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Witchy women and leggy ladies: Halloween in Hollywood
10.29.2018
09:45 am
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Audrey Totter

While most folks around Halloween want to revel in horror films and gore, I find myself acknowledging the fact that, well, I kinda like those films all year long and take this period of time to look at how the holiday was done in years gone by. But I will admit, like many of the other people that you will find on the Internetz right now who are playing their “30 Horror Films in 30 Days” or what have you, my interests are also centered in the cinema world. They are just, like me, a little…uh…different.

As a classic film fan, I have an extreme love for the PR materials that US film studios produced year-round from the 1940s-60s.  Specifically, I have a very deep engagement for the very quirky photographic materials that were distributed around the holidays. Photo shoots centered on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July and (duh) Halloween are totally my bag, baby.  Because really…turkeys HAD to be hard to wrangle, right??

These PR photos are primarily made-up of working Hollywood actresses and (on occasion) pin-up models. Commissioned by studios like Paramount, MGM, Columbia and so on, these professional pictures were distributed to magazines and newspapers for publication, designed and intended to promote each studio’s “stable of starlets” and to increase public support/fan culture. Some of the more fun pix are of well-known ladies whose media work dealt with supernatural or fantastic subjects. The amount of Halloween-themed photos taken with the actresses of Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie, the cast from The Munsters, and especially the photos done by The Wizard of Oz cast members over the years are endless and delightful! I could have filled this piece just with those pictures.

So these are all gynocentric photos, and they’re pretty sexy and fun. Mainly predicated on classic pin-up girl designs, many feature women who have been working together in the film industry for years and seem to be having a good time dressing up. If there happen to be any men or male-stand-in-figures, their “characters” in the photo narrative were actually a little bit rapey (if you are familiar with pin-up girl narratives, then, like, no big shocker right?). These photos are specifically not included in this article because…well, why the fuck would I do that?

Fact: Hollywood was (and is) misogynistic. Male creepiness is certainly not a modern invention within film culture. But I can certainly curate what is seen and appreciated. I think we are responsible for doing a better job of that at this point. For those who are curious (and let’s face it, I know y’all are) I chose not to include photos that depicted things such as a sleeping woman being leered at rapily by a “scarecrow” figure who was a famous actor in costume who I happen to like very much! Another photo showed the “male-stand-in-figure” I referred to earlier—a pumpkin with painted on eyes—it was posed as looking up the starlet’s skirt as she looked down, suitably irritated. I don’t think these pictures or what they say about the way that women/women-identifying people should be treated need extra viewing.

So let’s go to what I DO love about the Halloween work in particular. The photos range from the early days of silent film, with women like Clara Bow and Joan Crawford to rock ‘n’ roll era Sandra Dee and beyond. Their biggest flaw in my eyes is that there are no women of color even though women like Fredi Washington, Carmen Miranda, Anna May Wong and more were working actresses at the time. But let’s face it: we’re STILL working on the fact that Hollywood is racist AF.

Somehow, I manage to spend time with these photos every year. It’s therapeutic to just click through them, babbling to my cats about how cool the outfits are, how sassy Paulette Goddard and Gloria DeHaven look instead of cursing modern Halloween fuckery with its tired racist costumes and the sexification of The Handmaid’s Tale uniforms or whatever. I revel in these photos as a viable alternative or reprieve from what the system is currently providing en masse for a holiday I kinda dig. I wanna be one of these badass Halloween heroines, dammit!

As posed as they are, as cardboard as the sets appear, they are valuable as they also allow me to center my focus on and engage in representations of women and women’s sexuality. These pictures enrich my Halloween far more than the toxic masculinity that begins as a hum and ends up as a roar by the end of October via the film nerd internetz. So many dudes I hear arguing about which Halloween or Friday the 13th movie is the best or what their top ten films from x filmmaker are, etc. What’s the point? In my lifetime, women have been part of those discussions, joined those discussions but we have never been the center of those discussions. And that bugs the fuck out of me. I wish those dudes would be better.

I choose to go back in history and look at pictures of starlets dressed as witchy women and leggy ladies grinning at jack-o’-lanterns. None of this is to say that I won’t turn on Black Christmas (Bob Clark, 1974), The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982) or maybe have a Nightmare on Elm Street marathon later…but I probably would’ve done that anyway! Please enjoy these pictures and the wonderful women who are scaring their way into your hearts through your eyes.


