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The Ladybirds: The world’s first all-girl topless rock band(s)
07.31.2017
03:05 pm
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The Ladybirds was apparently quite the popular name for female pop groups in the 1960s. There were several all-girl bands in the 1960s named The Ladybirds, some of them who performed fully-clothed and some who did not.

But let’s narrow it down to just the Ladybirds who got their kits off, shall we, leaving out a California-based group by that name who opened for the Stones for at least one performance during their 1965 US tour and also the Ladybirds, an English all-girl vocal harmony group often seen on The Benny Hill Show.

Now as it turns out, there wasn’t just a single band of topless Ladybirds, either. There were two! What are the odds of that?

First we have the American Ladybirds, a garage rock group that was comprised of five showgirls and begun in San Francisco (some sources say NJ) sometime in 1966. When they first started out their act was just a T&A gimmick—I’m guessing one that was inspired by Charlotte Morman’s topless cello playing, then in the news, although topless waitresses were already a “thing” at that point—with the ‘birds shaking their tailfeathers (and tits) at punters but miming along to backing tracks in places like the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, LA’s risque Blue Bunny Club and Tipsy’s, a “cabaret” in San Francisco’s then wild North Beach neighborhood where they were booked for 14 solid months. Like the Monkees, eventually they learned how to play their own instruments.

Here’s a ridiculous bit of Ladybirds trivia: None other than World Golf Hall of Fame golfer Raymond Floyd managed the group, at least for a while. A 1998 Sports Illustrated article about Floyd called him an “investor” in the Ladybirds. Floyd was apparently a rather notorious party boy in his younger years and the owner of a nightclub called Coke’s. He probably co-managed the group with Voss Boreta who also managed stripper Carol Doda, at least for a while.

And then there are the Danish Ladybirds who also got topless. It’s known for instance, that this Copenhagen-based group played a double bill with Led Zeppelin—then still called the New Yardbirds for contractual reasons (Ladybirds/Yardbirds, geddit?) at the Fjordvilla Club in Roskilde, Denmark, on September 8th 1968. These Ladybirds stuck it out until 1986 before calling it quits.

From the shots below you can see both the predominantly brunette US incarnation and the blonder Scandinavian variant of Ladybirds. Frankly I don’t expect we’ll be seeing any sort of 50 year anniversary reunions from either of them.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.31.2017
03:05 pm
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Vintage burlesque dancers and stripper portraits from the 1960s

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The Internet has a fair selection of vintage images of strippers and burlesque dancers from the nineteen-forties, the fifties, sixties, seventies, and so on. Many are strangely orphaned like most of the kazillions of images out there. Just think, every day there are more images merely uploaded than all of the pictures produced during the 19th century. That’s kind of staggering. Most of these pictures drift unanchored to any connecting narrative.

All of which reminds me of the old Hans Christian Andersen story “The Shadow,” which I’m sure you all know or have at least been told at some point in your childhood. Simply put, it’s the story of a man whose shadow escapes one night and starts living a life of its own. This shadow becomes more and more independent until it is the dominant figure and its original creator, the man himself, becomes utterly subservient. Old photographs are like that. They have their own life which becomes the shadow by which we know or identify the subject’s life. Like these photos of strippers culled from magazine spreads and publicity shots used to tout some gentertainment. We know little about the women who posed for these pictures—or the lives they lived—but we (for want of a better word) identify them by their shadow—which in this case is their photograph.

In a similar way, strippers put on a show that’s only meant to entertain, which sadly some dumb men think is real. As the legendary stripper Toni Elling once said, it’s all about entertainment:

“[T]he idea is to suggest what’s there, not throw off all your clothes and reveal everything. That’s why they call it strip-tease.”

While most of the following are of strippers from the 1960s, I have included a couple of respected burlesque dancers, whose work had considerable influence on both the exotic dancing and stripping worlds.
 
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More exotic dancers and strippers, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.20.2017
11:01 am
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Super cheesy photos of male Chippendales dancers from the 1980s
07.17.2017
12:14 pm
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A vintage shot of Chippendales dancers from the 1980s.
 
I’ve always found the phenomena of the Chippendales all-male striptease ensemble one of the weirdest 1980s things. And that’s saying a lot when you consider all that decade bestowed upon us—whether we wanted it or not. I mean, the music scene was pretty amazing—and if you want to arm-wrestle me over that fact, you will lose because it’s a fact. Prince put out Controversy and 1999 and Purple Rain. MTV played music videos and Larry Bird was named the MVP of the NBA Finals in 1986 after the Boston Celtics took town the Houston Rockets in Game Six. Okay, that last one is one of my favorite moments from the 80s, but it just proves my point that a lot of great things happened back then. And love them, hate them, or just plain don’t fucking get them, the dancers of Chippendales were everywhere. Just like shoulder pads and spandex.

