“Do not rush onto the train!” A PSA-style poster that appeared on Japanese subway cars in April of 1979.
I love writing about Japanese pop culture, everything from obscure garage rock to game shows to that weirdo Japanese erotica stuff. While I’m not claiming to be some Japanese culture/sub-culture idiot savant, I am rather dedicated to continuing my exploration of a place I’ve sadly never visited. Yet. Today I’ve got something I know our readers are going to dig via of my favorite Internet spots Pink Tentacle—a collection of perplexing PSA posters that were displayed on subway cars during the mid-70s and early 80s. The word puzzling and Japanese pop culture often walk hand in hand, and these public service announcements are quirky, to say the least, when it comes to reminding train patrons to behave appropriately. And yeah, “manspreading” on the train was apparently quite the problem back in the day. How rude! Even aliens did it. Who knew?
Getting back to the posters, as you look through the images you’ll see that many of them use stuff borrowed from American pop culture—you know, like Jesus and Superman—to help convey their messages. There are also a few that are preoccupied with reminding folks riding the train to not leave their umbrellas behind or the perils of leaving your chewing gum on the subway platform for someone, like Superman (don’t laugh, it could happen) to step in it. Oh, the HORROR.
“Space Invader” March 1979.
“Three Annoying Train Monsters” October 1982.
“Don’t Forget your Umbrella” October 1981. I guess we finally now know what Jesus would actually do.
In Steuben County NY on August 30, 1943, the Lackawanna Limited passenger train drove at 70 miles per hour into a freight engine that hadn’t cleared the track. The wreckage was brutal; published estimates vary, but around 110 people were injured and 28 died. But most gruesome was their manner of death—only one passenger, one Frank Meincke, was crushed in wreckage. The rest were trapped in a coach that landed atop the freight engine, which emptied itself of steam into the coach. The victims were basically cooked alive. From The Troopers Are Coming: New York State Troopers, 1917-1943:
The Lackawanna Limited struck the left side of a freight engine, tearing up three hundred feet of track and leaving a twisted mass of wreckage scattered along the right of way. A steam jacket torn from the freight engine allowed escaping steam to enter some of the passenger coaches, causing agony and death. Twenty-eight passengers and crewmembers were killed and 117 passengers were injured.
But though it entombed over two dozen people, the passenger car itself was unharmed, and this grim piece of transportation history remains not just intact, but restored in the disused B&O roundhouse that now serves as a museum and restoration workplace for the Midwest Railway Preservation Society. Due to that key event in the car’s past, it’s acquired a reputation as a haunting site, and is referred to as “The Death Car.” According to Seeks Ghosts, a web site for paranormal enthusiasts,
While this old passenger car was at this yard being renovated many people connected to this society began to believe it was haunted. In fact, the volunteers at this yard dubbed this car—the ”Death Car.”
One volunteer, Charlie Sedgley who works for the society restoring cars believes he encountered at least 17 separate ghosts in the 1943 wrecked passenger car.
The society gives tours of the old train cars they restore. A trustee of the society, Steve Karpos was leading one of these tours when he led his group into the Death Car.
As he spoke a female member of his tour group interrupted him to ask why he didn’t let the other man behind him speak. Karpos didn’t know what she was talking about. She then asked about the “man dressed in the funny suit.”
Karpos recalls that, “Everyone else was saying there was a ghost in the car.” When the tour exited the Death Car several members saw, “a ghost sitting on the roof with his feet hanging over.”
That article goes on to say that the MRPS no longer owns the car, but it is indeed still there, and Sweet Apple have used it as the setting for “World I’m Gonna Leave You,” the first of four videos from their new LP Sing the Night in Sorrow. Sweet Apple is made up of members of Dinosaur Jr, Witch, and Cobra Verde, and the song includes vocal contributions from Mark Lanegan and Bob Pollard. The video is far cheekier than the train car’s grim history would suggest—the band’s namesake bassist Dave Sweetapple enters the haunted car and is bedeviled by—well, the Devil played by singer John Petkovic in a cheap mask. Drummer J Mascis and guitarist Tim Parnin also appear, as do eleven other passengers and, evidently, at least 17 separate ghosts.