Vera-Ellen
 

Paulette Goddard
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ariel Schudson
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10.29.2018
09:45 am
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Paul Blaisdell: The forgotten B-movie monster maker of Hollywood
10.29.2018
09:16 am
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A color photo of Saucer Man. A costume made by Paul Blaisdell for the 1957 film, ‘Invasion of the Saucer Men.’
 

The cheaper they are, the better they are.”

—Frank Zappa in 1973 referencing his love of horror movies, especially Roger Corman’s 1956 film It Conquered The World.

Unless, of course, you happen to be a huge Roger Cormanfan, the name Paul Blaisdell may be lost on you. This is a very sad thing given the many famous monsters Blaisdell created for Corman’s nutty cinematic flicks and other popular sci-fi/horror low-budget B-movies of the 50s and 60s.

Very early in his career, Blaisdell caught the attention of Forest J. Ackerman. Ackerman, the editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine suggested to his friend Roger Corman that he hire the young illustrator, who he was representing to work on The Beast with a Million Eyes (1955), as the services of Ray Harryhausen were far too expensive for Corman’s production wallet. Corman took Ackerman’s advice, and the film would be the first time Blaisdell would have the title of “monster creator” as a part of his soon-to-be extensive resume. With a total budget of only $200 to build the monsters for the film, Blaisdell created a hand puppet, something he had never done before. He and his wife and collaborator Jackie named the eighteen-inch creation Little Hercules and Corman was apparently happy “enough” with the results to hire Blaisdell again for his next film, Day The World Ended. And let’s face it, Blaisdell talent came cheap and this directly aligned with Corman’s movie studio budgets.

Day The World Ended challenged Blaisdell once again as he was tasked with making a life-sized rubber monster suit for the 1956 film. Blaisdell had never made a monster suit before, and for the movie, he would also be the man inside the monster suit marking his first “appearance” in a Hollywood film. Dubbed by Blaisdell as Marty the Mutant, the costume, which Blaisdell and Jackie glued together one piece at a time was actually quite terrifying. Here’s a little blow-by-blow from Blaisdell’s cohort Bob Burns on how Marty was made:

“The headpiece was pretty interesting. That was built up over an army helmet liner and the top part of the head, the sort of pointed shape up at the top, was actually made out of plaster over a wire framework that he’d built up over the helmet. The ears he made out of a form of resin— or possibly fiberglass at that time —I don’t know if they even had resin in the ’50s. The head was built up, so he had to look out through the mouth, so he wore a pair of sunglasses behind it. And the teeth he sculpted up himself, and I think those were out of clay. The horn things were flexible; it was a kind of early vinyl that he used. He sculpted up Marty’s face out of this resin-like material. There wasn’t much rubber on the head at all…He used to get his supplies from a place called Frye Plastic’s, they had the little plastic spheres that he’d use for eyeballs and all that stuff.”

Remember, Burns is talking about a man who had never done this kind of special effects before and was operating on sheer talent, ingenuity and being inspired to create outside of his usual wheelhouse. For their next film, Corman would finally have a legitimate hit on his hands thanks to a few key things falling into place. The first, Lee Van Cleef (a regular in sci-fi film during his early career) and Peter Graves signed on to appear in the leading roles in It Conquered The World (1956). Actress Beverly Garland also agreed to appear in the film, and her performance gave the movie credibility teeth as did the script. Though he would have a next-to-nothing budget, Blaisdell created an unforgettable monster, which historically, is as easily recognizable as Godzilla. Here, let me refresh your memory: This is Beulah—the fire red, nearly impossible to describe alien from Venus:
 

 
To help promote the film, Beulah and Marty the Mutant toured around the country during which Marty was mysteriously torn to shreds (pictured above). For Corman’s 1957 film, The She-Creature, Blaisdell made a plaster cast of his entire body, then used it as the foundation so-to-speak for the She-Creature. He and Jackie spent a month inside their garage making Cuddles, and Corman and fans of his films loved it. In 1957 alone, Blaisdell played a crucial role in eight movies, creating effects and monsters, making it even more difficult to understand how his contributions to horror and sci-fi cinema and FX could be so overlooked. Of course, not everyone forgot about Blaisdell’s work as he has a cult following, much like Corman. It’s also important to remember Blaisdell’s competition in the monster department was pretty fierce as they were pitched up against real movie monsters like Christopher Lee, rubber monster suit category killer Godzilla, and the giant spider from 1955’s Tarantula, which still scares the shit out of me to this day.

