMille who convinced her to change her name to “Sally Rand” and would open the door to many roles in silent features for the determined young performer.

Later on in the early 1930s Rand would start performing her “fan dances” and ultimately her “bubble dances” and her performance at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair would mark one of many times Rand was arrested for “indecent exposure” though she had been painted by makeup guru Max Factor, Sr. in a new body paint he had formulated for Hollywood screen stars. When it comes to Rand’s bubble dance the back story is quite interesting, as well as a fascinating reflection of how ingenious Rand was when it came to keeping her fame firmly intact. When she came up with the idea of incorporating a bubble large enough to hold her inside she actually had to have one created for her.

Using her own money Rand began the exploration and development of a 60-inch bubble that she would use on stage as a prop along with her nearly nude body (which was likely cleverly concealed in a bodystocking or other crafty camouflage) and a large troop of dancers. I’ve included some incredible photos of Rand pictured with a formerly live swan, her bubble and the lightening bolt body makeup created by Max Factor for you to oogle, as well as some vintage video of Rand performing with her giant bubble.

Since we’re talking about beautiful naked ladies and bubbles and such, many of the images that follow are slightly NSFW.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.13.2016
01:49 pm
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Get in the ring: Vintage images of female bodybuilders and ‘strong women’ showing off
09.02.2016
10:35 am
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Strong woman and acobat Louise Leers (aka Luise Krökel), 1930s.
 
Some of the images of the badass strong women in this post date all the way back to the very early 1900s however the female “strong woman” was an attraction as long ago as the early 1700s where women such a the “Female Italian Samson” and the “Little Woman from Geneva” would perform impressive feats of strength such as bearing massive amounts of weight on their backs or effortlessly hoisting several men in their arms.
 

The ‘Great Sandwina’ aka, Katie Brumbach.
 
Sometime in the late 1800s the appearance of strong women became more prevalent in sporting events and were also a common attraction in circuses where they would showcase their superhuman strength. This in turn paved the way for other rule-breaking girls such as female wrestlers and bodybuilders. One of the best known super women was Katie Brumbach called the “Great Sandwina.” Hailing from Vienna, Brumbach’s parents were also circus performers and it would appear that she was the combination of her father (who stood 6’ 6”) and her mother (who was herself a strong woman of sorts, sporting biceps that measured 15 inches around). She not only inherited her parents physical prowess and she performed with them, as well as many of her fourteen siblings. Brumbach would go on to wow audiences by lifting her husband (who reportedly weighed 165 lbs) over her head with only one arm and 300 pounds of weights with both. In her later years Brumbach joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a powerlifter where she snapped iron bars with her bare hands. At the age of 57 she was still able to pull to hoist her husband above her head with only one arm.

Another notable strong woman Kate Roberts went by the intimidating name “Vulcana.” In addition to her muscular build and ability to lift heavy weights (allegedly 181 lbs with one arm) she has some fascinating superhero-style folklore attached to her. In addition to saving a couple of drowning kids, Roberts dragged an unfortunate would-be purse snatcher who tried to steal her handbag all the way to the police station by herself. According to various historians Roberts also freed a wagon that had become stuck in a ditch in front of a crowd of awestruck Londoners. I’ve included images of other kick ass women in this post such as Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton (who was a notable member of the “Muscle Beach” crowd in the 1940s), and Joan Rhodes who enjoyed bending iron rods with her teeth and breaking nails with her bare hands.  There’s also a video of Rhodes showing off her strength in a cabaret act called the “Iron Girl in a Velvet Glove.”
 

‘Vulcana’ (aka Kate Roberts).
 

Abbye ‘Pudgy’ Stockton.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.02.2016
10:35 am
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Take the money and run: Photos of the real life Bonnie & Clyde
07.26.2016
11:14 am
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Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
 
There are few names that have more instant recognition when it comes to the history of the American criminal than the duo of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow—otherwise known as “Bonnie & Clyde.” The pair’s horrific crime wave took the lives of thirteen people including two members of law enforcement, but their illegal exploits (which included kidnapping and robbing banks) really didn’t make them very rich because as it turns out Bonnie and Clyde weren’t that good at breaking the law.
 