“The Judge.” A figure based on a particularly terrifying character from the 1982 film, ‘The Wall.’
In 2003, Stevenson Entertainment Group put out the first of two collectible figure sets based on some of the more memorable animated characters from Alan Parker’s film adaptation of Pink Floyd’s 1979 double album, The Wall. If this is news to you, as it was to me, I’ll give you a minute to process this revelation before we get on to learning a little bit about the original concepts for the animations before you get to peep the rest of these incredible figures based on them.
Parker enlisted the formidable talents of English illustrator Gerald Scarfe to create the animated scenes in The Wall. The band had been working with Scarfe since the early 70s after the’d seen his film, Long Drawn-Out Trip on television. They reached out to Scarfe in the hope that he would create illustrations for the band, which he did. According to an article published on the Illustration Chronicles website last year, Scarfe admitted that when Floyd first came calling, he didn’t actually consider himself to be a fan of the band. Reluctantly, the artist would attend a performance by Pink Floyd at Finsbury Park while they were out supporting Dark Side of the Moon. Scarfe’s opinion of the band changed instantly, and it would be the beginning of a very successful working relationship for everyone involved. After creating images for various Floyd-related materials such as stage animations and tour books, Scarfe and Floyd would get to work designing the unique, unforgettable illustrated visuals for The Wall that would also be used during the band’s live performances.
When it came to the movie, Parker has admitted that despite its critical acclaim, it was one of the most “miserable” experiences of his professional career. The working relationship between Parker, Roger Waters and Scarfe was strained at best. To make matters worse, the members of Floyd were also on the outs with each other, quarreling about money and other contentious issues. Many great things are often born from the volatile combination of strife and passion, and The Wall is a good example of this age-old scenario.
When it comes to the figures themselves, they are somewhat difficult to obtain these days as you might imagine, though not impossible. Occasionally single packaged figures become available, as well as the six-figure box-sets that will run you anywhere from $100 for one figure to around 400 bucks for a complete Series One or Series Two box-set. I’ve posted images of each figure below as well as links to where you can hopefully still pick ‘em up.
I’m sure most of us recall at some point in our childhood folding paper into squares and delicately snipping patterns with scissors to create something that looked like a primitive doily. I recall it was the end of term, junior school, Miss Burton’s class, the smell of freshly cut grass and the first promise of summer, when I sat deliberately paring triangles and rhomboids in the hope of making something half presentable to take home. This formulaic but effective process made it almost impossible to imagine anyone could create something as spectacular as the designs cut by artist Ivonne Carley.
Ivonne Carley makes beautiful and intricate artworks from cut paper. Based in San Diego, Carley’s interest in creating such art stemmed from spending time with her parents in Mexico during her formative years. It was then that Carley discovered she had a great liking for the traditional high contrast imagery of lino block printing by artists like José Guadalupe Posada, but was especially enamored by the elaborate designs produced by paper cutting or papel picado. In particular, Carley liked the many ornamental designs Mexicans prepared for celebrating the Day of the Dead.
Spool forward a few years and filter this childhood interest through a liking for Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, MC Escher, Bosch, and a great love for Halloween, and you will find Carley has finessed her interest into a fabulous world of beautifully dark and delightfully original designs.