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.29.2018
09:16 am
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‘Ballad of Jimi’: The song that ‘predicted’ the death of Jimi Hendrix
10.26.2018
11:49 am
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Jimi Hendrix
 
As any self-respecting rock fan knows, Jimi Hendrix’s electrifying performance at the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival made him a star. During the years leading up to his fame, Hendrix was a sideman, playing live and recording in the studio with such acts as Little Richard and the Isley Brothers. An R&B singer named Curtis Knight was another performer Hendrix worked with, becoming a part of the singer’s backing band, the Squires, in 1965 (in 2015, we first told you about the Knight/Hendrix association). In October of ’65, Hendrix played his first recording session with Knight. That same month, Knight introduced Hendrix to Ed Chalpin, a producer who also owned an independent record company. Jimi then famously signed a three-year contract with Chalpin for $1—a decision that would later result in major legal battles for Hendrix, which went on for the rest of life, and continued for decades after his death.
 
Hendrix and Knight
Hendrix and Knight on stage at the Cheetah in New York City, circa May 1966.

Once Jimi hit it big, Chalpin licensed the Knight songs Hendrix played on to a myriad of record labels for singles and albums, which were subsequently issued in a number of countries. A tune called “Ballad of Jimi” was frequently amongst the track listings of these releases, including the widely distributed 1968 edition of Get That Feeling on London Records. The LP was credited to “Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Knight,” and featured a photo of Jimi shot at Monterey Pop. Knight received songwriting credit for “Ballad of Jimi,” also known as “Ballad of Jimmy” and “My Best Friend.” The lyrics concern a girl that the singer of the song (Knight) and his best friend both dig. The girl goes out with the buddy, who dies in a car wreck on their first date. The singer later marries the girl on the fifth anniversary of his best friend’s death.

For the track, Jimi used a wah-wah pedal, and his guitar playing can be heard throughout.
 

 
Hendrix overdubbed the part when he reunited with Knight and Chalpin for two session dates in July and August 1967. Inconceivable, considering Chalpin was, at the time, attempting to legally stop the release of more Jimi Hendrix Experience albums. Studio chatter captured on tape reveals Hendrix telling Chalpin “You can’t use my name,” in relation to the recordings they were making, to which the producer laughs and tells Jimi not to worry about it.
 
1968 single
Danish picture sleeve, 1968.

Hendrix died on September 18, 1970. By years’ end, “Ballad of Jimi” had been re-released as a single.
 
1971 single
Dutch picture sleeve, 1971. The photo of Knight and Hendrix was taken at the July 1967 recording session.

After Jimi’s death, Knight and Chalpin went back into the studio and re-cut’s Knight’s vocal (which isn’t particularly good on either version), and the lyrics were altered. The focus of the song was now the best friend, Jimi/Jimmy, a guitar player who foresees his own demise (“Five years, this he said.”). As evidence that the track was cut five years—to the day—prior to Hendrix’s passing, an alleged copy of the session log was included with a German pressing of the “Ballad of Jimi” 45.
 
Session log
 
Putting aside the distastefulness of the endeavor, there are quite a few holes in this fantastic story. First of all, Hendrix first went into the studio with Knight and Chalpin in October 1965, weeks after the September 18 date. Secondly, “Ballad of Jimi” had been already out a few years, with significantly different lyrics. Thirdly, the wah-wah pedal didn’t hit the marketplace until early 1967—well after the claimed 1965 date.

Experience Hendrix, the company owned and operated by the Hendrix family, now has the rights to not only the Curtis Knight recordings Jimi played on, but all of the tapes that had been controlled by Ed Chalpin.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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10.26.2018
11:49 am
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Audiences at the original run of ‘The Exorcist’ losing their shit
10.25.2018
10:48 am
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Toronto
 
While I love The Exorcist and watch it at least once a year—wherever Penderecki is booming from big speakers, I’ll be there—I’m unable to see it without thinking about hype, suggestibility and mass hysteria. Most promotional campaigns for horror movies are more or less artful variations on the tagline Dudley Moore’s ad man comes up with in Crazy People: “It will fuck you up for life!” Rumors of a cursed set, damned celluloid and occult frames were for The Exorcist what $1,000 life insurance policies were to William Castle’s Macabre. Since its release, the movie has benefited from the outsize expectations first-time viewers bring to it.