Much like Gene Simmons and his devotion to slapping the word KISS on anything and everything, the Chippendales’ empire did the very same thing. From calendars to a board game and even a mini hand-held movie viewer so you could watch the beefy dancers in the privacy of your own home, there was something “Chippendales” for everybody. The calendars were incredibly popular items, and are nearly impossible to find now. I’ve included a few choice color photos from the calendars as well as some black and white print ads (which you can buy here) featuring individual dancers. Lastly, I included footage from a workout tape put out by Chippendales called Muscle Motion that is about as cornball as anything I’ve ever laid my eyes on. And trust me, these eyes have seen some cornball shit that you can never unsee. I hope you enjoy this gyrating trip down memory lane!
 

 

 

 

 
More totally 80s himbo action after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.17.2017
12:14 pm
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‘Grindhouse Girls’ of the 50s and 60s: An eye-popping set of sexy black & white trading cards
03.30.2017
11:06 am
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A trading card from the ‘Grindhouse Girls’ set put out by Rigomor Press in 1992.
 
This set of sexed-up trading cards featuring strippers and exotic performers from the 50s and 60s was put out in 1992 by Rigomor Press who also put out a few other controversial trading card sets such as Incredible True Life Murderers in 1991 and The World’s Most Hated People in 1992.

The Grindhouse Girls set contains images of well-known adult performers such as Blaze Starr and Maria Villa who performed her exotic act with a snake. The black and white images are a fantastic throw-back to when adult performers used pasties, big hair, and kooky gimmicks to sell their sex appeal. Best of all, like many other vintage trading card sets, when you flipped the cards over you could assemble a giant puzzle—but instead of scene from Charlie’s Angels, you get to put together a picture of “Goddess of the Jungle” Naja Karamuru who was considered to be Brazil’s answer to Jayne Mansfield. Karamuru was a superstar of the burlesque scene back in the 50s and 60s and like Maria Villa, she shared her stage with a number of snakes including two pythons and a cobra. I’ve included images of all twenty cards from the set which occasionally come up for sale on auction sites like eBay if you’re interested in acquiring one for yourself. Though there isn’t any real nudity, strippers and pasties generally equal NSFW.
 

 

 
More ‘Grindhouse Girls’ after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.30.2017
11:06 am
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‘Secrets of the Striptease Queens’
01.04.2017
11:04 am
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Reporter Jack Griffin went in search of the “Secrets of the Strip Tease Queens” sometime in the early 1950s. He visited Minsky’s Burlesque Theater on State and Van Buren, Chicago, to find the answer. There he met with stripper Bobbi Bruce who told him:

“Honey, I guess you can sum up this business in one sentence. You grab as much sex as the law is allowing at this time, and throw it across the footlights as hard as you can.”

Griffin described Bobbi’s answer as:

“...one of the simplest and clearest descriptions of the strip tease business ever made.”

Too true! As to what the law would permit at this time law, well according to Carnival magazine’s “Guide for Strip-teasers” the law in Illinois “means Chicago, and Chicago means let ‘er rip.”  The limit on what a stripper could or could not take off was entirely “on the club owners’ discretion.”  Added for emphasis: “Chicago club owners’ are hardly noted for discretion.”

But back to Griffin who notes that “Strippers are”:

...a clannish group of well-developed girls, are loath to talk with outsiders about their art or their personal lives.

That may come as a surprise to some of the gentlemen who have dropped into neon emporiums where beer is dispensed at 75 cents a bottle and entertainers mix with the customers while other girls wiggle out of their clothing on the runway behind the bar.

But if they will hark back to that expensive evening, they will discover the girl’s conversation consisted chiefly of, “Daddy, you’re cute,” and “It’s time for another drink.”

The girls from the bump and grind circuit have found from long experience that most men who ply them with personal questions, usually accompanied with a leer, are mental Peeping Toms. Besides, they have heard all the questions before and consider them very dull.

But our intrepid “perspiring” reporter asked enough questions to appreciate a stripper takes her art seriously. Sometimes performing five or six shows a night, seven days a week, which meant these women were in no mood for “much of anything except going home—alone—and going to sleep.”

Strippers, Griffin points out, are like well-trained athletes. Booze and late nights “play havoc with a person’s body, and a stripper’s body is her business.”

Bobbi Bruce (aka Bobbi Blue) worked as “a hash slinger” before making enough from her tips to quit her work, rent a studio with full-length mirror and spend seven months perfecting the sexiest way to shake off her clothes.