“My idea of fun is what puts most people in jail.” —PJ Proby
The entire point underlying this blog is to impart enthusiasm for the given subject matter. Sharing something extraordinary, remarkable or even just plain fun with the audience. Life’s too short to focus on lameass things. And to have to write about things you don’t even like? Nope, not how we really want to spend our days. Plus, why would you, the reader want to read about something mundane? Of course you don’t want that. You want awe-inspiring. Or at least things with cute cats and Twin Peaks-themed pot pipes. It’s our primary job here at Dangerous Minds to entertain you. Sometimes it’s simply to distract you from all of the bad shit going down…
You’ll get all of the above, in spades, I reckon, in the form of Texas-born rock and roller, PJ Proby, the entire package. He’s admittedly a pretty obscure figure. Frankly not even the most archly jaded rock snobs have probably ever heard of the guy. The subset of crate diggers who have actually heard the sound of the man’s truly phenomenal voice is smaller still. (His classic albums have hardly existed in the CD age.) I’ve been obsessed with him since the late 80s and have long wanted to make a documentary about him. Frankly I’m not really sure if I am acquainted with anyone who knows or cares about him like I do. (Maybe you do, but I don’t know you, do I?) Considering the intense megawatt talent the man possesses, all the lucky breaks that he’s had over his six decade-long career, and all of the immortals his orbit has collided with, PJ Proby should be, as he’s said himself—and I agree with this wholeheartedly—at least as famous as his one-time drinking buddy Tom Jones. That was not to be, although it coulda been and shoulda been.
When Tom Jones was just starting out, he was often accused—unfairly I think—of copying Proby’s act. In many ways PJ Proby and Jones are performers in that same general mold: powerful belters, macho, sexy, equally at home singing heart-breaking lonely boy ballads or bellowing balls-out rockers. When Proby’s infamous onstage trouser-splitting stunt occurred in Croydon (more on this below), it was in fact Jones who hastily replaced him on the package tour he was embarked upon after Proby was summarily banned from most of the live stages in Britain. If you like early Scott Walker, or the big ballady material Dusty Springfield excelled at, or even Nick Cave, then PJ Proby is probably in your wheelhouse. His records are easy to find—usually for really cheap—in used record bins. Every one of them is a mixture of filler and hits, but when he connects with the material, something sublime happens. I think he’s one of the all time greatest talents in rock and roll history, but few people would know that in 2017, or care.
PJ Proby was born James Marcus Smith on November 6, 1938, in Houston. His great-grandfather on his mother’s side was the outlaw gunfighter John Wesley Hardin and his father was a successful banker. He was educated at the strict San Marcos Military Academy, but even at school he was known as a bit of a hellraiser and was early on convinced that he was a genius and destined for greatness of some sort. His showbiz ambitions started early with local preteen appearances singing country music. He met Elvis Presley on that circuit when he was just 12 or 13 and Elvis at one point dated his step sister, Betty. But this was just the start of Proby’s improbable, Zelig or Forrest Gump-like ability to always be where the action was. Even at that age, he just was warming up, but already in the right places at the right time and always with the right crowd.
After moving to Hollywood in the mid-50s to become and actor and/or a singer, Smith took the name “Jett Powers” and recorded the single “Go, Girl Go!,” which is best known today as a song that the Cramps dug. (Jett’s backing band the Moondogs included Elliot Ingber/“Winged Eel Fingerling,” later of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, on lead guitar). Signed to a songwriting and performing contract with Liberty (along with the likes of Leon Russell and Glen Campbell), he recorded under the name Orville Woods so that the public would think he was black! Additionally Proby made a living working as a bodyguard for closeted gay entertainers like Rock Hudson, Liberace and Tab Hunter (by his own account, brutally dispensing anyone who dared hassle one of them in a “gay bashing” manner). Proby also recorded “vocal guides” for $10 a pop so that performers like Elvis could more efficiently make use of expensive recording studio time. (He did twenty such vocal guides for Presley, mimicking his singing style in a full-throated manner that was said to have amused the King.) In early 1964 Jackie DeShannon and songwriter Sharon Sheeley (who’d been his best friend, Eddie Cochran’s, fiancée) introduced Proby—then bearded and wearing his hair extremely long as he was hoping to play the part of Jesus in a musical—to Jack Good who was visiting from London. The meeting would change the course of his life.
