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Hair Metal meets ‘Grease’ in this hilarious cover of ‘You’re The One That I Want’
03.02.2015
05:41 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Tragedy
Grease
Hair Metal


 
New York’s Tragedy is the world’s greatest all-metal tribute to the “Bee Gees and beyond.” They’ve been doing this for awhile, but man this one is particularly meta metallicious.

Band members Barry Glibb, Mo’Royce Peterson, Disco Mountain Man, Andy Gibbous Waning and The Lord Gibbeth are masters of their own Universe - a place where hair metal meets disco and dance floors are roiling in blood, polyester and Aqua Net.

According to their website:

Tragedy has released three critically acclaimed albums: We Rock Sweet Balls, Can Do No Wrong, Humbled By Our Greatness and their latest, Death to False Disco-Metal.

That’s four albums so apparently one of the albums was not critically acclaimed. But really, other than me, who’s counting?
 

 
“You’re The One That I Want” is not a Bee Gees’ song. It was written by John Farrar for the movie version of Grease and performed by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. So this enters into the “beyond” part of Tragedy’s repertoire.

What’s next boys? Farrar/Newton’s other big hit? “Have You Ever Been Mellow?” Yes!

Death to false disco-metal. Count me in!

The video was shot at “Our Lady of Perpetual Decimation High School” in Manhattan - the original school of extremely hard knocks.
 

 
Thanks to Ama Keates for the turn-on.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Cauldron reportedly used by serial killer Ed Gein advertised at small town auction
03.02.2015
05:19 pm

Topics:

Tags:
Ed Gein
serial killers


 
I understand the fascination with murderbilia—to a point. John Wayne Gacy’s clown paintings are terrifying, and Charles Manson’s music is unsettling its seductiveness (in an AM gold kind of way); we’re usually drawn to these artifacts because we think they can provide some insight into murderous minds. Obviously, this is unlikely; lots of perfectly harmless and good people create disturbing art (and if Hitler’s watercolors are any indication, we should be on the lookout for the banal, not the unnerving). Still, there is that vain hope that we can understand something about the monsters in our midst by examining their more mundane hobbies and habits, perhaps learn to identify their kind, and maybe keep ourselves safe that way.

Then there are the people who just covet gruesome souvenirs.

Recently, a cauldron that supposedly belonged to notorious serial killer Ed Gein—a cauldron he supposedly used to store the discarded remains of his victims—was advertised at a modest, small-town Wisconsin auction. There is some debate as to whether or not the cauldron actually belonged to Gein—a few people have wondered why such an object wouldn’t have been seized for evidence, and it’s a good question. The backstory sounds plausible enough though—the seller got it from his grandmother, who had purchased it at a Gein estate sale. The seller also says that a former neighbor of Gein’s recognized the cauldron from when he helped police clean up the gore at Gein’s farm. That part sounds a little more suspect—I’m not sure the police would enlist civilians for that kind of job.

Regardless, I’m not so much curious about the authenticity of the cauldron as I am the mindset of a prospective buyer—why would you want such a thing? You can’t even make the (in my opinion, pretty dubious) argument that it has a historical significance (love you Lemmy, but you’ve got a ghoulish hobby). And if it is a fake, who is more perverse—seller or buyer?

The cauldron was set to be auctioned on the 28th—no word on if it sold, or for how much. You can see pictures from the ad below.
 

 

 

 

Gein’s Wisconsin farmhouse
 
Via Cult of Weird

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Off the wrist: Jerk off and recharge your smartphone at the same time with the Wankband
03.02.2015
12:32 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech
Sex

Tags:
wearable

Wankband
 
Wearables just got a whole lot more practical… and personal.

Pornhub, a website that probably needs no introduction, wants horny folk to “save the planet” with their new wearable, the Wankband (I can’t link to it or else Google will stop our ads, but use Google yourself if you’d like to find out more at their website). It’s a wristband device that recharges smartphones, laptops, digital cameras, tablets, and other tech devices with the motion of masturbation. You know, the hand-shandy. The five-knuckle shuffle. Mother Fist and her five daughters…

Dirty energy
 

Every day, millions of hours of adult content are consumed online, wasting energy in the process and hurting the environment. At Pornhub we decided to do something about it. Introducing The Wankband: The first wearable tech that allows you to love the planet by loving yourself.