When I was growing up, I regularly heard The Exorcist cited not only as the scariest movie ever made, but as the legitimate exemplar of subliminal techniques in filmmaking. The first time I saw the movie (on VHS), I remember noticing that at least some of these subliminal images I had heard so much about, the ones that had supposedly been engineered to make you puke and cry from abject terror, were plainly visible to the naked eye when the tape played at normal speed; seemed pretty superliminal to me. If you’re aware that you just saw a flash cut of a ghoulish face, is it your unconscious mind that’s being manipulated, or your fear of subliminal editing?
 

Westwood
 
The widespread belief that the movie used modern techniques of mind control probably had more to do with the reaction it provoked in audiences than anything William “Fuck them where they breathe” Friedkin did in the editing room. As with The Blair Witch Project, an inferior movie similarly hyped, audiences were primed for terror by hyperbolic news reports and hours standing in line, anticipating the most traumatizing experience modern media could deliver.

Below, in local news footage, audiences at the original theatrical run of The Exorcist wait for hours to buy tickets. There is much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth among those exiting the theaters. An usher describes the crackups he’s seen, and some moviegoers step into the lobby to get some air mid-screening. Smelling salts are requested.

In other words, it’s a pop sensation! What’s more reminiscent of The Exorcist than the shrieks, sobs and streams of urine that greeted matinee performances by Frank Sinatra and the Beatles?
 

 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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10.25.2018
10:48 am
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Morbid melodies: Tune in and terror out
10.25.2018
10:29 am
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Every October I try to challenge myself to find a few new spooky songs to add to what I lovingly call my “morbid melodies” collection. The great thing is, I usually can but it’s only my cats that end up appreciating my efforts. So this year I thought, “To hell with it, lemme share some my favorites with you folks!”

In classic Ariel-fashion, of course, I also have to share a few of the music videos that I watch repeatedly because OF COURSE.

The first music video that I had wanted to share was DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince’s “Nightmare on My Street.” I usually just listen to the song but thought it’d be cool to put the video on here too. However, try as I might, I could not find the video I remembered from when I was a kid. I kept thinking “did I make this up? Is this one of those Mandela Effect things?” I looked into it and while I was aware that New Line Cinema had not wanted to have the song associated with the Nightmare On Elm Street films, I didn’t know that they had essentially made the video disappear.

Looking for it on the Internet doesn’t yield much. There are tons of fan videos, images put to the song, etc., but the official DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince music video apparently does not exist. On the other hand, it’s easy as pie to locate the music video for the Fat Boys’ “Are You Ready For Freddy?” released around the same time in 1988 since New Line had selected the Fat Boys as the rap group to rep Freddy Krueger in an official music video-context.  Here’s the thing: “Nightmare on My Street” is a waaaay better song, was far more popular and regardless of “official film connection” a music video was actually made.

New Line wasn’t having any of it. A lawsuit followed. New Line pulled “Nightmare” from MTV after just a few weeks of it being in rotation, and the video hasn’t been seen since. There are calls out all over the Internet asking people who might have been recording MTV at home during that period of time in 1988 to scour their VHS collections just in case they might possibly maybe perhaps have any tapes of music videos that might not have been taped over…? Even Jeff Townes (DJ Jazzy Jeff) and Will Smith (Fresh Prince) have admitted that they either don’t have copies or believe it to be lost forever. But many people on these Nightmare on Elm Street and Old School Rap forums are like me: they remember how this amazing music video was and wish they could see it again. For now, here is the audio.
 

 
The two music videos I can give you are cheesy but glorious. One is a metal band (Dokken) participating in the Nightmare on Elm Street universe for what is probably the best out of all of the NOES films Nightmare on Elm St 3: Dream Warriors (Chuck Russell, 1987). Accompanying that is one of my favorite songs to do at karaoke (try it! It’s super fun!).)  The video for the Mary Lambert adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (1989) is a total win and let’s be honest, who can turn down the Ramones in a graveyard?
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ariel Schudson
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10.25.2018
10:29 am
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The Godfather of Halloween: The pioneering creations of monster-mask maker Don Post
10.24.2018
07:59 am
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Don Post Studio’s remarkable Wolf Man mask. The mask was modeled after actor Lon Chaney Jr.‘s portrayal of the beast in 1941’s ‘The Wolf Man.’
 
According to accounts concerning Don Post’s early years, he paid a visit to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus with the goal of meeting Ringling Bros. resident star clown, Paul Wenzel so he could get a close look at Wenzel’s famous Popeye the Sailor mask. Wenzel was not only a skilled clown, but he was also a master prop maker, and his act was known for featuring all kinds of dazzling homemade extras for the time, such as enormous dragons (Wenzel himself was 6"4), dinosaurs, and horses as well as Wenzel’s feathered pal, Samson the Goose. Seeing Wenzel’s props up close sent Post off on a mission to launch his own business—Don Post Studios (DPS), which would produce some of the first over-the-head latex masks.

In 1938 at the age of 36, Post established his company which would continue to produce latex masks for a staggering 74 years before being sold rather suddenly in 2012. For decades Don Post (who passed away in 1979), his son Don Post Jr., and sculptors/artists/co-owner Verne Langdon and Pat Newman (and many others such as Bill Malone, Marcel Delgado, Robert Short and Neil Surges) would define what their young customer base was going to look like when they stepped out on October 31st. Post started selling his masks out of Marshall Fields in Chicago before ditching the department store for Hollywood where he would eventually join forces with Universal Studios earning the right to produce over-the-head latex masks based on Universal’s gang of classic monsters, the first being Frankenstein’s Monster. Post’s new alliance with Universal would quickly lead to the creation of other high-profile masks all sculpted by Pat Newman, including Lon Chaney’s portrayal of the Phantom of the Opera, Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, and Lon Chaney Jr. as the Wolf Man.

With the help of Famous Monsters of Filmland’s editor Forrest J Ackerman, DPS would become a household name with its army of masks with plenty of mythology attached to them. Here are just a few of the more interesting ones.

There is an established connection between actor William Shatner’s life-mask cast (taken in 1975 while he was shooting The Devil’s Rain, a perfect film to watch this time of year) and the white-faced, lifeless mask made famous by actor Tony Moran in order to transform him into the unstoppable slasher, Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s 1978 blood-blitz Halloween. There is also a female version of the Myers mask—which is very rare. However, the mask eventually made and distributed by DPS wasn’t an actual replica of Shatner’s life-cast, as their license for the mask was no longer good, so Nick Surges was called in to craft a new mask called the “Everyman.” This mask would be one of Post’s all-time biggest sellers along with his mask of Tor Johnson (done by artist/sculptor and VP of DPS, John Chambers) as Inspector Daniel Clay in Plan 9 From Outer Space.
 

The original design and color scheme for DPS’s “B Garret Theta” mask.
 
Another cool bit of history with DPS concerns a mask called “B Garret Theta” (pictured above). When B Garret was first conceptualized and brought to market in 1977, it was ahead of its time in the gore department. Looking back at the initial production run now it looked much like an unfortunate skinless victim of the Cenobites from future horror movie series Hellraiser and was touted as the first “blood and guts” zombie mask. Even DPS’ regular customers and buyers thought the mask was far too graphic and refused to market them. The masks were later redesigned to appear more undead with grey, necrotized skin and other color treatments to help it read more like a zombie than an actual corpse.

A few years later in 1979, Post put out the “Nuclear Death” mask during a time when paranoia about nukes and the potential of a full-on apocalypse were high, only to change the name to the tamer “Over-Reactor” the following year. DPS masks were still hugely popular but with the arrival of AIDS, the demand for latex products in the medical community, as well as the sale of condoms, put a massive dent in the company’s ability to satisfy requests for their masks and would nearly go bankrupt. The other thing working against DPS in the 80s were the horrific deaths of seven people (including a twelve-year-old child) after ingesting Tylenol laced with cyanide about a month from Halloween in 1982. Following this, drug-tampering crimes became a disturbing trend, and as Halloween approached, there were reports of Halloween candy being laced with sharp pins. This, of course, created legitimate hysteria concerning Halloween no longer being a safe pursuit and sales of candy and other Halloween-related items such as Post’s masks plummeted. But still, as we all do, DPS persisted.