Good, the prominent TV producer and manager who gave the world Shindig!, Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and others of Britain’s first wave of rock and roll stars (he’s also the guy who convinced Gene Vincent to don that Richard III garb) is alleged to have grabbed Proby’s ponytail to see if it was real. Soon afterward, Good’s secretary called from London and offered the complete unknown a spot on the Beatles’ upcoming television special “With the Beatles.”
Upon his arrival at Heathrow airport Proby told reporters of his intentions for Great Britain: “I’m going to fight all your men, fuck all your women and steal all your money. Then I’m going to buy myself a yacht and sail off into the wide blue yonder.”
When the show aired, Proby immediately became extremely famous, the very definition of the overnight sensation, even if his fame was to be short-lived. A single, “Hold Me” was recorded and rushed out so quickly that a stray vocal was inadvertently pressed into the record’s fadeout on the initial run. The song became a smash, reaching #3 in the UK charts. He racked up more hits with utterly histrionic (and almost insane-sounding, yet mesmerizing) cover versions of West Side Story‘s “Somewhere” and “Maria,” as well as with a song the Beatles had tried unsuccessfully to record for the Help! soundtrack, but that none of them could adequately sing. They opted to gift the song, “That Means a Lot,” to someone with the pipes who could, their American pal (well at least Lennon liked him) Proby. Incredibly, George Martin even arranged the song for him!
PJ Proby performs the castoff number from ‘Help!’ that Lennon and McCartney gave him, “That Means a Lot” on ‘Hollywood A Go-Go’ in 1965. If you are not mazed by this, I cannot possibly help you.
What insane luck, right? Soon Beatles manager Brian Epstein set up Proby with a UK package tour, co-headlining with Cilla Black. That’s when things got a bit out of the egotistical young rocker’s control: At a date in Croydon, Proby clad in his trademark tight velvet jumpsuit and looking like an 18th century dandy, was doing his James Brown-inspired stage act (the likes of which still staid post war Britain had not yet seen) and slid across the stage, tearing his pants around the knees and upwards from there. The crowd of teenaged girls went utterly mad, but the incident caused a stir in the media getting Proby on the radar of Britain’s self-appointed moral censor, Mary Whitehouse. When Proby did the same thing two nights later it was widely reported that he’d done something lewd in Luton. The Daily Mirror wrote that he was a “morally insane degenerate” and urged parents to keep their children from attending one of his shows. Whitehouse called his “thrusting” obscene but Proby claimed otherwise and available photos seem to corroborate his side of the story. He was kicked off the tour anyway and banned from the ABC theater chain and BBC radio and television. This was a good decade before the Sex Pistols, of course. Proby had a few more semi hits, but without radio play his star quickly faded. He later said of the incident:
“I was Britain’s Errol Flynn, the rough mother of pop. I was Jimmy Dean all busted up. I was Marlon Brando. They wanted rid of me.”
Canadian audiences were still able to thrill to Proby live in concert, while his work visa was yanked for a time in the UK
Back in Hollywood, Proby had his sole Billboard Hot 100 Top 30 hit with the infectious cajun-spiced rocker “Niki Hoeky.” He bought a mansion in Beverly Hills and married one of Dean Martin’s daughters. When he found out that she’d been having an affair with his car mechanic and saw them walking together hand in hand, he discharged his gun in the air several times to intimidate them. He soon found himself surrounded at gunpoint by much of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department and did a three month stint in a holding cell before moving back to the UK. He recorded his Three Week Hero album in 1968 with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones, then of the New Yardbirds, but soon to be rechristened Led Zeppelin. It was the very first time all four of them would be inside of a recording studio together.