An early mugshot of Clyde Barrow, age sixteen. 1925.
 
Bonnie Elizabeth Parker met Clyde Chestnut Barrow sometime in early 1930 and for Parker it was love at first sight. The two shared a mutual love of music and as a young girl Parker performed in talent shows and dreamed of one day hitting it big in Hollywood. During her short time as a part of Barrow’s gang Bonnie would write poetry and just before their crime spree ended on a dirt road in the country in Bienville Parish, Louisiana on May 23, 1934 Parker would pen an eerie poem she called The End of the Line that accurately foretold the couple’s eminent fate: 

They don’t think they’re too smart or desperate, They know the law always wins; They’ve been shot at before, But they do not ignore That death is the wages of sin.

Some day they’ll go down together; And they’ll bury them side by side, To a few it’ll be grief— To the law a relief— But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.

I’ve included an assortment of old photos of Bonnie and Clyde taken in the early 1930s—some that come from a roll of undeveloped film found inside of the bullet-riddled car where Bonnie and Clyde met their violent end—seventeen bullets for Clyde and 26 for Bonnie to be precise, as you can see in a graphic newsreel from 1934 that includes footage of the deceased duo inside their “death car” just after they were ambushed by the police.
 

A portrait of a young Bonnie Parker.
 

 
More Bonnie & Clyde after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.26.2016
11:14 am
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Fierce vintage fetish wear from the 1920s and 1930s
07.21.2016
09:56 am
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A metal bra and chastity belt by Yva Richard (modeled by Nativia Richard), 1920s.
 
My DM colleague Tara McGinley recently posted some fantastic vintage images of kinky boots—and as I share her admiration for rule-breaking women and fashion I thought many of you would enjoy seeing some more provocative images from the 1920s and very early 1930s taken in Paris of models donning the latest in French fetish wear.
 

Animal print panties with a tail by Diana Slip, 1920s.
 
At the time there were only a small number of companies that were actually making the clothing that catered to the robust bondage loving, whip and chains-wearing fans that enjoying living out their fantasies in the clubs of Paris and in the privacy of their own home. If people were getting their freak on in an iron bra and matching chastity belt (pictured at the top of this post) it probably came from France. Two of the pioneering companies that were feeding the fetish community with their playthings were Yva Richard and Diana Slip.

Yva Richard was the husband and wife duo of L. Richard and Nativa Richard. Getting their start sometime in the early 1920s, Nativia was not only the talented seamstress making Yva Richard’s signature risque lingerie, but she also modeled much of the companies cheeky creations and would routinely appeared in Yva Richard’s popular mail-order catalog from which the kinky couple sold everything from masks to iron restraints. The Richards’ biggest competition back in the 20s was Diana Slip—a fetish wear company run by Léon Vidal. Vidal’s collection while very much marketed to purveyors of kink had a slightly more sophisticated air and was not as overtly deviant as Yva Richard’s designs.

The arrival of WWII and the subsequent occupation of France in the early 40s pretty much put the kibosh on the booming fetish business and both companies as well as others closed up shop. I’ve included some incredible examples of what both Yva Richard and Diana Slip were designing for their fetish loving French fans that I’m sure will get your blood pumping. If they don’t, you might want to get that checked out.

If this kind of thing is your thing (I don’t judge and neither should you) the French book Yva Richard: L’âge d’or du fétichisme features a large collection of photographs that chronicle the history of the French fetish wear pioneers. That said, some of the images that follow are NSFW.
 

Diana Slip, 1920s.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.21.2016
09:56 am
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Nostalgic images of drive-in movie theaters
07.08.2016
10:15 am
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The giant stone ‘marquee’ on the first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey that opened on June 6th, 1933.
 