The contributions made by Don Post and DPS are unrivaled and helped pave the way for the application of practical effects in films and television, thanks to a fateful meeting with an adventurous horror-loving innovator, and one of the greatest circus clowns to ever live. When DPS closed up shop in 2012, it sent shock waves through the horror community. Lee Lambert, a mask collector who as a child was a rabid fan of 70s horror, took on the task of authoring a book on Don Post’s legacy ensuring his artifacts from the past would always be available for fans for years to come. The incredible book, The Illustrated History of Don Post Studios painstakingly catalogued images of DPS’ work through the years including incredible color photos from magazine adverts and from the company’s collectible catalog. Vintage DPS masks can be found out there online for various sums, as well as authentic, hand-painted castings from the Universal Monster collection, which will run you many thousands of dollars. I’ve got a pretty stellar grouping of Post’s work in this post, some are slightly NSFW.
 

Famous, long-time Ringling Bros. clown and inspiration to Don Post, Paul Wenzel riding a giant dinosaur he made with wire and other materials.
 

Don Post doing what he clearly did best.
 

Inside the DPS workshop in 1974.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.24.2018
07:59 am
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Tuxedomoon play a mostly empty hall in Hamburg in the middle of the night, 1985
10.24.2018
06:42 am
Topics:
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In August of 1985 San Francisco “cabaret no-wave” heroes Tuxedomoon took part in an interesting evening of entertainment presented by the Hamburg-based television channel NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk). The program was called “Video Night” and—possibly accidentally—sounds a hell of a lot like the program Night Flight, which cable subscribers in the United States could consume on the USA Network during the same period. Here’s a description of the “Video Night” courtesy of Der Spiegel (translation executed by yours truly):
 

In addition to art videos from New York and Tokyo, clips from classic Hollywood movies and amateur films, the filmmaker Marianne Enzensberger and the popular singer Marianne Rosenberg serve as moderators for several avant-garde acts. Among them are: the formation AGZ (Anarchist Rubber Cell) and the American act Tuxedomoon.

 
For some reason, after all of the scheduled programming was over, Tuxedomoon were obliged to take the stage in front of a largely empty hall and play a couple of tunes in the wee hours of the night, with the knowledge that the proceedings were being transmitted to TVs live. Bruce Geduldig and Steven Brown kicked off the curious performance with some gallows-humor banter, in a practice known to musicians the world over as “making the best of a bad situation”:
 

Geduldig: Let’s hear it for late-night TV! Ahhhhhh!
Brown: All right, is anybody still awake out there?
Geduldig: I’m sure somebody’s awake out there in TV Land.
Brown: Well.
Geduldig: There’s gotta be someone awake, Steven!
Brown: Well, I think, um. We’re, we’re called Tuxedomoon, and well, isn’t late-night TV great?
Geduldig: We’re just always saying hello. It’s like religion, you know. It’s like a new educational religion.
Brown: I don’t know if I’d go so far as that, Bruce, but myself….
Geduldig: I learned a lot, myself. I learned a lot tonight.
Brown: Well, I like to come home at four o’clock in the morning and turn on the TV and see something like this, myself….
Geduldig: This is nice for a change, isn’t it? I get tired of snow.
Brown: Well, I mean, Dallas isn’t on at two in the morning, right?
Geduldig: It’s an honor. This is an honor.
Brown: It’s an honor. Unfortunately, it’s snowing onstage.
Geduldig: Well, we’re going to go on blind faith, anyway. We’re just gonna do this, because we have faith that somebody out there is still awake.
Brown: Blind Faith couldn’t make it tonight…..
Geduldig: We know you’re awake.
Brown: Is anybody still awake out there? I hear an answer…. Hello, TV Land!
Geduldig: Well, we’re still here.
Brown: This is Hamburg calling, this is Hamburg calling. Hello world! Here we go….

 
Quick guide for younger readers: It was uncommon for TV to be broadcast at night until the widespread adoption of cable TV, and 1985 was still early days for that progression—this partly informs Geduldig’s mordant assumption that there really is nobody out there watching. “Snow” is what an old-school tube TV broadcasts if the unit is turned on but there is no active input—it’s a synonym for “static.” It’s what most TV channels would have played in the middle of the night. Dallas was a popular nighttime soap opera in America. Blind Faith was a British blues-rock combo featuring Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech that released an album in 1969.