There are all kinds of crazy PJ Proby stories involving Jack Daniels, bankruptcies, guns, underage girls, more guns and more Jack Daniels. Every once in while during the 80s he’d turn up again in some completely insane or scandalous situation. He went through six wives. He worked as a shepherd on a farm before running off with the farmer’s daughter. He recorded some totally off the wall covers of songs like “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Heroes” and “Tainted Love” for the Manchester-based Savoy label, there was at least one fairly lurid television news piece about him…
“The Weight of the Head and Heart.” A painting by German artist Michael Hutter.
German artist Michael Hutter‘s fantasy-based paintings are distinctly reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch. Filled with imagery associated with the occult or perhaps demons doing their time in purgatory, Hutter’s work is utterly mesmerizing.
Sex, death, erotica and science fiction scenarios run amock in Hutter’s work which the artist says is inspired by the “logic of dreams.” He has also been inspired by the fictional city of “Carcosa,” the mystical port dreamed up by Ambrose Bierce in his 1886 short story “An Inhabitant of Carcosa.” In 1895 author Robert W. Chambers published a book full of horror short stories called The King in Yellow which referenced Carcosa and other aspects of Bierce’s work. Later H.P. Lovecraft would incorporate Carcosa into his various Cthulhu mythos tales. Even George R. R. Martin got in on the supernatural fun when he named a city Carcosa (noted on an intricate map) in his book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Now that you have some perspective on all that, and how his art is part of this cool Carcosa continuum, here’s more from Hutter on the basis for his surreal, often sexually charged artwork:
“I don’t care for reality or the probability that something is true, only for its potential to stimulate my thought. In my opinion, the truth is somehow an illusion anyway. I mix that with my obsession, passions, desires, and fears and choke what happens in the abyss of my personality back on the surface.”
Hutter has also applied his considerable artistic skills to photography using digital manipulation to bring some of his chilling witches and demon-like characters to life. The images that follow are NSFW.
I don’t know why there are Donald Trump novelty condoms, but there are, and here I am blogging about them. They exist and that’s just #sad, in my opinion. I don’t know how trustworthy these condoms are. Trump condoms? Nacho’s face hardly inspires confidence in such a crucially important product. I’d use them with extreme caution. I certainly doubt that they’re made in the U.S.A. if they’ve got his ugly mug on the packaging.
If you were about to fuck someone and he pulled out his Donald Trump novelty condoms, ask yourself seriously if you really want to go through with this? How important is your dignity to you, anyway?
Believe or not, there are several manufacturers of Trump jimmy hats. I’ve posted where to buy them underneath the images.
Once upon a time, families gathered in front of the fireplace to have their photographs taken. The flickering flames, the giver of warmth, the focus of a family at rest was quickly and dramatically usurped by technology—first the wireless then television from the 1950s onward. Now kith and kin gathered together to pose in front of the flickering cathode ray. Next time some know-it-all from the last century tut-tuts your obsessive use of a smartphone or numerous hours spent clicking “like” on Facebook, just remind them that once upon a time they too did the very same when they sat and supped from the glass teat of television.
Though television has been around in one form or another since the 1920s, it wasn’t until the fifties that TV became the first choice for family entertainment. America pioneered the way, producing a golden age of dramas and serials and films. For most people, TV sets were expensive, very expensive. They were considered valuable assets, signifiers of a family’s wealth and status. To own a color TV in the 1950s was to be part of a much-hyped affluent jet set (and presumably a big Perry Como fan as his show was just about the one thing to watch in color during that decade). Up until the late 1960s color TV sets were still pretty much a rarity.
I was a wireless kid. My parents first rented a TV sometime in the late sixties-early seventies. Even then, a new TV was way too expensive for many British families to buy outright, so most people rented their TV sets from companies like Granada or Radio Rentals. “Great service you get/Renting your color set/From Granada” went one of the cheesy ads for TV rentals in 1977. TV sets came in ornate boxes sometimes with doors on the front to disguise the set as some kind of tasteful item of furniture—a drinks cabinet maybe or a redwood sideboard credenza. And don’t be fooled, most TV pictures were pitiful when compared to today’s 4K sets as TV signals were atrocious. The public spent most evenings fiddling about the TV aerial trying to find a better picture. Applying a ball of tinfoil was the sole option to improve the signal, decidedly low tech “hack” that was a common enough sight.
