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‘The Rock and Roll Singer’: On tour with the legendary Gene Vincent in 1969

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Never underestimate the power of imitation.

Elvis Presley never toured Britain. The only time the King set foot in the UK was during a brief stopover to refuel the army plane that was taking him home at Prestwick Airport in 1960. With no Presley tours, ever, there was a wide open gap for homegrown talent to fill.

First there was Tommy Steele. Steele was good—but he had no edge. He was wholesome showbiz—the kind of rock ‘n’ roll singer mothers adored. He did stage shows, TV light entertainment shows and even made a movie with Benny Hill. Then came Marty Wilde, Billy Fury, Duffy Power, Vince Eager and Dickie Pride. Each one of these acts was managed by Larry Parnes, a pop impresario and manager known as the “Beat Svengali.” Parnes created his own homegrown roster of rock ‘n’ roll acts. He produced their records, booked their gigs and made a helluva lot of money. His stars? Not so much. Most of his singers never received any royalties—Parnes was able to do this by having power of attorney over his acts.

The fans screamed. The records sold. But the kids still craved real American rock ‘n’ roll stars. Bill Haley and the Comets toured—but they were old and not so hip. Buddy Holly hit it big with a tour in 1958. But when Holly died in a plane crash not long after, most American rockers weren’t so keen on flying to the UK to tour. Then came Gene Vincent. Finally the British fans would find their replacement for Elvis Presley.

Gene Vincent had the bad boy rep. He looked like trouble. He was known for trouble. He was said to have wrecked his leg in a bike crash which left him wearing a “steel sheath” for the rest of his life. His biggest hit was “Be-Bop-a-Lula” in 1956—which was the best Elvis song that Presley never recorded. It made Gene Vincent famous. He toured the US with his band the Blue Caps. He made TV and movie appearances but never quite followed up the success he had with “Be-Bop-a-Lula.” The taxman came after him. Vincent allegedly sold his band’s equipment to pay off the debt. It was the start of a pattern that was to frame the rest of his life.

Vincent was going nowhere fast when an offer came to tour England in 1959. TV producer Jack Good booked Vincent on to his pop show Boy Meets Girl. Good hated Vincent’s look. The singer arrived in his trademark green Teddy Boy jacket with “GV” emblazoned on the pockets. Good dressed him in black leather—leather trousers, leather jacket, leather gloves, jet black t-shirt. and sparkling medallion. It was the image that defined bad boy rock ‘n’ roll.

His appearance on Boy Meets Girl made Gene Vincent a legend. He was booked to tour the UK. Sell-out gigs across the country and then in Europe. The Brits couldn’t get enough of this Yankee rock ‘n’ roll singer.

Watch Gene Vincent on the road in 1969, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The ‘degenerate art’ of Rudolf Schlichter


A surrealist-style painting by German artist, Rudolf Schlichter.
 
At the age of 26, while he had been pursuing his studies at the Art Academy of Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe, German artist Rudolf Schlichter was drafted into the army. Following a successful hunger strike, Schlichter was dismissed from his duties and returned to the bustling, forward-thinking town of Karlsruhe. Schlichter didn’t stick around for long and soon set off for Berlin where he fell in with the Dada scene and became a communist.

Schlichter made a successful living in Berlin from his illustrations. He transitioned from Dada to the “Neue Saclichkeit” movement (or “New Objectivity”) that used realism to express skepticism related to current events. He quickly became one of the most influential and critically important contributors to this quasi-Expressionism. Within New Objectivity there were two additional artistic courses: The “Verists” were known for using portraiture as a vehicle for their hostility toward authority figures, affluence and the oppression of society. The works of the great Otto Dix played a large role in this sub-component of New Objectivity. The other was commonly referred to as “Magic Realists” who were in opposition to the German style of Expressionism. Probably the most notable Magic Realism artist was Georg Schrimpf whose work was a crucial part of New Objectivity. Now that we’ve got your mini subversive art lesson out of the way, here’s a bit more on Rudolf Schlichter whose work, though not initially, was reviled by the Nazis.

