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Elvis busts that look nothing like Elvis
10:33 am

Pop Culture


Look, I get that time rolls on and that nostalgia kills. I get it, I do. Your average millennial is not all that concerned with rock n’ roll in general, nevermind who the “King” of the greatest American art form of all time is, or was. But I do. It’s Elvis. Elvis Presley is still the fucking King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. And all I have wanted for the past ten years is an Elvis bust that looks enough like him that I don’t have to explain why I’ve got a statue of, like, a generic fat guy with greasy hair in my living room.

Back in the 70s, before he gasped his last pill-shoveling breath on his golden toilet, Elvismania was at its apex. Most American homes had some evidence of Elvis worship, be it a crying Elvis black velvet painting, a ‘68 “Comeback Specal” commemorative ashtray, an Elvis Golden Hits box set, or a giant gaudy Elvis bust. My Canadian uncle Al had one of the latter, a memorial ‘77 Chalkware edition rushed out shortly after his death. That particular model became the standard-bearer. They even made a lamp out of it. It didn’t really look like Elvis, but you got the drift with the scarf, at least.

Elvis(?) lights the way
There were many others before and after, some as recent as the late 90s. Some are even animatronic. None of them capture the essence of the man who was, lest we forget, as close to a God as any American has ever gotten. I’ve been searching for a decent Elvis bust for years, but so far it’s been a disaster. Here’s a few of the travesties I’ve encountered.

Creepy 50s greaser with jaundice making duckface for a selfie, or the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll?

Grumpy old neighbor Elvis wants you to move your car
More Elvi (that’s plural) after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
‘The Rusty James Show’: The idiot bastard son of Woody Allen and Firesign Theatre, starring Elvis?

Fifty years ago—in the perfect pop culture year of 1966—Woody Allen did his first film project for American International Pictures, home to Roger Corman, monsters, bikers, acid heads and futuristic Death Races looking way forward to the year 2000. I say film project as he didn’t make his first film, he sort of stole it! Legally.

Basically Allen took the Japanese action film International Secret Police: Key of Keys and re-dubbed the dialogue, changing the plot to make it revolve around a secret egg salad recipe being fought over by rival James Bond-type spy characters. The film became What’s Up Tiger Lily? and was quite well received. The idea had been done before of course, on a smaller scale by Rocky and Bullwinkle creator Jay Ward for his Fractured Flickers TV series in 1963, and surely others had toyed with the concept, but not in a feature length film. The opportunities for juvenile, MAD Magazine humor were endless and very funny.

What’s Up Tiger Lily? created a model that has been followed by some of the funniest people in history. Here is the trailer in which Allen explains to an unsuspecting public what it is that he has done. (The entire film can also be found on YouTube.)


The next one of these dubbed comedies that comes to mind was in fact done by two of the funniest people to ever grace this planet, Phillip Proctor and the late Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre fame. In 1979 Proctor and Bergman took clips from 1940s Republic Serials and overdubbed and rewrote an extremely stoned cliffhanger entitled J-Men Forever, starring themselves in newly filmed black and white bits that were inserted into the insane mess of rearranged reality. To top this off they used modern loud rock n roll music for the soundtrack.

To quote the blurb under the YouTube clip:

J-Men Forever became the signature for Night Flight’s stoned comedy audience in the 1980’s. This ultimate late night chronic high comedy was the most demanded rerun for the entire 8 years Night Flight was on the USA Network.

After the jump, experience the inspired insanity of ‘The Rusty James Show’...

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
‘They call me Jurassic Mod’: Brits of a certain age, still deep into their subcultures

Isobel Varley
For his series Rebels Without A Pause, British photographer Muir Vidler captured the most daring and stylish renegades “of a certain age.” Muir seems to specialize in surreal portraiture, extreme events and settings with the odd flash of quiet. Other series include Israeli death metal fans, a circumcision party in the Maldives, and a beauty pageant in Libya, complete with a cameo by the late Colonel Gaddafi. His elder rebel study however, has an intimate feel, with little sense of spectacle to the staging.

Take for example, Isobel Varley (above), who held the Guinness World Record for the most tattooed female pensioner up until her death just this last May at the age of 77. Varley only started getting tattoos at 48, but went on to cover every square inch of her body except her face, her ears, the soles of her feet, and parts of her hands—even her scalp is tattooed, underneath the cute blond coif. Varley isn’t the only local celeb either. You can see video below of one of Muir’s most charming subjects, Paul Elvis Chan, who used to perform his Elvis impersonation act before a delighted audience at his Chinese restaurant.