Yet, TV was everything. And that’s why people posed for photographs in front of their expensive, valuable, and trusted friend the electronic eye.
For the past decade or so, artist Oliver Wasow has been collecting found images on the Internet and organizing them into some kind of order. Pictures of families celebrating birthdays, or blurred images, or teen titans working out, or people holding cameras, or children holding guns, or just couples arm-in-arm or dressed for a night out. One set that particularly attracted my attention consisted of people standing beside TV sets looking proud and happy as if introducing a new family member to the camera: “Here’s our new grandchild,” or “Here’s my new husband.” These images brought back memories of how TV sets were once such very potent symbols of status. And how people once considered the TV set as being a part of the family—a companion—strange though that may seem today. Just look at the joy some of the following people show on their faces while in proximity to their little box of delights.
More found photos of people posing with their TV sets, after the jump…
“Automatic” is one of the eleven songs that appear on Prince’s fifth record—and first double album—1999 (1982). The track was released as a single in edited form, though only for the Australian market. The album version includes a steamy interlude that was acted out for the accompanying video, which hasn’t been easy to see—until now.
The “Automatic” music video was shot in Minneapolis during November 1982, as Prince and his band were rehearsing for the 1999 tour. You’ll probably notice it resembles other Prince clips from the era, due to the fact that videos for “1999” and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” were also shot at this time, with the same director at the helm, Bruce Gowers (“Little Red Corvette” came later, and was directed by Bryan Greenberg). The album version of “Automatic” is nearly nine-and-a-half minutes long, and was chopped by a minute for the video. It’s a standard Prince performance clip from this period, until about halfway through, when a bed is rolled out onto the stage. From here, it starts to gets pretty damn kinky.
The video was issued as a promo-only VHS to establishments that had video screens—like bars and dance clubs—as well as outlets willing to play more racy content, like the Playboy Channel. The unedited version of “Automatic” was certainly too risqué for MTV (an edited clip was also made available).
Prince’s official YouTube channel was recently reactivated, delighting his fan base with uploads of his official music videos in pristine quality. “Automatic” is one of the latest to appear. Assuming many of you haven’t seen this rare clip, we won’t give much more away, other than that it includes a segment in which Prince is tied up and whipped—!
Model Barbara Leigh as Vampirella on the cover of issue #78 (May, 1979.)
Comic book vampire/alien and femme fatale superhero Vampirella first crashed to Earth in her spaceship after departing her home planet of “Drakulon” (where instead of water the rivers ran full of blood) in the first issue of Vampirella magazine in 1969. The character was primarily created by Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine’s Forrest J. Ackerman—inspired by the formidable beauty of Italian actress Marisa Mell—and her look was designed by artist Trina Robbins. Robbins, a self-professed “school nerd” is also known for being the first woman to draw Wonder Woman. Originally put out by Warren Publishing in simple black and white, Warren would publish 112 issues of Vampirella before going under in 1983. From that point forward two other publishing houses, specifically, Harris Publications and Dynamite Entertainment would modify the character’s storyline, but not her look which consisted of a racy, costume-malfunction-waiting-to-happen blood-red monokini. You may not even be reading this right now because you’re still busy gawking the image of model Barbara Leigh at the top of this post wearing what amounts to a few yards of strategically placed cloth over her impossible body.
On that note, let’s get on with the task of checking out a few of the women who became the real-life character over the last few decades.
The very first living and breathing “Vampirella,” Kathy Bushman. This photo of Bushman was taken in 1969 at the World Science Fiction Convention in St. Louis where she caught the eye of Vampirella creator Forrest J. Ackerman (pictured to the left).