While Schlichter’s body of work is as vast as it is diverse, there were many recurrent points of interest and themes, especially erotic ones, in his paintings and illustrations. Often his subjects were comprised of various bohemian movers and shakers and other residents who were part of the vibrant counterculture of the streets of Berlin where he spent much of his time. In 1923 Schlichter provided 60 illustrations for an edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol. At the end of the 1920s, Schlichter returned to being a practicing Catholic and would end up doing illustrations for various religious publications put out by the church including a youth-oriented magazine called Jungle Front. The illustrations in the magazine often cast a disparaging light on the politics of Adolf Hitler. Coincidently at the time of its publication, Schlichter also belonged to the exclusively German art organization run by the Third Reich, “Reichskammer der bildenden Künste” or the “Reich Chamber of Fine Arts” headed up by propagandist extraordinaire Joseph Goebbels. And as you might imagine the jab didn’t go unnoticed and Schlichter was promptly ousted. His work was removed from galleries and destroyed and Schlichter’s name was added to the “degenerate art” list kept by the Nazis. Which in my mind is always the right kind of list to be on, in any time period.

Though he would pass away at the age of 65, a little more than a decade prior to his death Schlichter produced many remarkable pieces of surrealistic style paintings. Which would lead to the artist being dubbed “the German Salvador Dali.” I’ve included a few of Schlichter’s surrealist works as well as a nice sampling of his erotica below. Which means much of what follows is NSFW.
 

 

“Blonde Enemy” 1922.
 

“Dada Roof Studio.”
 
More after the jump…

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Real Horrorshow: The short-lived ‘Clockwork Orange’-themed punk band Molodoy


 
I’m pleased to have a reason to call attention to the Sheffield Tape Archive, an absolutely unbeatable resource helping to preserve an essential part of our collective musical heritage. As they describe it, the archive’s purpose is to house “a series of archive recordings from around 1980 onwards: sheffield bands, demos, concerts and rarities.”

One of the more intriguing acts featured in the Sheffield Tape Archive existed only very briefly, never put out an album, and their only live dates were before 1980. They were called Molodoy, and they had a terrific gimmick: The entire band was an extended homage to the joint artistic labors of Anthony Burgess and Stanley Kubrick, the latter of course having most memorably adapted the former’s unsettling bestseller A Clockwork Orange. Not much is known about this band today, but I’m willing to bet that one rejected name for the band was Alex and the Droogs.

The group’s singer, Garry Warburton, unmistakably played the role of Alex, complete with facepaint incorporating the book’s signature gear/eye motif (as you can see above) that also references the extravagant eyelash makeup worn by Malcolm McDowell in the movie.
 

 
The name, Molodoy, comes from the book, which is told in an invention of Burgess’ called “Nadsat,” a type of youth slang that is replete with Russian-derived colloquialisms—the best-known term is “horrorshow,” which is a reformulation of khorosho, the Russian word for “good.” The term molodoy, meaning “young,” pops up early in Burgess’ novel:
 

I nudged him hard, saying: “Come, my gloopy bastard as thou art. Think thou not on them. There’ll be life like down here most likely, with some getting knifed and others doing the knifing. And now, with the nochy still molodoy, let us be on our way, O my brothers.”

 
Molodoy unfortunately didn’t leave much trace behind. I was able to find an account of a Cabaret Voltaire gig at Sheffield’s Limit Club from the summer of 1978 at which Molodoy also played. The writer, whose name I was not able to ascertain, seems to have found them more than a little intimidating:
 

Molodoy follow. This is the band the skinheads have come to see. The singer is dressed in full Clockwork Orange droog uniform: black bowler hat, eye make-up, white shirt and trousers, black boots and braces. Real horrowshow.

“This one’s called ‘Children Of The Third Reich’”.

The lyrics flirt with fascism. The music is taut, dense and sexless. He’s watchable in a detestable kind of way. The skins push each other around, there is argy, but thankfully no bargy. The rest of us look on, mute. We are either young, liberal-minded types who think everyone is entitled to their own point of view, or we are collectively shit scared of getting a 14 eye oxblood Dr. Martens boot to the head. Molodoy continue to thrash and thrum, we the audience opt to keep schtum.

 
To perform in a rock group dressed as a Droog in 70s Britain was to, obviously, assume the mantle not just of “ultra-violence,” but of sexual violence as well. After Fleet Street blamed the film for inspiring a gang rape in which the attackers sang “Singin’ in the Rain” as “Singin’ in the Rape” and A Clockwork Orange was linked to several sensational murders, Kubrick’s film was withdrawn from distribution in 1973 at the director’s request. No wonder the bootboys came out in force for Molodoy.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Vladimir Putin sings Radiohead’s ‘Creep’
03.23.2017
11:57 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Radiohead
Creep
Putin


 
Some evil genius took footage of Vladimir Putin singing Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” and somehow edited it to look like Putin is instead singing Radiohead’s “Creep.” It’s very Lynchian, to say the least, and not just because Putin looks like he could be the sibling of Twin Peaks actor Michael J. Anderson, AKA the “Man from Another Place.”