My favorite though is Danny Lynch—aka, the Great Stromboli, who did his fire-breathing act for Muir with his adorable wife in the background. Muir remembers her as very hospitable:

Yeah, she was going into the house to make a cup of tea. She said, “Cup of tea darling?”, I said OK, then all of a sudden he was blowing fire and she was dashing off to put the kettle on. With the dog and the station wagon in the photo too, it was a very suburban backdrop.

Isn’t it so terribly quaint?


Mick and Peggy Warner, whose son is a Teddy Boy

John G. Byrne, gay skinhead since 1969

Sid Ellis, who says “In my spare time I either go to fetish clubs or do needlepoint. I like medieval tapestries.”
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Poppies, pot and flying saucers: A short intro to the fashion of Nudie Cohn, country music clothier

There is an impression of country music as wholesome, simple, and rooted in the conservative values of middle America and the South. One of the many counters to that argument is Nudie Cohn and his Hollywood-sewn “Nudie suits.” These fashion masterpieces are all excess, sometimes with sexy images of naked ladies, pot leaves, pills and poppies, worn by everyone from Hank Williams to Keith Richards to Ronald Reagan. On top of all of that seedy flash, the sequence and flourish is downright camp—he designed for Liberace, and check out the Nudie suit that Elton John wore in this ad for “Rocket Man.”

Nudie’s beginnings were far humbler than the “country luxury” aesthetic he came to create. Born in 1902 in Ukraine, Nuta Kotlyarenko was so poor that he often had mismatched shoes collected from cast-offs (an indignity he later paid homage to by intentionally wearing mismatched boots—though generally of his own high-end custom design). After immigrating to America and changing his name at age 11, Cohn followed in his boot-maker father’s footsteps and apprenticed as a tailor. In 1940, he and his wife moved to LA and started Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in their garage, quickly becoming the preferred couturier of the country music scene.

Hank Williams
Nudie Cohn’s influence went way beyond country though. As he adapted with the 1960s counterculture, his work became even more subversive—the “pot, pills and poppies suit” he made for Gram Parsons (see below) is one example, but was not the only time Cohn used druggy imagery. What made his work impressive though—be it the (supposedly $10,000 suit that cost $50 to make) gold lamé suit he made for Elvis or his own insane custom 1964 Pontiac Bonneville—was not only the over-the-top styling, but the sheer attention to detail and quality craftsmanship of a custom Nudie suit festooned with rhinestones or embroidery. His work has been so influential, obvious imitations rarely measure up, and the glitz and eccentricity of the Nudie Suit was essentially retired after his death in 1984. Nudie suits are highly collectible. Notable collections of Nudie suits have been amassed by actor Vincent Gallo and the late Dennis Hopper.


Helen “Bobbie Nudie” Cohn in custom gown

Roswell-themed suit with UFOs made for Keith Richards
More Nudie after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Classic album covers minus deceased band members

Over the weekend, when the sad news spread about the passing of Tommy Ramone, a really touching image circulated online, showing the Ramones debut LP, then the same cover with Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Photoshopped out, and then, at last, Tommy removed as well. Dangerous Minds even shared it on our Facebook page.

The middle image, of Tommy standing alone in front of that iconic brick wall, seems to have come from a Tumblr called “Live! (I See Dead People),” which is devoted entirely to skillfully removing deceased musicians from their LP covers—sort of like “Garfield Minus Garfield,” but with a more serious intent. The subjects range from cult figures like Nick Drake to canonical rock stars like Nirvana and The Doors, and the results are often quite poignant. The blog hasn’t been updated in almost three years, so it seems unlikely the artists behind this project, Jean-Marie Delbes and Hatim El Hihi, will re-do that Ramones cover. Indeed, their Morrison Hotel still features Ray Manzarek, who passed on a little over a year ago.

