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Depressing photos of an aging mall devoid of shoppers during the holidays
01.06.2016
12:51 pm
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The only two
The only two “shoppers” at the Century III, November 29th, 2015
 
Editor and former photographer for her high school newspaper and yearbook, Meg Stefanac took a trip back in time just before Christmas last year and paid a visit to a mall where she and her friends spent countless hours, the Century III Mall in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. As it turns out, Stefanac was one of only a scant few people traipsing around Century III on Sunday, November 29th. Luckily, she took her camera with her and captured some pretty depressing shots of the mall that hasn’t changed much since it opened back in 1979.
 
The deserted Century III mall carousel
 
The empty food court at the Century III mall
The empty food court at the Century III Mall
 
Stefanac’s photos remind me of the Sherman Oaks Galleria from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, only without Damone trying his best moves on a cardboard version of Debbie Harry and without PEOPLE. Here’s Stefanac’s recollections of Century III, which sound pretty much like my own memories of being an 80s mall-rat:

This was THE place to be for those living in the South Hills of Pittsburgh in the 80s. We pitied those who had to live their lives without such a mall nearby. It was always crowded and bustling, and it was frequently difficult to quickly work your way across as you navigated through a sea of neon clothing and big hair held firmly in place with Aqua Net.

 
The saddest arcade in America in the Century III Mall
The saddest arcade in America in the Century III Mall
 
The wide open spaces of the Century III Mall, November 29th, 2014
 
Sometimes if I close my eyes and listen to Winger, I can smell the ooze of the fabled Aqua Net Pink Can wafting a hole through the ozone. I don’t miss those days. Much.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
An abandoned shopping mall full of fish

Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.06.2016
12:51 pm
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Download 30 bewildering gigabytes of music cassettes from the experimental 1980s underground
12.04.2015
11:10 am
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Today, the concept of putting your music on cassette tapes seems quaint, but in 1985, cassettes were the primary medium of exchange for those creating original material in the experimental music underground.

At the Internet Archive, you can access a trove of 30 gigabytes of underground music dating from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s that originally had been committed to cassette and distributed in that form. According to the information provided with the archive, the genres include “tape experimentation, industrial, avant-garde, indy, rock, diy, subvertainment and auto-hypnotic materials.” However, a good portion of the archive “defies category, and has therefore not been given one.”

Warning: every tape is represented as a single mp3 file, and the music is completely unlabeled and untagged—that is to say, there is no artist or track information, except where it has been listed on the cassette cover, which are small and hard to read. If you like the element of surprise in your music, this archive may be for you, because there’s little way to know in advance what each cassette contains. I sampled some of the music and it reminded me quite a bit of listening to the legendary free-form radio station WFMU out of Hoboken.

If you want to download the entire archive, you can do so here, although it comes with a warning that this is a “very inefficient way to browse this collection.” If you’d like to sample individual cassettes, you can do so here.

Most of the tapes in this library were donated to the project by former CKLN FM radio host Myke Dyer in August of 2009. The original NOISE-ARCH site was hosted and maintained by Graham Stewart and Mark Lougheed.
 
via Factmag

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Negativland fans rejoyce! 700+ episodes of Don Joyce’s radio show ‘Over the Edge’ available online

Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.04.2015
11:10 am
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New app makes HD iPhone video look just like crappy 1980s camcorder footage
08.21.2015
01:31 pm
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One of the problems with the iPhone is that the camera and video-cam functionality is just too good. With a minimum of effort you can record images and video that have a remarkably high quality. But if there’s one thing that people who’ve had the Internet and smartphones ever since they were 10 years old can probably agree on, the most cravalicious commodity is authenticity—the kind you get when technologies don’t work quite right, whether it’s the pops and hiss emanating from a vintage LP, the blocky charm of 8-bit video games, or the peculiar aural frisson only a vocoder can supply. Technologies are so advanced that you have to build in your own “human” warp and woof—shit, if not for that, it really becomes hard to tell the automated from the human sometimes.

To paraphrase David Lee Roth, the most important thing in life is sincerity—once you can fake that, you got it made. If sincerity is what you’re after, there are companies who’ll be thrilled to fake it for you—as will, for instance, a visual effects company called Rarevision, which has designed a marvelous app for the iPhone (don’t know about Android) called VHS Camcorder that takes your pristine smartphone video footage and makes it look just like some shitty video that was recorded in the mid-1980s, at the height of the camcorder revolution.

Basically, you can make any clip you record look like some junk that’s all ready for the Bob Saget treatment.

My favorite option is “Tilting Device Makes Things Worse”—“When enabled, moving your device around will mess up the picture.” Also, as the company states, “Phony zoom lens feature dramatically enhances the cheese factor.” These people know what they’re doing; their product page is pretty funny too.

In case you were wondering, YES, you can adjust the date to read a date from the past. Here’s some slightly bizarre footage of an obviously contemporary Starbuck’s—but the footage is date-stamped August 21, 1984. So weird!
 

 

 
via BoingBoing
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.21.2015
01:31 pm
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‘We Destroy the Family: Punks vs Parents’: Ludicrous 1982 local L.A. news report
05.27.2015
12:03 pm
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From another ABC Afterschool Special

“We Destroy the Family: Punks vs Parent,” is a 1982 report from LA’s KABC, and it is fantastic vintage moral panic. The segment opens with a Fear show, and in case viewers couldn’t make out the lyrics to “We Destroy the Family,” Lee Ving laughingly provides a spoken-word clarification of the refrain—has he no decency?!? One can assume from the narrator’s serious tone that the viewers are expected to take the threat of punk to the family, very, very seriously, while completely disregarding the fact that hippies (and likely some of these kids’ parents) were expressing similar disdain for the status quo just a few short years prior (albeit on different drugs).

It’s interesting that punk scare-mongering like this and the infamous ABC Afterschool SpecialThe Day My Kid Went Punk” were aired in the 80s—the latter as late as 1987! This is well past the initial punk explosion, but it coincides with the scene’s rebirth as hardcore in the “respectable” suburbs. The resulting cultural anxieties produced Tipper Gore’s busybody committee, the “Parents Music Resource Group” in 1985, who pushed for censorship on the Senate floor at the same time Jello Biafra was being tried on obscenity charges for an H.R. Giger album insert poster. Watching a ludicrous interview with square parents and their gum-chewing punk kids in “We Destroy the Family,” it’s actually kind of tragic how the obvious disaffection and alienation of the era’s youth went ignored as their artistic outlets were attacked.

You can watch parts Two and Three here.
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost
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05.27.2015
12:03 pm
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‘It tells you a story, and makes you want to to dance!’: Fantastic 1981 hip-hop report
12.17.2014
06:41 pm
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How wholesome do The Sugarhill Gang look right here? It’s kind of surprising that parents weren’t rushing out to buy their kids some records by these nice boys.
 
I have to say—I was pleasantly surprised by this 1981 20/20 feature on rap music. Not only is it overwhelmingly positive, touting the artistic merits of black youth culture, it really does a decent job describing the phenomenon to people new to the concept. There’s a little bit of history on spoken word black music and the viewer gets a mini-tour of Harlem and the South Bronx. Plus you hear some samples and comments from legends like Kurtis Blow and (of course) Debbie Harry.
 

 
The only real gaff that I suspect is the reference to the “big boxes”—I have a feeling they mean to say “boom boxes” but something got lost in translation. That part of the segment actually includes a woman criticizing the aversion to boom boxes as a racist bias. (Edgy!) “Big boxes” aside, I say well done Steve Fox! You accurately predicted the longevity of a now institutionalized art form, and you have a great early 80s mustache!
 

 

 
And Part 2 is here!
 