Tossers, want to be a beta, er, be(a)ta tester for this thing? I wonder if chronic masturbators can sell their er… excess energy to the utility companies? This could fundamentally transform the entire world!
 
Tossing
 
“Ladies and gentleman, the power is in your hand,” learn more about this sexy time gadget in their animated video:
 

 
via Gizmodo

Posted by Rusty Blazenhoff | Leave a comment
Tuxedo-wearing prankster uses fake Oscar to get free shit
03.02.2015
12:01 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Academy Awards


 
Although it’s being touted as mere prank video, I feel like this is more of a social experiment on how humans handle a brush with fame.

Actor Mark David Christenson, the winner of ZERO Oscars, walked around Hollywood Blvd. on the night of the Academy Awards wearing a tuxedo and holding a fake Oscar. While watching the video it was shocking to witness the amount of shit he got away with. No one really questioned him. They just went with it. He was holding an Oscar for pete’s sake so he must be legit, right? He even ended up with a “free” car.

I pretend to be a celebrity and walk around with a fake Oscar to see how people treat me. Pretending to be famous has its perks because it turns out people treat you like a real Oscar winner. You may have seen fake celebrity pranks and pretending to be famous before, but I think being a fake Oscar winner is the craziest prank of these yet!

There’s not really much to say about this. You just have to watch it. And weep.

 
Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Three hours of Serge Gainsbourg singing, drinking and telling Whitney Houston he wants to fuck her
03.02.2015
11:30 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Serge Gainsbourg
Whitney Houston


 
Serge Gainsbourg died on this date 24 years ago. Which is a good enough reason, not that one is required, to share this close to three-hour video compilation of Gainsbourg performing his songs between the years of 1973 and 1991.

The compilation includes songs sung with Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve. Plus footage from the infamous night a thoroughly drunk Gainsbourg appeared with Whitney Houston on French TV talk show Champs-Elysées and said, in his best slurred English, that he wanted to “fook her.” This was the occasion on which the French public at large was first introduced to Whitney Houston. Gainsbourg made it particularly memorable.

There are segments in French. If you don’t speak the language be patient, they’re brief.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
A Dangerous Minds exclusive: Previously unpublished interview with Allen Ginsberg
03.02.2015
08:17 am

Topics:
Books
Drugs
Literature

Tags:
Allen Ginsberg


 
In 1977, Michael Rectenwald was a disenchanted pre-med student with a secret passion for poetry—Allen Ginsberg and his influences in particular. After a couple of years of covertly consuming, studying and writing poems, he found his interest in medical school had entirely evaporated, so he left school and dove further into writing, eventually sending a letter and some of his poems to Ginsberg himself. Not only did Ginsberg write back, he invited Rectenwald to apprentice him at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Describing his fellow classmates as “a hodgepodge of Buddhists, failed and former beatniks, wannabe poets, acid trippers, mushroom poppers, Carlos Castaneda aficionados who thought they could fly, and many stripes of New Ager,” Rectenwald was thrown into an erratic world of “creatives” head first. He thrived, developing both a meaningful relationship with his mentor and practicing his craft, despite the frequently turbulent environment.
 

 
For example, one of Rectenwald’s “tasks” was watching over Billy Burroughs, Jr., son of William S. Burroughs. Traumatized by an unstable childhood and the death of his mother at the hands of his father, Billy’s mental and physical health had deteriorated exacerbated by alcoholism and a speed addiction his father had encouraged him to cultivate—the senior Burroughs saw drugs as a creative muse. Eventually Billy fled to Florida and died of cirrhosis shortly thereafter, though not before leaving a suicide note, which Rectenwald still possesses.

Eventually Rectenwald went back home and returned to school, this time for a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh. His experience with Ginsberg, while formative, had been disorienting. In 1994, Rectenwald and Ginsberg met again for an interview, which you can read below. This is the first time it has run in print, and the warmth and the familiarity of their interaction is apparent as they meander from politics to the drug war to Buddhism to William S Burroughs.