New York Dolls, s/t

Ol Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers

Nick Drake, Bryter Layter

The Who, Odds & Sods

Johnny Thunders, So Alone

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit

Jeff Buckley, Grace

The Doors, Morrison Hotel

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy

The Clash, s/t

Elvis Presley, s/t

Hat-tip to Derf for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
My Papadum Told Me: The Sikh Elvis impersonator who just wants to shake his turban
01:49 pm


Peter Singh

Peter Singh, stealing the spotlight from The Clash
Since we’ve recently covered both Orion and El Vez here on Dangerous Minds, I felt I had a moral imperative to spread the good word about Peter Singh, the Sikh manifestation of Elvis! Born in Punjab, Pakistan, Peter moved to England when he was just ten years old and eventually settled in Swansea, Wales. His unique stage persona was born after he was visited by Elvis in a dream in 1980—aren’t we all?—when Singh would have been around the highly sensible age of 33. He felt truly moved, as if by a higher calling, proclaiming in a 1990 interview:

‘‘Elvis said I would entertain millions of people, and that I would be wearing a white suit. Three weeks later, I had the white suit. Now I’m the rocking Sikh. I don’t smoke dope. I don’t drink bourbon. All I want to do is shake my turban.”

This short documentary from 1986 gives some dimension to might otherwise be a patronizing account of an immigrant man with eccentric hobby. Commentary from members of Peter’s musical accompaniment, the Welsh group Man, show an absolute faith in his connection with The King, and they reject the suggestion that Singh is a mere novelty act. He may be funny guy doing Elvis-inspired songs about turbans and bhindi bhaji, but he’s also a fascinating and deep person. Though the film takes an intense turn when Peter starts talking about losing his young son, he’s ultimately a happy guy with a curry shop and a supportive family—though his kids prefer Michael Jackson and pop-and-lock to their father’s Elvis hip swivel.

Peter Singh and The Poppadoms still perform the world over.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Stranger In My Own Town’: Rare X-rated recording by Elvis Presley
02:28 am

Pop Culture

A Stranger In My Own Town

Here’s a rarity: Elvis Presley’s down and dirty cover of Percy Mayfield’s Stranger In My Own Town. The Houndblog uploaded this raunchy and bluesy number to his website and Dangerous Minds’ Ron Nachmann brought it to my attention. I’ve heard a lot of bootleg recordings of Elvis cussin’, but this one is The King at his foulmouthed best. In addition, his singing is pretty damn soulful.

I added Stranger In My Own Town as the audio track on this video montage of Elvis clips, which includes some cool home movie footage.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Elvis Presley and Johnny Thunders: The French Quarter connection
05:45 am


Johnny Thunders
Patti Paladin

In the first half of this video mix, Elvis sings the sultry tune “Crawfish” (written by Ben Weisman and Fred Wise) from the movie King Creole. Part two is Johnny Thunders and Snatch’s Patti Palladin doing their take on the song. Both versions are ultra-groovy and share a similarly soulful vibe. Elvis got out of New Orleans alive, Johnny did not.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Kentucky Elvis: Sin Filled Life
10:03 pm



Kentucky Elvis sings his own special rendition of Suspicious Minds at his church, but his version is called Sin Filled Life.

Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Elvis: Transhumanist
06:38 pm




h+ Magazine points to this great 3quarksdaily essay about Elvis as a transhumanist. I’ll buy that one. 20th century celebrity was basically a transhumanist strategy anyway, and Elvis was, well, the king…

Occasionally an idea will come to mind that’s claimed quickly and eloquently by someone else before you have a chance to execute it.  When Michael Jackson died I began dabbling with the subject of Jackson as Transhumanist, but my piece was only half-written when RU Sirius pretty much nailed the topic.  Nick Gillespie at Reason found the key lines from Sirius:  “Michael Jackson is obviously not an example of transhumanism to be followed.  But he is a signpost on the road to post-humanity. I believe the future will study him from that perspective, and in some odd way, it will learn from his many mistakes.”

Well said, and lesson learned:  When it comes to the world of ideas, if you snooze you lose.  (Unless you enhance your work capabilities with Provigil, of course, in which case you won’t do as much snoozing.)  But although the Michael Jackson moment has come and gone, a new event was commemorated this week:  the 75th birthday of Elvis Presley. Elvis was the primogenitor, the Omo I of rock and roll culture.  He didn’t just “ship a lot of units,” as they used to say in the record biz (back when there was a record biz.)  He changed everything.

Elvis was certainly considered different.  From his early days on he was an agent of radical transformation in sexuality, culture, and appearance.  At nineteen, he and his musicians seemed so unusual to the announcer at the Louisiana Hayride that he was asked, on the air, “You all geared up with your band there?”

“I’m all geared up!”  Elvis answered.

(3quarksdaily: Was Elvis a transhumanist?)

(Jack Womack: Elvissey)

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment
Elvis Robot Talks And Sings Without “Skin”
11:17 pm



I really don’t think this was necessary. Thanks WowWee!
(via Unique Daily)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment