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Unemployed Shanghai ‘booth babes’ protest for the right to be sexy on top of cars
02:27 pm

Current Events


Automotive culture and scantily clad women seem to go together. We’ve all been in garages where the primary form of decoration is a pinup calendar or an old Playboy centerfold. Even if you have never heard the phrase “mudflap girl” before, you could probably figure it out, even sans context. The commodity the babes on The Price Is Right probably stroke the most often is “A NEW CAR!!!!” (in the voice of Johnny Olson or Rod Roddy). Cars. Ladies. Two great tastes that go great together.  And it’s as American as apple pie for a nubile lass to pose in her short-shorts on the hood of a bitchin’ Camaro.

But—well, not only American. Turns out, in China the practice surpasses even our own salacious limits. Apparently automotive conventions there are positively teeming with the so-called “booth babes,” but the central government in Beijing considers the idea vulgar, taking a dim enough view of the practice that it recently banned it outright. To be fair, it was a bit out of control—it wouldn’t occur to Americans to present a car in the following way, where you, ah, can’t even see what the car looks like:

It’s odd because China’s move is actually supposed to be a blow in favor of gender equality, but with a repressive, heavy hand that would never be tolerated in the U.S.

The 2015 Shanghai Motor Show, which is happening right now, is the first major automotive event affected by the ban and the “booth babes” who are now out of a job have decided to use it as the perfect platform for an organized labor protest. They’re out on the streets of Shanghai masquerading as unemployed beggars and getting the word out about the injustices that have befallen them. (I guess you do a “beggar” costume the same there as here—you put a little charcoal on your cheek.)




The large sign reads “The world’s a big place, shouldn’t we be allowed to survive?”
Apparently this year’s Shanghai Motor Show is hardly bereft of beautiful women, they’ve just been re-classified as “sales representatives,” “shopping guides,” “stand attendants,” and “car cleaners,” among other titles. Reuters spoke to one of these newly-renamed woman named Dai Jun: “I’m not called a ‘model’ here because they banned models this year.”
via RocketNews24

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Postcards of D.C. punk rockers and their cars circa 1994
11:29 am


Washington D.C.
Cynthia Connolly

Post Card Cover
I was just home for the holidays at a New Year’s Eve get together when an old friend showed me these neat post card sets of D.C. musicians with their cars that he got as a gift earlier in the day. I think they’re completely out of print, and the mutual friend that gave them must have bought them years ago, but I thought they were worth sharing nonetheless. 

Made by Cynthia Connolly, D.C. punk veteran, longtime Dischord Records employee and co-creator of 1988’s Banned in DC , a photographic history of the early DC punk scene, the postcards capture the rides of choice for D.C. luminaries Ted Leo, Jenny Toomey, Ian MacKaye and Allison Wolfe among many others.

From Cynthia Connolly’s website:

“Musicians from DC and their Cars” (or later renamed “favorite mode of transport”) was first created for the Chicago based and nationally distributed ‘zine, “Speed Kills” in about 1994. I wanted to contribute to my favorite ‘zine at the time, called Speed Kills, of which its’ topics usually covered indie and punk music and old cars. I owned a 1963 Ford Falcon, and at the time, my musician friends were all buying old cars. I then decided to create a photographic body of work that included the obvious: musicians from DC who owned old cars. I showed the original exhibit of about 13 images in Sidney, Australia in December 1995 and also at the Washington Project for the Arts in 1996. When I exhibited my show in Sidney, I created a small postcard packet of Silver Gelatin photographs in a set made to be used as postcards. I liked the idea so much, that when I returned from Austrailia, I worked with a printer in North Carolina, using non bleached recycled paper, and newly introduced soy ink, to create ecologically sound postcards in an edition of 1500. As the tour with Pat continued, I created in all, four sets with seven images each, all of which sold out.

You can take a look at the whole collection here.

The captions below are Connolly’s.
Ted Leo of The Sin-Eaters with his 1965 Chevy Nova
Kathi Wilcox
Kathi Wilcox of Bikini Kill w/ her 1965 Plymouth Valiant, WDC
GUY Fugazi
Guy Picciotto of Fugazi w/ his 1976 Chrysler Cordoba
More rockers and their wheels after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
Not for the squeamish: Man survives being hit by three cars
10:51 am

Current Events


In a scene reminiscent of the video for Thom Yorke and UNKLE’s “Rabbit in Your Headlights,” a middle-aged man survived being hit by three cars while crossing a busy road in Kunshan City in east China’s Jiangsu province.

The accident happened on October 28th, when the man, identified only as Li, tried to make his way across four lanes of traffic. Li was standing in the middle of the road when he was hit by the first vehicle. Another car plowed into Li seconds later as he lay injured on the ground.

Some passersby go to Li’s aid, and as they make phone calls to emergency services, a third car brakes and then hits Li.

Incredibly Li somehow survived this horrific accident, suffering several fractures in his leg and ribs. Authorities say he is now recovering well in hospital.

This video is not for the squeamish.