Apparently, the very first “live model” to wear the dangerous Vampirella costume was Kathy Bushman at The World Science Fiction Convention (known as Worldcon) in St. Louis in 1969. According to a fansite for the convention, Bushman made the costume herself by hand (since she didn’t have a sewing machine) and paired it with a short black cape and pair of pale blue kitten-heeled pumps. The costume won her an “Honorable Mention,” at the convention and she would go on to become an influential costume designer contributing prolifically to Worldcon for decades.
Barbara Leigh—a woman who probably guided her fair share of boys through puberty—was the first “real” girl to appear on the cover of the magazine starting sometime in 1975. The lucky Leigh would also sign on with Hammer Films to play the vampire vixen for at least six movies. Initially, the part had been offered to two Hammer girls—Caroline Munro and Valerie Leon who both turned the role down due to the nudity it required. Sadly the project never really got off the ground, Leigh decided to get hitched and promptly left show business.
In the 1990s there were a few notable IRL Vampirella’s—Penthouse Pet Julie Strain and Cathy Christian. The most famous 90s version of Vampirella is Talisa Soto. Soto starred in the 1996 film adaptation Vampirella (along with Roger Daltrey by the way) directed by Roger Corman protege, Jim Wynorski. Christian would be the first “official” Vampirella model to represent the legacy in the convention circuit in the early 90s, though she never appeared on the cover of Vampirella. She did, however, score a role as the model used by Topps for their very first Vampirella trading cards from 1995. Strain’s image, as well as illustrated versions of the bombshell, appeared widely in the magazine. Her portrayal of Vampirella was also used to create a small series of Vampirella-themed action figures put out in 2000 by Moore Action Collectables. The Images below are NSFW.
Kathy Bushman, 1969.
An illustration of Barbara Leigh as Vampirella by American artist Bob Larkin on the cover of issue #78, October, 1978.
Artist Guadalupe Rosales established and curates Veteranas and Rucas an Instagram account dedicated to documenting Chicano youth culture of Southern California in the 1990s. What started out in 2015 as a way to reconnect with lost friends and half-remembered acquaintances from her own teenage days soon developed into a richer, broader, far more important history of the lives of women (and men) raised in SoCal and beyond.
“Veteranas and Rucas serves as a digital archive where strangers, close friends and family share a virtual space that speaks a language many of us can relate to….The attention that the Instagram has received has resurrected a part of history that hasn’t been talked about or well documented—yet so many people were excited to see it come back. Working on Veteranas and Rucas made me realize how important this subculture is.”
Rosales who grew up in LA asks people to submit their own photographs of life in SoCal during this period. Her site takes its name from the words “Veterana” which means “someone who has put in work or time in the gang culture,” and “‘ruca’ [which] is what you call your chick.” Anyone who knows these words, Rosales adds, will be able to connect with her and Chicano culture.
Photographs carry complex messages. They make solid a person, a moment, a feeling, or some shared event of deeply personal significance. They also capture the space within which these fleeting moments take place. Rosales documents many of these neighborhoods which have been lost with the rise of the behemoth urban gentrification devouring and repopulating these once mainly ethnic and working class areas.
In 2000, Rosales quit LA—just a few years after a cousin was killed in Boyle Heights. She moved to New York where she witnessed another kind of gentrification taking place in the city. This led Rosales to gradually reconnect with the friends and people with whom she had grown-up. The connections she renewed inspired Rosales to start her archive of ‘90s Chicano youth.
“What I’m interested in posting is women that look like strong women….They look tough, and I like showing photographs like that because I want to say that women can be attractive when they’re strong women.”
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, the house band from The Muppet Show are arguably the coolest Muppets in existence. The band, comprised of Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot, and Animal first appeared in 1975 on The Muppet Show pilot “Sex and Violence.”