Creepy? Yes, it’s kinda creepy.

I almost fell for it at first until I did some digging around the Internet to find the video’s provenance. Good shit. Savor it.

 
via Stereogum

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Revealed: David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Lemmy can’t play without the little diagrams with the dots!
03.23.2017
11:32 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
French and Saunders


 
In 1991 the British comedy program French and Saunders showed an amusing sketch that involved several prominent British rock musicians, including David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, and Lemmy of Motörhead.

It’s a simple and repetitive premise, but it works wonderfully. Most of the sketch is a dream sequence, imagining a court case (being England, that means wigs!) against the publisher of a book of “easy” guitar guidance that doesn’t even include the little diagrams with the dots to tell you where on the fretboard to place your fingers!

The prosecution calls to the witness stand several luminaries of rock, the three gentlemen mentioned above plus Level 42 bassist Mark King and former Thin Lizzy axe-slinger Gary Moore—all of whom freely testify that they can’t read music and can’t really play any notation that lacks the little finger-placement diagrams. Each of the five witnesses struts to the witness stand in the act of playing a signature tune—”Money for Nothing,” “Ace of Spades,” “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2”—only to produce atonal garbage as soon as the offending diagram-less primer is placed in front of them.

See the sketch after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Steady Diet of Something’: Cooking oatmeal and spicy Pop Tarts with Fugazi
03.23.2017
10:06 am

Topics:
Food
Music

Tags:
Fugazi


 
The Fall 1989 issue of Flipside had features on Pixies and an obscure bunch of weirdos from Seattle called Nirvana, but it was another new combo called Fugazi that scored the cover, with just two EPs on Dischord and a release on the Sub Pop Singles Club to its name. Of course Fugazi started out with an impeccable pedigree: Ian MacKaye, the closest thing to the founder of the straight-edge movement you could name, combining forces with Guy Picciotto and Joe Canty from Rites of Spring.

Fugazi’s feature from that issue of Flipside featured five handwritten recipes from Ian, Guy, Brendan, and Joe, for oatmeal, pasta sauce, “dinner beans,” “spicy Pop Tarts,” and, for the closer, tea. If you think about it, recipes are very DIY, which maybe explains why the members of Fugazi so readily excelled at the art of recipe construction. 
 

 
The recipes are real recipes, but there’s a good deal of humor in there as well. Ian’s recipe for tea is an extended riff on being so busy that he keeps forgetting to turn off the boiling water, and when the tea is finally ready, forgetting to drink it. In his oatmeal recipe he strikes a similar note when he forgets to return to the pot once the water is boiling. The guys seldom use a proper measurement—this is fuel, not cuisine, and also not an exact science. (Brendan’s recipe for spicy Pop Tarts is just pure fun, though.)
 

 

 
Guy’s recipe makes a reference to vegetarianism, and in case you’re wondering, yeah, the whole band is vegetarian, a tough trick to pull off when you are touring the United States of America as relentlessly as Fugazi did. In a way it must have reinforced the band’s DIY instincts—if you can’t rely on Arby’s to make you a veggie burger—and you can’t—then you “fill up a cooler with decent food from grocery stores and simply picnic in their van,” as Michael Azerrad put it in Our Band Could Be Your Life.

MacKaye is somewhat famously vegan, although less vocal about it than, say, Morrissey. In 2010 MacKaye said, “Our society is centered around meat consumption, and our society fucking sucks.”

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The space burial of Dr. Timothy Leary and ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry


 
Twenty years ago, the perihelion of the Hale-Bopp comet coincided with the mass suicide of the Heaven’s Gate cult, whose members believed death was a sure way of hitching a ride on a spaceship. They put on new pairs of Nike Decades before eating phenobarbital and tying bags around their heads. Among the dead in Rancho Santa Fe was Thomas Nichols, whose sister Nichelle played Lt. Uhura on Star Trek. “He made his choices, and we respect those choices,” she told Larry King.
 

 
One month later, a Pegasus rocket carrying the remains of Dr. Timothy Leary, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, physicist and space colonization advocate Gerard O’Neill, Operation Paperclip beneficiary Krafft Ehricke, and 20 other former space enthusiasts launched from the Canary Islands.