Via 1981

Posted by Amber Frost
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12.17.2014
06:41 pm
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‘Like Punk Never Happened’: Remembering Smash Hits, the ‘totally 80s’ pop magazine
10.23.2014
12:30 pm
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Culture Club cover of Smash Hits July 19, 1984
Culture Club on the cover of Smash Hits, July 19, 1984
 
Music magazine Smash Hits started out in 1978 and was a mecca for pop fans. It had a strong rotation of writers back in its heyday such as Dave Rimmer (author of the 1985 book, Like Punk Never Happened), Mark Ellen (MOJO), Steve Beebee (Kerrang!) and Neil Tennant of The Pet Shop Boys. Regular content included interviews and pictorials but Smash Hits also published some fun features like “Bitz” (a smattering of industry information like fan club addresses and such), and was filled with pages of lyrics to the current top 20 songs (you know, so you didn’t have to keep trying to write them down on your own). There was always a centerfold spread, and in addition to the magazines eye-catching covers they also ran a special “back cover” with glossy photos of hot at-the-time artists like Limahl the spiky-haired vocalist for Kajagoogoo or the Thompson Twins.
 
Limahl of Kajagoogoo Smash Hits May 24th, 1984
Limahl of Kajagoogoo, May 24th, 1984

In 2009, Smash Hits superfan Brian McCloskey, an 80’s kid who had hung on to his copies of Smash Hits since youth, decided to rescue his collection from his parents’ attic at his childhood home in Derry, Ireland. McCloskey had the magazines shipped all the way to his home in California, tracked down copies he was missing in his collection from the magazines inception, then took on the painstaking process of scanning and uploading every page of every issue he had to his blog, Like Punk Never Happened. McCloskey’s collection of Smash Hits represents every issue of the magazine from 1979 to 1985.
 
Big Country Smash Hits April 14th, 1983
Big Country, April 14th, 1983

As I can’t help but admire his dedication to this pop-culture gem, I contacted McCloskey to learn more about his recollections from the early days of Smash Hits.

Smash Hits took music very seriously, but they didn’t take musicians seriously. A very sensible distinction. I think that people have either forgotten or didn’t realize to begin with that Smash Hits was quite a serious magazine. During their peak years they would receive thousands of letters - handwritten letters! You could read great interviews with real artist like Paul Weller or Ian Dury. After the magazine’s redesign at the end of 1981, the snark really took over. I’m glad that the my archive has reminded, or opened people’s minds to the early days of Smash Hits.

Gary Numan Smash Hits September 1983
Gary Numan, September 1983

Smash Hits continued to publish issues well after its official decline in the early 90’s, then ceased its print run in February of 2006. McCloskey updates his site with new vintage issues every two week and hopes to continue posting issues beyond 1985 with the help of fellow fans. I highly recommend you get comfortable, set your Pandora station to “80’s Pop,” then head over to McCloskey’s blog and lose yourself for a few hours. A number of images published during the years 1982-1984 from Smash Hits follow.
 
The Belle Stars Smash Hits February 3, 1983
The Belle Stars, February 3, 1983

Cyndi Lauper and Thomas Dolby lyric sheets from Smash Hits March 29th, 1984
Cyndi Lauper and Thomas Dolby lyric sheet, March 29th, 1984

Scritti Politti Smash Hits June 7th, 1983
Scritti Politti lyric sheet, June 7th, 1984

Thompson Twins Smash Hits November 24th, 1983
Thompson Twins, November 24th, 1983

Billy Idol Smash Hits July 19, 1984
Billy Idol, July 19, 1984

Adam Ant Smash Hits December/January 1982
Adam Ant lyric sheet, December/January 1982

Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.23.2014
12:30 pm
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‘Ska and punk and Duran Duran’: Fantastic student-made documentary on mid-80s high school fashion
07.21.2014
08:32 am
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Maybe it’s the congeniality of the kids, or maybe it’s the inspired use of the riff from “She Bop,” but this high school documentary, dated either ‘84 or ‘85, is possibly the only reflection on fashion I could describe as “adorable.” This is not to patronize the subjects, who display the kind of plucky fortitude necessary to survive the crude politics of high school. The problems they face may jog your memory: an emphasis on conspicuous consumption annoys a girl who can’t or won’t drop the cash for expensive threads, a sweet brace-faced girl and her best friend are harassed by jocks for their punk aesthetics, and (of course) a boy gets called a “fag.”