Via the Daily Telegraph.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Music videos are so out, 80s-tastic DeLorean commercials are in!
10:42 am



Are you a Norwegian electronic music enthusiast in the market for a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12? Look no further, my friend, because Norski producer/DJ Todd Terje (a kingpin of Norwegian EDM, apparently) is ready to sell you a fine futurist automobile with his new song, “DeLorean Dynamite.” The video itself is a real, actual commercial, for a real, actual 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, that you can really, actually purchase... provided you’re Norway-adjacent.

How did this project come about? From Terje’s press release:

This is a real classified for the sale of Frank’s Delorean. Frank was kind enough to let Terje use the DeLorean for his live visuals. Eventually, Frank decided it was time to sell his prized automobile, so in return for his generosity, Terje offered his music and Terje’s collaborator, Espen Friberg (the director who made the “Leisure Suit Preben” video) offered to make him a video to help him sell it. The result is this bizarre advertisement/music video, which is currently sitting somewhere on Norway’s Craigslist. The email address above is real. SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY, PLEASE.

In keeping with DeLorean aesthetics, Terje’s video has all the production value of an 80’s home video and it is absolutely hypnotic. For the full effect, I highly suggest turning on the subtitles—listening to DeLorean specs listed off in Norwegian over electronic music, while watching the car itself cruise through Scandinavian scenery… well, it puts one in a kind of meditative state (and the car appears to be in great condition). Prospective buyers are encouraged to contact Frank at Remember, serious inquiries only—don’t jerk Frank around.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
100 years ago, some people were REALLY hostile to the introduction of the automobile
01:07 pm



1902 Oldsmobile Model R Curved Dash Runabout
1902 Oldsmobile Model R Curved Dash Runabout
As with any transformative new technology, automobiles encountered considerable resistance when they arrived on the American scene in larger numbers between 1900 and 1910. There’s no doubt that they were popular—one of the features of American life back then was the birth of dozens of automobile enthusiasts’ “clubs,” a network that quickly coalesced into the American Automobile Association, which was founded in 1902.

That decade featured a fair number of cross-country automotive adventures, all of which occurred, let’s remember, with a near-total absence of paved roads, gas stations, road signs, road maps, streetlights, and traffic signals as well as vehicles lacking multiple gears that were capable of a whopping 30 mph and that broke down frequently (with no easy way to obtain replacement parts). In 1903 Horatio Jackson and Sewall Crocker and a goggles-wearing pit bull named “Bud” were the first to drive an automobile coast to coast (San Francisco to New York). The group became local celebrities at nearly every point of their journey, as most people had never even seen a car before.
Bud the automotive pit bull
“Bud,” the automotive pit bull
As mentioned, not everyone was equally entranced. Many people disliked the noise and clouds of dust that automobiles produced, not to mention the physical threat they posed to pedestrians, bicyclists, and horses. According to Horatio’s Drive, a 2003 PBS documentary by Ken Burns about the cross-country trip described above, Vermont passed a law requiring a person to walk in front of the car waving a red flag, which rather defeated the purpose of using the car in the first place. In Glencoe, Illinois, someone stretched a length of steel cable across a road in an effort to stop “the devil wagons.” Some cities banned automobiles outright.

But the most amusing (from today’s perspective) anti-automobile efforts happened in the Keystone State. At some point before 1910 (I can’t pin down the exact year), a group calling itself the Farmers’ Anti-Automobile Society of Pennsylvania proposed the following not-so-subtle additions to state law (emphasis added):

1. Automobiles traveling on country roads at night must send up a rocket every mile, then wait ten minutes for the road to clear. The driver may then proceed, with caution, blowing his horn and shooting off Roman candles, as before.

2. If the driver of an automobile sees a team of horses approaching, he is to stop, pulling over to one side of the road, and cover his machine with a blanket or dust cover which is painted or colored to blend into the scenery, and thus render the machine less noticeable.

3. In case a horse is unwilling to pass an automobile on the road, the driver of the car must take the machine apart as rapidly as possible and conceal the parts in the bushes.

Everybody cool with this? Remember: always make sure you have your rockets and camouflage tarpaulins in the trunk before you go out for a drive!

Here’s a short section from Horatio’s Drive about early hostility towards automobiles:

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Now YOU can own James Bond’s 1977 Lotus submarine car!
07:25 pm


James Bond

James Bond
The Spy Who Loved Me has everything you could want in a Bond film —action, adventure, corny sexual jokes, fabulous Bond girls (my favorite, actually, Ringo Starr’s wife, Barbara Bach), and completely impractical spy technology. You just can’t get more impractical than an amphibious car!

After filming wrapped, this functioning submersible car (adapted from a Lotus frame for over $100,000) was tucked away in a storage unit on Long Island and eventually purchased for a pittance at a blind auction when the rent went overdue. Soon, it will be up for auction through a Sotheby’s affiliate, and you could be the one to own it! (I assume most of our readers are eccentric millionaires with proclivities for elaborate toys).

Below you can see this little beauty in action. While some shots were done with a miniature model, most of the footage is of the actual car, driven by a retired Navy SEAL. Even the initial “dive” is the actual car, though the vehicle was “manned” with stunt dummies for safety.