Michael Rectenwald has since gone on to publish his own poetry and fiction. He has also taught, and produced scholarly work on academic writing, and the history of science and secularism (guess pre-med really did end up coming in handy). He hopes to complete his next book—on his experience with Ginsberg—soon.

M: Hello Allen.

A: Hi, Hello.

M: How are you doing?

A: Well, I just came back from a Chinese restaurant with an old painter friend whom I haven’t seen in New York in thirty years. Robert Levin who was a court painter for all the Beat generation and San Francisco renaissance poets like Kerouac and Gary Snyder and John Wieners. So he just arrived in New York for the big Beat generation festival at NYU and him and I went out to summer tonight.

M: and you hadn’t seen him in how long?

A: Well we’d seen each other in Seattle where he was, but I hadn’t seen him in New York, I guess for I guess thirty years or so, since the 60s.

M: Wow, and the Beat generation and legacy and celebration is taking place, actually as this interview is airing. I’ve got the schedule here in front of me and it looks like it’s quite of an array… everything from academic presentations to…

A: Art shows, particularly. There will be a reading at town hall with Gregory Corso and Ann Waldman and myself, Dave [inaudible], Michael McClure…

M: Ferlinghetti with paintings?

A: Ferlinghetti is both poetry and paintings. Almost everybody. It’s a show of… it began in the school of education and art. It began as an art show to show paintings by Ferlinghetti and Burroughs and water colors by Gregory Corso and photographs by me and Albert Franken and others.

M: Yeah, you’re quite photographer too. I don’t think everybody knows that.

A: There is a new big book out by Chronicle Books that is [inaudible]. It is back on the stands now.

M: I myself have been an admirer of your musical works. You putting Blake to music and you have several musical scores that you have done.

A: We have a lot of albums out now. It’s basically a libretto that I did with Philip Glass, Hydrogen Jukebox that came out on [inaudible] Records a couple months ago. A couple years ago, I had on Island Records what was called The Lion For Real with spoken poems with jazz backgrounds by a lot of very interesting musicians, the same guys that play with Tom Waits and sometimes with Leonard Cohen, [inaudible],  Mark Greenbo, Bill Frisell and others. So now I’m working on a fourth CD set of highlights of all my recorded stuff that has been put out over a thirty-year period.

M: That’s excellent

A: We have a lot of Blake, that you like, plus some things you haven’t heard.

M: Great.

A: That I recorded with Dylan.

M: Oh really?

A: It’s about a half hour of work with Dylan, my own songs with Blake or compositions we did together, improvisations. Then there is a live cut with The Clash. A piece of an opera I did with Philip Glass, a duet between me and Glass. There is a duet with…oh, let’s see, who is the drummer for “A Love Supreme”?

M: Oh, you mean from the Santana album?

A: Elvin Jones, the drummer.

M: Is the cut from Combat Rock is that The Clash or is that another?

A; Oh that is a live thing we did, it’s one of my songs. We had Combat Rock, actually with the album I sing on with their words, but this was my own. Someone did it at a club in New York, improvised, years ago when I first met him.
 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
What a shitty thing to do: Pranked by exploding diarrhea
03.02.2015
07:24 am

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
pranks
diarrhea

pooprank2.jpg
 
What’s worse than a fart in an elevator? Press play and find out…

That’s what these poor young chumps endured when pranked by some Brazilian “comedy” show for the viewing public’s edification and delight. As one commentator said “Just urgh…”

Next time, take the stairs.
 

 
H/T Metro

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hear a stellar version of ‘Impressions’ from the upcoming live John Coltrane/Eric Dolphy boxed set
03.02.2015
07:18 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
jazz
John Coltrane
Eric Dolphy

John Coltrane
 
Acrobat Music is about to release the boxed set of live John Coltrane Quintet recordings, So Many Things: European Tour, 1961. The collection is billed as a sequel to Acrobat’s Miles Davis set, All of You: The Last Tour, 1960, which featured Coltrane and was his last trek with Miles. This time Trane is in charge, and the featured sideman is multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy. Dangerous Minds has a preview of So Many Things, a track that would become a significant Coltrane piece.