It’s all very cliché high school stuff, but it’s also very real (and very recognizable), though school is obviously only half the battle for a teenage fashion pioneer. When asked about their parents’ opinions on their children’s sartorial choices, students reported a range of responses, from support to “disgust.” Overall, the teens seem pretty confident and self-assured, and they don’t really appear all that obsessed with the “outsider” clothing they’re sporting. When asked to give advice to their peers, one reassures teens of a world beyond their small town, and another simply recommends a lot of punk shows.

You hear that? The kids were all right.
 

 
Via Network Awesome

Posted by Amber Frost
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07.21.2014
08:32 am
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‘Livin’ in the 80’s’: The savage snot of The Zero Boys, midwest punk legends
01.17.2014
08:17 am
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Zero Boys
I cannot convey to you the balls it took to dress like that in Indiana in the early 80’s
 
As a Hoosier, I will always have a special place in my heart for Indiana punks, but I’d love The Zero Boys if they were from Park Avenue. Formed in the late 70’s in that vibrant renaissance town of Indianapolis, Indiana (big dose of sarcasm there), the band released their full-length album, Vicious Circle, in 1982. Though your casual punk may not know the name, the Zero Boys shared bills with Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat, and their petulant hooks and irresistibly sleazy melodies have always been a favorite of your more esoteric record collectors

You can hear their EP, Livin’ in the 80’s here, but I highly recommend you check out the fantastic live footage below, from their 1981 performance at Indianapolis’ own Pizza Castle. The audio is expertly restored, and you can hear the boys perform such underground classics as “Livin’ in the 80’s” and “Civilization’s Dying,” which was later covered by The Hives. There’s something just so absolutely perfect about the lyrics of “Livin’ in the 80’s”—“I have no heroes, just having a good time, don’t remember The Beatles, I don’t like the Stones,” delivered with such youthful contrarian snot. I can’t imagine a better venue for a show like this than a pizza joint, either.

You can actually buy a DVD of the entire performance here, which contains most of Vicious Circle. I had a friend who used to play it non-stop in the background at parties, and I vouch for the performance—it’s not often you find 1980’s ephemera that still feels fresh and mean. At one point, singer Paul Mahern hypes the album, cordially urging the audience to buy the EP for two dollars, and a button for seventy-five cents. He’s not too snotty about it though—we midwesterners value good manners, even in our punk legends.
 

 

 

Posted by Amber Frost
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01.17.2014
08:17 am
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80s punks remind us that sometimes punks were petulant little idiots
12.03.2012
08:34 am
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Cherubic Pat Smear of the Germs, and later Nirvana… he hit girls
 
I am as guilty as any young punk of romanticizing the youthful energy of scenes and eras that I was never a part of, so it’s nice to be smacked in the face with reality once in a while. Of course it’s important to cut these kids a lot of slack as they navigated particularly ugly aspects of adolescence, many times through a lot of adversity. However, dear sweet baby Jesus, I hope I was never that much of a sulky, self-righteous, little ass (I know, I know—I probably was) as the youngsters on display in first installment of Penelope Spheeris’ legendary LA punk/metal trilogy The Decline of Western Civilization.

Through thick, grating, under-bitten LA accents, we hear classics such as “I’m a total rebel—I rebel against everything,” and “Everyone shouldn’t be afraid to be as different as they wanna’ be,” followed almost immediately by the same girl saying, “Everyone’s hair should be blue.” And of course, there are the racial epithets, gratuitous use of “poseur,” and various affected attempts at portraying cynicism and apathy.

Regardless, the angst and alienation these kids felt is palpably legitimate; you can’t help but wish you could pinch their bratty little cheeks and tell them that someday they’ll escape, and that it isn’t always going to be this bad. Mainly, however, I’m just happy no one recorded me at sixteen years old, and that I’ll never have to be sixteen years old again.
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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12.03.2012
08:34 am
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Bing Hitler: Craig Ferguson long, long before ‘The Late, Late Show’
09.15.2012
03:56 pm
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This is Craig Ferguson long, long before The Late, Late Show, performing as his stand-up comedy alter ego, Bing Hitler, at the Pavillion Theater, Glasgow, on October 14th, 1987.

This is 2 years after Bing’s famed gig at the Tron Theater Gong Night, which led to column inches and a variety of shows, ranging from a-one-off at Cul-de-Sac Bar to the legendary Night of the Long Skean Dhus in 1986. Back then, the Cul-de-Sac in Ashton Lane, was an important watering hole for artists, writers, musicians and performers, to meet and share ideas, gossip and alcohol. Of an evening you could find Ferguson at the bar with musicians like Bobby Bluebell, the late Bobby Paterson, James Grant, and writers like Tommy Udo. Even the bar staff had talent like the artist Lesley Banks. These were fun times.

At times in this concert, Bing comes across like a shouty cousin to Rik from Young Ones. Craig has always been a confident, talented and assured performer, but here he was just a wee bit rough around the edges - part of the character - but it’s all good fun, and a great look back.
 

 
Bonus clip of Bing Hitler performing at Bennet’s, from 1987, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.15.2012
03:56 pm
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‘Bongo Man’: Superlative documentary on Jimmy Cliff
09.15.2012
02:44 pm
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Some of the bloodiest violence in Jamaica’s history took place in the lead-up to the country’s 1980 elections. The battle for political leadership between socialist Prime Minister Michael Manley’s Peoples National Party and Edward Seaga’s Jamaican Labour Party, brought the country to the verge of civil war. The conflict started in 1976, and arose out of the PNP’s plan to form closer links with Cuba. The JLP wanted to bind Jamaica closer to the USA and a free market. Both parties used gangs (posses) to enforce their will within Kingston - Seaga accessing weapons via America. This violence culminated in the 1980 elections that left 800 Jamaicans dead, as Seaga was elected Prime MInister.

It was against this background, the documentary Bongo Man was filmed. Bongo Man told the story of Jimmy Cliff, as he traveled across Jamaica to Kingston, in an attempt to unite the country through the power of Reggae.

Cliff’s philosophy was simple: ‘Politics divide, Music unites’. The legendary Cliff is a fascinating character and this is an exceptional and engrossing documentary, containing excellent concert footage and some of Cliff’s best songs.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.15.2012
02:44 pm
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Happy (Belated) Birthday to Lady Bunny
08.15.2012
08:11 pm
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We couldn’t let the occasion of Lady Bunny’s birthday pass without doing a post to mark it (even if it was yesterday.) She ain’t no spring chicken, but she’s as rulin’ as ever.

And here’s the proof, some seldom-seen footage of Lady Bunny performing in 1986, filmed by New York nightlife chronicler, and friend of DM, Nelson Sullivan. The “psychedelic disco” act is called SHAZORK and also features Sister Dimension and DJ Dmitry (later of Deee-Lite.) Who knew Bunny could sing this well? And I love Sister Dimension’s smurf-like outfit!

Here’s to you Bunny!
 