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Want to feel good about yourself? Want to feel like you’re on acid or ecstasy? Then watch this.
03.23.2017
08:45 am

Topics:
Amusing
Drugs

Tags:
trippy


 
I noticed this video of a naked clay figure making the rounds on Facebook, but I never clicked play. Today was the day I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about and it’s… something. I’m not sure what it is exactly but it’s oddly soothing and amusing at the same time.

The only true life situation I can compare this to is tripping on acid with your nude genderless best friend (who has skin like uncooked sausage) at the end of a yoga class. Does this make any sense? If not, click play and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Maybe. I can’t explain it any better than that, it’s all I have. You just need to watch it. 

It’s called “Hi Stranger” and it was written, directed, and animated by Kirsten Lepore. 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Who were Simon Dupree and the Big Sound? (And why you should care)


 
I have been madly in love with a song called “Kites” by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound for… well for longer than I care to admit to in public. I discovered it in the mid-80s on a 45rpm single and long assumed that the group was a one-hit wonder of the psychedelic era—if that. But that was during the pre-Internet years before I could have just googled their name and known then what I only figured out over the weekend…

“Kites,” written by Hal Hackady and Lee Pockriss, is a gorgeous, soaring ballad that uses unusual instrumentation for a pop song—vibes, a gong, a wind machine, plus an early use of the mellotron—and the recited “sweet nothings” whispers of a woman speaking in Chinese. The lyrics are as romantic as anything Scott Walker ever came up with and are belted out by a truly powerful and fantastic voice:

I will fly a yellow paper sun in your sky
When the wind is high,
When the wind is high

I will float a silver solid moon through your window
If your night is dark,
If your night is dark

In letters of gold on a snow white kite, I will write “I love you!”
And send it soaring high above you
For all to read

I will scatter rice paper stars in your heaven
If there are no stars,
If there are no stars

All of these and seven wonders more will I find
When the wind is high,
When the wind is high

The group apparently hated the song—which got to #8 on the British pop charts—but their label and manager insisted on it. They considered themselves a sweaty rock and roll band, to them this lovey-dovey psychedelic balladeering was, as one of them would later call it “utter shit.” But this unwanted hit would soon catapult them into the spotlight as they went from playing clubs to package tours and TV shows with the likes of the Walker Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Gene Pitney and the Beach Boys.

But here’s the big thing I didn’t know about Simon Dupree and the Big Sound…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The punk rock portraits of the Screamers’ Tomata du Plenty
03.22.2017
02:37 pm

Topics:
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Screamers
Tomata du Plenty


 
The Screamers were one of the essential components of the L.A. punk scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, although they famously never put out a studio LP. They had one of the best band logos in the world, designed by comix artist Gary Panter of Jimbo renown.

The Screamers had plenty of prominent fans, one of whom was DEVO’s Gerard Casale, who testified as follows in Marc Spitz and Brendan Mullen’s We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk:
 

DEVO loved the Screamers. We thought the Screamers and Tomata du Plenty were fucking unbelievable. You see a band that you’re creatively and intellectually inspired by and envious of and we were like, “Why didn’t we think of it?” They were so way ahead of their time. It was almost as if what they were thinking about, what they were after was like “Firestarter” by Prodigy, but this was the summer of ‘77. They were using rudimentary synths and sequencers but with punk energy and aggressive lyrics and theatrical staging with German expressionist lighting.

 
A frontman is an important element of any successful band, and the Screamers’ Tomata du Plenty (real name David Xavier Harrigan) was no exception. Their live act must have been something to behold, as Steve Waksman relates in This Ain’t the Summer of Love:
 

[The Screamers] styled one of the most unusual and unnerving band sounds of the punk era based around [Tommy] Gear’s synthesizer, drummer K.K. Barrett’s strong quasi-mechanical rhythms, and the psychodramatic performance style of singer Du Plenty, the total effect of which was designed to foster and control levels of anxiety experienced by the audience.

 
Tomata had been banging around the Seattle scene in the early 1970s before relocating to L.A. After the Screamers broke up in 1981, he switched his attention to painting. Indeed, in 1983 Tomata’s watercolors were featured at a show at the Zero One Gallery (often styled “01”) in Los Angeles, a space that was the offshoot of a prior entity called Zero Zero on Cahuenga Boulevard. Tomata’s painting prowess somehow became the centerpiece of a somewhat confusing anecdote told by David Lee Roth on Late Night with David Letterman in early 1985. 

