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Breathtakingly beautiful Autochromes of women from the early 1900s (NSFW)
10.20.2017
10:08 am
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The lowly potato gave the world sustenance, French fries, and would you believe color photography?

In 1903, two French inventors and photographers, Auguste and Louis Lumière, used the potato as the basis for their patented process in creating color photographs, or Autochromes as they were called. It was a simple but ingenious technique—crush potatoes into tiny particles; separate these minuscule starch particles into three; add red, violet and green dye; mix onto a glass plate; brush off the excess; flatten the dyed particles onto the plate between two rollers—thus creating microscopic color filters; fill in any gaps with soot; brush with light-sensitive silver bromide. Voila! You have a photographic plate ready to take color pictures.

The Lumières were also behind early advances in motion pictures but the brothers thought there was no future in movies and stuck to developing color photography. By 1907, the Lumières’ technique had proved so successful it infected the photographic world with “color fever.” Photographers across Europe and America (including talented amateurs like Gustave Eiffel better known for his Parisien tower) started producing a gallery’s worth of pictures—from portraits to nudes. To get an idea of scale, take for example just one repository the National Geographic Society which currently has “more than 15,000 glass plates in its archives, most of which are autochromes.”

What I love about Autochromes is the richness of color matched by a literal grittiness caused, in fact, by the potato starch. It gives the pictures a painterly quality, a depth, and resonance that digital photographs can rarely match. There were so many Autochromes taken after 1907 that sometimes the identity of the photographer is not known. Where possible in the following selection, I’ve tagged the person behind the camera.
 
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Gustav Gain.
 
More beautiful Autochromes, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.20.2017
10:08 am
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The never before told story of the man in the infamous ‘FUCK THE DRAFT’ posters


 
Of the many stories of official government suppression that came out of the Vietnam War era protest movements, one of the most compelling is the saga of Kiyoshi Kuromiya’s indelible “Fuck the Draft” poster. Kuromiya procured—how is unclear—a photo of a hippie burning his draft card, looking almost religiously captivated by the flame, and set his slogan in the plainest possible type. It was a hit, but his mail order sales gave feds seeking to suppress its message a strong angle of attack—using the mails to send obscene materials over state lines. The designer spent three years fighting those obscenity charges, and my Dangerous Minds colleague Jason Schafer crafted a fascinating deep-dive of that story about two and a half years ago. I unconditionally recommend reading it before proceeding here.

A crucial part of that story has gone untold until now—the perspective of Bill Greenshields, the man in the photograph. He’s only ever been publicly identified as the face of “Fuck the Draft” once before, practically in passing in a 1968 issue of an underground magazine. He’s agreed to tell his story for the first time to Dangerous Minds, to mark the 50th anniversary of his immortal rebellious action—the photo was taken on October 21, 1967, at the notorious war protest at the Pentagon, the one during which Abbie Hoffman famously attempted to levitate the building.

Dangerous Minds was put in contact with Greenshields by longtime Detroit art/punk provocateur Tim Caldwell (we’ve told you about him before.) Caldwell has known Greenshields for decades, but only just found out about his friend’s connection to the poster. It’s a story best told in Caldwell’s words:

Tim Caldwell: I was at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit for this exhibit called “Sonic Rebellion,” for the 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots in July of 1967. There are all these artifacts, like magazines, protest posters, books, and photographs, and people’s interpretations of all that in their artwork. And also there’s this idea of music as a force of expressive resistance. And there was this poster of my friend Bill. It was really weird, because he’d always told me he’d had a very different life before we met, and I didn’t really know what he looked like as a teenager—he’s almost 70 and I met him about 30 years ago, doing films and things like that. But so I saw this poster, in a case, and I was like “WOW, that’s him!” He looks kind of goofy and crazed in it, because that’s just the moment they caught him, he wasn’t posing or anything. I hadn’t seen him in about five or seven years, so I called a mutual friend who’s a musician who he knew Bill from film societies going back to the ‘80s. And he confirmed that it was Bill in the poster, and I asked if he was OK with talking about it, since he’d never mentioned it. So finally I called Bill and, yeah, it’s him! And every time we talked after that he’d have more and more crazy stories about stuff he did in the protest era that I’d never heard about before, he had this whole secret life before I met him—I started to wonder how well I’d really known him for those 30 years!
 

Bill Greenshields reliving a key moment from his past

Greenshields broke his decades-long silence on his experience in a phone conversation last weekend.

DM: So let’s start at the beginning—the protest itself. What were the circumstances, and do you know who shot the picture?

Bill Greenshield: I have no idea who took the picture or how I was selected to be on a poster. There were some people around with cameras, some of whom I thought were probably government spooks.

DM: Some of them probably were!

BG: There were friendlies too, with cameras, though. This occurred at the Pentagon on October 21, 1967, and it was part of the march on the Pentagon.