83-years ago this week (June 6th, 1933 specifically) the very first drive-in movie theater opened for business in Camden, New Jersey. Originally conceptualized and patented in 1933 by entrepreneur Richard Hollingshead who astutely recognized that despite the failing economy (the Great Depression was in full swing) people were still going to the movies and would cut back on basic necessities such as food for the opportunity to escape their bleak day-to-day existences in a dark theater for a few hours. Hollingshead’s outdoor theater cost only a quarter a car (plus 25 cents for each occupant) and the sound from the speakers broadcasting the films to the 400 car capacity lot were so loud that they could be heard miles down the road.
 

A print advertisement for Richard Hollingshead’s new drive-in theater in Camden, New Jersey.
 
According to a historical reference noted by the University of Michigan not everyone was happy about Hollingshead’s invention of the drive-in—and aparently a group of teenage girls actually took to protesting its creation as it put a big dent in the booming tween babysitting business since families were now bringing their infants, toddlers and young children along in the car to see the latest celluloid offerings from the comfort of their car. Drive-in theaters started to proliferate all over the country from Massachusetts to New Mexico and by 1942 there were 95 drive-ins with locations in 27 states. Ten years later there were approximately 5000 drive-in movie theaters in operation across the U.S. When the decade of spandex and neon otherwise known as the 80s rolled around drive-in theaters began their decline thanks to urban sprawl and technological advancements such as cable TV and the cheaper price of that in-home movie machine, the VCR.

These days (and according to an article published in 2014) there are still 338 drive-in theaters in operation including one of my favorite haunts in my younger days, the 67-year-old Weir’s Beach drive-in in New Hampshire. Tons of images of drive-ins from the past follow.
 

West Virginia, 1956.
 

A ‘carhop’ at the Rancho drive-in, San Francisco, 1948.
 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.08.2016
10:15 am
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Naughty nuns, Nosferatu and BDSM: Surreal works by the master of ‘anything goes’ Clovis Trouille
07.01.2016
10:58 am
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‘Religieuse italienne fumant la cigarette’ (Italian nun smoking a cigarette) by Clovis Trouille, 1944.
 
According to legend a work called “Remembrance” (1930) by fanatical anarchist and painter Clovis Trouille was on display during an art show for the French Communist Party in the early 1930s the piece caught the eye of none other than Salvador Dali himself. Which makes perfect sense as the painting (pictured below) features a church cardinal wearing an open coat that reveals his womanly legs, red garter belts and black thigh-high stockings—to say nothing of the levitating nude contortionist just to his left. Fantastic stuff.
 

‘Remembrance’ 1930.
 
“Remembrance” was one Trouille’s first paintings—done when the painter was already 41 years old. Prior to discovering his true calling, Trouille was employed as what could be best described as a sort of mannequin “makeup” artist for department stores. A job that allowed him to stay true to his anti-establishment ideology and disdain for anything systematic—a sentiment that Trouille instantly developed after he was drafted into service during WW1 and returned traumatized by what he had seen. During his long career Trouille would continue to admonish authority figures by way of his brush by painting religious leaders, police and government officials into sordid scenes full of lowbrow debauchery with distinct BDSM undertones.

Quite fond of his own work, according to noted French surrealist art collector Daniel Filipacchi, Trouille once asked him to return a painting he had purchased from him “Rêve Claustral” that featured two nuns kissing. To which Filipacchi though confused, obliged. The painter would return the painting to him noting that he had added some detail to it (in this case Trouille added two prayer books that had been cast on the ground below the nuns exposed legs). This was a request, Filipacchi said, that would be asked of the collector on several other occasions resulting in a few other additions to “Rêve Claustral” including a peeping-Tom version of a nun watching the lurid scene go down.

Trouille was tragically overlooked during his own lifetime and if you’re going to be in Paris this coming week, you can see some of his work at the Grand Palais at the Champs-Élysées through July 4th. If you like what you see, Trouille’s art has been compiled into a few books including “Parcours à Travers l’oeuvre de Clovis Trouille, 1889-1975” and “Clovis Trouille; Un Peintre Libre et Iconoclaste.”
 

One of the most famous paintings by Clovis Trouille provided the title and poster art for Kenneth Tynan’s notorious erotic Off-Broadway revue ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ (The title is a pun on “O quel cul t’as!” French for “What an ass you have!”). It was also used on the cover of the original cast soundtrack album.
 