Burlesque performer Michelle Marshall told Griffin another secret of the stripper’s art:

“They call it strip tease and that’s what you’ve got to do. If you don’t tease, then the strip don’t mean a thing.”

When this article first appeared most strippers were members of the American Guild Variety Artists. Some were also signed-up with the Burlesque Artists Association. The minimum union salary for stripping back then varied by state but was somewhere between $90-$100 a week. The more upmarket the club, the better the money.

Those new to the business could make around $150 a week. The top dollar for burlesque stars like Lili St. Cyr went as high as $3,500 a week.

Read more about the ‘Secrets of the Strip Tease Queens,’ after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.04.2017
11:04 am
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The Stranglers’ live performance of ‘Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’ with a bunch of strippers from 1978
01.25.2016
11:15 am
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Jean-Jacques Burnel and Hugh Cornwell on the stage at Battersea Park in London, September 16th, 1978" height="277" width="465" />
Jean-Jacques Burnel and Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers on the stage at Battersea Park in London, September 16th, 1978
 
Back in 1977, the members of the Greater London Council were not the biggest fans of punk rock instigators, The Stranglers. According to legend, (and detailed in the book, England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock, and Beyond) at a show at The Rainbow in London, Strangler vocalist Hugh Cornwell wore a shirt with the word “fuck” on it. This didn’t go over well with the GLC, and The Stranglers set was cut short. After that, the GLC banned the The Stranglers from booking and playing gigs around London. Finally, on September 16th, 1978, the band was able to organize and play an outdoor gig at Battersea Park in London. And thanks to the fact that The Stranglers love trouble, it wouldn’t go off without a good dose of controversy.
 
Hugh Cornwell and his
Two of my favorites things; Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers and the word “fuck”
 
Showbill for The Stranglers at Battlesea Park, August 16, 1978
Showbill for The Stranglers show at Battersea Park, August 16, 1978

The line-up for the show at Battersea included Peter Gabriel, Scottish punks the Skids, English band The Spizzoil (better-known in the US as Athletico Spizz 80 and for their “Where’s Captain Kirk?” single, also known as Spizzenergi and The Spizzles), a band called The Edge, and a comedian that was being managed by Cornwell at the time known as “Johnny Rubbish.

Everything was pretty mellow until nearly the end of The Stranglers set when the band slid into “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy” from their 1978 record, Black and White. During the song, The Stranglers brought a group of strippers onstage (both male and female) and a guy with a whip (because why not?), who all proceeded to serve up some daytime strip-club, full-frontal glamor for the audience. Although the show was filmed, the footage that’s gotten around isn’t amazing quality by any means. Lucky for us, the five-minutes of the completely bonkers (and NSFW if you haven’t already figured that one out) performance of “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy” is pretty great, and I’ve posted it below for your viewing pleasure.
 

The Stranglers and their stripper posse performing “Nice ‘n’ Sleazy” at Battersea Park, London, 1978

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Men in black: The Stranglers’ BBC documentary about the color black, 1982

Posted by Cherrybomb
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01.25.2016
11:15 am
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‘Get ‘Em Off’: Vintage documentary on London’s striptease artists (Very NSFW)
04.14.2015
09:43 am
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They’re naked and they dance—is a fair description of Get ‘Em Off a documentary that celebrates 100 years of striptease. How or why it’s 100 years of striptease is never quite fully explained, though there are references in the commentary to ancient Egyptian strippers, Parisian can-can dancers, the night they raided Minsky’s and some risque music hall acts form the early 1900s.

Made in 1976, the summer of the great heatwave that swept across Britain bringing drought, hosepipe bans and melting roads, Get ‘Em Off captures the slowly fading sleazy world of London’s strip clubs. Filmed mainly at Soho’s Nell Gwynne Club, the documentary strikes an awkward balance between laddish banter and documenting the performances by the strippers: Miss Anne, Miss Alby, Miss Chastity, Miss Cher, Miss Carmen, Miss Anna, Miss Linda, Miss Coursetta. we see these girls perform their routines in front of tinsel, drapes, under Kenneth Anger-style lighting.

“Strippers,” we are told, “have their own language.”

There’s a movement called ‘The Coffee Grinder’. You write the letter O with your axel, know what I mean?, whilst in the bump the hips spring forward, sometimes called bump and grind. There’s the ‘The Trailer’ which is the strut before the strip, that’s what we’ve been looking at up to now; we’ve seen three examples of it; then there’s the quiver and the shimmer and the we’re going to see the lot.

Many of these strip clubs became the venues for punks and New Romantics, starting a whole new world of club culture during the 1980s and early 1990s.
 