DM: This was the day that Yippies tried to levitate the Pentagon?

BG: Yeah, that occurred at the same time, you might say, around sundown. The march started at the Lincoln Memorial. People were bussed in from all over the country, and it was kind of a virgin thing, the first really big national march. If you’ve been to the Lincoln Memorial, you know there’s a giant long reflecting pool between that and the Washington Monument obelisk. At that particular time, I was part of a group of draft resistors in the Detroit area, and one of us had made a mock-up of a sign, a really large draft card. The name on it was “Loony Bird Johnson,” since LBJ was president at the time. Another fellow and I took off our shoes and sock and walked into the reflecting pool, which was slippery as hell. So we’re slipping and sliding, trying to be really careful, taking this gigantic draft card out into the middle of it, and suddenly everyone looked a lot smaller, except Lincoln, who was still very imposing. We got out a butane lighter and tried to light it, and it took a while, because there was a breeze and it was poster board. But we got it lit and immolated the whole thing. Then slid all the way back and put our shoes on to go hear all the speeches.

Then there was a march across the Potomac to the Pentagon. I don’t know how many miles it was, but it was slow going. I don’t know how many people were there but it was a long line of them, and the first people there went to where the public entrance was, that large staircase, and they went up there and got stuck up there, surrounded by Federal Marshals, who were not very nice [laughs], with billy clubs and whatnot, and Federal troops, who were our age, and were very nice. They were armed, but you could talk with them. It was starting to get dark, and like I said, they were stuck up there. Then some of the Yippies were doing like an invocation to levitate the Pentagon…

DM: So did it go up?

BG: Well, WE levitated! [laughs] Anyway, what happened was someone threw a rope up to the next level, because the stairs were blocked, and nobody was grabbing it to climb it, and I thought “what the hell,” and I started to go up. And as I’m going up I’m thinking various things, like “I hope someone up there keeps holding the other end of this,” and “A sniper could pick me off pretty good right now.” And when I got all the way up some people saw me and helped me over the ledge. People were pretty crammed together, and about 50 of them had put their draft cards in a soldier’s helmet and burned them all, and I had just missed it. So I took mine out and lit it up individually, and it lit a lot better than the big cardboard one. That was when someone took my picture. And that picture somehow got to Kiyoshi Kuromiya who made the poster.

I had no knowledge of the poster until an article in May of 1968, in The Fifth Estate, an underground paper that still exists, by the way, Harvey Ovshinsky was the editor. I was a childhood friend of his, all the way through junior high school, and he recognized me on the poster right away, and even named me in the article.
 

click to spawn a more readable enlargement

DM: The look on your face in that poster is a little demented, like you’re some kind of twisted fire-worshipper.

BG: Yeah, like there’s this GLEE of some kind! That’s probably why it was selected, but you gotta remember, I had just climbed this rope after walking from the Lincoln Monument to the Pentagon, and so I probably WAS really enjoying burning that card at the time. [laughs]

DM: So after the poster came out, the Federal obscenity charges came up against Kuromiya. Did the feds try finding you, too?

BG: Yes, they did.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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10.20.2017
09:58 am
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Doctor Who’s 1972 pop single on Deep Purple’s label
10.20.2017
09:54 am
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Jon Pertwee starred in the reruns of Doctor Who my local PBS affiliate started airing in the Eighties; perhaps the station decided to start with the color episodes. Ever since, when someone else is playing Doctor Who, even Tom Baker, I miss Pertwee’s lisp and Edwardian dress, his dandyish manner, the wild look in his eyes.

Doctor Who novelty records were born in 1964 on “I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek” by the (Newcastle) Go-Go’s. They intersected with punk on the Art Attacks’ 1978 debut “I Am a Dalek” (“EXTERMINATE! KI-I-I-ILL!”) and reached their creative peak in 1988, when the Timelords’ “Doctorin’ the TARDIS” attained the unsurpassable zenith of excellence in the genre.

Pertwee, who had a long and colorful career as a recording artist, was the first Doctor to release his own single. On 1972’s “Who Is the Doctor,” recorded for Deep Purple’s label, producer Rupert Hine added rock drums to Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme, and Pertwee intoned some cosmic verse about how to love your Time Lord, or something:

Is your faith before your mind?
Know me
Am I the Doctor?

 

The 1985 Safari Records issue of “Who Is the Doctor”
 
Neil Priddey’s Purple Records discography explains Pertwee’s connection to the label and notes that one of the artists on Brian Eno’s Obscure label took part in the session:

Jon Pertwee was a personal friend of [Deep Purple manager] Tony Edwards, so he asked Rupert Hine and David MacIver to write and produced this project. They tried to get the BBC involved, but (according to MacIver) they were given the cold shoulder.

MacIver wrote the lyrics in 20 minutes and Hine produced the session. Simon Jeffes [of Penguin Cafe Orchestra], a good friend of theirs, also played on the tracks with Rupert playing his ARP 2600 synthesizer.

Time is a wondrous thing. MacIver’s 20 minutes of labor paid off again in ‘82, when BBC Records reissued the single with a different B-side, and in ‘85, when the synth-pop label Safari Records repackaged it with Blood Donor’s “Dr . . . ?” Hear its total extratemporal majesty below.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.20.2017
09:54 am
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Born to be Cheap: This Divine ugly Christmas sweater is REALLY CHEAP
10.20.2017
09:44 am
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“WHO WANTS TO DIE FOR ART?”

 
I’m not one for the whole “ugly Christmas sweater” thing. I think it’s stupid and I think Christmas is stupid, too. Last year I didn’t even get those cha-cha heels I wanted…

That said, this nifty new Divine ugly Christmas sweater—selling for CHEAP—is something that I can get behind.

I was born to be helpless, I was born to be cold
I was born to never do what I’m told
I was to be shallow, wasn’t born to be deep
Of all the things I was born to be CHEAP!

Now you don’t have to be cold (or die for art) and you can still be totally cheap, too. This divine Divine ugly Christmas sweater from the fine folks at Blizzard Bay can be yours for the CHEAP CHEAP price of only $29. It’s CHEAP, but still made of 100% cotton with a cool design of Divine in character as the immortal Babs Johnson from Pink Flamingos.

But Christ on a skateboard, Xmas sweaters already and Halloween’s not even in the rear view mirror yet? Take a gander at Kobe Kai’s divine Divine DIY Halloween costume at her Horror Kitsch Bitch blog. It’s pretty elaborate, with details down to the dogshit.
 

 

 
See more pics and shit at the Horror Kitsch Bitch blog.
 

Divine sings “Born to Be Cheap” on Late Night with David Letterman in 1982.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.20.2017
09:44 am
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Storyboards from ‘Aeon Flux,’ including the iconic fly-eye sequence
10.19.2017
01:28 pm
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The run of Aeon Flux on MTV in the early 1990s coincided with a period in my life when I was living abroad, but whenever I was stateside I would scarf down as many episodes as I could manage. The show looked and sounded like nothing else, something that continues to be true to this day, and seemed to resist regular plot continuity to an almost mind-blowing extent—at least I never watched it with any expectation that there was an intelligible “plot” that could be “followed.” Considering that all of the early shorts—seen initially on MTV’s experimental animation anthology Liquid Television—culminated in the eponymous protagonist’s repeated demise, it’s safe to say that narrative coherence was largely beside the point.

Aeon Flux (actually Æon Flux, right?) was the kind of show that was probably pilloried for being “pretentious” and self-serious but actually strikes me as a perfect expression of a certain variety of dry wit—if this sequence from “Tide” doesn’t make you grin at any point, you’re probably not paying close enough attention. One needn’t have been aware of the existence of the cyberpunk genre to intuit it from any random scene from the show, which also evinced an interest in fetishism and domination to an extent that was rare for a TV show in the 1990s. Every character looked like an emaciated Egon Schiele subject, and occasionally a spindly albino would materialize and lick someone’s earhole.

Aeon Flux was the brainchild of Peter Chung, a Korean-American CalArts grad who cut his teeth under Ralph Bakshi and also at Disney. A couple of weeks ago he participated an interview with The Art of the Title, in which he pointed to The Prisoner and the claire ligne style of Hergé and Moebius as key influences. It’s well worth a read. In the piece one of the items of visual collateral is the storyboard for the “Venus eyetrap” sequence, probably the most familiar visual element from the series.

On Deviantart, one can find nine further storyboards from artist Mike Jackson, who worked on “The Purge” and “A Last Time for Everything” late in the series’ run.

Having recently consumed several clips on YouTube, I’d like to offer the insight that dialogue almost always violated the show’s essence—the best sequences are as wordless as Harpo Marx. The entire series is available at Amazon for less than $20.
 

 

 
More production art from Aeon Flux after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.19.2017
01:28 pm
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Skin-deep stop-motion animation imprinted on naked human bodies

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To celebrate their tenth anniversary in business, creative agency DBLG decided to make an experimental animation in collaboration with London-based animation studio Animade. After the usual rounds of toing-and-froing and sending ideas back-and-forth, the two companies decided on making a stop-motion animation imprinted on the naked human body called Hey Pressto!you see what they did there?

Animade made the individual animations which were then passed onto DBLG who modeled “every frame in Cinema 4D and exported them as a physical 3D print.” Then it was a case of finding models who were willing to have the animation imprinted on their bodies. Some 270 applied, from which eight models—four men and four women—were chosen who were willing to have their butt cracks, nipples, and belly buttons filmed.

It was decided to film all the models at the same time as it took forty minutes between each shot for the mark of the imprint to disappear. But you know, no gain without pain, etc. The resulting film Hey Pressto! is certainly imaginative and quite amusing.
 
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Watch the animation and a film on how it was made, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.19.2017
08:03 am
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Hack your Halloween with the DIY ‘Zardoz’ mask
10.19.2017
07:38 am
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Sean Connery as Zed (unmasked) in ‘Zardoz’
 
Gun? Check. Boots? Check. Bullet-belt diaper overalls? Check. Exterminator mask? Big red X, honking failure noise, eyes spilling tears. Looks like Halloween is cancelled this year.

As everyone knows, the mask is the hardest item to procure for your Zardoz costume. Even if you shelled out $150 for a prop replica, you wouldn’t be able to wear the thing, which is made to hang on the bedroom wall, where it can scare away prospective sex partners. Nor does the replica appear to be double-sided like the mask in the movie.
 

The paper ‘Zardoz’ mask (via miso soup of Godzilla)
 
Luckily, miso soup of Godzilla, a Japanese site devoted to paper models of sci-fi characters, has gathered all the components of an Exterminator mask on a printer-friendly template. The instructions look kind of forbidding in Japanese, but I suppose the recipe for a breakfast sandwich would also, to me. Google Translate reveals that assembling one of these is a beginner-level arts and crafts project. I suspect the tricky part will be getting ahold of the right kind of craft paper and then contouring it into two identical faces. But the materials make it look like a fuck in the park: two printed copies of the template, an X-Acto, and some glue.

Not surprisingly, Amazon still has some copies of the limited edition Blu Ray of Zardoz on hand. While you’re there, pick up a used copy of John Boorman’s novelization, which GoodReads reviewer Mandy calls “A painful read” and “Not nearly as good as I imagined it would be.” Zardoz has spoken!
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.19.2017
07:38 am
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Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death


 
I find it baffling how one can visit The Art Institute of Chicago, home to some of the most iconic paintings in the world, and somehow bypass the Thorne Miniature Rooms. The collection boasts a breathtaking display of sixty-eight realistic dioramas of home interiors from around the world, ranging from Europe of the 13th century to America in the 1930s. As you peruse the extravagant display, you can imagine the tiny people who may have once called these painstaking reproductions their homes. Suddenly, you are immersed—a life’s worth of miniature milestones flashes before your eyes. Tiny meals enjoyed on a tiny kitchen table. Tiny books studied beside a tiny fireplace. A tiny murder involving a disgruntled ex-husband, an eyedropper full of bourbon, and a crowbar the size of your pinky finger. They were times of happiness and of despair.

Miniature rooms can be appreciated as more than just a niche form of art. Atlas Obscura recently profiled Frances Glessner Lee, considered by many to be the “mother of forensic science.” Raised in a privileged household, Glessner Lee had strong ambitions in academia, which she was prohibited from pursuing by her family due to her gender. It wasn’t until her divorce and her family inheritance later in life that Glessner Lee was able to dedicate her time, wealth, and craft to her one true passion: crime scene investigation.
 

 
Forensic science of the 1930s was still a developing practice without an adequate investigation procedure. Homicide cases would often go unsolved due to insufficient evidence and the inability to interpret data. This all changed when Glessner Lee helped found Harvard’s Department of Legal Medicine in 1931. It was through her involvement in the emerging world of criminology that Frances was able to develop a craft that contributed significantly to the field of forensics.

In the 1940s, Glessner Lee began work on “The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death,” a series of nineteen unique and highly-detailed dioramas that depicted the modern homicide. Each case involved an everyday example of death, such as hanging or stabbing, all presented in the context of a relatable setting, the home. The most eerie aspect of Frances’ work, besides the gruesome depiction of a dollhouse-sized murders, is that these were meticulously designed to replicate real cases from the Department of Legal Medicine. Great attention to detail was necessary on each model, because they would later be used to train operatives to “convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.” Analyzing each crime scene carefully reveals a real dedication to the specificity of the information, such as the position of the mini bullet holes, location of blood splatters, and the decay of its victims, who were mostly women.
 

 
Once described as “Grandma: Sleuth at Sixty-Nine,” Frances Glessner Lee became the first female police captain in United States in 1949. Not only was she a female who confronted the gender and workplace norms of American society, but also one who utilized what was considered to be a woman’s craft to become a significant figure among a male-dominated practice of police investigation.

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death will be on view at the Renwick Gallery in Washington DC from October 20th, 2017 - January 28th, 2018. The exhibition brings together all nineteen dioramas for their first ever public display as a complete series.
 

 

 
More miniature murders after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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10.18.2017
12:30 pm
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The doe-eyed deviants of painter Xue Wang
10.18.2017
12:11 pm
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“Some Like it Hot.” A painting by London-based artist Xue Wang.
 

“My take on ghosts is perhaps a little tinged with lightheartedness. These are not demons who threaten us mortals. But their merry mischief undoes our sense of everyday security. They rummage in our larders, shin their way up our drainpipes and play havoc with domestic bliss. As these spooks creep among us, we needn’t shrink from them but welcome their witty messages from the other side!”

—artist Xue Wang, September 2013

After moving from China to London while she was in her early 20s, future artist Xue Wang worked in the world of fashion. Armed with a BA in Fashion Design from Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art in Shenyang when she arrived in the UK, she would go on to complete her Masters in the same field in London. Despite her academic achievements, Wang’s original career of choice didn’t stick, and she soon found herself painting to better feed her creative instincts. Wang cites the work of many impactful artists as sources for her inspiration such as outsider hero Henry Darger, Frida Kahlo and unsurprisingly American pop surrealist Mark Ryden. If you are at all familiar with Ryden’s work over from the last three decades, I’m sure that you’ll notice his influence on her art.

It takes Wang anywhere from eighteen to twenty hours to complete a piece which she says are “reflective” of her personality. The artist also collects animal specimens, noting that she keeps a box of deceased bumblebees in her studio, which isn’t all that unusual as artists often have a penchant of incorporating aspects of nature into their work. For this post (this is Dangerous Minds after all), I’ve hand-picked some Wang’s more unsettling paintings for you to check out below. Not all of Wang’s work centers around innocent-looking, wide-eyed characters deeply entrenched in bad behavior—and the artist herself hopes that people can also see the more whimsical side of her work which has foundations in classic fairy tales and Hollywood nostalgia.
 

“Jack the Whipper.”
 

“Vampyres!”
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.18.2017
12:11 pm
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At home with Salvador Dali
10.18.2017
10:56 am
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Salvador Dali once appeared as the mystery guest on a long-time-ago TV show called What’s My Line? in the 1950s. You know the show, the one that featured a panel of well-known celebrities guessing the occupations of various members of the public by asking them a series of yes/no questions like “Do you work with your hands?” or “Do you tell jokes for a living?” and so on, until the occupation was revealed.

Every week, the show also featured a mystery guest. The same yes/no rules applied but this time the panel wore a selection of dainty blindfolds to make it more fun.

When Dali appeared he insisted on answering “Yes” to nearly every question he was asked, like “Are you a performer?” “Yes.” “Are you a leading man?” “Yes.” (The show’s host John Daly disagreed with that one and marked it as a “No.”) “Are you a writer?” “Yes.” “Do you draw comic books?” “Yes.” (Again, Daly struggled to agree with this answer but Dali was having none of it.)

I am sure if one the panel had asked, “Do you paint pictures on rockfaces while juggling elephants with your knees and wearing sea otters on your hands?” Dali would have said “Yes.”

But the thing is, despite the anchor’s wearying cavils, Dali was absolutely right—he could do everything because he never lived within other people’s expectations. He was boss of what he did and how he did it and this is why he could do anything.

Though I guess I should add the caveat that there was one thing the great artist could not do—Salvador Dali could never be boring. A bit repetitive yes, but never boring.

Take for example, a simple project like that time Picture Post magazine sent over photographer Charles Hewitt to take some snaps of Dali and his wife Gala, at their home in Portlligat, Spain. The resulting pictures were imaginative works of art worthy of inclusion in the Dalit’s ouevre. The finished spread was published in Picture Post on January 8th, 1955, and it’s still utterly impressive.
 
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Marvel at the wonder of Dali at home, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.18.2017
10:56 am
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OK, let’s all listen to that 1970s rock opera about Spider-Man…..
10.18.2017
09:57 am
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I don’t exactly understand how Iron Man became the dominant superhero of our era, but the truth is, Spider-Man’s the greatest character that the Marvel people ever came up with, isn’t he? There’s a reason that the Tobey Maguire series of Spider-Man movies kicked off what has now become a glut of expensive movies about muscled mutants and extraterrestrials wearing colorful bodysuits battling one another for the fate of the city/world/universe/whatever.

There’s a reason we’ve had three movie versions of Spider-Man in just under two decades. Spider-Man was the first truly relatable superhero, because Peter Parker was an angsty kid growing up on the boulevards of Queens, learning to harness his phenomenal powers for good. Didn’t we all feel like our superpowers were a burden, once upon a time?

That’s what made Spider-Man the core character of the Marvel universe, and that’s the thing that drew Bono and the Edge and Julie Taymor to even consider putting together a Broadway musical about the webbed wonder (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) a decade ago, a production that was headline fodder for months for the many injuries that the cast members kept suffering.

Amazingly, that was not the first ambitious musical telling of the Spider-Man story. In 1975 Lifesong Records released Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero, which told the moderately stressed-out story of Peter Parker and his tussles with Dr. Octopus, known as “Doc Ock” to you and me.