“Impressions” initially went by other names for years before it became the title song for John Coltrane’s 1963 LP. The composition was already a staple of his concerts in 1961, and would be a part of Trane’s live repertoire until 1965. One such performance of the tune took place during Coltrane’s first Finnish gig, which was held on November 22nd, 1961, in Helsinki.

In the boxed set’s liner notes, Simon Spillett writes that the version of “Impressions” from the Helsinki show “contains one of Eric Dolphy’s finest moments of the entire tour—an alto solo full of impossibly rangy lines, honks, and high harmonics,” and that Coltrane’s second solo is “overflowing with choked false-fingered passages and vocalized delves to the bottom of the horn.”
 
Live, 1961
 
So Many Things: European Tour, 1961, comes out on March 10th. Let us know what you think of “Impressions” in the comments section. We sure dig it.
 

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Watch Keith Haring paint a street art mural in Barcelona,1989
03.02.2015
07:09 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Keith Haring

00keharthingr.jpg
Polaroid portrait of Keith Haring by Andy Warhol

Keith Haring drew cool, clean, simple lines that showed his confidence and talent as an artist. Haring could draw long before he started school. His father, an engineer and amateur cartoonist, encouraged him to create his own cartoon characters rather than copy them from comic books or Disney cartoons. So, Haring dreamt up his own cartoon figures which he drew across page after page of his drawing books.

Then his father gave Keith another sound piece of advice—he told him to learn how to draw with his eyes closed. Haring practiced and practiced until he could draw any of his figures with eyes tight shut.
 
001harkingth.jpg
 
In 1989, Keith Haring traveled to Barcelona where he painted on a large mural “Todos juntos podemos parar el SIDA” (Together We Can Stop AIDS) in El Raval or the Barrio del Chino—a notorious drug area, where used syringes and drug paraphernalia littered the streets. The mural was painted on a concrete buttress in la plaza Salvador Segui and contained many of Haring’s famous trademark symbols—dancing figures, snakes, hypodermic syringes and the three figures of see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil—or in this case: speak out, educate, and understand the dangers of AIDs. In his journal, Haring wrote about the mural:

I spent five hours doing it, as I had planned. The wall had a strange inclination that made it difficult to paint, but one of the things I like about this work is the [physical] adaptability it requires. I found a posture that allowed me to paint in a homogenous, balanced way. Some of the best photos of this mural reflect the body language and postures I adopt when painting it.

 
00kaharnght123.jpg
 
Haring produced the work for free, hoping it would inspire change.

In the 1990s, the mural fell into disrepair and was removed to MACBA—the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona.

The video (shot by Cesar de Melero) also includes footage of Haring working on a mural at an arts studio/nightclub.
 

 
Bonus early news report on Haring drawing chalk murals on NY’s subway, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘I use your eyeballs for dials on my TV set’: The Cramps destroy the airwaves
03.02.2015
05:19 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Cramps
Inner Tube


 
Paul Tschinkel’s Inner Tube may have been low rent, but it was one of the grooviest TV rock shows in the history of the medium. The show ran on Manhattan cable from 1974 to 1984. With a shoestring budget, Paul managed to capture the raw energy of what is arguably the last great era in rock and roll. He filmed seminal performances from musicians like Klaus Nomi, Lydia Lunch, DNA, The Contortions, Johnny Thunders, The Blessed, The Cramps and many many more members of New York City’s punk and no wave scene.

Here’s some very cool footage from Inner Tube of The Cramps performing “Beautiful Gardens” at the Mudd Club in 1981. Who needed the Internet when TV was this good.

Oh my, oh me
What in the world’s come over me?
I’m seeing things that I should never see!
Spiders in my eyelids and ghosts in the cheese!
What in the world’s come over me?
I’ve lost touch with reality!
Reality!
Reality!
Reality!

The video features the second best lineup of The Cramps (my personal favorite was with Bryan Gregory on guitar): Lux Interior, Ivy Rorschach, Kid Congo and Nick Knox. While versions of this video have floated around the ‘net, this is by far the best looking and sounding. It’s from the source. Many thanks to Paul Tschinkel.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Food Fight’: The Village People’s stupefying punk rock masterpiece!
03.02.2015
05:09 am

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Village People


 
It was 1981, disco was dead, and the Village People were left out to dry, having just suffered the embarrassment of starring in the hilariously terrible box-office bomb Can’t Stop the Music.