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The commentary is performed by actor Kenneth Macleod and presenter Hugh Scully, best known for his work with the BBC on Nationwide and the Antiques Road Show. The inclusion of these two rather straight, respectable individuals (a bit like having the Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf in attendance) gives the film a nod of establishment approval. The pair continue:

They don’t believe in giving it to them all at once or too quickly; Strippers have motto’s like:
‘Make ‘em wait and
‘Don’t be too eager’
‘Give Hell’
‘Make them go dry at the mouth’
‘Freeze to marble in their seats’
‘Give them a create of blink in case they miss something’
‘Make them beg with their eyes and howl like wolves under a full moon’
After all, they have come here to have a good time. The tease is the thing; Men in a hurry shouldn’t go to strip clubs. For every customer who loses his cool and shouts ‘Get It Off!’ the stripper is ready with the answer “Can’t You See Anything Yet?’

What they do see is refreshingly absent of silicon, Botox, and vajazzle.
 
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The full NSFW documentary ‘Get ‘Em Off,’ after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.14.2015
09:43 am
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Watch 1950s stag film queen Candy Barr dance in captivating, little-seen footage
01.06.2014
08:47 am
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Candy Barr
 
I never want to make too many assumptions about our readers or their workplaces, but I think it’s only fair to give y’all a warning: this is a stag film, and therefore probably not appropriate for most office environments.

That being said, you have to see Candy Barr dance. She’s positively hypnotic, with a seemingly instinctual control of her own body. Although her skills were certainly enough to earn her a place in pop culture history, she’s famous for far more than her serpentine shimmy.

“Candy” was born Juanita Dale Slusher in small-town Texas. Her childhood wracked by trauma (the death of her mother at age 9, and sexual abuse from both a neighbor and a babysitter), she ran away at 13 to Dallas. She was married at 14, but the union ended when he went to jail (he was supposedly a safe-cracker).

The next few years of Candy’s life yield conflicting accounts. It’s known that she worked as a cigarette girl, and eventually an exotic dancer, but sources vary on whether she worked as a prostitute or not. She did, however, appear the early “smoker,” Smart Alec at the age of 16. Broke and hungry, Candy (who was still Juanita at the time) made the film under extreme stress and coercion, regretting it for the rest of her life.

Candy’s life should not be reduced to tragedy. Shortly after the release of Smart Alec, she got a well-paying job at a strip club, adopted her moniker, and established her trademark cow-girl routine—complete with cowboy hat and boots, holstered cap six-shooters, and not much else. Though she shot her violent second husband (non-fatally), it was a marijuana possession charge that actually threatened Candy—a fifteen year sentence for four-fifths of an ounce. (Oh, Texas…)

The case dragged on with appeal after appeal, and Candy’s star rose all the while. She went form city to city, made fantastic money, was hired by Fox studios to choreograph Joan Collins for the movie Seven Thieves. She also dated gangster Mickey Cohen. Smitten, Cohen wanted to marry her, and as the appeals of her case began to wind down and the threat of imprisonment loomed closer, he sent Barr and her young daughter to Mexico. Candy, never one to hide, eventually returned to the states and broke it off with Cohen.

Shortly after, she married Jack Sahakian, hairdresser to the stars—the same hairdresser, incidentally, that Cohen arranged to dye her hair so that she could live incognito in Mexico. A few months later, she lost her final appeal and was sentenced to fifteen years. She spent over three years in jail before being paroled. Perhaps agog at the obviously overly punitive sentencing of a “scandalous woman,”  Texas Governor, John Connally, pardoned her in 1968, and she resumed her very successful career.

In 1972, she published, A Gentle Mind . . . Confused. a collection of 56 poems she wrote while in prison, revealing a rich internal monologue and a deft utility of words belying a woman who dropped out of school at thirteen. An excerpt.

“Hate the world that strikes you down,
A warped lesson quickly learned.
Rebellion, a universal sound,
Nobody cares, no one’s concerned.

Fatigued by unyielding strife,
Self-pity consoles the abused,
And the bludgeoning of daily life,
Leaves a gentle mind . . . confused.”

From my perspective (that of a failed ballerina), Candy Barr stands out among her stag film peers, first and foremost, as a natural dancer. I mean, Bettie Page was darling and charismatic, of course, but like a lot of stag film dancers, she was known more for her charms than her craft. After retiring, Barr moved back to the small town of her birth, living comfortably and quietly, choosing not to bank off her cult status. She always said the male attention was never really the thrill for her; she just wanted to dance. 
 

 
The Wall Breakers

Posted by Amber Frost
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01.06.2014
08:47 am
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