The music is credited to a band with the bland name of Hero, which in fact was a version of Crack the Sky, a West Virginia-based prog rock band that also made a splash on Lifesong Records the same year. 

One of the best things about the album is the back cover, which explains that many of our favorite Marvel pals are actually producing the music, with a lineup as follows: Black Panther on electric guitar, the Incredible Hulk on the drums, Power Man on bass, the Silver Surfer on keyboards, Captain America on “percussion” (polite term for tambourine), Thor on the trumpet, “Conan and the Barbarians” handling strings, and the Fantastic Four doing background vocals. Oh yeah, and the Falcon doing handclaps. Can’t forget the Falcon’s handclaps.
 

 
The best and most rocking song on the album is the opener, “High Wire,” which among other things addresses Peter’s frustration that “super-strength and fame ain’t all that they’re cracked up to be/‘Cause the only one that they don’t help is me.” As is almost necessary in the rock opera idiom, there’s not a little borrowing from the musical theater and especially 1950s doowop, and much of the album has its roots in folk.

Oh, and if you have issues with Stan Lee’s palpable overexposure—at the age of 94!—be aware that the album features several narrated bits read aloud by Lee, and they’re pretty bad.

How many musical treatments of the Iron Man story have they released by now? Oh, is it “none”?

More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.18.2017
09:57 am
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Bunny Hop: Peep inside the Playboy Clubs of the 60s, 70s & 80s


A photo taken at the opening of the very first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1960.
 
The first Playboy magazine hit the shelves in 1953 and in 1960, the late Hugh Hefner opened what would be the very first Playboy Club in Chicago. Other clubs would quickly emerge in more than twenty locations including Boston, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles, as well as more elaborate Playboy Club Resorts which you could visit in Jamaica and Manila. Entrance into the various clubs would run a member $25 a year for which they would receive a special key that when presented to a designated “Door Bunny” would get them inside. The clubs were designed to emulate the “Playboy lifestyle” projected by Hefner, though that’s not what initially ignited the vast existence of Playboy Clubs. The actual inspiration for the clubs began with an article in Playboy published in 1959 that detailed the goings-on at the historic Gaslight Club in Chicago’s River North area. The club was the brainchild of Burton Browne who modeled the club around the “Gay 90s” (aka the “Naughty Nineties” or the decade beginning in 1890) a debaucherous period where creativity and libidos ran wild.

Like Hefner’s future Playboy Clubs, entrance to the Gaslight required a key. Naturally, Hef was already a member of the Gaslight Club as it featured his favorite thing—half-naked women with large breasts everywhere you looked. According to Victor Lownes III, the executive of HMH Publishing Company (which would later become Playboy Enterprises in 1955) he recalled that the article received over 3,000 letters from readers of Playboy inquiring as to how they too could join this exclusive club. This set the wheels in motion for Hefner who knew how to recognize an opportunity, though at the time his vision for his Playboy-themed clubs didn’t include expansion beyond Chicago. When the doors to the fledgling club opened, it employed approximately 30 girls between the ages of 18-23 who were said to be “single, beautiful, charming, and refined.” It also somehow qualifies the old saying that people really did read Playboy articles. At least they read one in 1957. And that’s a fact. 

As you may have already assumed, and much like Hefner’s storied, celebrity-studded events at the Playboy Mansion, Playboy Clubs were frequented by Hollywood’s elite, such as Frank Sinatra. The Playboy Resorts featured entertainment from acts like Sonny & Cher, Melba Moore, and Sinatra’s pal and Playboy Club regular, Sammy Davis Jr. The first Detroit club which was located right across from a church attracted prominent members of that city’s vibrant jazz scene. Even Detroit’s mayor at the time Coleman Young (who held the position for twenty years starting in 1974), was an honorary member of the Playboy Club.

The St. Louis location regularly hosted comedy acts like George Carlin, Flip Wilson, Joan Rivers and Steve Martin. One of the more creative locations was opened on Lake Geneva in Wisconson that featured a ski slope, chairlift and according to former Bunny Pam Ellis, a DJ booth known as the “Bunny Hutch” where Bunnies would spin records while a bubble machine and disco ball set the mood. Most if not all of the girls at Lake Geneva lived in the “Bunny Dorm” which Ellis says was surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. If a girl didn’t live in the dorms, a car would be sent for them to their home to bring them to work where they could also eat for free. Ellis looks back on her time at Lake Geneva’s Playboy Club with fondness—especially the fact that she met her husband while she was DJ’ing in the Bunny Hutch.
 

Frank Sinatra hanging out at the Playboy Club in Las Vegas back in the day.
 