Sadly, in August 2000, Tomata died of cancer at the age of 52. At some point in the 1990s he executed a series of punk rock portraits, for lack of a better description, featuring people from the L.A. punk scene as well as other rock and roll luminaries (and, randomly, the 19th-century French author Guy de Maupassant). Most of the portraits were painted on a page from some work of literature, such as Allen Ginberg’s Howl or Hubert Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Modern Life Sucks: Satirical illustrations of our brave new world

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We’re all owned. We’re bought, bartered, liked, sold, conned, shared and used everyday to make other people money. We’re all well and truly fucked. Welcome to the world of Luis Quiles.

Luis Quiles, aka Gunsmithcat, is a Spanish artist whose corrsucating satirical ilustrations take no prisoners. No one is safe. The right. The left. The good. The bad. Quiles takes them all down. He specifically targets the dehumanizing nature of capitalism, terrorism, and religion. His work is highly controversial. It’s been deemed offensive. But we shouldn’t be offended by Luis’s drawings rather we should be offended at the hard reality he depicts.
 
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See more of Luis Quiles’ work, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
If you have OCD, you’re gonna HATE ‘The most unsatisfying video in the world EVER’
03.22.2017
11:43 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
OCD
chaos


 
This video is poking fun at those “satisfying” videos on YouTube where everything seems to come together perfectly. You feel strangely satisfied after watching them. BUT this particular video I’m posting here will make you feel uneasy, if not downright nervous.

Now, if you have OCD, you’re simply going to HATE this. I’m sort of a perfectionist when it comes to order and for whatever reason, I watched the whole damned thing even though it was total chaos in my mind.

Why, oh why, did I punish myself like this? See if you can stop yourself from hitting “play.” I promise you that you won’t regret it…

 
via Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Helmets of blood: The Lost Gospels of Al Jourgensen
03.22.2017
11:03 am

Topics:
Books
Drugs
Music

Tags:
Drugs
industrial music
Ministry


 
First of all, let’s face it, there is no way to overestimate Ministry’s influence on rock ‘n’ roll. For one brief moment in time (let’s say 1988), they were the heaviest band on the planet, and they are clearly the greatest industrial-rock band of all time (unless you include fire tricks, then obviously Rammstein). And probably the best part about it is that they’ve been shepherded for the past thirty-something years by a complete maniac.

“God, I hate that guy. And he owes me an ass-fuck.”
- Al Jourgensen on Robert Plant

Frontman/chief-strategist/visionary Al Jourgensen started Ministry in Chicago in 1981. Originally they were a soppy synth-pop band (see 1983’s With Sympathy album, still a dancefloor fave among less sociopathic new-wavers), but as the 80s wore on, the drugs and the guitars and the psychiatric disorders took hold and by 1987’s Land of Rape and Honey album, the sound and vision had evolved into an ear-bleeding digital acid-metal nightmare. Shows became war zones. The band ushered in the 90s with hardcore sex and violence and enough Marshall stacks to topple the New World Order. Throughout it all, Jourgensen crawled through the muck of his own tortured psyche, drowning his psychosis with more psychosis in an endless orgy of sex, drugs and debauchery. And in 2013, he spilled the beans in a tell-all autobio, The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen,  that would swear even the most hardened drug enthusiast into a life of quiet sobriety. I mean, this is how the goddamn book starts:

“All that came out of me was blood, and there was so much pouring out of my dick and asshole that I started to panic. I didn’t want the toilet to overflow, so I took off the helmet, held it to my ass, and let the blood pour in there. I fell off the toilet and I tried to put the helmet back on, and about twelve ounces of blood matted down my hair and ran down my face, pooling with the blood that was dribbling out of my face and nose.”

 

A Young Al Jourgensen (with Stephen “Stevo” George) in his pre-pissing blood pretty boy days
 
Given that audacious opener, you may be expecting a redemption story. Well, he eventually gets his teeth fixed, but that’s about it. Mostly it’s just full-tilt gonzo, all the time. Just ask Butthole Surfers’ megaphone abuser Gibby Haynes, who is no stranger to bad craziness himself. Touring with Ministry was heavy even for him.

“I had never really done that, where it was girls, hotel rooms, girls, blowjobs. There were so many girls and so many drugs, so much nudity. I was lying on the floor, and Al glanced over at me and went, ‘Nice cock, Haynes.’ I was like, ‘Aw man, no one’s ever told me that before.’ That’s so sweet. It might not be true, but it’s nice to hear.”

Hayne is not exaggerating, either. There’s an incredible amount of really weird, gross group sex on display in this book, most of it involving Jourgensen, it being his autobiography and all.