 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:

‘The Ballad Of Sarah Palin’ by Lady Bunny
Lady Bunny’s ‘West Virginia Gurls’
Nelson Sullivan: pioneering chronicler of NYC nightlife in the 1980s

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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08.15.2012
08:11 pm
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Dream Queens: ‘Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of NYC 1989-92’
01.09.2012
12:57 pm
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Now here’s something that was sure to be found in the more fabulous Christmas stockings this past festive seasons. Published by the respected London-based record label Soul Jazz, Voguing: Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 is a collection of photographs by Chantal Regnault documenting the titular scene just as it gained worldwide attention thanks to the likes of Malcolm McLaren and Madonna.

Don’t be fooled if you think that voguing was a mere fad that came from nowhere to disappear just as fast as it sprung up 20-odd years ago. Yes, Madonna brought the dance form to the public consciousness, but if you think she invented it, then child, you need educatin’. Voguing started in Harlem in the 60s, where black and latino drag queens and transexuals had started to host their own balls (beauty pageants) outside of white society, and pioneered a new form of dance based on poses copied from Vogue magazine.

But the history of the drag and gay ballroom scene goes back much further than that - by about another hundred years, as explained by noted author and disco historian Tim Lawrence, in his foreword to this book:

Harlem’s Hamilton Lodge staged its first queer masquerade ball in 1869, and some twenty years later a medical student stumbled into another ball that was taking place Walhalla Hall on the Lower East Side. He witnessed 500 same-sex male and female couples ‘waltzing sedately to the music of a good band.

How things have changed - the modern voguing ballroom scene is/was anything but sedate! Lawrence goes on to put into context the concept of a “house” (in effect a surrogate gay family or gang), which has long been a central aspect of vogue and drag culture:

Referencing the glamorous fashion houses whose glamour and style they admired, other black drag queens started to form drag houses, or families that, headed by a mother and sometimes a father, would socialise, look after each other, and prepare for balls (including ones they would host and ones they would attend).

...

The establishment of the houses also paralleled the twists and turns of New York’s gangs, which flourished between the mid 1940s and the mid 1960s as the city shifted from an industrial to a post-industrial base while dealing with the upheavals of urban renewal, slum clearances and ethnic migration. As historian Eric Schneider argues, gangs appealed to alienated adolescents who wanted to earn money as well as peer group prestige.

Despite the faddish nature of Madonna’s daliance with this scene, voguing and ballroom documentaries like Wolfgang Busch’s How Do I Look and Jennie Livingston’s Paris Is Burning (not to mention performers like the late Willi Ninja and his extant House of Ninja) have done much to establish the history of this world and inspire new generations to take part. And it’s not hard to see the appeal - in a recent interview with The Guardian, Chantal Regnault eplained how voguing and its culture helped re-invigorate New York’s nightlife at the peak of the AIDS crisis:

...the Ball phenomena kind of revived New York nightlife, which had shrunk drastically as the first wave of AIDS related sicknessses were decimating the community. The Queens became the stars of the straight New York clubs, and began to be recognized, appreciated and photographed. They appeared on TV shows and were interviewed by TV icons. The voguers also became a big attraction and soon everybody wanted to emulate their dancing style. Two figures were instrumental in launching the trend in the awakened downtown clubs: Susanne Bartsch and Chichi Valenti, two straight white females who both had a knack for the new and fabulous and a big social network.

Why 1989-1992? What happened next?

1989-1992 was the peak of creativity and popularity for the ballroom scene, and when the mainstream attention faded away, the original black and Latino gay ballroom culture didn’t die. On the contrary, it became a national phenomena as Houses started to have “chapters” all over the big cities of the United States. But I was not a direct witness to most of it as I moved to Haiti in 1993.

As Regnault states voguing is still going strong today, with balls in many of America (and the world’s) largest cities, and this book is a perfect introduction to a compelling, not to mention often over-looked, aspect of gay and black history. Regnault managed to capture some of the most recognisable faces from that world showing off in all their finery, while there are fascinating interviews with some of the key players like Muhammed Omni, Hector Xtravaganza, Tommie Labeija and more. Voguing And The House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 is quite simply an essential purchase for fans of underground culture.
 