I had been working on this post for a while and had just started to get some words committed to “paper” when Hefner passed away on September 27th at the age of 91. Given that somewhat unexpected event, I held off on finishing it until today as I wasn’t crazy about having DM readers think that capitalizing on the death of someone as well-known and controversial as Hugh Hefner is something we aspire to. However, I do, like so many people, look back with fondness to a time where girls in bunny tails and ears were as glamorous as the movie stars that cavorted around the same clubs with them. Below I’ve posted a huge collection of photos taken inside and on the grounds of various Playboy Clubs including some rarely seen images from the Lake Geneva location that were kindly provided to me by Adam Levin with the help of Christina Ward of Feral House.
 

Bunnies on top of a locally made tractor at the Lake Geneva Playboy Club in Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Adam Levin.
 

Bunnies having fun at Dunn River Falls in Ochos Rios, Jamaica in 1972.
 

New York 1960s.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.18.2017
09:37 am
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That time 100,000 Iranian women protested against mandatory wearing of the hijab, 1979.

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There was once a strong belief among many Iranians that if they wanted something, then they just had to go out onto the street and demand it. This idea was fostered by the role many Iranians had in deposing Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and bringing back the radical Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khomeini from exile in France in 1979. This ended 2,500 years of Persian monarchy, replacing it with an Islamic Republic.

The Shah was seen as an autocratic, brutal, and oppressive dictator, who was attempting to westernize the country against the will of the people. The opposition to the Shah and his alleged evil western ways brought together an odd mix of Marxists, socialists, Islamic fundamentalists, and even the misguided media outlet the BBC. Together this unlikely coalition succeeded by demonstrations, strikes, marches, and news propaganda in forcing the Shah (and his supporters) to flee Iran and to bring in the Ayatollah and his Islamic revolution.

Many Iranians thought they were taking back control of their country for themselves. It wasn’t quite so simple. Political coalitions, no matter how well-meaning, only ever work in favor of those who appear to have the most power. The Ayatollah Khomeini was a figurehead around whom the country could unite. Therefore, Khomeini appeared to have the most power. Rather than working together to curtail the Khomeini’s influence, the socialists and the Marxists and the liberals all tried to win his support. This only confirmed to the Ayatollah Khomeini (and the Muslims who supported him) that he was in control.

An estimated one million people greeted the Ayatollah Khomeini’s arrival in Iran by Air France jet, in February 1979. By the end of March, the people had voted by an overwhelming margin of 99% to make Iran an Islamic Republic.

Though women were credited by the Ayatollah Khomeini for their essential role in bringing about the Iranian revolution, in early March 1979, he paid back their actions by implementing an edict that made it compulsory for all women to wear the hijab (veil) in public. Suddenly, any promise the Ayatollah offered of a new, better, fairer Iran was revealed as nothing more than a chimera. Khomeini was a hardline fundamentalist and he had no time for individual freedom—not when he knew what his invisible friend wanted. And Allah apparently wanted women covered up.

On March 8th, 1979, 100,000 women marched on the streets of Tehran against the mandatory wearing for all women of the hijab. Photographer Hengameh Golestan was present that day and believed it was her responsibility to document the demonstration as she was witnessing “something historic.”

It was a huge demonstration with women – and men – from all professions there, students, doctors, lawyers. We were fighting for freedom: political and religious, but also individual.

~Snip~

“They were demanding the freedom of choice. It wasn’t a protest against religion or beliefs, in fact many religious women joined the protest, this was strictly about women’s rights, it was all about having the option.”

~Snip~

I was walking beside this group of women, who were talking and joking. Everyone was happy for me to take their picture. You can see in their faces they felt joyful and powerful. The Iranian revolution had taught us that if we wanted something, we should go out into the street and demand it. People were so happy – I remember a group of nurses stopping some men in a car and telling them: “We want equality, so put on some scarves, too!” Everyone laughed.

I wanted to join in all the protests during the revolution, but I knew I had to go as a photographer. My first thought was: “It’s my responsibility to document this.” I’m rather small, so I was ducking in and out of the crowd, constantly taking photos. I took about 20 rolls of film. When the day was over, I ran home to develop them in my darkroom. I knew I had witnessed something historic. I was so proud of all the women. I wanted to show the best of us.

This turned out to be the last day women walked the streets of Tehran uncovered. It was our first disappointment with the new post-revolution rulers of Iran. We didn’t get the effect we had wanted. But when I look at this photo, I don’t just see the hijab looming over it. I see the women, the solidarity, the joy – and the strength we felt.

The women lost. The demonstration ended with the women being attacked and some even stabbed on the streets of Tehran. The men and their sexist, superstitious beliefs won. It’s a way of having power over women that continues to this day in many different forms.

Pioneering photographer Hengameh Golestan has been documenting life in Iran for 28 years, see more of her work here.
 
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See more photos, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.17.2017
09:40 am
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Brain Salad Surgery: The H. R. Giger artwork that inspired ‘Alien’
10.17.2017
08:53 am
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One of the images from H.R. Giger’s ‘Necronomicon.’