Illustrator and designer Michael De Pippo created five retro concert posters for an imaginary one night only gig by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
De Pippo on his Muppet poster series:
My idea was simple; create a vintage concert poster for each band member (Dr. Teeth, Janice, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Zoot, and Animal). Using clean, crisp vectors, negative space, and few colors, I wanted to keep them as simple and stylized as possible; reminiscent of retro posters from back in the day.
The Animal poster, pictured at the top of this article, is quite reminiscent of the movie poster art for the Japanese film Hausu.
I love this crisp style. De Pippo did an amazing job with these. His website seems to be currently down, so I’m not sure if these are available for sale.
Over the years, I developed a fail-safe cure. Basically, I’d mix four tablespoons of brandy with four tablespoons of port, throw in some milk, a few egg yolks, and — if I was in a festive mood — some nutmeg. The second I woke, I’d mix it up and down it. The way it works is very clever: it gets you instantly blasted again, so you don’t feel a thing. The only drawback is that, unless you keep drinking, the hangover that eventually catches up with you is about a thousand times worse than it would have otherwise been.
The Internet has a fair selection of vintage images of strippers and burlesque dancers from the nineteen-forties, the fifties, sixties, seventies, and so on. Many are strangely orphaned like most of the kazillions of images out there. Just think, every day there are more images merely uploaded than all of the pictures produced during the 19th century. That’s kind of staggering. Most of these pictures drift unanchored to any connecting narrative.
All of which reminds me of the old Hans Christian Andersen story “The Shadow,” which I’m sure you all know or have at least been told at some point in your childhood. Simply put, it’s the story of a man whose shadow escapes one night and starts living a life of its own. This shadow becomes more and more independent until it is the dominant figure and its original creator, the man himself, becomes utterly subservient. Old photographs are like that. They have their own life which becomes the shadow by which we know or identify the subject’s life. Like these photos of strippers culled from magazine spreads and publicity shots used to tout some gentertainment. We know little about the women who posed for these pictures—or the lives they lived—but we (for want of a better word) identify them by their shadow—which in this case is their photograph.
In a similar way, strippers put on a show that’s only meant to entertain, which sadly some dumb men think is real. As the legendary stripper Toni Elling once said, it’s all about entertainment:
“[T]he idea is to suggest what’s there, not throw off all your clothes and reveal everything. That’s why they call it strip-tease.”
While most of the following are of strippers from the 1960s, I have included a couple of respected burlesque dancers, whose work had considerable influence on both the exotic dancing and stripping worlds.
More exotic dancers and strippers, after the jump…
A custom action figure based on the 1982 slasher film, ‘Pieces’ by Dan Polydoris of Death By Toys. $40 (two available).
Dan Polydoris, the founder of Death By Toys, has been creating small numbers of action figures based on films from the 80s since 2010, showing a particular affinity for the horror genre. Polydoris’ plastic characters quickly became super popular with collectors, especially those who, like Polydoris, dig on the “strange, offbeat, and absurd.” For his latest batch of action figures, Polydoris focused on eight different films from the decade including things like 1980’s Maniac, the 1981 Canuck cult classic, Happy Birthday to Me, and 1982’s Pieces starring the great Christopher George. If you just said “YES” to all of that, then listen up because I’m going to tell you how you *might* be able to make one of Polydoris’ newest rare figures yours.
Starting today, Thursday, July 20th at 12:30 CST, a small number of the figures will be available for purchase at the Death By Toys online store, and when I say small numbers I mean really small numbers. For example, Polydoris only made two of the hilarious killer “Kebab Playsets” from Happy Birthday to Me which will run you 40 bucks each. The packaging is also pretty fantastic as it uses images from the original back-in-the-day VHS tape cover art. Nice. All eight figures along with their various prices posted below. Happy hunting!
The hysterical ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ “Kebab Playset.” $40 (two available).
My absolute favorite of the bunch based on the 1980 film ‘Maniac,’ the “Bloody Scalp.” 30 bucks each (five available).