RCA had just picked up the “YMCA” and “In the Navy” hitmakers from Casablanca, seeking to give the group a last-ditch makeover for the new wave era.

According to the Village People’s “construction worker,” David Hodo, in a Popmatters interview:

They had a couple of people there passing around ideas. The first one was these leather outfits that were monochrome — someone in solid red, someone in solid yellow. They had fringe on them. They were awful. We nixed that one. Then they had these guys trying to convince us of this New Romantic look, which was Adam Ant and Spandau Ballet. That was the better of the two choices.

 

Village person David Hodo in 1978
 

Village person David Hodo in 1981

And so with the marketing angle determined, the Village People released the LP mega-turd, Renaissance, which noted music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine described as “simply an embarrassment that never should have seen the light of day.”

Hodo had turned in his signature hardhat for a doublet, lip gloss, blush, and (at least five) beauty marks.
 

 
Despite the deceptive packaging, Renaissance has nothing musically to do with the New Romantic movement. The music barely even qualifies as new wave. Most of the tracks are simply bad 80’s MOR rock and bargain basement Kool and the Gang-ish r&b. That is, with one notable exception, which Hodo himself provides vocals for: the improbable final track on the album, “Food Fight,” a fake-punk masterpiece easily as good as anything Plastic Bertrand or Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias ever laid down. 

“Food Fight” is an anomaly in the Village People’s oeuvre: a first and last attempt to cash in on the punk audience from a band clearly grasping at straws, willing to try absolutely anything to stay relevant.

Musically, one can hear the best elements of DEVO, as well as The Dickies, and Hodo’s nerdcore vocals sound remarkably like Weird Al.

“Food fight” plays out like the music you’d hear in an early 80’s teenage T & A movie where there’d be some marginally “punk” band playing on the beach in wrap-around sunglasses and clam-diggers, while a bunch of girls in string bikinis did robot dances in the sand. Yes, it’s that good. The subject matter would seem to indicate the Village People’s new target demographic was middle school children.

Hodo himself hates the song, calling it “some of the worst” music the group ever recorded. It’s a shame, because had the Village People followed Renaissance with an album full of songs in the “Food Fight” vein, they easily could have been the greatest fake punk band of all time.

The Village People’s fake punk student rebellion anthem, “Food Fight”:
 

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘I’ll ruin your f*cking name!’: Hunter S. Thompson’s scathing voicemail to customer service
02.28.2015
08:06 am

Topics:
Heroes

Tags:
hunter s. thompson

Hunter S. Thompson
 
A highly irritated Hunter S. Thompson left a local audio/visual store a voice message, sometime in 2004, complaining about a faulty “DVD/combination tape player.”

It starts off, “This is Hunter S. Thompson in Woody Creek…” and goes downhill fast from there, “First, the machine is no good. It sucks. It won’t run, it jams.”

Then he starts threatening them:

I’ll be on your *ss all day long!...I’m going to destroy it and write about it. I’ll ruin your f*cking name!

What makes the story even better is the store he dialed, Design Audio Video in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, didn’t deserve the abusive call. After listening to the recording of the Gonzo journalist’s rantings at least fifteen times with his employees, the store’s general manager, Barrie McCorkle, sent someone over to remedy the issue which wasn’t even theirs to fix.

Years after the incident, McCorkle confessed, “It turns out, we didn’t sell him the stuff, but we ended up fixing it for him,” and, “he never apologized for it, but he was grateful.”

Take a listen to the glorious madness, which was later made into an animation:

 
via UPROXX

Posted by Rusty Blazenhoff | Leave a comment
Get some sunshine with The Honeys, Brian Wilson’s all-girl answer to the Beach Boys
02.27.2015
12:22 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Beach Boys
Honeys


 
With Seasonal Affective Disorder slowly crushing my soul into oblivion, I have been absolutely starved for some aural “sunshine.” The Beach Boys are the obvious choice, but a little too obvious, don’t you think? Enter The Honeys, the beachy girl-group that boasted Brian Wilson himself serving as songwriter and producer. You got your surfing anthems, your boy-crazy ballads and all the shimmering, girly harmonies you’ll need until spring.
 