H.R. Giger’s 1977 book Necronomicon showcased his chilling, futuristic images of a world beyond our own would become the basis and inspiration for director Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien.

Giger’s profile was raised in 1973 when his sci-fi art was showcased by prog-rockers Emerson Lake & Palmer on the elaborate cover of their 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery. Swiss publishing house Sphinx-Verlag would publish a German-language portfolio full of Giger’s work about the mythical “Necronomicon” in 1977, as well as a French edition that same year. As you may be aware, Giger’s Necronomicon was inspired by the make-believe textbook of magic nightmared up by H.P. Lovecraft which the author first referenced in his 1924 short story, The Hound. When it comes to Giger’s dangerous, dark, and often somewhat R-rated take on the evil grimoire, the author and artist put his own unique spin on the book, undeniably his most vital and influential piece of work. In 1985 Giger would put out another edition of the material, Necronomicon 2 expanded to include 184 more images of his terrifying biomechanical creations and grim futuristic visions. 

Tracking down a copy of Giger’s Necronomicon isn’t difficult as long as you’re not coveting an original which can run you a few thousand bucks, while reprints usually sell for $200-$250. I’ve posted some of Giger’s work from the Necronomicon below—most which are emphatically NSFW.
 

 

 
More Giger after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.17.2017
08:53 am
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‘Halloween’ history: A female ‘Michael Myers’ slasher mask exists & it’s as terrifying as it sounds


Behold the “She Mask” a female version of the “Michael Myers” slasher mask created by Don Post Studios.
 
My enthusiasm for all things horror knows no bounds. I honestly can’t get enough of the genre and still look forward to Halloween with the zeal of a kid armed with a grinning, giant plastic pumpkin overloaded with enough candy to bring on diabetes overnight. One of my annual Halloween traditions is to watch the first three Halloween films during October—and it never gets old. For me at least. So, here’s the thing—even though I’d say I know my horror, I had no idea that the famous mask donned by “Michael Myers” in the film was made from a life cast of actor William Shatner’s face during the filming of 1975’s The Devil’s Rain.

But before we get to that, let me give you a quick history lesson on Don Post Studios who made the original William Shatner mask that would later become the face of evil incarnate thanks to Carpenter’s vision of a killer with a “pale face” and “human features.” 

Known as the “Godfather of Halloween” Don Post founded Don Post Studios in 1938, the first company to create the rubber masks we all know and love today, including a line of masks based on the classic movie monsters of Universal Pictures such as Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolfman. In the 1970s DPS put out masks based on the characters from the television series Star Trek including one in the image of Captain Kirk and another of “Mr. Spock” as played by Leonard Nimoy. Though kids were digging dressing up like both actors, the sale of these rubber masks was dismal. This didn’t surprise the folks at Don Post Studios as they had originally wanted to put out a collection of masks based on the aliens and far-out monsters featured on Star Trek but were told by Paramount to stick with Kirk and Spock.

Both masks were sculpted by William Malone, a long time artist, sculptor, and mask maker who worked extensively with Don Post Studios. According to Malone (noted in the book Voices in the Dark: Interviews with Horror Writers, Directors and Actors), director John Carpenter once visited him while he was at work and made the suggestion that the Shatner/Kirk mask would be cooler if it was painted white—though Malone couldn’t understand why anyone, much less Carpenter, would be even remotely interested in such a mask. Of course, the release of Carpenter’s first Halloween film showcasing actor Tony Moran wearing the Shatner mask painted white in 1978 changed all that once the film gained popularity. Sadly for DPS, their licensing with Paramount for the Captain Kirk mask had expired and their backlog of masks were gone—making it impossible for them to cash in on the Michael Myers mask craze. They would later engage the services of sculptor Neil Surges to create a generic “Everyman” mask in 1986 which would become a huge seller for the company until they closed up shop in 2012.

So what about the “She Mask” version of Michael Myers? Well, that’s where this story takes a bit of a weird, left turn.

In 2001 Don Post Studios decided that a female version of their best-selling Michael Myers/“Everyman” mask should be a real thing. So they came up with the “She Mask” (which was also sometimes called the “Michelle Myers mask”) that came with long hair, pink lipstick, blue eyeshadow and a fierce eyebrow game. According to folklore about the mask, DPS only produced a small number of the deeply creepy monster mashup making it quite the covetable collector’s item. The mask did end up in a film in 2009 called The Poughkeepsie Tapes, but that’s all I’m going to say about that. I’ve posted a few pictures of the “Michelle Myers” mask below. If you need me, I most definitely won’t be hiding under the bed or in a closet.
 

The ultra-rare “She Mask” (also known as the “Michelle Myers mask” by Don Post Studios.
 

A still of the “She Mask” in action from the 2007 film ‘The Poughkeepsie Tapes.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.17.2017
07:48 am
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