There can be little doubt that Tuxedomoon really did make the best of it. Geduldig spends most of the first song, “Watching the Blood Flow,” swinging from a handy rope hanging down from the ceiling, while for the follow-up, “Reeding, Righting, Rhythmatic,” Brown consents to sing blindfolded. After the credits roll, the video jumps to their performance from earlier in the evening, which featured “Special Treatment for the Family Man” and “Hugging the Earth.”
 

 
Here’s the full page from Der Spiegel from July 22, 1985, featuring the “Video Nacht” writeup in the bottom-right corner:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Tuxedomoon’s video-art piece ‘Ghost Sonata’ is just the thing for these ‘burn it all down’ times

Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.24.2018
06:42 am
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Drug dens and dick pics: The lurid art & crude ceramics of Jesse Edwards
10.23.2018
09:26 am
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A painting by Jesse Edwards.
 
Artist Jesse Edwards came of age in Snohomish County, an idyllically beautiful area of Washington State about two hours outside of Seattle. Growing up Edwards spent time skateboarding and experimenting with graffiti to get his kicks. The experience of using spray paint led Edwards to explore the medium more intimately in order to learn how to manipulate it, ultimately succeeding in changing the texture and consistency of the paint. Proficiency with spray paint runs in Edwards family. His brother Travis, (aka Tred who has done jail time for his art) is probably the most well-known graffiti artist in Seattle.

Edwards’ experimentation paid off quite literally, and he was not only accepted to Cornish College of the Arts, but he also scored a partial scholarship to the school. The union between Edwards and higher academia was short, and he was kicked out after having a nasty word fight with one of Cornish’s professors. In an interview with the Seattle Times in 2010, Edwards revealed his only passion was to make “beautiful things.” This quote is quite compelling when you consider art—much like beauty—is determined by the perception and preference of the beholder. As it pertains to Edwards’ “beautiful things” you will either love them or, perhaps loathe them. One thing is sure, Edwards’ work is flush with old-world mastery and color pallets, though you’ll not be seeing any still life bowls of fucking fruit or portraits of frilly aristocrats dressed to the nines. Instead, Edwards’ subjects include representations of weed and drug culture, dick pics, porn, and the occasional amusing pop culture reference. In addition to painting, Edwards also excels at ceramics many of which were displayed for a time at the Museum of Sex in New York City where they fit right in.

I’ve posted a large selection of Edwards work below, much of it is very NSFW. Yay!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.23.2018
09:26 am
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I’m Dancing with Death: The Forgotten Glam Punk of Lou Miami & the Kozmetix
10.22.2018
10:08 am
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Lou Miami was a punk rocker from Boston, Massachusetts. His band, the Kozmetix, played around locally, but rarely toured. They were regulars at popular night clubs like The Rathskeller (“The Rat”), The Channel, and the Inn-Square Men’s bar. The band formed sometime in the late-seventies and released two EP’s: Lou Miami & the Kozmetix in 1982 and Rituals in 1985.
 
Lou was a spectacle. His style was flamboyant and glam, with a touch of goth esotericism and a gritty punk demeanor. My favorite description of him is that he was “sort of a cross between Iggy Pop, Boy George, Devo and Helen Reddy.” I’d also throw in a little Richard Hell, Lou Reed, and Joey Ramone. Lou had an obsession with the allure of sex symbol and actress Jayne Mansfield - particularly her humor and rumored involvement with Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. “The occult doesn’t have to be depressing,” Lou once said.
 

 

Lou Miami covers ‘Monster Mash’
 
Having opened up for The Cramps and spun heavily on Boston’s WERS 88.9fm and the short-lived (but influential) music video channel V66, the Kozmetix didn’t receive much notoriety outside of the Boston scene. Before MTV, Lou recognized pretty early on that video would be a tool to expose a band and display its concept. Lou took mime lessons from a former 1960s go-go dancer and found it important to be an “entertainer” while on stage. The Kozmetix created WAY more video “content” than most bands today, especially in a pre-iPhone, nearly pre-MTV era. They even made more than one video for certain songs.
 
The Kozmetix fizzled out of the local scene sometime in the mid-eighties, when it was believed that Lou had gotten into witchcraft up in Salem. He died of heart failure in Los Angeles in August 1995. Thank you for everything, Lou.
 