The Honeys with Brian Wilson
 
The Honeys actually formed after sisters Marilyn and Diane Rovell saw the Beach Boys perform. Brian Wilson took to courting high-schooler Marilyn (the foxy brunette on the far left), and after the addition of the Rovells’ cousin Ginger Blake, Wilson took them into the studio to record some pop music gold, though most people would more likely recognize them on Jan and Dean’s “Dead Man’s Curve” and “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” or cheering on The Beach Boys’ “Be True To Your School.”
 

 
The Honeys never really blew up. Surf music faded, Marilyn Rovell became Marilyn Wilson and had daughters Carnie and Wendy (yes, that Carnie and Wendy), but oddly enough, the girls attempted a very weird comeback in the 80s before embracing the nostalgia of their earlier work and releasing a box set. In addition to some of their earlier work, I’ve included (as a “bonus”) their 1983 album Ecstasy—it is very… 1983. 
 

 

 
More of The Honeys after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Hear the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ orchestral remix made but not used for Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ videogame


 
This morning Dangerous Minds pal Chris Holmes (he’s been all over the media recently with his “Anti-Paparazzi” clothing line) sent over the Soundcloud files of a couple of the “Ziggy Stardust” remixes produced, but ultimately not used, for Disney’s Fantasia videogame.

Although the remixes are simply wonderful as heard here, when Chris demoed the songs for me in his studio, he showed me his innovative idea for the game, which would have allowed the player to “parallel remix” (or “conduct”) the song on the fly, as with Ableton Live, or a similar program.

The idea for the remixes was to create fourteen separate remixes simultaneously in Ableton, and then have all of those tracks available in groups (drums, lead lines, strings, vocals, guitars) available to the user in the game to make their own remix each time they play the game.  I think the concept of parallel remixing has a lot of potential in the VR, webspace, and future Oculus like worlds where users actions determine the how the music develops. It’s been sitting on my hard drive for almost two years now. The remixes turned out great, but I think the most important thing is turning people on to the concept of parallel remixing.

You could strip it down to the original version at any point or to a totally acoustic version, or go totally orchestral. These mixes have elements of each. It was very difficult because the timing had to remain in time with the original Bowie song which speeds up and slows down around 15 bpm over the course of the song.  It would be far easier to do it with a consistent bpm.

 

 

This is the second version of our Fantasia “parallel remix” of “Ziggy Stardust.” This one is more electro dubstep, playing the game you can morph between any of the mixes and make your own using the game controller.

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘A lot of people do bad things’: The bizarre tale of child evangelist turned conman, Marjoe Gortner
02.27.2015
09:53 am

Topics:
Belief
Movies

Tags:
Marjoe Gortner

Marjoe Poster
 
If you’ve never had the chance to watch the fascinating 1972 Academy Award-winning documentary, Marjoe take a look at it below. Produced and directed by Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan, it’s flat-out great, a singular document chronicling the life of former child evangelist, Marjoe Gortner who, as an adult superstar preacher, admits on film that he’s using the whole evangelist racquet to scam answer-hungry parishioners out of their hard-earned cash. Gortner works with an infiltrating hippie film crew to expose his whole dishonest practice. Watching this is a truly I-can’t-believe-my-eyes experience not just because it gives first-hand evidence that the evangelist thing’s a scam (many of us are well aware of that already), but because of the willing, even eager participation of the film’s subject. This is just a truly only-in-America film that you have to see

It starts by giving a little necessary backstory about Marjoe Gortner. Strangely, the name Marjoe is an odd combination of the biblical names Mary and Joseph, and from the age of three-and-a half, the boy’s parents, especially his bizarre evangelist stage mom, saw little Marjoe as a sanctified, Pentecostal cash cow. While other kids were out running around doing the things that kids are supposed to be doing, Marjoe was forced to memorize elaborate sermons with the threat of a pillow smothering or long dunks underwater hanging over his head when his mother got frustrated. She knew he had to appear in the public all the time to keep the money rolling in, so she didn’t want to leave any visible scars of abuse.

He would walk into press conferences as a six-year-old and tell the editor of whatever magazine that he was talking to that he was “here to give the devil two black eyes.” He blew people away while sometimes garnering all-press-is-good-press criticism. The film shows Marjoe as a child performing a wedding ceremony for full-grown adults while bedecked in a little white sailor suit with shorts and cowboy boots. He drew headlines. Preachers at the time were outraged at the sensationalism and the affront to the sanctity of marriage. Not unexpected of course. Preachers are always outraged about that sort of thing.

But all the while, despite the accolades, the controversy, LIFE magazine articles and all sorts of people telling him he was blessed with a supernatural gift sent straight from GAAAWD almighty, Marjoe Gortner never really believed it. He just knew he was a good performer trained to entice people to open their wallets, and he became very good at it.
 
Marjoe Gortner Child Preacher
Marjoe Gortner as a child evangelist
 
Quickly, the film cuts to a time years later where we find a now long and lean, tie-dye adorned, all-grown-up Marjoe Gortner in a hotel room with a very stoned looking hippie film crew. He’s debriefing them about what to do and what not to do when he lets them follow him around capturing his now thriving evangelistic enterprise on film. He’s very clear that the whole thing’s all an act, and Gortner warns the crew not to blow their cover by taking home any of the evangelist groupies (Marjoe sticks with the airline stewardesses himself) or smoking in front of anybody. He warns his far-out friends that they’re about to see people speaking in tongues, acts of faith healing, individuals writhing around on the floor, the whole nine yards.

Before you know it, film is being shot in a church and all of the above happens on camera. A lot of the “tent revival” footage throughout would be relatively unremarkable, except that you know the guy doesn’t really buy into one singular goddamned thing the he’s saying to the shouting crowds of gullible hayseeds and proto mega-churchers. You see how adept Gortner has become at getting people to hand over the “largest bill they have,” while behind the scenes we find him literally counting a pile of cash on a hotel room bed, shaking his head about how easy it is to get the money flowing. He knows he’s a business man, and he even has merch in the form of a record. He talks about how he used some kind of water-activated powder that made a cross show up on his head when he started sweating during one his “crusades.” People ate it up and, more importantly, ponied up the cash.

In a 1972 interview with Roger Ebert around the time of the film’s release, Gortner illuminates the materialist sham:

These people lead miserable lives, and suffer in silence because they know they’re going to get their reward in heaven. A preacher is a man who has been blessed by God on Earth. If he doesn’t drive a Cadillac, they don’t think much of him; God must not favor him. He’s got to look good, feel good and smell good.

There’s a moment in Marjoe where Gortner talks about imitating Mick Jagger when he throws down his stage act. He says he probably would have been a musician if he hadn’t chosen the ministry. The footage is pretty incredible. He nails it. He cock-struts, hand on his hip across the stage, the whole deal.

From the 1972 interview:

You have to go into the heavy religion in order to give people on excuse to loosen up and enjoy themselves. When I’d do a hip movement or a jump, or start walking over the backs of the seats, they’d say, ‘Hallelujah! God’s behind him!’ But if they saw Mick Jagger doing the same thing at a rock concert, that was the work of the devil.

Lest you conjecture, as I did, that the whole coming clean thing was itself a scam, Gortner claims in the 1972 Ebert interview that he actually stood to make a lot more money simply staying in the evangelical game.

A lot of people have charged that I made the movie for money. For example, some of the hard-sell radio preachers are attacking me. That’s ridiculous. At the time I quit, I honestly think I was the best preacher on the circuit, I could cut anybody. In five years I would have been on top and probably a millionaire. One thing a lot of people forget about is the tax advantage: I was tax-deductible.

Post evangelizing, however, Gortner eventually enrolled in acting classes and used his tan, blonde, curly-haired, So-Cal look to land himself a few leading rolls in films, including 1976’s Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw across from Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter:
 
Bobbie Jo
Marjoe Gortner and Lynda Carter in ‘Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw,’ 1976
 
You can watch all of Marjoe below, courtesy of the Internet Archive.
 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
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