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Avis Pendavis, 1991
 
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Cesar Valentino (right), Copacabana, 1990
 
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RuPaul, Red Zone 1990
 
Voguing: Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92 by Chantal Reignault (with an introduction by Tim Lawrence) is available to buy from Soul Jazz Records.

With thanks to Legendary Ballroom Scene for the scans.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Paris Is Burning’: Vogue Realness

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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01.09.2012
12:57 pm
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‘Streetwise’ - excellent 1984 documentary about homeless kids
05.15.2011
10:01 am
Topics:
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Last week I posted about a new series of videos by the band In Flagranti, one of which (”On The Fringe”) features some great footage of street kids from the 1980s. Well, thanks to commenters Mister D and Steve Lafreniere I now know what that film is - not only that but I know it’s on YouTube and I have seen it. And so should you. It’s brilliant.

It’s called Streetwise. Directed by Martin Bell and shot by his wife Mary Ellen Mark, it was inspired by an article on homeless youth from Life magazine written by Cheryl McCall. At times it’s harrowing, but it’s really very good, and was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1984.

It follows the exploits of a few different children living on the streets of Seattle, at that point apparently the States’ “most livable city”. There’s the tough, smart Rat and his older mentor Jack, who live in an abandoned hotel, sell drugs, scam pizzas and raid dumpsters. There’s teenage prostitutes Kim and Erin, waiting to get picked up off the kerb by older johns and discussing which local pimp is better to work for. Erin is also known as “Tiny” and has a troubled relationship with her alcoholic mother, who knows she is a prostitute but describes it as a “phase”. She thinks she may be pregnant after having unprotected sex with a john - that’s her in the picture above. Like Paris Is Burning this film deals with people society regards as the lowest of the low - and what on paper looks like being a major celluloid bummer is actually funny, insightful, tender and at times uplifting. Surprisingly a lot of these kids are still alive, though not kids anymore.

Mary Ellen Mark was also the photographer for the original Life magazine article, and has built up a large portfolio of stunning photographs of these kids, like the one above. She and her husband still see them occasionally too. From Steve Lafreniere’s excellent interview with Mark for Viceland (well worth reading as she’s a brilliant photographer who’s had an extraordinary career):

I’m still in contact with Tiny. A few years ago, Martin and I went back to Seattle and we updated her life. And I’ve been photographing her—I haven’t been back there in three years—but I have been photographing her. I photographed her after she had her ninth baby but we couldn’t make it out there for her tenth.

Here is part one of Streetwise:
 

 
Streetwise parts 2-11 after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
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05.15.2011
10:01 am
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The Hook ‘n’ Pull Gang
11.09.2010
06:47 pm
Topics:
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Some bands just slip through and are never caught by the audience they deserve. I was reminded of this tonight by dear Tommy Udo, who refreshed the aging memory cells with a superb clip of The Hook ‘n’ Pull Gang. In the words of Mr Udo:

Another of the greatest bands you’ve never heard of. One single, a few gigs that I was too out of it to fully appreciate. Actually, no, I appreciated them like fuck. Just cannae remember them. The guitarist/singer formed Die Cheerleader after this. They were great too.

The Hook ‘n’ Pull Gang were Eileen McMullan (drums/vocals), Rita Blazyca (guitar/vocals) and Alan McDade (bass), who were part of Edinburgh’s late 1980’s indie scene.  Described as “a cross between the Sex Pistols and the Ronettes,” they sang about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released only one single Gasoline, rarely gave interviews, were a great act live and appeared on FSd  - BBC Scotland’s up-its-own-arse music show, which made some amends by premiering bands such as The Dog Faced Hermans, The Blood Uncles, and, of course, The Hook ‘n’ Pull Gang.
 

 
With thanks to Tommy Udo
 
Bonus clip ‘Gasoline’ after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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11.09.2010
06:47 pm
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