“One night I fucked a paraplegic chick in a wheelchair. I think she had Parkinson’s. So she’s blowing a guy in our crew and I’m fucking her. She’s wearing a colostomy bag, and I was naturally curious. I stopped fucking her for a second and I started squeezing the bag back into her.”

And as soon as the fucking is over, the drugs, booze, paranoia and craziness starts back up. And it’s not just Jourgensen. Most of his cohorts are just as nuts. Here’s a snapshot from the book of life with Pigface/Ministry singer Chris Connolly:

“One day Chris comes running over, sweating and all freaked out, saying skinheads attacked him. I grabbed some pepper spray and a baseball bat; I didn’t have a gun back then. I go running outside to confront these skinheads who harassed my new vocalist. It was two ten-year-olds on their bikes. I asked him, ‘is that what harassed you?’ And he said yeah. I was like, “They’re ten-year-olds with tennis rackets. I don’t waste pepper spray on ten-year-olds.”

 

El Duce, only just slightly more epically fucked than the guy from Ministry
 
He also spent more time with Mentors’ frontman El Duce than anybody in their right mind would.

“A couple of times he passed out in the aisle of the drugstore after stealing mouthwash. They’d arrest him and then we’d have to bail him out for being drunk in Walgreens. You can’t tell me that’s not cool, man.”

S’pose not!
 

What does this man have in common with Al Jourgensen? It might not be the first thing that comes to mind…

More after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Chuck Barris is dead, but the scandalous ‘Popsicle Twins’ will live forever
03.22.2017
10:05 am

Topics:
R.I.P.
Sex
Television

Tags:
1970s
TV Hell
Chuck Barris


 
Well, the CIA lost their greatest assassin today. Gong Show host Chuck Barris has died, aged 87.  Dumb but beautiful and entirely emblematic of the decade in which it flourished, The Gong Show was quintessential 1970s junk TV, a swirling, whirling dimestore cocktail of low-watt celebrity worship, vaudeville schmaltz, and punk ferocity. Half game-show, half freakshow, it allowed ordinary knuckleheads a chance to shine on national television while D-grade stars like Jamie Farr, Jaye P. Morgan, and Rip Taylor mocked them. It was like American Idol, except for that everyone was in on the joke. Lording over the whole chaotic enterprise was game-show impresario Barris, a bucket hat wearing goofball who could not care less if anybody won or if anybody died. It was so, so good, a riot of polyester, bubbles, desperation and abject failure. It made legitimate stars out of unlikely characters like Gene Gene the Dancing Machine and The Unknown Comic.

It was everything the 1970s promised and more.
 

‘Gong Show’ greatness: Gene Gene the Dancing Machine
 
Barris also created The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game and, according to his kooky autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (!), he ran his media empire while working as a spy-slash-assassin for the CIA. The CIA denied it, but of course they would.

Anyway, let us not mourn the man’s tragic passing, but celebrate his most towering achievement: the 1977 Gong Show appearance of “Have You Got A Nickel” AKA the Popsicle Twins. We could analyze it, but that’s not what Chuck would’ve wanted. All you really need to know is that sometime in 1977, The Gong Show featured 17-year-old twins eating orange popsicles on stage—that’s it—and the whole country almost had a heart attack.

Rest in peace, Chuck. You truly were a Dangerous Mind. Gong, but not forgotten…

Watch the Popsicle Twins after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
A Marilyn Monroe-themed house is up for sale and it’s batshit crazy-looking


A shot of the living room in the Marilyn Monroe-themed house in Dublin currently up for sale.
 
If your dream has ever been to move to Ireland and live in a house that was once owned by Marilyn Monroe’s number one fan, then you may finally get to live out that very strange and oddly specific fantasy. Nearly every wall of the 1,200 square foot, three-bedroom, one bathroom house at 44 Harelawn Drive in Clondalkin, Dublin is covered in images of Marilyn and has been painted in blinding pop-art style colors.

To say that the home is tasteless would be an understatement—just looking at the photos included in the listing nearly gave me a seizure. And everywhere I look, I see Marilyn’s famous mug looking right back at me. According to the listing, the decor inside this little slice of heaven is described as “quirky.” But since the home is located so close to the pleasant-sounding Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, I’m sure someone will express interest in making this their new digs. But will they keep this zany decor? And while it may seem like a deal to some people, the current asking price is around $230,000 USD (or €185,000). I’ve posted images of the Marilyn Monroe house of horrors below.
 

The plain, rather normal looking exterior of the Marilyn Monroe house.
 

This room is purple. Very, very purple.
 

The stairway leading to the second floor of the Marilyn house.
 
More Marilyn after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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