More spellbinding examples of Trouille’s work follow after the jump—most are NSFW…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.01.2016
10:58 am
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Marianne Breslauer’s gorgeous photos of queer, androgynous and butch women of the 1930s
06.30.2016
10:42 am
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The photography of Marianne Breslauer is striking for both its intimacy and its subjects—women, usually of the sleek, chic and gender-bending variety, posed to optimum androgynous elegance. A bohemian Berliner by birth, Breslauer studied under Man Ray for a time in Paris and achieved some commercial success before returning home to an increasingly volatile Germany. As a Jewish artist working in an obviously queer milieu, Breslauer eventually fled to Switzerland and retired from photography early, eventually marrying a man and becoming an art dealer.

Among the many beautiful faces captured by Breslauer was her dear friend, Swiss writer, journalist and photographer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who she described as “neither a man nor a woman, but an angel, an archangel.” A libertine and rebel, Schwarzenbach defied her wealthy, Nazi-sympathizing family, funding anti-fascist publications and later supporting American unions at the height of the Depression—this is not to mention her adventures hitchhiking across India and Turkey, or the many lesbian affairs. Surviving addiction issues and a suicide attempt, Schwarzenbach nonetheless died at the young age of 34 after a fall from a bicycle, leaving behind a prolific body of work, 170 articles and 50 photo-reports.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Amber Frost
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06.30.2016
10:42 am
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Katharine Hepburn dressed as a super-sexy silver sci-fi insect in 1933
05.10.2016
09:27 am
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“I wouldn’t have loved you if you’d been a usual man. And you wouldn’t have loved me if I’d been a woman who didn’t dress like an insect…”

The fantastic images you see here are of a twenty-six-year-old Katharine Hepburn dressed up as a shiny silver bug from outer space, from her first starring role in the 1933 film, Christopher Strong.
 
Katharine Hepburn in a publicity photo for the 1933 film Christopher Strong
 
In Christopher Strong, Hepburn plays free-spirited aviator, Lady Cynthia Darrington who has never taken up with a man due to her intense focus on her career. Despite the sound of it, the film’s plot is fairly lurid and full of philandering characters, unplanned pregnancies and suicide. It was the only time in Hepburn’s career where she would play “the other woman” and interestingly, in Hepburn’s first film role A Bill of Divorcement from the previous year, she played the daughter of actress Billie Burke (you know her as “Glinda the Good Witch of the North” from The Wizard of Oz) whereas this time around she was playing Burke’s romantic rival.

But the real star of this film is Hepburn’s “silver moth” costume. Designed by prolific costume designer Walter Plunkett, the manager of RKO’s wardrobe department whose vast body of work includes the “curtain dress” worn by by Scarlett O’Hara (played by Vivien Leigh) in Gone with the Wind.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Katharine the Great looking more stunning than she does in these far-out images. As for the spaced-out gown itself, it was up for auction in 2002 along with other Plunkett collectables, but apparently didn’t sell.

An image of Hepburn from Christopher Strong (she’s dressed in an aviation uniform, not a silver bug) was used for a Led Zeppelin poster for their 1975 US tour.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.10.2016
09:27 am
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Satanic strippers: Vintage burlesque performers dance with the devil
05.03.2016
10:35 am
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Actress Marian Martin and a burlesque cape featuring our pal, Satan, 1930s
Actress Marian Martin in a Satan-themed burlesque cape. Martin actually played a dancer named ‘Pinky Lee’ in the 1943 film, ‘Lady of Burlesque’ which was based on the novel ‘The G-String Murders’ written by strip tease queen Gypsy Rose Lee. Martin was not a burlesque performer, but her costume is in the satanic burlesque spirit of this post.
 
Of the many fun things that comes along with being a part of the diverse compendium that is Dangerous Minds, those rare days when my feet hit the floor, and I have no idea what I’m going to write about that day, are not among them. Which is why I try to stockpile posts concerning the guy who should have built my hotrod, Satan, for those kinds of days. Because let’s face it—Satan is a big crowd pleaser among DM’s readership.
 
Burlesque performer Diane de Lys in a publicity photo for her show
Burlesque performer Diane de Lys in a publicity photo for her show ‘The Devil and the Virgin,’ 1953.
 
I hate to admit it, but sadly I know very little about the world of burlesque despite having a few friends who actually work in the field professionally. So the discovery that dancers back in the 1920s and 1930s (and beyond) used an unusual prop—a costume that was split into two distinctly different styles that was used for a “1/2 and 1/2” style of dance performance was sort of new to me.

One side would feature a “normal” kind of stage dress, and the other could be anything from a man or a maybe a gorilla (apparently, after King Kong was released in 1933, the popularity of girl/gorilla acts skyrocketed. Go figure). Or in the case of the images in this post, Satan himself! That said, I’d personally love to see this trend return to the burlesque stage (if it hasn’t already). Many of the photos you are about to see also feature burlesque performers all dolled up like the devil dating as far back as the early 1930s. They are also slightly NSFW. YAY!
 
H/T: To the burlesque treasure trove that is Burly Q Nell.
 
Burlesque performer with satan costume/cape
 
Devil and the Dancer, 1932
Early 1930s.
 
More devilish dancers and their demonic debonair dance partner after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.03.2016
10:35 am
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Magical vintage photos of Hollywood Boulevard becoming ‘Santa Claus Lane’ in the 1920s and 30s
12.18.2015
11:19 am
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Actress Mary Pickford affixing a
Actress Mary Pickford affixing a “Santa Claus Lane” sign on Hollywood Boulevard, 1928

The tradition of holding a Christmas parade on Hollywood Boulevard started 1928 as a way to encourage shoppers to spend money at the various businesses along the Boulevard of broken dreams. Known as the “Santa Claus Lane Parade,” the event also gave movie stars a vehicle to promote themselves and their latest pictures by featuring their glamorous head-shots in the middle of giant wreaths or riding in a car along the parade’s almost four-mile route.
 
The Marx Brothers in the Santa Claus Lane Parade, 1938
The Marx Brothers in the Santa Claus Lane Parade,1938
 
Claudette Colbert, Santa Claus Parade, 1932
Actress Claudette Colbert posing with her wreath along the Santa Claus Parade route, 1932
 
The parade took a break during WWII but then returned in 1945 and continued under its original name until 1978 when it was renamed the “Hollywood Christmas Parade” which is still happening every year. The massive metal trees lining the boulevard were over ten-feet tall, as were the equally huge Santas that dwarfed onlookers during the entire month of December. I’ve got a nice selection of captivating images from the early days of Santa Claus Lane that will hopefully give your spirits a much needed lift, as they did mine.
 
Santa Claus Lane Parade float, 1931
Santa Claus Lane Parade float, 1931
 
The first Santa Claus Lane parade, 1928
The first Santa Claus Lane parade, 1928
 
Santa Claus Lane Christmas tree, 1930s
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.18.2015
11:19 am
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Giant, creepy papier-mâché masks from the Venice Beach Mardi Gras Festival in the mid-1930s
10.07.2015
10:07 am
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Giant papier-mâché masks at the Venice Beach Mardi Gras Festival, 1935
Giant papier-mâché masks at the Venice Beach Mardi Gras Festival, 1935
 
On August 16th, 1935, California’s fabled Venice Beach kicked off its very first Mardi Gras Festival. The celebration (which was inspired by New Orleans’ Mardi Gras) included events such as parades, the Miss California Beauty Pageant, the coronation of Queen Venetia by King Neptune, and a gala ball that concluded the three-day celebration.
 
Miss California on her float surrounded by giant papier-mâché masks, mid-1930s
Miss California on her float surrounded by giant papier-mâché masks during the Venice Beach Mardi Gras, mid-1930s
 
Clark Gable mask at the Venice Beach Mardi Gras, mid-1930s
Clark Gable mask, Venice Beach Mardi Gras, mid-1930s
 
More masks after the jump…..
 

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.07.2015
10:07 am
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