Get a taste of the fabled Lou Miami after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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10.22.2018
10:08 am
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Mondo Bondage: Why Fee Waybill of The Tubes is one of the three most important people in the world
10.21.2018
10:25 am
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Fee Waybill on stage with The Tubes as his stage alter-ego Quay Lewd in 1975. His platform boots are eighteen inches high.
 
If the title of this post and affirmation of the importance of vocalist Fee Waybill (born John Waldo Waybill in 1950) of The Tubes sounds at all familiar, it is because this is precisely how Fee Waybill was addressed in the 1989 film, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Since I know you’re curious, the other two people included in this very important trio were Martha Davis of The Motels (because of course, she was) and the big man himself, saxophone player and long-running member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, Clarence Clemons. Bill and Ted might not have been the brightest bulbs, but they were right to call Fee Waybill important. Because god dammit he was and still is and I’ve got pictures and live footage to prove it. Excellent.

Anyone growing up on MTV remembers The Tubes. “Talk to you Later” was in such heavy rotation it would have been impossible not to absorb the lyrics without even wanting to. Their early, proto-punk records were popular in the UK but didn’t really break through in the U.S., so as far as most MTV kids were concerned, The Tubes they saw on television didn’t exist before “Talk to You Later.” They had likely never heard of the band’s 1975 debut, White Punks on Dope. During their time in the 70s, they became known for their elaborate stage productions which stepped far beyond merely going to see a band, and more like live, interactive, improvisational theater with sick jams.

Then, you have Fee Waybill, taking it a leap beyond the beyond appearing in characters he created for the stage such as a BDSM fan, and a glam rocker called Quay Lewd. Waybill also dressed up like a crazed astronaut from time to time and a masked bad-dude. Others would follow, and Waybill’s revolving cast of characters would make regular appearances during Tubes’ shows for years and years. According to Waybill, Quay Lewd was an “amalgam” of “Rod Stewart, David Bowie, David Johansen, Robert Plant and all the quasi-homosexual glam-rock gay lead singers with platform shoes in the 1970s.”

In 1977 The Tubes played two highly praised totally gonzo sold-out shows at the Hammersmith Odeon with Wire. Both performances were recorded and released in 1978 as What Do You Want from Live. In addition to wanton appearances by Waybill dressed in bondage gear, Quay Lewd also came out to taunt the crowd. Journalist Paul Rambali reviewed the gigs for NME, including the following assessment which I think sums up what the fuck happened at the Odeon: 

“They (The Tubes) are not strictly a rock band, neither are they a show, a satire, nor a marriage of rock and theatre, (although they do admit early inspiration from the original Rocky Horror Picture Show). The Tubes are a spectacle like no other. They present a relentless two-hour onslaught of humor, outrage, parody, idiocy, music, and costume—a feast for the senses.”

 

Paul Rambali’s review of The Tubes gigs at the Odeon in 1977.
 
After the release of What Do You Want from Live, The Tubes returned to California to play a series of shows in San Fran and Los Angeles. After their crazed shows in London, Waybill decided to get even nastier on stage and added a large dildo to his Quay Lewd costume, which has always kind of reminded me of a cross between Wayne Country and Hedwig. Apparently, Cher was in the crowd and would later ask the band to play her Cher…Special (1978), which they did in the most bonkers way possible. The Tubes performed a medley of songs including 1975’s “Mondo Bondage” with Waybill and in bondage gear trying to get Cher to embrace her dark side. During the skit/musical number, another guest on the one-off special, Dolly Parton and her gang of gospel singers roll on in to save Cher’s soul, presumably from rock and roll. Also, since Rambali was kind enough to mention the link between The Tubes and Rocky Horror Picture Show, it seems like a good time to note Waybill took on the role of the deranged Dr. Frank N. Furter for a stage production of RHPS at the Barn Theater in Augusta, Michigan in 1999. Pictures or it didn’t happen? I got you covered, pals.

Classic images of Fee Waybill doing what he does best—you know, being one of the three most important people in the world, follow. Some are NSFW (which does not mean Not Safe for Fee Waybill). Lastly, if you happen to be in Irwin, Pennsylvania or Akron, Ohio, you can see the band live later this month.
 

Waybill on stage in BDSM leather. Fuck YES.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.21.2018
10:25 am
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