Via Messy Nessy Chic

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
If you were forced at gunpoint to drive a car with Obama’s face on it, which one would you choose?
09:54 am



Obama Car
Photo by Terricia Soyombo, via dcist
As far as cults of personality go, Americans simply don’t have the panache of say, North Korea; It’s not really our fault—fanatical idolatry just blooms more lushly under fascism. Regardless, when we do manage the odd hothouse icon, our graven images are something to behold.

Now, I’m leaning towards towards the car in the video below because I’m a fan of both Crown Vics and terrible airbrushing. My background in the milieu trends more towards bald eagles and herds of wild horses crossing shallow yet tempestuous streams at a full gallop (rather than civil rights leaders and centrist presidents), but airbrushed American flags definitely hold a place in my tacky heart. The actual airbrush skill isn’t exactly refined, but I think it adds to the charm.

The newcomer above however, spotted in DC, is so sleek and modern. It even has the hashtag “#obamascar” on the side; I like that it knows how to network. And from a logistical standpoint, how do you even chrome a whole car? There’s also the subversive aspect of putting Obama’s face on a Cadillac, which became racist code for the layabout poor, post-Reagan. This is clearly a car of conscious liberal dissent—a big shiny “fuck you”—which I like.

As a composition though, I feel the polish of the chrome car can’t match the humanity of airbrushed Obama car, so I say airbrush wins. Plus the chrome car reminds me of the Enola Gay, with the president as pin-up nose art. Maybe they can use Obama Chrome as the visual inspiration for our next line of drones?

But what say you? Is it worse to be a low-rent cheesy, or a really well-executed cheesy? Which is the ugliest Obama car?

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
David Lynch and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons discuss machines and technology

Billy Gibbons Painting by Eileen Martin from Fine Art America

This is taken from today’s Guardian newspaper’s Film & Music section, which has been guest edited by David Lynch, and it makes for one of the most bizarre “music” interviews ever published:

Gibbons and Lynch – but mainly Gibbons, with the occasional “Doggone right” and “Exactly right, Billy” from Lynch – are talking about the beauty and power of industry. About the roar of factories, the growl of engines, about how the clang and clank speak to something within us. We’re meant to be talking about the block and tackle pulley system, but it’s pretty clear from the start that none of us can sustain a conversation about that, and so the block and tackle is just the key that starts the motor that in turn drives our discussion down the highway.

For Lynch, in any case, the block and tackle seems to be as much metaphor as literal device. It’s a system of pulleys, designed to enable a person to lift a greater weight than they could unaided. The pulley was invented around 2,400 years ago by the Greek philosopher Archytas, a scientist of the Pythagorean school (he’s also thought to have been the first person to invent a flying machine. Bright boy; his mother must have been proud). Then Archimedes realised the simple pulley could be expanded into something with even greater power – the block and tackle system, which he designed to help sailors lift ever greater loads, according to Plutarch. Thousands of years later, the basic system is unchanged: the block is the pulleys – the more pulleys you put in the block, the less the force you need to apply – and the tackle is the rest of the of the apparatus.

“I heard about the block and tackle and I’ve seen it work and it seems so magical,” Lynch says of his fascination. “It’s connected in my mind with the American car” – one of its common usages is to lift the engine block from the body of a vehicle – “and it’s kind of perfect that Billy talks about it. Billy had got a kind of guitar power – I always like the idea that his guitar is gasoline-powered.” That’s not quite the only reason Gibbons is joining us today. When Lynch originally asked for a piece about the block and tackle in this week’s Film&Music, we pointed out that the section dealt with film and music, rather than physics and mechanics. Lynch, though, was insistent. OK, he said, if you’re only going to do it if it’s got a film or music angle, then you can have ZZ Top talking about the block and tackle. And here we are


Read the full article David Lynch and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons dream about machines over at The Guardian.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Women Are Like Used Cars: Unbelievable sexist ad
05:36 pm

Current Events

Dale Wurfel

Good gravy! Methinks Canadian car dealership Dale Wurfel is kind of pushing it here. Really, Dale Wurfel? Really??? 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Stuffed Girl’s Heads! Only $2.98’

(via The Hairpin)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Rusty Rat Rods From Hell
07:10 pm

Current Events

Rat Rods
Jack Daniels

A rat rod is an old car or truck, usually from the 1920s thru to the 50s, that’s been stripped down and rebuilt using parts that date from the same era as the original automobile. A rat rod may be seriously stripped down, without hoods or fenders. They’re the punk rock rods of the hot rod scene, expressing the individuality of their owners. Aesthetically, the more rust the better.

I shot these at The Lonestar Rod And Custom Roundup in Austin this year. Music is by The Damned, Mink DeVille and The Modern Lovers.

A lot of a young cats in the Chicano community in Austin are rat rod aficionados.

The first video features a particularly groovy rusty rat rod tricked out with hydraulics and a Jack Daniels bottle containing radiator coolant. This is a low rider for people with exceptional style.

The second video contains rat motorcycles and more rat rods.

More rat rods after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment